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Indie Games Spotlight – Calm Before the Storm

On the eve of next-gen we’re highlighting some of the best indies you can get your hands on this fall in this week’s Indie Games Spotlight.

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Indie Games Spotlight is Goomba Stomp’s biweekly column where we highlight some of the most exciting new and upcoming indie games. As we’re making it into the heart of this crazy fall gaming season, we’re still here to recommend some of our favorite independent games that don’t deserve to be overlooked in the midst of next-gen hype. So if you’re a fan of roguelites, puzzle games, or old school arcade racers, read on–we’re sure to have something you’ll love.

ScourgeBringer; Indie Games Spotlight

Become the ScourgeBringer

In a year that’s been absolutely fantastic to rogue-lites, ScourgeBringer had its work cut out for it when it launched into early access at the top of the year. Now having just hit 1.0, it’s clear that Flying Oak Games did anything but rest on the game’s rock-solid foundation. Instead, the result is one of the most enjoyable pick-up-and-play experiences I’ve had this year accentuated by fast, visceral combat and tight controls.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world where a mysterious entity wreaked havoc on all of humanity, ScourgeBringer puts you in the shoes of the warrior Kyhra. Collectible data logs scattered across the world serve as a nice treat to keep players going, but it’s really the beauty of dashing through environments and tactifully taking out all manner of demons and machines that makes the game loop so addicting.

It’s also more approachable than others in the genre; though quite difficult, every time players defeat a boss they earn points with which to access a skill tree and unlock helpful perks and bonuses. In this way it rewards both skilled and dedicated players alike. Add in some strong (though minimal) dialogue and several worlds to fight tooth and nail to reach, and ScourgeBringer is yet another example of a rogue-lite done right. It’s out now on all platforms sans-PlayStation 4.

TENS! on TENS! on TENS!

Some of the most enjoyable games are also the simplest. That’s exactly the case with TENS!, a dice-based puzzle game making its debut on Switch and PC on November 5th. The core is simple: players get random combinations of dice and have to arrange them on a grid so that they equal exactly 10. Once a 10 is achieved, that row or column is cleared and points are awarded based on how many chain reactions they trigger in a row. TENS! builds on this base concept with various special spaces, score targets, and–most importantly–a vs. mode akin to Tetris Attack.

Originally a rather simple mobile title, the team at Kwalee has gone back to the drawing board to overhaul the experience for far beyond simply removing ads. Performance is slicker, the Adventure mode has been revamped with characters and boss battles, two new modes have been added (Endless mode and local multiplayer), and there’s generally just been much more personality injected into TENS! as a whole. With a presentation and feature set finally on-par with the core gameplay hook, this should be a welcome addition to any casual puzzle fan’s Switch library.

Mars Horizon

Build Towards That Mars Horizon

Do you love the idea of space travel but find yourself more interested in the NASA point of view rather than the astronaut’s? In Mars Horizon you’ll take control of a major space agency and lead it from the dawn of the space age through to landing astronauts on Mars. Altering the course of space travel history will take smart base-building skills, public support, and rapid scientific advancement.

What’s most exciting about Mars Horizon is how customizable everything is. From designing research labs and hiring skilled crews to constructing custom vehicles from hundreds of combinations, you’ll really be able to put your stamp on your creations. There also isn’t only one path to success; players can choose to invest heavily in research or take risks and rush headlong into space. Players will be able to blast off on this ESA-backed adventure on all platforms November 17th.

Coffee Noir

Start the Day with a Strong Coffee Noir

In a medium sorely lacking in strong detective experiences, Coffee Noir may be just the type of game to scratch that itch. As seasoned private detective Arthur Oliver you’re hired to get to the bottom of why a local coffee market businessman seemingly disappeared without a trace. As such, you’ll have to work undercover as a coffee shop owner to crack the case and catch the elusive perp.

As business owners players will have to carefully split time between managing the coffee shop itself and sniffing out clues. This means managing teams, investing in promotional campaigns, monitoring production, and dealing with limited resources; Coffee Noir was developed with professional economists to get the business sim experience just right. On the other hand, players will also get to flex their intuition while negotiating and questioning business partners and suspects. Prepare to dive into an atmospheric, gritty Neo-London this winter on PC.

Take a Drive to the Victory Heat Rally

There’s nostalgia, and then there’s just plain arcadey fun. Victory Heat Rally looks to occupy both of these lanes with its wonderfully colorful and over-the-top take on the classic arcade racer. Though it’s currently in its crowdfunding phase on Kickstarter, the early demo proves that the racing mechanics, track design, and presentation values are already strong.

The main draw is Arcade mode, which provides a stiff challenge across three races. While Rally requires players to place at least third to qualify for the next race, there’s enough customization in character and car type to find the best match for your play style. With over a dozen environments, split-screen multiplayer and a Rally Mode planned if it hits its funding goal, Victory Heat Rally is looking pretty promising. Be sure to check out the Kickstarter if you want to see it come to fruition on PC and console.

Brent fell head over heels for writing at the ripe age of seven and hasn't looked back since. His first love is the JRPG, but he can enjoy anything with a good hook and a pop of color. When he isn't writing about the latest indie release or binging gaming coverage on YouTube, you can find Brent watching and critiquing all manner of anime. Send him recommendations or ask to visit his island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons @CreamBasics on Twitter.

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