2D Watchlist

2D RADAR is designed to showcase promising new 2D games that are currently under development across all modern computers, consoles, and dedicated gaming handhelds. This is the 2D Watchlist, showing all of the games that we have discovered while reading through dev blogs, checking in with the developers of previous 2D hits, and keeping up with the indie development scene.

You can check back here for an ever-growing, ever-changing list of games, keep up with our blog for regular updates, or visit our sister site, 8 Bit Horse, for a whole bunch of in-depth articles on notable 2D video games. And if you're working on a game that you feel should be included in our list, send us a message!

1 Screen Platformer 2 | PC | 2021
1 Screen Platformer 2, from Return to Adventure Mountain, is the follow-up to the original 1 Screen Platformer, which was a platformer that took place on one screen (as you may have guessed). While the sequel still only occupies a single screen, there's more content this time around. First of all, the screen itself is larger, with a higher resolution environment, and eight playable characters as compared to five in the original. In the first game, there were minor changes to the environment based on which character you selected, but here those changes are much more pronounced. There are also online leaderboards for those of the speedrunning persuasion. The game kicks off with Nadia Stormhammer returning to her ship after the events of the first game, only to discover that something has gone wrong. You travel between different sections of the ship using such skills as performing high jumps, sticking to the ceiling, or blasting your gun downward to keep yourself aloft while you avoid popup spike traps, lasers, turrets, and other nasty traps.

9 Years of Shadows | PC and Switch | Release Date TBD
9 Years of Shadows, from Halberd Studios, is a metroidvania featuring a young noblewoman wielding a halberd (hey, that's the name of the studio!) who must end a curse to save the land. You take on the role of Europa as she begins her journey in a mechanical construction called Talos Castle, using her halberd to fight its dark inhabitants. Along the way, she meets a floating teddy bear named Apino, who uses ranged magic, and together they protect each other while they rid the world of corruption. Using elemental armors named for Helios, Gaia, and Poseidon, you are able to use their powers of fire, earth, and water to reach new areas. The game offers retro visuals and a soundtrack composed by Michiru Yamane (Castlevania series), Manami Matsumae (Mega Man series), and Norihiko Hibino (Metal Gear Solid series).

30XX | PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One | Currently in (Steam Early Access)
In 2017, Batterystaple Games released 20XX, which featured colorful fast-paced robot action inspired by the Mega Man X series, but with a roguelike twist. And now, a mere 1,000 years later... er, a few years later anyway, they have returned with a follow-up entitled 30XX. The game once again features roguelike action with single player and 2P local or online co-op options. You take on the role of a blue armored character who can fire regular and charged buster shots similar to X, or a red armored character with a sword that plays more like Zero. Combat is fast and fluid with detailed characters, colorful environments, and lots of enemies and bosses ready for a good thrashing... plus new powers to unlock.

Aethyr | PC | Release Date TBD
Aethyr, from Labyrinth, is set in a ruined world where the last of humanity ekes out what existence they can, all the while surrounded by the mysteries of their past. You take on the role of an adventurer who hopes to uncover those mysteries and discover what caused the end of the world, with the help of the old gods. You delve into ancient ruins and across the large open land of Aethyr, fighting enemies, learning new skills, and crafting weapons, armor, and items along the way. You can make use of blades, axes, bludgeoning weapons, throwables, bows and arrows, and a variety of spells - as well as some kind of crazy grapple claw - in fast-paced battles against hordes of enemies and gigantic bosses.

Akatori | PC and Switch | 2022
Akatori (formerly DeathStick), from TeamNora Games (game tweets), is a melee-based metroidvania starring a girl named Mako who is on a mission to prevent a bunch of ne'er-do-wells from resurrecting an ancient god and destroying the world (a well-known pastime among the ne'er-do-well community). When you're not slashing the stuffing out of baddies with your quarterstaff, you're swapping between light and dark versions of the world by flipping it around you. Throughout the game, you gain new attacks and abilities, allowing you to take down enemies more quickly, strike them from a distance, and unleash special attacks, and some attacks translate into environmental navigation tools, such as tossing a fan through a narrow opening and teleporting to its location.

Akurra | PC, Mac, and Switch | June 2021
Akurra, from Jason Newman and Craig Collver, is an isometric block-pushing puzzler that mixes in open world exploration, inspired by the likes of Chip's Challenge, StarTropics, Adventures of Lolo, Sokoban, and The Legend of Zelda. You explore a series of five islands that see you trekking through caverns and jungles, climbing mountains, and navigating pools of lava alongside an active volcano. Each island is packed with puzzles and secrets, many of which are solved by pushing gigantic blocks that can smash through pieces of the landscape or be dropped in holes and used as stepping stones, clearing the way to keys and other items that unlock the path forward. Puzzles become more complex as the game goes on, but the open world nature of the environments lets you take off and explore elsewhere if you get stuck.

Ancient Abyss | PC | Currently in Steam Early Access
Ancient Abyss, from Screambox Studio, is a Zelda-like roguelike hack-and-slash(-like) where you descend into... well an ancient abyss presumably. As you explore a procedurally-generated labyrinth, you gain strength and gather items to help you descend further, per genre conventions. You take on the role of a ponytailed lass who explores a dangerous world by running, rolling, and swimming her way through overgrown environments and ancient contraptions, while learning new skills that allow her to reach hidden areas and previously inaccessible treasures. Along the way, she engages in combat with enemies and bosses using a variety of weapons, including swords, hammers, firearms, throwable bombs, and even her fists.

Anew: The Distant Light | PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Xbox One | Currently in Steam Early Access
Anew: The Distant Light, from Resonator Games (game site), is an open world action adventure featuring a child on an alien moon. The world is dangerous, and you must battle your way past enemies, solve environmental puzzles, complete platforming challenges, and explore otherworldly landscapes to discover new items and upgrades to help you on your journey. Though young, the boy is not shy about using heavy firepower as he runs down aliens with saws, blasts them with homing missiles, and lays down heavy machine gun fire with independent movement and aiming. He can also hop into vehicles to tear across the terrain and deliver even more destruction to his enemies, making use of a moon buggy, a UFO, a mech suit, and... an even bigger mech suit.

A.N.N.E | PC, Mac, and Linux | Currently in Steam Early Access
Developer Gamesbymo mixes several genres in A.N.N.E, a game featuring platforming, shmuppery, metroidvania, and RPG elements. You play the part of Number 25 who must search for the pieces of his (literally) shattered girlfriend – the eponymous A.N.N.E – on a planet called Gomi. In your ship, you can fly about and explore the environment and tug along heavy physics-based objects, but you can also dock and get out of your ship Blaster Master-style for some more traditional running, gunning, and platforming. On foot, you deal damage with multi-directional fire and independent movement and aiming as you blast your way through the chunky sprite-based world. There is a large open world to explore, objects to collect, and quests to complete in order to open up new areas.

Antipole DX | PC, PS4, Vita, Xbox One | Release Date TBD
Antipole a gravity-flipping action game from Saturnine Games, was originally released in 2011, and the developer is returning with an enhanced version entitled Antipole DX. The game centers around a hero with the unlikely name of Johnny Hurricane as he uses his gravity-flipping powers to destroy robots and navigate around spikes, spinning gears, and lasers. What separates this game from the likes of Metal Storm or VVVVVV is that gravity is affected in a circle around the character, rather than flipping the entire environment or just the character. The original game was fairly short, with 20 fast-paced levels and some unlockable challenge modes, but the new game promises additional levels in the main quest and tweaks to the original levels, as well as online leaderboards. Visually, the game sports improved graphics, as well as stereoscopic 3D in the 3DS version of the game.

Anuchard | PC and Mac | 2021
Anuchard, from stellarNull, is a fantasy-themed action-RPG set in Anuchard, a once-great land that was protected by five guardians... until the guardians abandoned the people, and civilization fell, leaving only a dungeon behind. You take on the role of the Bellwielder of legend, tasked with entering this dungeon to fight the monsters and solve the puzzles within, in order to restore the souls of the Anuchardians. As the Bellwielder, your primary weapon is a huge bell - known as the Audros Bell - which you use to smash enemies and knock them back into each other and other objects, and you can knock objects around to combat enemies and solve puzzles. As you rescue villagers, they will join your cause by building shops and unlocking upgrades and weapon enhancements, allowing you to enter the dungeon to face more difficult challenges.

Apocalypse Cow | PC and Xbox One | Release Date TBD
As children, we dreamed of the possibilities that could arise from being sucked into Videoland and going on game-hopping adventures like Captain N... but hopefully with a lot less "mega mega" from the Blue Bomber. Apocalypse Cow, from Monsters, helps to answer that question when CandyWorld suddenly gets overrun by baddies. Penny is a GameWalker (Texas Ranger?) who has the power move between game worlds and rupture time itself. While in search of a missing robot, Penny contends with various video game elements such as green warp pipes and thwomp-like obstacles, while also fighting off hordes of enemies. Fortunately, she can slow down time to make platforming leaps, dodge bullets, or get in close to slice up thugs with her katanas. In the end, she must save the game worlds form an evil robotic cow.

Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 | Switch | Release Date TBD
Azure Strikers gotta Gunvolt, as they say, and now Gunvolt is back for a new adventure from Inti Creates, the studio behind Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and its sequel, Blaster Master Zero and its sequel, lots of Mega Man games, and of course, the Azure Striker Gunvolt series and its spinoffs. Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 once again stars in this new sidescrolling actioner, and this time he has a new friend named Kirin. Gunvolt has his trademark electrical attacks while Kirin brings melee-based combat with a sword that she uses to strike enemies and deflect projectiles. She can also make use of throwable items to hit enemies at a distance and stun them, and she has some electrical special attacks of her own.

Band Saga | PC, Mac, and Linux | Release Date TBD
Band Saga is under development by Roger Hicks, a.k.a. rekcahdam, who was also one of the developers behind Celestial Mechanica. This time, he’s teaming up with artist and animator Hillmon Ancrum to create a music-based roguelike action game. Completing levels allows the player to unlock new characters, each of which is associated with a specific instrument. The content of the FM-synth soundtrack determines the appearance of enemies and items, as well as the configuration of the levels. At the end of the level, the player can export their music creation to MIDI or WAV formats, and players may also import their own music into the game to create custom levels. Combat takes place across a series of interconnected isometric arenas where 1 or 2 offline players blast away at enemies and collect musical notes.

Berserk Boy | PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, and Switch | Q4 2022
Berserk Boy, from BerserkBoy Games, is a fast-paced action platformer where you... go berserk. You take on the role of a boy named Kei who is transformed into a powerful hero tasked with fighting Dr. Genos, an evil mastermind who plans to use an army of minions to take over the earth. Your abilities lie in transforming between five different elemental forms: earth, fire, air, ice, and lightning, and by chaining together combos, you fill a Berserk Meter that lets you unleash powerful special attacks. You perform projectile attacks, melee strikes, and dashes while hopping between platforms and bashing baddies, and some powers allow for environmental traversal as well, such as transforming into a drill to tunnel though loose dirt. The game is inspired by classic 16-bit platformers and even has music from Tee Lopes, who previously composed for Sonic Mania.

BIOMASS: Growth | PC | 2021
BIOMASS: Growth is the latest from BRAIN0S, the developer behind Saving Princess and Space Cortex. The game originally started as a 72-hour game jam effort (our coverage), which explored the concept of your equipment degrading over time, which ran counter to most metroidvania titles where you grow increasingly stronger. This adds a sense of urgency as you fight your way through a space station that is slowly being overtaken by an ever-growing biomass. The core concept remains in place here, but the game is expanded (fleshed out if you will) into a greater adventure aboard a larger space station, with more detailed visuals and more grotesque abominations to fight. You take on the role of a clone who awakens in a lab, defenseless against the growing biomass that has already infiltrated much of the station. You must search around to find a weapon and an armored suit, fighting your way through enemies and biomass-controlled crew members as you attempt to learn what happened... and hopefully escape with your life.

B.I.O.T.A. | PC | 2021
B.I.O.T.A., from Small Bros, is a sci-fi actioner set in the year 21XX. You are in charge of a commando unit sent on a mission to investigate a mining colony located on an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter after communication with the colony is lost. Apparently, some kind of biological agent is running amok and taking control of every living thing it comes in contact with, including the miners, who have now mutated into monstrous creatures... but you may still be able to rescue the scientists and save the investment of your employer, the mining company that owns the mineral rights to the asteroid. Swap between 8+ playable team members to shoot their way through the mutant menace, unlock new weapons, and make use of a number of vehicles, including a mech suit, submarine, and fighter ship. The game offers chunky-pixelly 8-bit visuals with dozens of 4-color palettes to choose from.

Boyfriend Dungeon | PC and Switch | Release Date TBD
Kitfox Games, the developer behind Moon Hunters, returns with Boyfriend Dungeon, an isometric hack-and-slash where you can become romantically involved with your weapons. Despite the name, the game offers romance with men, women, and nonbinary weapons, each of whom is more sexy than the last and lovingly dolled up in anime-style art filled with all the billowing shirts and flowing locks your heart desires... and even a cat. You can date up to nine weapons, each with a distinct personality and form, and each granting different abilities in combat, from wide swipes to quick stabs to lightsaber-esque flourishes to up-close brass knuckle action. Slash your way through monster-packed dungeons and then go out for a night on the town or a walk on the beach with your bae-blade.

Brave Earth: Prologue | PC | Release Date TBD
Brave Earth: Prologue is under development by Michael “Kayin” O’Reilly, the guy behind the freeware hit I Wanna Be the Guy. Brave Earth is a Castlevania-esque action-RPG with a deliberate pace, gothic art style, and pickups that can be grabbed by breaking hanging lanterns. The player faces off against bats, wolves, spiders, armored knights, and various magical creatures. There are 3 playable characters, each with his or her own stats, story line and boss encounters, and each equipped with a primary weapon and a number of magic and secondary attacks available that can be picked up along the way, sometimes in hidden areas.

Brock Crocodile | PC | Release Date TBD
Brock Crocodile, from Digital Crocodile, aims to bring the flavor of 16-bit Genesis blast processing to your 64-bit computerating system. The eponymous Brock Crocodile comes armed with a whip that lets him swing around the environment, as well as a fruit gun that lets him take down enemies in order to save Crocodillian Island from a team of villains called the Fearsome Four. Brock's whip lets him swing from specified grapple points to reach new areas, activate environmental objects, and even whack enemies. The fruit gun works like a traditional pellet-chucker insofar as you can blast enemies right in the face, but presumably in a friendlier - and fruitier - way. In traditional mascot platforming fashion, players must grab coins, bop on enemies' heads, and avoid spikes as they make their way to each of the end-level bosses.

Bushiden | PC and consoles | 2021
In Bushiden, from Pixel Arc Studios, you take on the role of a martial arts master whose sister has disappeared, possibly at the hands of the evil Goah and his cybernetically enhanced army. You travel through eight themed areas taking down enemies and bosses on your way toward your ultimate enemy, all the while gaining new abilities, upgrades, and magic spells to aid you in combat and exploration. The game wears its arcade style on its sleeve with its colorful environments, detailed character designs and animations, and flashy attacks and death animations. But unlike straightforward arcade actioners, you must explore a large interconnected world and make use of a metroidvania map to track your progress, revisiting previous areas with new abilities to access alternate routes.

Bzzzt | PC and Mac | Q2 2021
Bzzzt, from Karel Matejka (a.k.a. KO.DLL), is a colorful platformer starring an artificial intelligence named ZX8000. After acquiring a robotic body, you must prove your abilities across dozens of testing chambers filled with enemies and hazards as you try to help your friends defeat the dastardly professor Badbert. Your primary goal is one of avoidance, since practically everything in the environment can kill you. Mechanized baddies fly around, patrol back and forth across platforms, and hop around the screen firing lasers, and you must escape these perils while also dealing with spiked crushers, spinning balls, spike pits, sawblades, and beams of electricity.

Carpathian Night | PC | 2022
Carpathian Night, from Tezcatek (game tweets), is a sidescrolling actioner that wears its Castlevania influences on its sleeve, but it's more classic-vania than metroidvania... closer to something along the lines of Super Castlevania IV. As with the adventures of the Belmont clan, you find yourself facing Lord Dracula himself, along with his monstrous minions as you battle your way across the Carpathian countryside and various gothic structures. You take on the role of a warrior monk named Abbot Dorin, and his vampire companion named Irina Dracul (three guesses who she's related to) who possesses the power of pyromancy. The two characters play somewhat differently, as one uses a whip and the other uses a spear (hints of Castlevania Bloodlines), and as expected, they use their melee weapons to dispatch enemies, break torches that drop hearts (for health not subweapons), and discover secrets behind breakable walls.

Castle in the Darkness 2 | PC and possibly other platforms | Release Date TBD
The original Castle in the Darkness was a retro-style action-platformer-RPG hybrid inspired by the classic Castlevania and Metroid games. Now, Matt Kapp has returned with fellow Binding of Isaac: Rebirth developer Simon Parzer under the new LABS Works label to deliver Castle in the Darkness 2. The new game starts things off by putting more H in your D with higher definition visuals, and also offers a faster pace with a protagonist that moves more quickly and has a wider array of moves at his disposal. The sword-wielding hero can slash enemies with great speed, perform dodge rolls to avoid projectiles and get behind foes, fire off powerful blasts of magic, perform lunging strikes, perform shield blocks and sidesteps, and even toss some weapons. The new game includes an inventory system, allowing players to store potions, keys, spell cards and other helpful items. The game also includes a metroidvania map for navigating individual areas and an overworld map when moving from location to location.

Cogen: Sword of Rewind | PC, PS4, and Switch | Release Date TBD
Cogen: Sword of Rewind (a.k.a. COGEN:大鳥こはくと刻の剣), from Gemdrops Game Studios, is a melee action game starring Kohaku Ootori as she fights robotic enemies in Cogen City, and uncovers its mysteries. As the title suggests, Kohaku wields a sword (a talking sword to be more precise) that has the power to rewind time, allowing her to reverse time to correct mistakes or save her own life. The sword is also her primary means of dealing with enemies and obstacles, as she can smash through certain blocks, slash baddies and bosses, and deflect enemy projectiles back at them. Music for the game was composed by Motoi Sakuraba, who previously composed for several games in the Tales of series and Dark Souls series, and numerous other games, with credits going back to the late 80's.

Creature Keeper | PC, Mac, and Linux | March 2021
Creature Keeper, from Fervir, is a colorful action-RPG set in a land where a sickness is spreading, causing creatures to go mad and begin attacking each other and the nearby townsfolk. As in many classic action-RPG's, you take on the role of an adventurer who finds himself pulled into a grand quest. As it turns out, the legends of a lone hero saving the world are true, and you gain the ability to communicate with wild creatures, eventually raising them and having them join you in combat. You can increase their skills through training, crafting, and cooking food from your garden (that occupies a limited space inside your pocket), and you gain new abilities and stat boosts by studying the creatures you encounter. There's a heavy focus on the action side of things, as you dive into fast-paced combat, slashing enemies with various melee weapons, shooting them with your bow and arrows, whacking them with your boomerang, or bashing them with your shield.

Dark Flame | PC | Release Date TBD
Dark Flame, from Warren Smith, is a metroidvania heavily inspired by the 2D entries in the Castlevania series, featuring a sprawling maze-like world, fast combat, and RPG-style upgrades. Choice plays an important role here, as players can modify their weapons, manually level up individual stats, and decide whether they want to play the role of the good guy or give in to the power of the dark side. Players who fully explore the environment can uncover hidden weapons and unlock new powers.

Dark Light | PC, Mac, and Switch | Currently in Steam Early Access
Dark Light, from Mirari+Co., is a gritty sci-fi actioner set in a cyberpunk world populated by supernatural creatures that are invisible to the naked eye. You take on the role of a Dark Hunter, and you use light from a hovering drone to detect these invisible enemies. Once they have been revealed, you can smash them with your trusty sledgehammer, or use one of many guns, melee weapons, or throwables that you encounter during your mission. Enemies range from loping ghouls to flying dragons to hulking abominations, along with more advanced foes capable of wielding weapons and shields. The game offers nonlinear progression and the ability to upgrade weapons and skills by collecting shards from defeated enemies.

Dawnthorn | PC, Mac, Linux, and possibly consoles | Release Date TBD
Dawnthorn, from Aloft Studio, is an 8-bit-style action adventure inspired by the likes of The Legend of Zelda, Link's Awakening, and the Startropics games, and it's a standalone prequel to Aloft's other Zelda-style game: Hazelnut Bastille. The game is built in the same engine but using the NES style to simulate the way the story would have been presented if it had arrived on the prior console generation, but the games are joined by some of the same enemies and items. You explore themed areas across the overworld and enter challenging dungeons, using magical abilities to aid in your traversal and to contend with enemies in creative fashion. At your disposal are a sword and shield, along with a variety of projectile weapons to help you deal with baddies and bosses along the way.

Dead Pixels II: Straight to Video | PC, Mac, and Linux | Q1 2020
CSR Studios returns with a sequel to Dead Pixels called Dead Pixels II: Straight to Video. As in the first game, this is a sidescrolling shooter that pits the player against hordes of zombies. In addition, there are some River City Ransom-style shops that allow players to upgrade their stats and stock up on shooty bits for their limited-ammo arsenal. The game also allows up to 4 players to blast through the procedurally generated city in online of offline co-op. The game takes place in 1991, following a worldwide disaster that caused the dead to return to life, and it features a VHS-style filter and 80’s rock soundtrack.

Death Trash | PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X/S | Currently in Steam Early Access, Epic Games Store Early Access, and Itch Early Access
Death Trash, from Crafting Legends (game site), is an action-RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world that mixes sci-fi and grotesque horror to create disturbing scenes accompanied by dark humor. Various factions are struggling for power and fighting for resources, and something about the "Evergrowing Heart pounds for the Flesh Hive"... yeah, no idea what that means, but it should give you some idea of what you're in for. Gameplay focuses on blasty-shooty combat enhanced by item crafting and psionic powers, with a focus on dialogue - with options that provide some pretty nontraditional choices - and the ability to kill any NPC. The game supports 2P local drop-in/out co-op if you and a friend want to get weirdly uncomfortable together.

Demons Ate My Neighbors | PC and Switch | September 1, 2021
Were you one of those kids who turned out the lights and went in for 2P zombie-slaying action in the charming cartoony world of Zombies Ate My Neighbors? Well if so, we've got some good news for you. Developer Tuned-Out Games is resurrecting the spirit of LucasArts' classic with Demons Ate My Neighbors (DAMN), a game that captures the original's visual style, music, and humor. The game takes place in 1991 in the suburbs of Fairweather Valley, which finds itself thrown into turmoil by a cursed VHS tape that unleashes zombies demons into the neighborhood. You take on the role of Amy and Joey - or both in local 2P co-op - as they exorcise demons using holy water pistols, hunt for secrets, and hop over walls using trampolines. Players are able to upgrade their projectiles, swap nozzles for different spray effects, and overpump for heavy damage. Environments are procedurally generated, but there are lots of destructible objects as well as permanent upgrades gained from defeating bosses.

Depths of Sanity | PC, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One | 2021, and Currently Available via Steam Early Access
The submarine-based metroidvania subgenre is a sparsely-populated one, with the only other notable entries being The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human and Song of the Deep... but Bomb Shelter Games is here to change that with Depths of Sanity. You take on the role of the commander of a submarine called The Baroness (not just a sultry G.I. Joe villain any more) who is investigating a deep sea vibration that may be some kind of signal of unknown origin. The game takes place across a large interconnected world divided into themed areas, and you face incredible dangers as you descend into the depths. In order to fight off dangerous sea life and menacing bosses, you'll need to make use of an arsenal of weapons that you unlock over the course of your adventure. The game also features exploration and sees you navigating heavy currents using tow cables and moving through the darkness with only sonar pings to guide you forward... just try not to go insane.

Devastator | PC and consoles | 2021
Devastator is the latest game from Radiangames, the studio that got its start with a series of stylish Xbox Live Indie Games, including JoyJoy, Crossfire 1 & 2, Inferno, Fluid, Fireball, and Ballistic. Since then, the developer has gone on to create a number of titles for modern platforms, as well as updates to some previous hits. Devastator captures a similar spirit with its stylish neon visuals, pulsing techno soundtrack, and frantic twin-stick shooting. You take on the role of the virus-eliminating Devastator program as it moves from wave to wave and level to level, blasting all manner of nasty buggers as they close in from every direction. Gameplay is fast and fluid with Robotron-style enemy destruction, wide-range explosions, and particles flying everywhere.

Doko Roko | PC, Mac, and Linux | Release Date TBD
In Doko Roko, from Eric Mack, you take on the role of a small adventurer with a big sword who must make his way up The Tower, which extends thousands of feet into the sky and passes beyond the clouds, with each section containing its own inhabitants and ecosystem. Along the way, you'll have access to magical artifacts and a variety of swords from across the world to protect you against the tower's more hostile elements, allowing you to attack your foes, parry enemy strikes, and deflect projectiles. The game is intended to be light on story but heavy on atmosphere as you make changes to the world within the tower, and it also changes you.

Dragon Blazers | PC | May 31, 2021
Dragon Blazers, from Sylph embraces the over-the-top antics of the 16-bit arcade era by delivering a colorful beat 'em up with Toriyama-inspired visuals. A team of martial artists battles against an army of cyberninjas - and cyberbats and cybertigers, because that's the kind of stuff we got up to in the 90's - using punches, kicks, and special dragon powers as they fight to save the world. Players can go it alone or team up for local 2P co-op, with three playable characters available from the start, and three more unlockable. Players beat down basic enemies, bigger minibosses, and hulking end bosses through 20+ levels, and along the way, they can stop into shops to purchase new items and weapons. There's a bit of platforming as well, and a fair amount of humor with some silly enemies and animations.

Dungeon Munchies | PC and Mac | Currently in Steam Early Access
Dungeon Munchies, from maJAJa (game tweets), is a sidescrolling action-RPG where you play the role of a reanimated corpse who must hunt down strange creatures, kill them, and then cook them up into delightful meals to gain new abilities. Depending on the meals you create, you can heal, increase your damage output, or enable better damage absorption... and then craft weapons with the inedible parts to increase your effectiveness in combat, including swords, spears, and bows and arrows. Defeat bosses, eat gross monsters, and interact with whacked-out NPC's in this unusual adventure.

Eastern Exorcist | PC and PS4 | Currently in Steam Early Access
Eastern Exorcist, from Wildfire Game, is a 2D action-RPG set in a 3D world and focusing on Eastern fantasy influences. You play as a warrior/exorcist as he travels through the land fighting monsters, evil spirits, and boss creatures. Your primary weapon is a sword, which you use to engage in furious combo-based attacks that become more powerful with magical enhancements. The game features lovely animations and a painterly style inspired by Chinese fine art, with cutscenes playing out in the style of a Chinese opera.

Eitr | PS4, PC, and eventually Mac and Linux | Release Date TBD
Eitr, under development by Eneme Entertainment, is an isometric action-RPG offering detailed sprite work and animations. The player takes on the role of the Shield Maiden of Norse mythology as she travels the nine worlds that are linked together by Yggdrasil, the great tree that connects them all. It seems that Loki has poisoned Yggdrasil with the Eitr, a dark substance that has spread through the tree and corrupted the nine realms. The maiden must make use of swords, bows and arrows, and shields to fight her way through monstrous creatures, including the loping undead, giant warriors, evil sorcerers, and great godlike beings. Combat is fast and technical, requiring players to dodge, dash, and block, and time their strikes to align with openings in her enemies' defenses.

Elderand | PC | March 16, 2022
Elderand, from Mantra and Sinergia Games (game tweets), is a metroidvania set in a dark world inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. The game features fast technical combat that requires skillful use of your weaponry, and where button mashing is a sure path to failure. You fight your way through terrible monstrosities as you trek across the world searching for treasures, solving ancient mysteries, and seeking out hidden passages. Skillful explorers will find money and items that can be traded to shopkeepers for better weapons and shields, and some may be found through exploration as well. Players may make use of swords, shields, whips, staffs, throwing axes, and bows and arrows, and they may equip armor and accessories and make use of health restoratives to aid them in their quest.

Eldest Souls | PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox S/X | Q2 2021
Eldest Souls, from Fallen Flag Studio, is a tough-as-nails boss rush game where you battle against the powerful Old Gods, who have returned to take their vengeance upon humanity for imprisoning them. The vengeful deities turn the once verdant lands of the humans into deserts, taking away everything that humanity has gained since the Old Gods were locked away. Taking a page from games like Titan Souls or Jotun, the player takes on the role of a lone hero and faces off against impossibly large monsters that are seemingly impossible to defeat. The player explores the Citadel, prison of the gods, searching them out one by one, doing battle, and - if the player is skilled enough - killing each of them. Each god presents a unique combat scenario, and defeating them allows the player to gain access to some of their power, acquiring new abilities in the process.

Elsys | PC | Release Date TBD
Developer Fervir presents Elysis (formerly SpookyQuest), an action adventure inspired by the Game Boy iterations of The Legend of Zelda series, offering top-down action, swordplay, and dungeon crawling. Players slash away at monsters – and the occasional shrubbery – in the overworld, defeating enemies, discovering secrets, and gathering money to be spent in shops. While the overworld is a bit unfriendly, the bulk of the action takes place in the dungeons, which are filled with bats and undead creatures that hope to suck down your health bar. In addition to health, you also have a stamina meter that drains as you use your sword and secondary items (like a boomerang that can stun enemies and activate switches), but it refills on its own over time. The game isn’t just a Zelda clone however; it offers some changes to the old series, like scrolling environments and 8-way movement and attacks. Progress is made by solving puzzles, discovering new sub-weapons, and defeating large boss creatures.

Fabular: Once Upon a Spacetime | PC | 2021
Developer Spiritus Games (game site) brings together a team of developers whose previous credits include The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing and the Codename: Panzers series. Their first release under the new studio label is entitled Fabular: Once Upon a Spacetime, which mixes science fiction and fantasy in a top-down action-RPG featuring space combat fought with medieval weaponry, including swords and axes. The Sun has been stolen by the League of Black Knights, plunging the world into darkness, and so the King's youngest son must travel through the seven realms to defeat the knights and restore peace. As the player travels across a number of procedurally generated star systems, he encounters legendary objects of folklore, such as the Seven-League Boots and the Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs, and also unlocks new playable ships, upgrades, and skills.

Faeland | PC, Mac, and Linux | Release Date TBD
Talegames presents Faeland, an action-RPG set in a medieval fantasy world. The game stars Sam, a blonde-haired boy wearing a green tunic who is able to wield a short sword, a shield, and a bow and arrows (remind you of anyone?). Sam is able to hunt for food in the wildlands, fight enemy creatures in dungeons, complete platforming challenges, learn new abilities to reach previously inaccessible areas, solve puzzles, and take on gigantic bosses. The game world is open, so you are free to travel from place to place, speak with NPC's to discover new information, and purchase new weapons, equipment, and health restoratives.

Fallen Leaf | PC and Mac | 2022
Fallen Leaf, from Delta Shore Games (game tweets), is a Mega Man-style action platformer set in a colorful world. You take on the role of Leaf, a treasure hunter who recently discovered a pair of magical gauntlets, which he must use to defeat the vile oppressor that he accidentally awakened. The game also features two other playable characters in the form of the pink-haired Petal and the helmet-wearing Thorn. Grabbing more powerful gauntlets allows you to unleash stronger projectile attacks, and there are loads of different subweapons with different firing types... plus loads of areas to blast your way through, with more than 70 levels on offer. The whole experience is done up in a classic 8-bit style with bright colors, charming enemy designs, and an upbeat chiptune soundtrack.

Freedom Planet 2 | PC, Mac, Linux, and Switch | Q2 2022
So, there's practically no information about this game, but the first Freedom Planet from GalaxyTrail was so good that we're listing it anyway. In the first game, players took control of one of three anthropomorphic animals, each with their own unique abilities and playstyles in a colorful world styled after 16-bit classics like Ristar, Rocket Knight Adventures, and especially Sonic the Hedgehog. The trio of characters and their trademark abilities return in the sequel with Lylac's hair whip and high-speed dash, Carol's wall-riding motorcycle, and Milla's strange energy powers, as well as some new abilities. A new evil has arisen in the form of Merga, an ancient water dragon that has been released due to the events at the end of the first game, and this time, the heroes find their allegiances split between opposing sides. The characters are a bit older now, more mature and experienced, and several new characters are being introduced, many voiced by actors from a number of well-known animated series.

Gestalt: Steam & Cinder | PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One | 2021
Gestalt: Steam & Cinder, from Metamorphosis Games, is a steampunk action-adventure starring Aletheia. She is one of many adventurers who are exploring the dark secrets of Canaan, a steam-powered city that is home to the last remnants of humanity. You battle your way through robotic contraptions, strange creatures, and huge bosses as you attempt to subvert the schemes of the city's overlords, with humanity's fate hanging in the balance. Aletheia navigates the environment and tackles enemies using double jumps, dodge rolls, and dive kicks, as she slashes through foes with melee strikes and sometimes makes use of a revolver to strike from a distance. The game offers story-driven gameplay, an upgrade system to improve your stats, and a colorful world filled with detailed sprite art and animations.

Ghost Song | PC, Mac, and Linux | Release Date TBD
Ghost Song, from developer Matt White, is a metroidvania title. More than that, it draws heavy influences from the design and style of the mother of all metroidvanias: Super Metroid. The game focuses heavily on atmosphere, with detailed subterranean environments and a haunting soundtrack. You have set out to explore a moon known as Lorian V, a mysterious place in which many have perished, leaving ghosts behind in the form of roaming corpses full of anger. But by destroying their bodies, the ghosts can be freed. In addition to the wandering dead, you will also face a number of creatures, many of which are hostile, as well as some large boss creatures. As is typical of the genre, acquiring new weapons and abilities allows you to proceed through the large open world, although there are numerous optional items to be found for those who explore thoroughly.

Gigabuster | PC | Release Date TBD
Gigabuster, from Waller, is an actioner heavily influenced by the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero series, and stars Liz, a blonde-haired scarf-wearing fighter who is taking down CEO's one-by-one to stop them from funding "Happiness". You must break into nine different companies - offered in blocks of three that may be played in any order - using your ability to grapple, climb, dash, wall jump, and grind rails to make your way to the CEO offices to give them the beat-downs they deserve. Along the way, you slash enemies to build up a combo meter that lets you unleash a huge laser, and you can acquire upgrades, armor, and a number of melee weapons to help you in your fight.

Grapple Dog | PC | 2021
Grapple Dog, from Joseph Gribbin, is a high-flying grapple-platformer starring a dog named Pablo who sets sail across six environments to save the world from Nul, a megalomaniacal robot. The game uses bold colors to communicate safe grapple points to the player, allowing him to flow from one object to the next as he collects fruit, dodges obstacles, and hunts for hidden areas. The grapple can be used to zip to objects and enemies to smash them, and the player must face off against bosses as well. In addition to grappling, the player can swim, perform wall jumps, and dive bomb to drop downward quickly.

Gravity Ace | PC and Linux | Currently in Steam Early Access
Hey, if there's one thing everyone likes, it's gravity... and nobody knows that better than John Watson, the developer behind Gravity Ace. There aren't a whole lot of gravity-based spaceship games on the market, but there have been a few standout examples over the years, including the seminal classic Gravitar, along with classics like Thrust and Oids, and a few modern takes on the genre, including the Gravitron and PixelJunk Shooter series. Of all these games, Gravity Ace seems to most closely mix elements from Thrust and the PixelJunk Shooter series. Like Thrust, you must descend into caverns, taking out dangers along the way, and retrieving a reactor core from deep within... and then fight to escape the planetoid's gravity in time. Whereas Thrust was a fairly slow and methodical experience (but still harrowing, mind), the PixelJunk Shooter series is more fast-paced, features much more shooting, and the need to rescue stranded astronauts. In the end, the game borrows from its predecessors but definitely stands on its own, offering a chunky explosion-heavy world with the ever-present danger of smashing into a wall of rock and meeting your untimely demise. The game offers multiple interconnected levels across three worlds and even some boss encounters to spice things up.

Gravity Circuit | PC, Mac, and Linux | Release Date TBD
Do you like gravity? Do you like circuits? Then you might like Gravity Circuit, from Domesticated Ants. OK, so the game definitely has gravity, and you fight robots, so there's definitely circuits, but really it's a game about smashing your way through the robotic Virus Army to prevent them from taking over the world. You take on the role of Kai who smashes bots with his fists, dive bombs them, boots around projectiles, knocks robots into each other, and uses a grappling hook to move quickly from enemy to enemy. The game features 12 stages of 1P action where the player unlocks new abilities as he rescues civilians, along with special challenge levels, time trials, and a level editor.

Grid Force - Mask Of The Goddess | PC and consoles | Q1 2022
Developer Playtra Games is partnering with an LGTBQ+ non-profit organization called the It Gets Better Project, which supports LGBTQ+ youth around the world. The studio is developing Grid Force - Mask Of The Goddess, offering an all-female cast with LGBTQ+ representation and diverse cultural backgrounds for its 45 playable characters. Your goal is to befriend companions to assist you in battle, developing their skills and unlocking new abilities along the way, as well as acquiring powerful masks from defeated goddesses. Combat takes place on a grid, Mega Man Battle Network-style, with the player on the left side of the arena and the enemy on the right. Your decisions impact the narrative as well, as it is up to you whether to spare or kill the goddesses you fight, and many characters you encounter have difficulties that you must help them overcome. All the while, you are attempting to save the world from an endless loop of collapse and reboot.

Guardians of the Rose | PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, and PS4 | Release Date TBD
Guardians of the Rose, from Pixel x Pixel Games, is an open world action adventure in a fantasy world filled with monsters and magic. Unfortunately, the kingdom has become corrupted by dark magic, leading to the murder of the royal family by a contingent of the royal guard. As a member of the royal guard yourself, you work to save the kingdom, but you have no magical powers of your own. However, in your quest to overthrow the false rulers, you can choose to learn this dark magic yourself, or seek out special items that will allow you to combat your enemies, leading to alternate endings based on your actions. The player chooses how he will engage his foes, whether with direct assault, stealth, or through the evil of magic, and he may recruit NPC's to aid him in his quest, depending on his alignment. The player's actions determine the types of items available to him, which quests he can take, and how others react to him.

Haak | PC | Currently in Steam Early Access
Haak, from Blingame, is a dark post-apocalyptic metroidvania. The game features a focus on fast combat and acrobatic movement as the cape-wearing protagonist performs jumps, air dashes, and ground slides to navigate the environment and fight enemies. His unique weapon is an electric hook that he can use to attack enemies, deflect projectiles, activate switches, and grab onto floating grapple points to fling himself into the air. Enemies come in mostly robotic forms, and there are dangers in the environment as well, including crumbling platforms, electrical beams, and crushers. Along the way, he interacts with NPC's to learn more about the world and take on various side quests.

HALT | PC and Mac | Release Date TBD
HALT, from Vaaasm, is a wacky run-and-gun actioner starring a group of law enforcement officers managed by a private company. You take on the roles of officers Chris Tracy and Turner Chase who are investigating the members of a criminal organization known as "The Human". The duo blast their way through an eclectic array of baddies in the form of skeleton robots, turtles, mutant bees, and even a flying squid submarine. Players have access to a variety of weapons and ammo, and dozens of upgrades, allowing them to modify their weapons for heavy fire, bouncing bullets, freeze bullets, explosives, and biological weapons... or just drop a couple of turrets into the level and spray everything with a barrage of hot lead.

Hazelnut Bastille | PC, Mac, and Linux | Release Date TBD
Hazelnut Bastille, from Aloft Studio is a veritable love letter to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, featuring isometric top-down action through interconnected dungeon rooms, with sword-based combat, a (cross)bow and arrows, bombs, and loads of potions and other items to aid you in your quest. Players must solve environmental puzzles, slash enemies, hunt for keys, and make thier way to the boss room. The world is full of life and color, with charming sprite designs for the pink-haired protagonist, the enemies, and the screen-filling bosses. Players take on the role of the heroine as she gets swept up in a grand adventure and seeks answers to the history of her world.

Heart Forth, Alicia | PC, Mac, and Linux | Release Date TBD
Alonso Martin presents Heart Forth, Alicia, a metroidvania action-RPG that centers on a young wizard named Alicia who grew up in a cursed land floating in the sky. In this land, no children have been born in many years, except for Alicia and her best friend Hostra. Bad things happen, and Hostra gets turned evil by a spirit, tossing Alicia off the edge of the island and raining destruction down on their village, and causing old people to explode into bloody puddles of goo (not a joke). Alicia awakens in the world beneath the clouds, adventuring through the land and building her power so that she may return to her home in the sky. The game features melee-based combat supplemented by magic, and Alicia slowly gains abilities that allow her to reach new areas of the world.

Hippoxxus | PC | Release Date TBD
Hippoxxus, from Rohan Patel, is a metroidvania starring an amnesiac teen who awakens aboard a gigantic spaceship. You explore a large interconnected world separated into themed biomes, avoiding traps, killing creatures, and blasting bosses along the way. There are nine weapons to be found on your journey, including a plasma blaster, a less accurate rapid fire repeater, and gun that shoots bouncing projectiles, and you're able to shoot in eight directions and lock your aim. The game features blobby, slithery, and spikey enemies - including the metroidvania staple wall-crawling Zoomer-like foes - all of which feature smooth hand-drawn animations. Oh, and there's a grappling hook for a dose of high-flying shenanigans.

Hollow Knight: Silksong | PC, Mac, Linux, and Switch | Release Date TBD
Are you one of the folks who spent some quality time in the insectoid world of Hollow Knight? If you're a fan of dark metroidvanias and somehow missed out on this one, stop reading and give it a play, because it's downright engrossing, and the developers, Team Cherry, released loads of free content updates over the last couple of years... and now, they've returned with a sequel. Hollow Knight: Silksong stars a character named Hornet, who was formerly an adversary, but now she has her own standalone adventure where she clambers upward from the depths of Hallownest to explore new and colorful environments, and make some new friends. The game features fast-paced combat with aerial tactics against more than 150 new enemy types and a bunch of new boss creatures. The game features the same lovely art style as before, along with musical compositions by Christopher Larkin.

Hunt the Night | PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Switch | Release Date TBD
Hunt the Night, from Moonlight Games, is an action-adventure set in a dark and ravaged world. You are a member of an order called The Stalkers, and you traverse the world, battle monsters, and clear trap- and puzzle-filled dungeons. Boss encounters require a strategic approach, with multi-phase battles that require the player to learn attack patterns and weak points in order to overcome them. You are able to attack with a sword, cast spells, fire numerous projectile types, and dodge incoming attacks, and you have tools at your disposal for environmental traversal, such as a hookshot-like device that lets you cross gaps, and the ability to pass through certain objects using dark energy. You can alter your weapons and armor as the situation demands and upgrade them to take advantage of their enhancements, including explosive impact and life draining effects. The game is styled after 16-bit console games and features music from Hiroki Kikuta, composer for numerous classic games, including Secret of Mana.

Infernax | PC | Release Date TBD
Berzerk Studio wants to take you back to the 80's with Infernax, a retro metroidvania with horrific enemies that are far more gruesome than anything that would have actually been released on the NES. Players must trek across an open world, fighting monsters, gaining experience points to increase their stats, and acquiring new weapons, spells, and abilities. Players also earn money that they can use to buy better armor, as well as health and magic restoratives.

Iron Meat | PC | Q1 2021
Hey, you got your iron in my meat! Hey, you got your meat in my iron! That's likely what you'll be yelling when you play Iron Meat from Razz, a game that features two great tastes (iron and meat) that taste great together to deliver Contra-style shooting action against baddies and bots. The game features run and gun action, 8-way fire, a somersaulting soldier, and a variety of weapon pickups and powerups to help you shred everything that enters your line of sight. Weapons include machine guns, lasers, and heavy explosives, which you'll need to take down popcorn enemies, mechanical minibosses, and over-the-top level bosses across eight themed areas.

Itorah | PC | Q2 2022
Itorah, from Grimbart Tales, is an action-adventure with a terrifying premise: You are the last remaining human in a world populated by masked creatures. You take on the role of the eponymous Itorah who explores the cursed world of Nahucan, which has been overcome by evil and is threatened by a great plague. Itorah traverses some traditional genre locales as she ventures through lush forests, darkened spider lairs, and ancient temples, battling beasts and bosses with what appears to be a large handmade axe, which she can use to string together combos or toss Thor-style to hit enemies at a distance. Itorah gains new abilities that aid in environmental traversal and help her to uncover the mysteries around what has happened to the human species.

Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch | PC, PS4, and Xbox One | Release Date TBD
Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch is the latest effort from Interabang Entertainment, the developers behind Super Comboman, a beat 'em up that was, uh... not very good. If you aren't already familiar with the works of Kevin Smith and the View Askewniverse, then you're likely not going to understand the appeal of a Jay and Silent Bob video game. The game stars Bob, a generally silent overweight fellow in a black overcoat, along with his foul-mouthed stoner friend Jay in a beat 'em up with loads of references to their film and television outings, along with numerous comic book references. The drug dealing duo suddenly find that they have no customers and head over to the new gigantic mega mall (hints of Leonardo Leonardo?) to put a stop to it. Players can tag team between characters (natch) or double team in co-op and use insults to take on bosses.

Jitsu Squad | PC and consoles | Release Date TBD
Jitsu Squad, from Tanuki Creative Studio, is a high-octane brawler with colorful charismatic characters and up to 4P co-op. Players take on the role of one of four anthropomorphized animals, each of whom is an expert in a different style of martial arts. The mohawked raccoon is a shinobi on a mission to get revenge for his father's death, the bunny is a cyber ninja who is also on a mission of revenge following the murder of her twin sister, the afro-sporting frog is a master of kung-fu and fights using a Goemon-style pipe along with magical attacks, and the boar is the beefy (porky?) one of the bunch in his role as dragon slayer, and he carries a sword and has a magical metal arm. The game allows for all of the fast-paced brawler shenanigans you love, with the ability to perform huge combos, unleash over-the-top special attacks, call in assist characters (including Yooka-Laylee), juggle enemies, and perform transformations. You fight your way through vibrant environments and colorful enemies that take the form of other animal creatures, zombies, martial artists, and some big bad bosses.

Josh Journey: Darkness Totems | PC | Currently in Steam Early Access
Josh Journey: Darkness Totems, from Provincia Studio, is a colorful beat 'em up for up to four local players. You (and your friends) select one of four heroes to journey across the provinces of wind, water, desert, and industrial, fighting screenfulls of creatures summoned forth by an entity known as The Darkness Shadow, who has the power over nightmares. Only by destroying the darkness totems can the world be saved. Each hero has different abilities and special attacks, allowing players to cooperate in battle, with some wielding melee weapons while others can use ranged attacks like guns and spells. Particular attention has been paid to the hand-drawn animation for each of the characters, enemies, and bosses, giving the visuals a cartoon-like quality.

Kingdom Shell | PC | 2021
Kingdom Shell, from Cup of Pixels, is a metroidvania done up in a stark 16-bit style. The Kingdom was once protected by a shell, but it has been broken, allowing corrupting forces and dark creatures to spill forth and attack the citizenry, even overrunning The Brotherhood that was sworn to protect it. Desperate, they reach out to Elias, a half man / half demon criminal who might just have the power to save them all. Elias travels through the Kingdom, assists its inhabitants, and fights back grotesque monsters and demon bosses with melee and projectile weapons.

Kitsune Tails | PC, Linux, PS4, and PS5 | Q1 2022
Kitsune Tails is the result of a collaboration between Kitsune Games (Super Bernie World) and MidBoss LLC (2064: Read Only Memories). This is a game about Japanese mythology, a love of Super Mario Bros. 3, and diverse gender relationships. You take on the role of a fox-eared, purple-haired, puffy-tailed kitsune girl who sets out on an adventure through a colorful world. Along your journey, you'll hop across platforms, bop enemies on the head, and make use of costumes that change your abilities... including a shark, a dragon, a ninja, and even an outfit that looks very much like Kuribo's shoe. You'll explore five themed worlds and numerous haunted houses, facing off against enemies and bosses, and picking up objects and enemies to overcome environmental challenges.

Kynseed | PC | Currently in Early Access via Steam and GOG
Kynseed, from PixelCount Studios (made up of ex-Lionhead devs, best known for the Fable series), is set in the colorful and richly detailed world of Quill. The people of Quill live in relative harmony, despite being surrounded by dangerous forests filled with monstrous creatures. You have recently taken possession of the titular Kynseed, a magical acorn that grows into your family tree. You live and grow, have children, raise them, and eventually die... at which point you take on the role of your children and continue the story. This sandbox RPG has you exploring the open world, battling monsters, developing lasting relationships with NPC's, shopping, farming, crafting, and operating various sorts of businesses, including bartending, mixing potions, selling items, or acting as a smithy.

The Last Faith | PC, Mac, Linux, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One | 2021
The Last Faith, from Kumi Souls Games, is a metroidvania set in a dark world filled with gnarled trees, gothic architecture, and no shortage of foul beasts. You take on the role of Eric as he travels through the once great capital, which is now ravaged by disease and corruption. Fortunately, the cure for most of this is a swift sword to the face. Eric wields swords, pikes, hatchets, handguns, and whatever else he can get his hands on to bash the creatures of the night into oblivion. In addition, he is able to cast devastating spells and use elemental buffs for his weapons, allowing him to freeze, electrify, or stun enemies during combat. Per metroidvania standards, Eric gains new abilities that expand his ability to explore, and he can make use of demonic wings for added jump height, and a retractable grapple for pulling himself up onto ledges or swinging across gaps.

LAZR - A Clothformer | PC, Mac, Linux, Swtich, PS4, Vita, and Xbox One | Q2 2021
Have you talked to your kids about clothforming? What started out as a cool-looking tech demo from Garrick Campsey has become a for-real video game called LAZR - A Clothformer. The game takes place in Alpha City in the year 2666 and stars Lazr, an artificial intelligence who transfers herself into a nuclear-powered robot body that allows her to climb through various destructible mesh environments and also shoot lasers out of her eyes. Since her body is basically just a shell, it's fully moddable, allowing players to activate auto-fire, reduce the shell's weight to make it more acrobatic, or make it impervious to explosions. The world is run by megacorporations, and players may make decisions about which missions to take on, leading to multiple endings. What sets the game apart are its overblown neon visuals and a focus on ascending through environments by way of malleable rope ladders, mesh nets, and other cloth-like substances, which may be sliced and burned by flying lasers and explosives, resulting in a high overall difficulty level. Skilled players may stay aloft by jumping, air-dashing, and frying enemies before they can return the favor.

Linked Mask | PC | Release Date TBD
Linked Mask, from Spoonman Games, is a Game Boy-style platformer set in a wasteland where six grand towers have been erected, each of which is home to a deity that is worshiped by the people below. Each tower also contains a mask that grants control over one of the elements, and it is up to you to acquire each of these masks, defeat the deities who guard them, and free the masses from their rule. Each time you acquire a mask, you gain a new weapon and environmental traversal skill, which allows you to revisit previous towers and discover new areas. Players can jet through the air between electrical nodes, jump up along vertical surfaces, and smash through blocks.

Log Jammers | PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Xbox One | Currently in Steam Early Access
Log Jammers, from Mega Cat Studios, is a modern retro take on the alternative sports game Windjammers, which came to arcades and the Neo Geo in the mid-90's... and as such, was filled with musclebound beach people bursting with 90's 'tude. Log Jammers (no relation to the Lebowski-verse's Logjammin') eschews the 'tude in favor of wacky over-the-top character designs, featuring an equal mix of human and nonhuman characters in a world filled with logging and political corruption. Instead of running around an arena, opponents are logrollers, running and spinning their logs along the water (or lava, or mayonnaise) as they toss hatchets back and forth at one another. Players can toss the hatchet in a straight line or bounce it off the edges of the arena, and the goal has a 2-point center and 5-point edges, offering additional strategy and keeping the pace up, as either player can make a comeback in 11-point matches. Check our coverage here.

Loot River | PC, Xbox One, and Xbox X/S | Release Date TBD
Loot River, from straka.studio, is a dungeon-shifting hack-and-slash roguelike actioner with intense bloody combat set in a dark world filled with sexy grotesque pixels. You have the power of an ancient relic that allows you to shift platforms beneath your feet and slide them around to solve spatial puzzles, traverse the environment, and aid you in combat. Rearrange platforms to lure enemies to your position, dodge attacks, and perform hit-and-run strikes. Along the way, you pick up new items and equipment, gain new abilities, and spend points to level up your stats. Turn baddies and bosses into blood sausage with an array of weapons, spells, and huge smashy blocks.

Lords of Exile | PC, Mac, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One | March 25, 2021
Lords of Exile, from Squidbit Works, is an action platformer set in the Far East during an ancient period when dark creatures still walked the land, ruled by the evil Galagar. You take on the role of a cursed knight named Sir Gabriel, who must fight back the oncoming hordes and avenge the death of his wife, who was killed at Galagar's hand. Gameplay takes place across eight linear levels, each ending in a boss encounter. You are able to strike with your sword and use a number of throwing weapons, in addition to dashing, jumping, and performing downward stabs. Furthermore, your curse allows you to summon the shadows that possess you, offering protection, healing, or a screen-clearing attack. The game offers a reduced color palette and chiptune soundtrack, offering an aesthetic that falls somewhere between the 8- and 16-bit console generations.

Lunark | PC, Mac, and Switch | 2021
Lunark, from Canari Games, is a cinematic platformer inspired by the likes of Flashback and Prince Of Persia. The game offers chunky pixel art and vibrant colors reminiscent of the 16-bit era, and even features rotoscoping! In the future, Earth has become incompatible to human life, and the last remaining survivors have been relocated to the moon by Noah, an artificial intelligence, until a new home can be found. Hundreds of years have passed, and now you take on the role of Leo, an inhabitant of the lunar ark (yeah, the Lunark) who finds himself in the middle of a rebellion. He interacts with a cast of colorful characters, performs feats of platforming and shooting, and explores a variety of environments and alien ruins.

Meawja | PC, Mac, and Linux | Release Date TBD
Everyone knows that ninjas have catlike reflexes... and this is especially true for ninja cats! Meawja, from Galope Team (game site), is a ninja game starring a black cat who uses a sword and shuriken to slice his way through bats, slimes, and a variety of prehistoric foes, plus some hulking boss and miniboss creatures. The game features five themed environments filled with traps and pitfalls, presented in an 8-bit style, complete with Ninja Gaiden-style cutscenes.

Mission in Snowdriftland | PC | Q4 2021
In 2006, to celebrate the games coming to their newly-launched Nintendo DS and Wii platforms, Nintendo offered a playable advent calendar entitled UPIXO in Action: Mission in Snowdriftland, developed by extra toxic (game site). The game was a platformer starring a snowman named Chubby Snow who wore red shoes and a bellboy cap as he journeyed across four themed areas. The game included 24 levels, with new levels unlocking every day between December 1-24 to count down the days to Christmas. However, the game was only meant to be available for a limited time, and it was taken offline in January of the following year, only to reappear briefly for another event in 2010. Unfortunately, the Flash-based game was almost lost to time as it remained unplayable for many years - and now Flash is no longer supported by any of the major browsers - so it seemed likely that Chubby's adventures were doomed to be forgotten. But thanks to some passionate fans, especially documentarian Nick Robinson, the game is getting a second life in the form of Mission in Snowdriftland, created under extra toxic's development label tons of bits. The remastered game includes the original 24 levels and final boss battle, presented in widescreen HD at 60fps.

Moo Lander | PC | Q2 2022
Your planet is in desperate need of milk, and only you can save the day in Moo Lander, from The Sixth Hammer. In this action-adventure, You pilot a milk-powered spaceship that has crash landed on a planet rich in resources... namely gigantic cows ready to be beamed back home. Unfortunately, you lost all of your weapons and defenses in the crash, so you spend the game exploring colorful environments, solving puzzles, and dodging enemies until you eventually encounter a milk shield that lets you deflect enemy shots, and a milk gun that lets you shoot projectiles of your own. There are loads of ship upgrades to be unlocked as you play, including non-lethal weapons for dealing with cows, which act as the game's bosses. Check our coverage here.

Moons of Darsalon | PC and Mac | December 2021
Moons of Darsalon is a retro-style rescue-based actioner from Dr. Kucho! Games that is set in the same universe - and in some of the same environments - as their previous release, Pilots of Darsalon. However, instead of piloting a spaceship down into caverns, you play as a "darsanaut" who must rescue lost miners. You have a laser gun for blasting enemies, a jet pack for environmental traversal, and a pair of tools that allow you to destroy or create terrain. You'll need to give the miners some direction to help them get back to safety, so you can issue commands to make them follow you, wait, or head in a specific direction. In addition to the on-foot action, you pilot some vehicles, such as a flying personnel carrier and a 6-wheel all-terrain transport truck. You must blast enemy aliens, spaceships, and vehicles while dodging projectiles and watching that you don't fall to your death in one of the many chasms. There are some modern lighting effects and a physics engine that impacts how characters, vehicles, and liquids interact with the environment, but the game leans hard into its gritty 8-bit computer aesthetic with retro-style filters, music, and speech synthesis.

Moonshell Island | PC | Release Date TBD
Moonshell Island, from Cheekynauts Entertainment, is a throwback to the colorful isometric action-adventure games of yore, drawing its gameplay inspirations from The Legend of Zelda series. Moonshell Island has come under attack from creatures called nomsters, and you must not only fight back this onslaught of critters, but also save the people by recruiting them into Crabby's Cabana Club, the island's safe haven. As club membership grows, you'll need to upgrade it using resources from the island, and the more people you rescue, the more services there are to assist you in your quest. Along the way, you'll solve puzzles, take on side quests, learn more about the mysterious island, and even defeat giant killer tomatoes with your trusty whisk.

Necrofugitive | PC | October 2021
In Necrofugitive, from Black Garden Studios, you take on the role of a shapeshifting villain who has just escaped from prison. Now, you're on the run as guards and bounty hunters relentlessly chase you from the dungeons, through the castle, across the rooftops of the neighboring village, and out into the countryside. In your default form, you use a set of large claws to slash away at your pursuers who wield swords, halberds, crossbows, and bows and arrows, and you can also draw enemies toward you with a whip. But your most powerful weapon is your ability to change forms, and when you transform into the gigantic Slaughter Demon (um, hell yes), you can slash your way through dozens of enemies with ease, and even summon a small army of demons to assist you in your fight... oh, and the Slaughter Demon can breathe fire in case you were wondering.

Neon Fusion | PC | Currently in Steam Early Access
Neon Fusion, from Rodrigo Oak (game tweets), is an action-platformer set in a neon world. You take on the role of a robot named Ambar who is responding to a distress signal on what was assumed to be an abandoned space station. Upon arrival, however, Ambar finds the station filled with shambling crew members, aggressive enemies, environmental hazards, and active security systems, along with some menacing bosses. You travel through a large interconnected environment while rescuing survivors and gaining new abilities and weapons along the way, such as an air dash that lets you cross large gaps, a 3-way shot, and an ice projectile that allows you to freeze enemies... but projectiles and dash maneuvers draw from a recharging energy meter.

No Place for Bravery | PC, Mac, and Switch | 2021
No Place for Bravery, from developer Glitch Factory, is a time-manipulation roguelike featuring a band of warriors travelling through a procedurally-generated fantasy world on a quest to defeat powerful creatures of godlike proportions, inspired by the atmosphere of Hyper Light Drifter and the time manipulation mechanics of Super Time Force. The time manipulation mechanic allows the player to control all of the warriors simultaneously, swapping between characters at will to use their different abilities, and strategizing their movements in order to get the timing right for current and future attacks. The game is a nearly narrative-free experience, relying on environmental storytelling rather than bouts of exposition, and focusing instead on the complexity of its mechanics, which feature 1-hit kills and permadeath.

Nobody Saves the World | PC, Xbox One, and Xbox X/S | 2021
DrinkBox Studios, the team behind Guacamelee and Guacamelee 2, has returned with Nobody Saves the World, a colorful action RPG that's lighter on the luchadores but still heavy on the colorful environments and zany characters. You take on the role of Nobody... that's right the character's name is Nobody, and he's the one who is tasked with fighting back The Calamity and saving the world. By completing quests, Nobody is able to unlock new forms, with more than 15 transformations to discover, including a strongman, zombie, ghost, archer, magician, mouse, and slug (!). Each form offers unique abilities that help you destroy monsters, solve puzzles, complete quests, and clear out procedurally-generated dungeons. You are able to upgrade forms by completing quests, and eventually mix and match abilities between forms.

Operation ECHO | PC | Release Date TBD
Operation ECHO, from Green Legacy, is set in 21XX and stars an action hero named M16... well, he wasn't always an action hero. M16 got his start as a butler-bot, but then there was a Mutant Armageddon that put everyone's lives in danger, and his creator, Dr. Miller, gave him some heavy armaments and ordered him to hop into action. Armed with a plasma cannon and an array of other weapon types, including machine guns, shotguns, and rocket launchers, M16 runs through colorful levels blasting goo-spitting slugs, grotesque insectoid creatures, and other monstrosities until they explode... eventually facing off against giant disgusting boss monsters that require equal treatment.

Outrider Mako | PC | Release Date TBD
Outrider Mako (a.k.a. Outrider Mako ~露払いマコの見習い帖~), from Asamado Games (game tweets), is a top-down actioner set in a cute and colorful and world. You take on the role of Mako, and she has made a deal with a strange entity called Bumon, who operates Bumon Delivery Corporation. In exchange for making deliveries and carrying out other tasks around Mayoi, the world of the gods, she will be allowed to return to her own world. As items are requested by clients around Mayoi, Mako must venture out, gather them up, bring the materials over to a workbench, package them up, and ultimately deliver them... while also contending with enemies along the way. Mako can defend herself with melee slashes, hop on top of enemies and spray them with purple goo to stun them, or go rolling through town on a pagoda/tank, blasting everyone in her path during on-rails shooting segments.

Paradise Lost: First Contact | PC, Mac, and Linux | Release Date TBD
In Paradise Lost: First Contact from Asthree Works, the player controls a form of alien plant life that is not only highly intelligent, but also highly mobile. The plant arrived on Earth by way of an asteroid and awakes to find itself being studied in a laboratory. As the plant, you use your tentacles to move about the underground research facility, searching for a way out via nonlinear exploration, with new areas opening up metroidvania-style as objects are acquired. Generally, you need to avoid direct confrontation with the machine gun wielding guards, so you will instead sneak about, set up distractions, and even spawn small tentacle plants that you control with your mind. However, there are also times when direct action is needed, such as the game’s boss encounters.

Pepper Grinder | PC | Release Date TBD
Pepper Grinder is a game about a girl and her drill... which you don't get a lot of in video games. Basically, we have Anna Hottenmeyer in the Mr. Driller series and Jill Dozer in Drill Dozer... but developer Ahr Ech is changing all that. Pepper Grinder stars a girl named Pepper and her drill named Grinder, as she sets out across a fantasy world filled with drillable and non-drillable materials. When drilling through the ground, Pepper moves quickly, and the player can steer her around to avoid obstacles, eject Pepper from the ground to fling her into the air, and even drill up under shelled enemies that are invincible from above. Things get crazier when the grappling hook is introduced, which allows Pepper to shoot out of the ground, swing quickly around a grapple point, and go flying over obstacles and ramming herself back into the dirt at high speeds. The drill can also be used to manipulate machinations that affect the environment, such as turning wheels to open the path forward, or launching Pepper high into the air to reach distant areas.

Piko Piko | PC | Currently in Steam Early Access
Piko Piko, from Marquet Games, is a metroidvania starring a cute redheaded anime girl with a big hammer. The titular Piko is a senior at Hammer Academy and uses her blacksmithing skills to modify her toy hammer into an implement of destruction. She teams up with her half-fox pal to fight her fellow Hammer Academy smithies and prove that she is the best blacksmith around. With her weapon, she can smash foes, deflect bullets, and transform it into a drill to demolish destructible blocks or shoot lasers... oh, and her foxy friend has a drill tank!

Platinum Kill | PC, PS4, and Xbox One | Release Date TBD
Fun Infused Games, creators of lo-fi indie actioners Nasty, Hypership Out of Control, and Bad Caterpillar, have returned with Platinum Kill, a Contra-inspired run and gun for up to 5 players on PC or 4 players on console. Gamers who enjoy running through the jungle with no shirt and bright red pants will find themselves at home here, with loads of 1-hit enemies, multi-hit brutes, and destructible objects that dispense powerups like popcorn... if popcorn shot bullets. Use machine guns, spread guns, and big bullets to take down baddies and end-level bosses.

Radio the Universe | PC | Q1 2021
Radio the Universe, from developer 6e6e6e, is an isometric action adventure offering a large open environment with interconnected areas, secrets, and shortcuts. In this melancholy industrial world, the player must contend with deadly traps and combat mechanized monstrosities, but he can get a leg up on enemies by upgrading his weapons and abilities. Mobile players can dash, dodge, and jump to avoid enemy projectiles and traps, and use these skills to advance on enemies during lulls in their attacks, and they can absorb some damage by using a shield with the proper timing. The tone of the game is further set by hand-drawn interstitial cutscenes, and as the developer warns: "Players who die in-game die in real life."

Raider Kid and the Ruby Chest | PC, Mac, and Linux | 2021
Raider Kid and the Ruby Chest (formerly Raider of the Ruby Chest), from Cacareco Games, is a Game Boy Color-esque action adventure that takes inspiration from the Indiana Jones films. You play the part of a whip-wielding adventurer - although you're a young boy rather than a professor of antiquities - who dives into booby trapped ruins to seek out great treasures... and the mysterious Ruby Chest. Along the way, you'll travel through five themed areas, solve puzzle-platforming challenges, and face off against enemies and bosses. As you explore, you'll discover new tools and abilities that allow you to reach previously inaccessible areas metroidvania-style, including a block-bashing hammer, the ability to climb certain walls, and the ability to swim.

Rawal Rumble | PC | Release Date TBD
Rawal Rumble, from Anarkade, an 80's arcade-style beat 'em for up to 4P. The game takes place in Barcelona following a civil war that was ended after someone accidentally dropped a nuke near the airport. As a result, the people allowed themselves to be repressed and subjugated. 100 years later, a new force rises up to face this corrupt government, led by a foul-mouthed badass in a muscle shirt whose girlfriend was arrested, and he promises to make them "lick [his] big golden balls"... which is all you need to kick off a brawler. The game features the usual punches and kicks from the days of old - along with optional scanlines - but adds in considerably more crass humor and blood sprays. Players make their way through ten metropolitan locales, bashing faces, grabbing discarded weapons, and beating the stuffing out of powerful bosses with extended life bars.

Raygun Gadabout | PC, Mac, and Linux | Release Date TBD
In Raygun Gadabout, from Quantum Duck Studio, you take on the role of the titular character on her mission to defeat the evildoers of the Space Gopher Empire. The game is a swashbuckling metroidvania adventure visualized in a 1950's sci-fi style reminiscent of Buck Rogers. Players hop aboard their spacecraft and set out across the galaxy in search of adventure, discovering spatial anomalies, derelict spacecraft, and friendly NPC's along the way. On foot, our pink-haired heroine uses her ray gun, plasma blade, and reflector shield to fight evil robots, take down hostile alien creatures, and do battle with menacing bosses.

Renaine | PC, Mac, Linux, and Switch | Release Date TBD
Renaine, from Octosoft, stars Aine, a Phoenix Knight who has the power to resurrect herself, who is on a mission to defeat a legendary dragon and avenge the death of her friend, Ren (Ren+Aine=Renaine). Each time she resurrects herself, the layout of the world changes and she loses her items and abilities, but some things remain unlocked for future runs. Aine travels through five themed lands of Lineria, a chunky pixellated landscape with a low color palette, and Aine herself is notably low on colors, mainly appearing in yellow with black highlights and an orange plume. While the palette may be that of classic 8-bit games, her animations are more robust, giving her a bit of charm as she slashes her way through enemies, stops to help NPC's, hops from platform to platform, and occasionally stops to quaff a potion. Aine can also purchase items in shops that grant her new abilities, such as tossing fireballs, grappling to enemies and walls, and even picking up a cute little pet chompy that follows her around and attacks enemies.

Replaced | PC, Xbox One, and Xbox X/S | 2022
Replaced, from Sad Cat Studios, is a gritty 2.5D cyberpunk action-platformer set in an alternate version of the 1980's in a place called Phoenix-City. You take on the role of an artificial intelligence called R.E.A.C.H. that has been imprisoned within a human body. Society has gone to crap after some kind of nuclear catastrophe, and now the streets are ruled by gangs and power-hungry warlords out to harvest your organs. You run, climb, explore, and fight your way through this dystopian hellscape, smashing bad guys with your fists and guns via smooth and stylish combat as you uncover the secrets of the world around you.

Revita | PC | Currently in Steam Early Access
Revita, from Ben Star, is a roguelike actioner with chunky visuals, fast gameplay, and twin-stick controls. You take on the role of an amnesiac in search of their lost memories as you climb a procedurally-generated clock tower while fighting your way through enemies and bosses... and you're sent back to the bottom if you fail. In addition to twin-stick shootery, you can also perform air dashes and wall slides, and you can find run-specific powerups to unleash more firepower... eventually reaching ridiculous levels of bullet fury. Along the way, you'll encounter a cast of characters who may be able to aid you on your travels.

Roadout | PC | Release Date TBD
Roadout, from Rastrolabs Game Studio, is an action-adventure game set in a post-cyberpunk apocalypse where an artificial intelligence reigns supreme. You take on the role of Claire, a driver/gun-for-hire who works in a desert region known as the DeadZone. By taking on jobs from local gangs, Claire discovers more about the origin of the AI and her connection to it. Gameplay is split between on-foot and in-car combat action. You break into AI-controlled facilities and fight off automated defense systems, slice through enemy bandits, and tune your car for races across the stark desert landscape... and you can equip your vehicle with weapons and defensive items to blast enemies on the go.

Rogue Legacy 2 | PC | Currently in Steam Early Access
Rogue Legacy was a pretty big hit, so what do you do when that happens? You make another one! Cellar Door Games, the studio with the euphonic name, returns with Rogue Legacy 2, a game where you play as a line of descendants - each with different abilities - as they fight through a procedurally generated world. You never know what you're going to get, but you do control how you tackle the world, so you can take things slow and easy to build up your character for the current run, or go bananas and try to get as deep as you can. While each player character is lost forever when they die, you can upgrade certain stats to give your child a better chance at survival. The new game offers an enhanced visual style, a new selection of weapons, and more environmental variety... as well as metroidvania elements that let you unlock new abilities to expand your exploration.

Roland's Quest | PC and Mac | Release Date TBD
Roland's Quest (formerly Rolan's Quest), from Colony Games, is a fast-paced top-down action-adventure reminiscent of Beyond Oasis. You take on the role of the titular hero who is a blacksmith that lives in a small forest town, and he leads an insignificant life. He's resourceful and he's a skilled hunter, but he's otherwise pretty laid back and has yet to discover his true purpose. But one day, a foreign band of soldiers appears in his land and burns his town to the ground. He finds himself drawn to action, leading him on an adventure that spans the world on a path to face an evil lord and confront the world's dark history. Roland slashes his way through enemies, uses items to solve environmental puzzles, and explores multiple themed environments, joined by his mysterious friend Lulu.

Rubi: The Wayward Mira | PC and Switch | 2021
Rubi: The Wayward Mira, from Wayward Games, is a metroidvania set in a colorful world where science and magic intermingle. The planet of Casimir was once filled with abundant mana, but the Mira people have drained this mana to power their civilization, slowly killing the planet in the process. You take on the role of Rubi, a member of the Mira people who finds herself stranded on Earth. Only by opening a portal back to her home world can she save herself and her people. Her mission involves restarting the CERN Large Hadron Collider, and her actions can lead to multiple possible endings. Rubi combats enemies with a melee weapon and a beam weapon that can be upgraded to higher power levels. She can also make use of a phase ability that allows her to extend the distance of her jumps and pass through some solid objects. A gravity weapon allows her to target an area and fling herself in that direction, expanding her ability to explore the environment. She fights her way through fantasy and technological environments as she faces off against strange creatures, security systems, transformed humans, and bosses.

Rune Fencer Illyia | PC | 2021
Rune Fencer Illyia, from Nootbox Games, is an action-platformer starring the titular redheaded heroine as she traverses a lovely yet treacherous landscape packed with enemies, and the occasional friend. She had been travelling on an airship with her sister, Lilly, but the airship crashed and her sister is missing. As the title suggests, Illyia deals with her foes through swordplay, and as a "runist", she is also able to make use of runic magic to add to her offensive repertoire. Her powers also assist her in environmental exploration, as she is able to stop time, bash through solid objects, and even run across the ceiling. The game offers an open world to explore, and secret areas to discover, along with numerous enemy types and huge bosses.

SANNABI: The Revenant | PC | Release Date TBD
SANNABI: The Revenant, from Wonder Potion, is a grapple-platformer set in a dystopian world. You take on the role of a retired veteran who uses his prosthetic arm to do some pretty crazy stuff... like slinging himself up walls and hurling himself over buildings. Now he has been called in for one last mission: to overthrow an evil corporation, uncover the secrets behind a mysterious citywide blackout and the disappearance of its citizens, and find something called SANNABI. You use your grapple line to navigate the environment, dodge out of the way of traps, and defeat enemies by quickly zipping into them. You'll also meet a hacker named Mari who can help you to identify enemy weaknesses, decrypt messages, and remotely open doors.

Saving Princess 2 | PC and Android | Release Date TBD
So here's a little-known indie gem: Saving Princess. The game never got much attention on account of the PC version only ever being released on Itch.io (also on Android), but it's a solid nonlinear action platformer that plays like a mix of Metroid and Mega Man. BRAINOS returns with Saving Princess 2, which picks up two years after the original and once again stars Portia, an asset recovery specialist. Her latest adventure finds her on Harpyiae Outpost, a research station floating around a gaseous planet, and she must escape once more with PRINCESS while outwitting the station's artificial intelligence. As before, Portia must run, jump, and blast her way through the environment, and upgrade her weapon to allow for "blast jumping" which is used to cross gaps and fight enemies, but this time she has additional weapon customizations available to her which may be equipped for different effects such as faster reload speeds or larger projectiles.

Savior | PC and Mac | Q1 2022
Savior, from Starsoft, is a colorful metroidvania starring Sam, a woman who finds herself in the midst of a cold war between The Chosen and The Fallen, in a world divided between the medieval and the technological. She explores the island of Arcadia, fighting her way through the harsh landscape of The Fallen, slowly gaining access to new weapons and items, meeting new friends along the way, and possibly becoming the savior who can unite this long-divided world. By becoming stronger and gaining new skills, she increases her ability to explore the landscape around her. Sam is incredibly acrobatic, and she is able to move fluidly through the environment, jump off walls (and enemies!), perform deft attacks and dodges, dive into the water and swim, and even leap onto the back of a great dragon.

Sea of Stars | PC and consoles | 2022
Sabotage Studio, the developer behind The Messenger, has returned with an isometric RPG entitled Sea of Stars. Combat is turn-based but with active input on the part of the player - along the lines of Paper Mario - allowing for timed attacks, combos, and defensive abilities that can interfere with enemies as they charge their attacks. Gone are the JRPG trappings of random encounters (and grinding!), as players encounter enemies in the field while traversing the world by jumping, climbing, swimming, solving environmental puzzles, and even doing a bit of platforming. The game centers around two main characters, each with different abilities, but the player encounters dozens of other characters, interacts with their storylines, and occasionally adds new party members. Oh, and there are some really pretty sprites!

Shattered Realms | PC, and possibly other platforms | Release Date TBD
Free Lives, the developer behind Broforce and Genital Jousting, has teamed up with Kopskop Games to bring you Shattered Realms, a beat 'em up that uses 1:1 fighting game mechanics (unrelated to the fantasy novel series of the same name). Instead of just mashing the PUNCH button until the bad guys fall down, players use advanced combo systems, cancelling techniques, and recovery moves for a more technical experience. Of course, enemy characters and bosses are more intelligent as well and won't fall for your old button mashing brawler tactics. Players have separate buttons for punching, kicking, dashing, and special attacks, and they can build up an EX gauge to unleash powerful moves. Players have access to a dozen ground-based moves and another dozen midair moves, some of which can be combined with EX or super attacks for devastating results. The game supports up to 4P co-op and includes a versus mode.

Shovel Knight Dig | Switch, PS4, and Xbox One | 2022
Yacht Club Games returns with another tale in the Shovel Knight saga, this time teaming up with Nitrome, the studio behind Bomb Chicken and numerous mobile titles. Shovel Knight Dig sees everyone's favorite knight of shovelry - with increased graphical fidelity - in a descent-based adventure that mixes elements of the Dig Dug / Mr. Driller series and 1-on-1 Mega Man-style boss battles. Shovel Knight still fights enemies and grabs treasure, but this time around, he gains new abilities that let him hurl bouncing projectiles, blast nearby enemies with a great horn, and shrink down to a minuscule size to fit through small openings.

The Siege and the Sandfox | PC | Release Date TBD
Developers Chucklefish (Starbound, Stardew Valley) and Cardboard Sword have teamed up to create an atmospheric stealth-based metroidvania entitled The Siege and the Sandfox (that's "Sandfox" not "Sandbox"). You take on the role of a thief who witnesses the murder of the king and finds himself accused of this crime and tossed into the dungeon. By mastering stealth and acrobatic abilities, you must evade guards, escape your prison, and expose the true villain in order to save the city.

Source of Madness | PC and Switch | Currently in Steam Early Access
Source of Madness, from Carry Castle, is a roguelike actioner set in a dark Lovecraftian world... but not Lovecraftian in the typical video game sense of over-tentaculated monsters looming in the distance, but rather true eldritch horrors that are made up of amalgamations of flesh that twitch and scurry and slither and sometimes break into gibby bits as you furiously cast spells to blast them into oblivion. As an acolyte, you set out across a dangerous landscape overrun by ancient horrors as you attempt to open a pathway to the moon. Your odds of survival are quite low, but fortunately there are many other recruits who will unwillingly follow in your footsteps when you fall. Permanent upgrades unlock as you make progress, including new character classes with different spells and abilities, and you can pick up or purchase useful items on each run. Do you have what it takes to die many horrible deaths in service to the cult of the Tower of Knowledge? Yes you do. But can you learn from your deaths and fight your way through the lurking terrors? Check our coverage here.

Space Outlaw Alice | PC | Release Date TBD
Space Outlaw Alice, from Hissatsu Studios, stars Alice (a space outlaw) who is on the run from the corrupt Earth government in the year 2378, so she runs, jumps, and shoots her way through a colorful array of baddies. On top of traditional action-platforming, she also gets to pilot a huge mech suit that lets her fly around and blast baddies in horizontal shmup sequences. The game is influenced by games NES/Famicom games and classic mecha anime, as evidenced by the game's straightforward mechanics, limited color palette, chiptune soundtrack, wacky character designs, and retro-style cutscenes.

Spleen | PC and eventually consoles | Release Date TBD
The spleen is a part of your body that you don't think much about, but it serves an important function... and maybe you'll live a bit longer if you have a pamplemousse for breakfast (and maybe not). Spleen, from Pamplemousse Games, has nothing to do with any of that, and stars a young man in an action-RPG who hopes to recapture the excitement of his youth. As an adult, Johann interacts with his friends and coworkers, but as a kid, he wears a long scarf and carries along an oversized anime-style sword through a colorful hand-painted watercolor world, fighting tentacle monsters and other creatures on his way to defeat Spleen, a dark force that grows from the gloom of adulthood.

SteamDolls - Order of Chaos | PC, Mac, Linux, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One | 2021
SteamDolls - Order of Chaos, from The Shady Gentlemen, is an atmospheric steampunk game starring The Whisper, a masked anarchist who hopes to shine a light on the corruption of the authoritarian government and spark the flame of revolution... if only he could stop seeing strange visions of things that may or may not be real. The Whisper has a blade attached to each wrist, which he uses to slice up baddies, along with throwing knives to hit them from a distance, but his most powerful tool comes in the form of stealth kills, allowing him to sneak up behind enemies and perform brutal and bloody 1-hit kills... stabbing enemies through the skull with his wrist-blades, or jamming a spear through their backs to leave them slumped over in a heap. The player deals with robotic drones and environmental traps as he explores an interconnected world aided by a metroidvania map. The game is part of a larger universe, which is also taking form via a concurrently-developed graphic novel, and the voice of the main character is provided by none other than David Hayter of Metal Gear Solid fame. Check our coverage here.

Super Magbot | PC | 2021
Super Magbot, from Astral Pixel, is a platformer where you don't have the ability to jump. Instead, you use the power of magnetism to repel yourself from certain surfaces and attract yourself to others. You take on the role of Super Magbot who aims a magnetic ray gun to fling himself about using positive and negative polarities with the corresponding platforms. You must navigate through magnet-lined environments that mix precision movement with a bit of puzzle solving as you must learn the proper route forward and then execute a series of successful moves to reach the goal at the end, all while dodging level hazards like spinning saw blades. New magnet types are introduced as the game goes on, with the player facing standard magnets, disappearing magnets, springboards, and magnetic bubbles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge | PC, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One | 2022
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the sewers (or something), the frantic 4P TMNT beat 'em up action of the arcade is back with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, from Tribute Games. You may remember Tribute Games as the studio behind Panzer Paladin, Flinthook, and loads of other kickass 2D video games, and while Konami is off doing who-knows-what, Tribute is bringing their 2D pedigree and charming sprite art to everyone's favorite heroes-in-a-half-shell (turtle power!). So you'd have had to have been living under a rock(steady) to be unaware of the turtles or their famous arcade games (or cartoon, or originating comics, etc.), but just in case... you take on the role of one of four ninja turtles: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Leonardo, as you go up against tons of foot soldiers, other mutant baddies, and the Shredder himself, with all of the 80's/90's cartoon glory perfectly preserved and character designs ripped straight outta Turtles in Time... there are no brooding angry Justice League wannabes here. This is classic gnarly brawler action for everyone who grew up with the radical arcade games or the SNES ports. These turtle boys don't cut 'em no slack!

There is No Light | PC, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One | Q3 2021
There is No Light, from Zelart (game tweets), is a dark action-RPG set in a world where most of the population has been wiped out by some great catastrophe... but one man takes a stand. Now the world is filled with demons and other grotesque monstrosities that view you as a tasty morsel, and everything is covered in fleshy globs, spider webs, and piles of corpses. With a bit of skill, you can push the demons back and possibly save the world, which reacts to your actions, for better or worse. Armed with a sword and a healthy dodge roll, you fight through hordes of enemy creatures and hellish boss creatures across a nonlinear world, stringing together combos to fuel your rage and unleash more powerful attacks.

They Always Run | PC | 2021
They Always Run, from Alawar Premium, is a space-western-style action platformer starring a 3-armed bounty hunter named Aiden. The empire has fallen and criminals are filling the void of power, so tracking them down has become big business... and you're out to find the galaxy's biggest offenders, all while working to uncover a grand conspiracy. You hunt your bounties across the civilized central planets, the outlying wild west worlds, and even across planets that were once homes to ancient civilizations. Collect bounties in the form of information and cash, and spend your money on better equipment, stronger weapons, and new abilities. Use your three arms to acrobatically hack and slash your way through enemies while strategically defending and counterattacking, deflecting energy blasts back at enemies, and performing stealth kills.

Tiny Thor | PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, 3DS, iOS, and Android | Release Date TBD
Tiny Thor, from Asylum Square, stars Thor as an 8-year-old boy who just received his mighty hammer as a birthday present. Soon thereafter, all of the gods suddenly vanish, and Thor must set out to save them, battling enemies with his hammer, while collecting treasure along the way, and eating ice cream cones to restore his health. Along the way, Thor earns upgrades for his hammer that let him smash through blocks to further explore the environment, and being able to toss out multiple rapid-fire hammers to take down enemies and bosses. The game is presented in a colorful 16-bit art style.

Transmute | PC | 2021
Transmute, from Evan Tor Games, is as metroidvania as metroidvanias get, taking direct inspiration from the Metroid series in its environments, atmosphere, and enemy designs. A year ago, an explosion rocked a scientific outpost, which has since been marked off limits. You take on the role of Mute, daughter of one of the scientists aboard the station, as she is sent in to investigate, determine what happened, and return home with any research she can find. Fortunately, Mute is no slouch in the adventure-platforming department, as she's skilled in combat and can acquire a variety of upgrades (all of which are entirely optional) in order to fully explore the station. She can wall jump, dash, perform spinning attacks, reprogram a drone to fight alongside her, call forth tentacles to block incoming projectiles, and blast creepy creatures, adversarial artificial intelligence, and vicious bosses through a large open world. Along the way, Mute uncovers more information about what happened at the outpost and, more importantly, what happened to her mother.

UFO 50 | PC and eventually other platforms | 2021
UFO 50 is a collection of 50 games from a collection of developers including Derek Yu (Spelunky), Ojiro Fumoto (Downwell) Eirik Suhrke (Skorpulac), Jon Perry (Time Barons), and Paul Hubans (Madhouse). The games cover a variety of genres and play styles, including shooters, RPG's, puzzlers, brawlers, and platformers, with single player, cooperative, and competitive games in the mix. Each game has a single director in charge of the concept, but with other team members contributing assets, design, and programming assistance. They games aren't quite as long as traditional commercial titles, but they aren't throwaway 5-minute experiences either. The collection is essentially a 50-in-1 cart, but not filled with Chinese knockoff crap or reskinned versions of other games.

UnDungeon | PC, Mac, Linux, and Xbox One | November 18, 2021
You may not be aware of this, but literally every game in development right now is a roguelike action-RPG. All of them... OK, so that's not true, but there are so many developers out there that are churning out mindless (soulless?) Demon Souls-inspired dungeon crawlers year after year, repeating screen after screen of dark pixelly caves and dungeons. Fortunately, some developers aren't satisfied with the basic constructs and spice things up with a bit of style, with standouts like Risk of Rain and Enter the Gungeon bringing something new to the experience. UnDungeon, from Laughing Machines (game site), aims to make its mark with its unique art style and disturbing creature designs. Some great calamity has caused seven different dimensions to merge into one, each bringing its own unique architecture and species of beings. Taking on the role of a sentient being from one of these seven realms - each with its own unique abilities - you seek to uncover the mysteries of the new world and what has brought these dimensions together. Per genre standards, you'll be facing tough enemies in a procedurally generated world with permadeath that restarts your adventure should you fail.

Vibrant Venture | PC and Mac | Currently in Steam Early Access
Vibrant Venture, from Semag Games, is a lighthearted platformer set in a bright and colorful (and vibrant!) world. The game stars four playable characters, each of whom has two character-specific abilities, and the player is able to swap between them on the fly to navigate the world and solve environmental puzzles. For instance, one character can perform a double jump, one can wall jump and ground slam, one can strike enemies with a water-based attack and perform an air dash, and one can hover on air currents. Knowing when to swap characters is key to passing through levels, defeating enemies, and overcoming bosses.

Waju | PC | Release Date TBD
Waju, from Gabriel Priske, is a colorful platformer where you take on the role of a plucky robot as it explores the overgrown landscape of some unknown future. The robot's special ability allows it to jump up and stick to most surfaces, and then kick away from them. This ability is used to climb to higher points in the environment, knock objects out of the way to clear a path, send enemy projectiles flying back at them, and knock into enemies to damage them. The player can even bounce off of enemies and projectiles to use them as platforms and reach higher areas. Players must be mindful, however, as some objects - like drill bits - will hurt if they to grab them. Throughout the adventure, the robot earns new abilities, such as an air dash, to aid in combat and environmental navigation. The game features some lovely artwork, charming enemy designs, and cartoony animations, with a mixture of 2D environment art and 3D characters.

Witchmarsh | PC, Mac, and possibly Linux | Release Date TBD
Witchmarsh, from Inglenook Games, is a spritely action-RPG set in 1920’s Massachusetts, focusing on a team investigating the disappearances of a dozen townsfolk in a supernatural mystery. Players may select from one of several investigators, heading straight in with set template, or customizing their abilities and items. Investigators have different specialties, such as the Technician that can zap enemies with her lightning rod, and the mysterious horned Guardian who can damage enemies with fire. In addition to hacking and slashing evil monsters, players must actually work toward solving the case by speaking with NPC’s and analyzing clues. Investigators may team up via online multiplayer for 2-4P co-op.

Xenosis: Alien Infection | PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch | 2021
Xenosis: Alien Infection, from NerdRage Studios, is a creepy top-down survival shooter set aboard the derelict Starship Carpathian, which was thought to have been destroyed five decades prior. You take on the role of a salvage operator who plans to become rich by selling the ship's AI core. He expects the ship to be abandoned, but nothing could be further from the truth... the crew may be dead but they are not gone. As you explore, you discover hideous creatures (possibly space vampires based on the name of the ship) lurking in the darkness. Some drag themselves along the floor, pulling their entrails behind them, while others are aggressive brutes. You'll have to overcome the ship's systems, refill your oxygen tanks, repair tears in your suit, and craft supplies, ammo, and upgrades for your weapons and suit. The game features 2D artwork with dynamic 3D lighting effects and positional sound to add to the horror atmosphere.

玄女诛魔录 | PC | Currently in Steam Early Access
玄女诛魔录, or Xuán Nǚ Zhū Mó Lù, is a metroidvania from developer 青岛三脚猫工作室 (Qīngdǎo sānjiǎo māo gōngzuò shì). You take on the role of a demon-slaying warrior goddess known as Jiutian Xuannü as she travels through six themed worlds searching for the answer to an ancient mystery. The game features hand-painted art and animations, paired with flashy effects that add life to the action. Jiutian Xuannü is a capable heroine who can dash, double jump, and climb through the environment, and she uses her sword and magic spells to fight dozens of demonic enemy types and boss creatures. She can perform combos to slash her way through enemies and obstacles, or use balls of flame to hit targets at a distance, and she meets NPC's that aid her in her journey.

Xydonia | PC, Mac, and Linux | Release Date TBD
Xydonia, from Breaking Bytes, is a retro-style horizontal shmup inspired by R-Type, Gradius, and Darius. Set in the year 30XX, spacefaring humankind have set their eyes on a mysterious planet called Xydonia, but no one who has explored the planet has returned. As you might expect, you play one such adventurer who hopes to uncover the mysteries of this ancient civilization and reap the rewards for yourself. Players may select one of three starting pilots - or team up with another player in 2P co-op - and additional pilots remain to be unlocked, each with a different set of upgradeable weapons and passive modifiers. Players can also unlock new weapons by scavenging parts from defeated bosses. Additionally, the game features branching paths, hidden stages, and multiple endings.

* Because these games are in various stages of development and represent in-progress work, certain elements could change prior to release, including the release date and platform.


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