Come see all the games, more games than one can play. I put some of them in my special book, thinking of days distant with hours unturned.

In this episode, fourteen more games I have not played are added to the Crashbook.

206/ Solium Infernum

Take the Infernal Throne in this hellish turn-based grand strategy game. The Prince of Darkness has vanished, leaving Archfiends to conspire: muster your legions while intoning dark sorceries, devilish schemes, and machiavellian plots. Who will be the new ruler of Hell and ascend the Throne?

Crash notes: Holy cow, this is getting a remake! Multiplayer game that brings ruin to friendships. I wrote a diary of a truncated game in 2015.

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

207/ The Wreck

In this 3D visual novel, follow failed screenwriter Junon as she attempts to make it through the most pivotal day in her life. Relive the past, alter the present, and embrace the future, or without your help, Junon’s story might end in a wreck.

Crash notes: Trailers don’t betray too much although there is a demo which, of course, I haven’t tried.

Windows, Mac | Steam Link | Unreleased

208/ Outpost

Outpost(working title) is a first-person shooter. Collect resources, build and raise outposts (bases) and various characters. Use them to tackle more difficult maps /modes for better rewards and growth material through battles filled with random elements. We support multiplayer online cooperation.

Crash notes: Chinese first-person shooter with tower defence aspects. Looks interesting, just don’t listen to the trailer narration.

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

209/ Lingo

Lingo is a first person word puzzle game with a large, abstract world to explore. With its epiphany-driven gameplay and impossible geometry, Lingo provides a unique and nonlinear experience.

Crash notes: Zarawesome dropped me a line about this one on Mastodon; it has “developer’s first game” issues but a huge amount of content.

Windows | Steam Link | Released 2021

210/ DR4X

DR4X is a fast paced, “Coffee Break” 4x game. It’s a bit roguelike, yet perfectly safe, with infinite possibilities. Choose from numerous factions, each wildly unique and different from the others. Inspired by Majesty, XCOM, Conquest Of Elysium and Warlords. DR4X is perfectly safe….Would we lie?

Crash notes: Curious to know if it’s possible to design a “Coffee Break” 4X!

Windows | Steam Link | Early Access

211/ Akka Arrh

Akka Arrh is a modern take on a scrapped project from the 1980s, providing players with a fast-paced, addictive, arcade shooter experience and psychedelic visuals. Protect your life rings as you chain together combos and go for a high score!

Crash notes: Jeff Minter. Llamasoft.

Windows, XBOX, Switch, PS4 | Steam Link | Unreleased

212/ Afterglitch

Afterglitch is an experimental third-person exploration sci-fi video game. The player is an astronaut whose multidimensional journey to find an extraterrestrial civilization is more important than the destination!

Crash notes: The important bit is buried in the “About This Games” section on the Steam page: An audiovisual experience in the form of a video game inspired by utopian science fiction illustrations of the second half of the 20th century and hyperspace in modern art.

Windows | Steam Link | Just Released

213/ Hexahedra

Hexahedra is an open-ended programming puzzle game. Design and optimize factories to create cubes, used galaxy-wide as crates, musical instruments, octopus housing, sculptures, and more. Rewind and replay the action to hunt for improvements. Compete with your friends, and unmask a cube conspiracy.

Crash notes: Recently successful Kickstarter, although the team was only looking for a modest amount of £1,000.

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

214/ Chasing the Unseen

Climb colossal creatures, explore otherworldly landscapes and find what you have been seeking.

Crash notes: Saw William Chyr (Manifold Garden) draw attention to this Twitter.

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

215/ Gunlocked

A twin stick shooter without the twin stick, Gunlocked is a sci-fi action roguelike about careful positioning and upgrade selection. Manage unique targeting systems across multiple weapons and upgrades, as you battle legions of alien ships, and then do it all over again!

Crash notes: Quite cheap, has some 90s gaming charm.

Windows | Steam Link | Just Released

216/ Ocean Born

OCEAN BORN is an underwater exploration game. Traverse the depths in your own personal submarine. Experience the stunning sights of undersea life and the absolutely beautiful environment the ocean has to offer! Your friendly subOS interface will be here to aid your glorious journey through sea. Be sure to read the included Submarine User Manual and most importantly, have fun!

Crash notes: You can play the 48 hour game jam original but the developer is currently working on an expanded version. It’s still in flux; the UI in the screenshot might not make it in to the final game (taken from Tumblr).

Windows | Itch Link | Unreleased

217/ Amnesia: The Bunker

Amnesia: The Bunker is a first-person horror game set in a desolate WW1 Bunker. Face the oppressing terrors stalking the dark corridors. Search for and use the tools and weapons at your disposal, while keeping the lights on at all costs. Overcome fear, persevere, and make your way out alive.

Crash notes: It’s Amnesia innit.

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

218/ Howl

Howl is a turn-based tactical folktale set in a world of living ink. Rid the lands of the beastly plague using your weapons and your wits, planning every move up to six steps in advance. Some think prophecy is carved in stone – write your own in ink and blood.

Crash notes: Such tender graphics. Backstory: “A sinister ‘howling plague’ has ravaged the land, turning all who hear it into feral beasts. You play a deaf hero plunging into danger in search of a cure.”

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

219/ Viewfinder

Challenge perception, redefine reality, and reshape the world around you with an instant camera. Viewfinder is a new single player game offering gamers hours of interesting and fun experiences while uncovering the mysteries left behind.

Crash notes: You’ve seen these ideas before but perhaps not done as elaborately as this. Oh my lord, you have to check this out. If I would utter one cautionary note, I cannot infer how much genuine freedom the player has.

Steam Link | Unreleased

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17 thoughts on “Crashbook #14

  1. Speaking of indie game legends, Dwarf Fortress finally got a commercial release and GUESS WHAT

  2. I know I once ran the old version of Dwarf Fortress on my computer, but I looked at the readme and… well, I tried running it from the Terminal, it threw a bunch of “this isn’t verified” errors for all the libraries installed, I vaguely think I might know how to make those stop, but the thing is that when I did run it a few system upgrades ago I literally couldn’t figure out how to do the first thing in the game.

  3. I just got Gunlocked (I have no idea how it ended up on my wishlist). It’s pretty good – more movement-based with interesting weaposn and less “your gun with 1 bullets will turn into one with 5 bullets and/or a spinning cloud of giant lasers.”

    I guess it’s in the vampire survivors-like genre, but the shmup-ness of it all differentiates it well enough that I’m pleased with having played it some. And there’s something wholesome feeling about getting into a small indie game instead of a world-striding, genre-defining, colossus of a small indie game. Much easier than buying produce from the farmers’ market.

  4. @zara Ah, yes, that’s the aesthetic it reminds me of. It’s not really Subnautica nor Shadow of the Colossus (at least, right now).

    @Dan I just bought Gunlocked too! It’s a nice way to spend some time; it gets crazy busy onscreen as the game goes on and there’s an idle game quality to it although you cannot let it play itself. I still haven’t finished the first mission on easy mode. It’s a bit forbidding initially with 100 different UI elements screaming for attention.

  5. Very intriguing choices! I was one of the IndieCade jurors who had the opportunity to play and evaluate The Wreck, so I can speak with some knowledge when I say that it — at least, the portion I played — is fascinating and extremely well-done. It follows the general structure of a visual novel but sprinkles in a host of mechanics that aren’t typically associated with the format. Don’t expect an FPS in there or anything, but The Wreck does have sequences that make the player a more direct participant in the story than simply making a choice. Also, the writing and acting are very good.

    It’s something of a relief that I don’t maintain a Crashbook. Why be organized when it’s so much less gratifying to buy things at random when they pop up on Steam sales? I can’t imagine how I’d miss something I had my eye on with that approach.

  6. Wait, Steerpike, isn’t it way more gratifying to make the spur of the moment impulse buy off a messy wishlist than to have it all organized? Or am I just misreading you?

    I was a bit silly and bought a discounted $100 steam credit a while back specifically to encourage myself to be a little more impulsive. It’s just been more super fun to stop worrying about making the ideal purchase.

  7. Steerpike, the condition for inclusion in Crashbook is elusory. It’s something along the lines of “the possibility it will be interesting in some capacity”. That’s it. I might not even want to play it – Lord knows there are some Crashbook titles I would never want to boot up – but they matter to someone here.

    I will say almost everything I put in Crashbook is added to my Steam wishlist which makes my inbox busy… almost every day of the year.

    Dan, strange admission here but I have this Schrodinger threshold of $3; it’s sort of there but also not. I have so many games that it’s difficult to convince myself to buy something at a larger price. I do pay if I really want to support the developer (e.g. SpaceChem which I’ve never really played) or I’m getting into it soon (examples: Control, Inscryption, Taiji). If something drops below $3 I feel like an idiot for not buying, but above that, there’s a resistance invoked by the size of my existing library.

    Do I want to pay $10 for a game I might not play for five years?

  8. The funny thing is I made a few friends or online acquaintances through Solium Infernum. Granted, we all called each other bastards, but they were friends, from hell. The Solium Infernum remake announcement is perhaps the most unexpected and exciting gaming news I’ve heard in years because it’s such a niche game and feels totally forgotten and antiquated, even though it’s not really that old (2009). I often grumble about how so many of the wrong things are remade or rebooted but Solium Infernum feels perfect because, as amazing as it is, its UX makes it a lot fiddlier than it ought be. It fundamentally still works (I played it again only a few years ago), but it’s just so clunky and old now. It deserves better. I just hope the remake retains the evocative art, prose and feel of the original.

    I recall seeing Outpost a while back and it makes me think the developers watched The Matrix: Revolutions and wanted to recreate those scenes where Zion is being assaulted by swarms of machines and they’re trying to hold out. It does look cool.

    I also ended up buying Gunlocked but have not played it yet!

    Someone I know made me aware of Howl and the visual style is lovely. It reminds me of Cartoon Saloon’s beautiful Wolfwalkers and The Secret of Kells. It also helps that it’s a strategy game where you ‘program’ your moves, which I miss from Frozen Synapse. I’m all over this as soon as possible!

    Oh I remember seeing a clip from Viewfinder! Yeah, that central mechanic goes a lot further than I’ve seen else where. Wishlisted! That reminds me, I must play Supraliminal…

  9. @DanK: it’s a mixture of shame and consumer-whore glee, really. I admire Joel’s crashbook, which I imagine is maintained in a tidy Excel spreadsheet; it’s the sort of thing someone with an orderly mind would maintain. Me, I’ve recently realized to my horror that my hobby appears to be buying games, not playing them. That’s the only possible explanation for the seemingly random purchases I make whenever my email pings about how something on my wishlist is on sale. I look and think, “WTF is that? Did I put that on there? A Belgian game about a talking wallaby? Well, it’s $9, I better take the plunge. It’s on my wishlist, after all, that must mean I wish for it.” And so I buy it and uninstall something else to make room for it and immediately forget I own it. This… is who i am.

    Gregg, I remember you were playing Solium Infernum fairly early on. It seems like Vic Davis’s games took a very long time to reach Steam, though I’m glad to see them there now. His stuff plus excellent board game conversions like Gloomhaven are a great addition.

    CRAP my email says a game from my wishlist is on sale…I’ll be back in a minute.

  10. @Dan K: “And there’s something wholesome feeling about getting into a small indie game instead of a world-striding, genre-defining, colossus of a small indie game.”

    Haha, yeah, I played Punkcake’s Ecstatic earlier in the year. It reminds me of Robotron (arena survival), Rez (fire-and-forget lock-ons), some sort of mecha game with satisfying dashes and an exquisitely animated robot spider, and Super Hexagon because of the bumping soundtrack, level structure and ‘in the zone’ gameplay. It being Punkcake, of course it’s small and arcade-y, but HO BOY, did it snare me in its web. I absolutely did not expect that. It could very well be my game of the year and I played Elden Ring and a few other big hitters!

    @Steerpike: Yeah I was playing it for years with some folks I met over at RPS. I think Vic Davis stopped making videogames years ago, tried his hand at boardgame development then became a novelist and now has four books out! Solium Infernum is being remade by the Armello devs so hopefully it’s in safe hands.

  11. @Steerpike Buying games not playing games, you say? That’s my hobby, too! Incidentally, I do have a spreadsheet but I only started that recently because I was scared I might the same title to Crashbook twice.

    @Gregg Yes, I agree – Solium Infernum is a perfect candidate for an update because of its cranky interface! And: ECSTATIC I remember you showing me that when I was in your house Gregg.

  12. Gunlocked is dangerous. Can see myself enjoying it quite a bit! Nice twist on the ‘auto shooter’ genre, or whatever it’s called. It feels a lot more active with bullet AND enemy hell.

  13. A comment of mine from Mastodon, after Joel grievously baited me about whether “roguelite” was an adequate description of Gunlocked et al.:

    of course the roguelite label doesn’t convey it! “roguelite” means accumulating resources for between-run upgrades, customizing a build from random pickups, a somewhat ranodmized map, and restarting from the beginning of the map on death

    it doesn’t tell you whether it’s a platformer, an FPS, an autoshooter, a visual novel, a match-three, a Peggle-like, a Cold Beer-like, a deck-builder, an RPG, or one of those top-down turn-based dungeon exploration games

    Of course I can’t play Gunlocked, but Dan K’s implicit comment about Vampire Survivors seems fair, the last third or so of a successful VS run seems less like shifting yourself between the monsters and more like having built up enough stuff to make everything go boom. It can be fun to watch everything go boom like that though also hard to parse. “Successful run” on the first map or two, I mean; I haven’t beaten the third map and haven’t played it in a while, it seems like a game that dangles a lot of content if you git gud enough and also if you grind, but I’m not really motivated to actually do that? Though I might get back into it over winter break.

  14. @Matt To be serious for a moment, my question was because this particular genre of moving-and-automatic-shooting with roguelite elements seemed to be called, er, roguelite. Thus, I was frustrated that roguelite didn’t seem to convey the essence of a Vampire Survivors-type game. These are all clearly the same genre but no one was attempting to label them. You see threads asking for games “like Vampire Survivors”.

    Having finished the first stage of Gunlocked I found that it isn’t just sitting back and watching all the cool booms. There’s something of the “idle boom game” there, but I spent the end of my winning run in a virtual panic.

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