A bumper week of Indies for week 48 including a few early access and demos… We aren’t even in a Steam Next Fest!! From action kitties, to card fighting lions and planet scaled puzzling, there is is a right old mixed bag this week.
Gori: Cuddly Carnage
For the longest time I kept seeing screenshots of Gori: Cuddly Carnage and thinking it was a belated follow up of Blinx: The Time Sweeper. I might be one of the only fans of those games on the original Xbox, so for the rest of you, be rest assured that this is its own thing.
Gori is a cat. On a sentient hoverboard. With weapons. Preview over, wishlist now!
In all seriousness though, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a game that looks like it is trying to be a meme on first inspection. But what I got blew my socks off. To the point it has rocketed to one of my most anticipated titles of 2024.
Whilst the premise is comical and it is defintely played with tongue rooted firmly in cheek, it works because the action is fast, fluid and most importantly easy to get to grips with. Gori is full of action and the various foes faced are certainly challenging, but being on a hoverboard allows you to flow through each arena with ease and slay with style.
I got to sample a couple of levels, the opening one and level 5 and I found that there was a good amount of variety across the to slices. There is plenty of replay-ability even with such a small section.
Definitely one to look out for when it drops on Steam some time in 2024
Sometimes you play a game and you just aren’t sure what to make of it. Such is the case with my experiencd of Blood West, a FPS Horror based Western. On paper it sounds like a really great idea and I think it is… but I can’t quite find the enjoyment myself.
I don’t think that is the fault of Hyperstrange the developers, who have clearly poured their heart and soul into Blood West. The issue is laid squarely at my door. Which is frustrating as it ticks a lot of boxes for me. It is slower paced, rewards planning and has a genuine feeling of achievement as you progress.
It could be that the start is pretty much a slow slog, but it doesn’t outstay itself and soon lets you loose. The enemies are intelligent and the rewards for besting them are worthwhile with numerous perks and pickups. I even like the resource management aspect of the game, which encourages scavenging and exploration.
My biggest issue, comes again from UI and accessibility. I found that visual clues to areas of interest and items were not clear enough and wiith my vision issues that is a problem. It isn’t the worst example of this by any means, but it does make it a tad frustrating.
That being said, I think most people will get enjoyment from Blood West and the time spent cooking in Early Access have produced a solid game when it hits full release on 5th December.
Planetiles is a game that came out of nowhere for me. But I am so glad I came across it. It doesn’t yet have a confirmed date, just 2024, but there is a demo and I implore you to try it.
We have here a rather intriguing little game that is part roguelite, part puzzle game, part city builder, with influences from the likes of Dorfromantik thrown in for good measure.
It is as simple as laying pieces onto the surface of a planet and trying to get the highest possible score. The better you do, the better the score. You can improve your scores by matching tiles types, completing mini quests and much more besides.
The thing that has hooked me on the demo is that the game is really well paced, often lasting no longer than a few minutes, but always having scope to improve and spend longer. It nails that feeling of learning on the go and improving on your next run so well.
If the full game expands on what the demo offers, then we are in for a treat some point in 2024.
I really want to avoid the words. ‘It is a little bit like Gwent, but different’ but I can’t think of a better way to give you a picture of what Cross Blitz is. It has a board layout similar to that of the card game popularised in The Witcher series, but does some very cool things and for me is much simpler and better to play.
You take on the role of Redcroft as you join him on a really well told story as he tries to win his freedom… by playing card battles. Yeah it’s always card battles instead of actual fights. But I am here for it. The story is actually a decent framing device to carry the core mechanics of the deckbuilding, rather than the usual map in the likes of Slay the Spire.
Which is great as it differentiates Cross Blitz from so many other games in the genre, such as the equally excellent Cobalt Core for example. Yet it maintains all the familiarities you’d want to just jump in and get to grips with things, before working out the best synergies in decks you can craft.
The two row board allows for some very interesting combos and adds a layer of strategy that stoips Cross Blitz just feeling like another clone in a very saturated genre. The characters have a lot of… erm… character too, which keeps everything feeling light and breezy.
I have played one of the multiple storylines available in the main meat of the game, but there are also other modes should you want to carry on playing, such as the excellent Tusk Trials, which is a straight up rogue mode and a great addition to the package.
Cross Blitz is single player only from what I can tell so far, which is a shame, because I felt this could be a cracking little 1v1 multiplayer experience too. But at the same time, I’m glad to see a developer really focus on the single player stuff.
Definitely one to check out for fans of deckbuilders and tcg titles.