Well I was hoping to start 2024’s round up with a bang, but I’ve been suckered in by Cyberpunk 2077 over Christmas and the New Year, so erm… yeah. That being said, I have played some indies and they are both pretty good. We’ve got 57 games to talk about today (technically), so let’s get going!

New Cycle

DEVELOPER: Core Engage
PUBLISHER: Daedalic Entertainment
Format: Steam
Price: TBD

Credit: GameTrailers

Fresh from spending even more time with Against The Storm, I am always happy to try out a new survival based city-builder. New Cycle definitely grabbed my attention as it has a lot of that grim feeling that ATS has, but approaches in a more traditional way, removing the rogue elements. It also has that same punch that you get from Frostpunk and I am all in for that.

All the usual systems are in place, with managing resources, the needs of your people, expanding and of course surviving. There is a freedom to things that do allow you to experiment, but New Cycle is also big on consequence. Something I find many games struggle to get right.

Now it isn’t perfect in New Cycle for sure, but I did find myself planning out ideas and executing them with a bit of a wing and a prayer hoping that what did will work out well, or at the very least not destroy everything I had previously done.

Core Engage lean very heavily on the survival elements of the game, which at this early stage is making it a bit tough going. It’s not a joyful experience and honestly not one I am eager to spend time in… ahead of playing that is. As soon as I do get in, something consumes me and hours are lost, it is a really odd feeling, that a game I dread picking up, actually gets its hooks in so easily.

Also to add, I don’t know if this is just me, or what, but aside from the micro-management aspects of a city-builder, there seems to be the more long term decisions you’d expect in a game like Civilization. Now I don’t mean that this is also a 4X strategy game, but there are definite elements used that combine really well with the core mechanics.

The game is in early access when it releases on 18th Jan 2024, so there are bugs and issues that Core Engage have addressed and that will be worked on. I also expect the gameplay to be ironed out a little as the feedback starts to come in from those who are more knowledgeable than myself. But the early signs are promising!

Super 56

DEVELOPER: Onion Soup Interactive
PUBLISHER: WhisperGames
Format: Steam
Price: £5.89

Credit: IGN

So that’s 1 game down and 56 to go… Super 56 is pretty much a new Warioware, Bishi Bashi Special type microgame collection that has… you guessed it FIFTY SIX games in one!!! Wow, can you even fathom it.

The basis behind this is that Super 56 was banned and buried in the desert… oooh look reference humour! But has now been found being sold in HELL! You are there as some kind of exchange program and must help you new ‘friends’ beat the game before their neighbour does!

Basically a shell for you to play the 56 microgames over and over to get better scores and level up. There are plenty of rewards for doing in the form of skins and shiny things, but don’t worry, not a micro-transaction in sight.

A game like this lives and breathes on the games on offer and I think it really is a mixed bag. Most of the games are loosely based on real world games such as Street Fighter, Sonic, DOOM, which does give them some familiarity. The idea is that you only use one button to play everything, which does keep things simple and technically easy to play.

Issues arise though, that some of the games aren’t quite as easy as they should be at the pace they happen. The Street Fighter one for example is really simple, as the memory of smashing a car in the actual game is there, but there is another game that seems to be an RPG where there are dialogue boxes, whilst you are on a time limit, with no real knowledge of what you should do.

Now I know the Warioware games needed some trial and error to get used to them, but they at least had little hints before each one… ‘Drop’ ‘Stop it’ ‘Catch it’, etc. Here there is nothing bar your recognition of the games the mincrogames are based on. A fishing one I only knew because of playing hours upon hoursof Animal Crossing.

That doesn’t mean the microgames are bad, I actually like most of the ones I tried and as I tried some I didn’t understand at first, I did get the idea eventually. It just needs that extra layer to give you an tiny clue as to the sort of thing you need to do.

However for less than £6 it is a fun little time-waster that is well worth having in your library.

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