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!
20XX | PC via Steam, and eventually Mac and Linux | Currently in Steam Early Access
Batterystaple Games invites you to dust off your blaster and dive into 20XX (previously Echoes of Eridu). The game features colorful fast-paced robot action inspired by the gameplay in Mega Man X, while mixing in multiplayer and roguelike elements. In the year 2045, an online retail computer system becomes sentient and starts a robot revolution that wipes out most of humanity… but it feels really guilty about it, so the AI imbues some of the surviving humans with cybernetic enhancements so that they can fight back. You play the part of one of these cyborgs (or two in 2P co-op), with a heavily modifiable weapon loadout that you can expand by finding blueprints, allowing for a huge array of possible weapons, abilities, and support items. Taking a page out of the Blue Bomber’s handbook, you get new weapons by defeating bosses. The game mixes precision platforming with air dashery and fast-paced combat sequences.
Aegis Defenders | PC and Mac via Steam, PS4 via PSN | Q3 2017
Aegis Defenders, from developer GUTS Department, is an action adventure title which mixes platformer-based exploration, weapon-based combat, and strategy-based arena battles as enemies close in on you from all sides. The game features a man named Bart and his granddaughter Clu, whose home was destroyed by a robotic god, and so they must seek out a powerful weapon known as Aegis to spare the world from its future attacks. Bart is able to use his abilities to craft turrets and other defensive items, make repairs, and smash baddies to bits with his giant hammer, while Clue can shoot at enemies directly and set up traps, and the player must swap between the two characters to make use of their varied skills… or team up with a friend to control them both simultaneously.
Aggelos | PC via Steam | February 2017
Aggelos is currently under development by Storybird Games, the studio behind the Finding Teddy series. The game is a traditional action-adventure where you play a sword-wielding hero on a quest to defeat an evil villain and rescue the princess. Along the way, you'll stab the hell out of bears, birds, hermit crabs, spiders, and other wildlife that stands in the way of your victory. Along the way, you'll learn new sword attacks and projectile-based spells to defeat your enemies and reach new areas, and you can level up to increase your strength and defense. Per retro adventuring standards, a number of friendly NPC's await you in a village to help point you in the right direction.
Alwa's Awakening | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | JUST RELEASED!!
A development team made up of Mikael Forslind, Kevin Andersson, Robert Kreese, and Alexander Berggren (game site) brings you Alwa's Awakening, a game about a girl named Zoe who gets sucked into an NES game and finds herself in the land of Alwa. The game is a sidescrolling action adventure and sees Zoe battling undead creatures, dodging environmental obstacles, and navigating spike-filled landscapes. Zoe must use her magic abilities to make her way through the world, including the ability to create a bubble that she can use to float to higher platforms, and the creation of blocks that she can use as stepping stones.
A.N.N.E | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, and Wii U via eShop | Release Date TBD
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 | Wii U and 3DS via eShop | 2017
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.
Armed with Wings: Rearmed | PC via Steam | Currently in Steam Early Access
Armed with Wings: Rearmed is a follow-up to Sun-Studios' original 2008 freeware release, Armed with Wings, and its follow-ups. This time around, Daniel Sun's one-man studio is working on a full-fledged commercial release, offering many improvements over the previous releases. The player takes on the role of a resurrected warrior wielding a sword imbued with the power of electricity who must defend the world of Black Mist and ultimately defeat the tyrannical King Vandheer. The player engages foes in sword-based combat and can control an eagle that scouts ahead and solves environmental puzzles. The player works his way through more than two dozen levels filled with enemies, bosses traps, spikes, and platforming challenges.
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.
Battle Princess Madelyn | Consoles and handhelds TBD, PC version to follow | Release Date TBD
Battle Princess Madelyn is from Causal Bit Games, the developers behind the dark and gritty Insanity's Blade, a game inspired by late 80's arcade games like Black Tiger and Ghouls 'n Ghosts. The game got its start as the developer's daughter enjoyed watching her dad play the first level of Ghouls ‘n Ghosts over and over so she could watch him fight what she called "Green Head", the first level boss. And, while her dad couldn't exactly put her into GnG, he could make her the star of her own GnG-style game, and so Battle Princess Madelyn was born. The game begins as Maddi's village comes under attack, and an evil wizard kidnaps her family and kills her dog. Despite being a kid, she puts on some armor and heads out to to kill the wizard, tossing projectiles like King Arthur before her (with a very similar animation). Accompanied by the ghost of her dead pooch, she cuts a swath through the undead and other monstrous creatures, with the ghost dog firing projectiles behind her, which change depending on what armor she's wearing. The player plays through a variety of dark and atmospheric environments, facing off against huge bosses along the way, until he eventually reaches the end... and is sent back to the start of the game in GnG tradition.
Below | PC via Steam, Xbox One via Microsoft Store | Release Date TBD
Developer Capybara, known for their stylistic adventure title Sword & Sworcery and over-the-top actioner Super Time Force, returns with Below, an atmospheric roguelike with a deep focus on exploration. You play a lone character who heads out into a dangerous world with a sword and shield to battle his way deeper and deeper into the unknown. While you will be able to acquire new weapons, you will be very limited in what you can carry, which forces players to learn the combat system in order to survive. The game features realtime combat and random environments, and it is meant to be very challenging. Death will come frequently, and is permanent per roguelike standards, but you will learn more about how to survive on your future runs and go even deeper. The game is built primarily around single-screen dungeons where your player character is very small and surrounded by darkness. The talented Jim Guthrie (Sword & Sworcery, Indie Game: The Movie) returns to compose the music for the game.
Black Witchcraft | PC, PS4 and Vita via PSN, and Xbox One via Microsoft Store | Release Date TBD
Developer Quattro Gear is developing a combo-based action-RPG entitled Black Witchcraft, which is inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The game features high-rez gothic artwork and some dark and twisted enemy and boss designs. Players control a witch with mechanical legs who carries a suitcase with a big red eye on the side. The suitcase is able to transform into a number of weapons, including a spear and a scythe for up-close action, and it can extend into a minigun for long-range asskickery.
Blaster Master Zero | 3DS via eShop | Q2 2017
Inti Creates, the developer behind Azure Striker Gunvolt and the bulk of the latter-day Mega Man games, is working on a new entry in the Blaster Master series. Blaster Master Zero promises an 8-bit-style experience with retro 2D visuals but with some modern hardware improvements. The game features a number of areas from the original Blaster Master, but also adds several new areas and bosses, as well as new movement types and weapons for SOPHIA 3rd, and expanded and improved gameplay for on-foot explorations sequences. The player once again assumes the role of Jason Frudnick, star of the original game (although the name "Frudnick" only appeared in the Worlds of Power Blaster Master novella), and will once again feature Jason chasing Fred and falling into a subterranean world where he finds SOPHIA 3rd conveniently parked nearby. In some added backstory, it appears that humanity once inhabited the underworld after the planet entered an ice age... during which time a strange comet struck Earth, and the story picks up hundreds of years later, with Fred being referred to as a mysterious creature of unknown origin.
Blink | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | January 2017
Blink, from nextReality has a somewhat odd premise in that it is a “second person” puzzle platformer. While the player takes control of the character on the screen, the character is actually being observed by an unseen being. When the being closes its eyes, the world persists, but everything is plunged into darkness. All that remains are the after effects of objects in the world that were illuminated, and these become the platforms on which the player walks. By manipulating light sources, the player can cast light on anything, even something as insubstantial as a patch of fog, and then use it in the darkened version of the world. The player may also use this mechanic to pass through otherwise solid object that cease to have corporeality when the being closes its eyes.
Bloom: Memories | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, and possibly consoles | Release Date TBD
Bloom: Memories is an action adventure game from Studio Fawn. While the game does feature combat, it is actually possible to complete the entire adventure without harming a single living creature, if you should so choose. So, rather than killing some giant creature that blocks your path, you may actually be able to speak to it, or simply sneak past. Or you can play the game as a traditional hack-and-slash, killing everything you see and growing stronger along the way, but the world will react to your violent solutions in kind. The game is presented in an isometric perspective with characters built using 3D models animated as 2D sprites.
Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King | PC | Release Date TBD
Castle Pixel, the studio behind Rex Rocket, returns with a top-down action RPG inspired by The Legend of Zelda, starring a young girl named Lily. Blossom Tales offers a modern take on the classic formula by presenting things as a story told by the protagonist’s grandfather. As the tale unfolds, Lily interjects her own ideas, thus changing the story and game elements. As such, the game features a mix of preset and random dungeon layouts and enemy encounters. Lily has a traditional sword and shield combo that can be used to unleash a variety of attacks, and she is also able to make use of items that include a bow and arrows, a torch, and a magic wand.
Brave Earth | PC | Release Date TBD
Brave Earth 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.
Catacomb Kids | PC and Mac via Steam | Currently in Steam Early Access
Developer FourBitFriday, a.k.a. Tyriq Plummer, has worked as an animator on a number of 2D games, including Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion and Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW! Now he’s offering up a game of his own in the form of roguelike platformer Catacomb Kids. Navigating this procedurally generated world requires nimble fingers and apt use of swords and sorcery to destroy loads of enemies who wish to end you. Weapons include swords, axes, spears, and daggers, while magic powers allow you to freeze your opponents, poison them, or simply burn them alive. Enhanced weaponry can be found by exploring the dungeon and opening treasure chests. The game features 20 floors with four different gameplay-altering themes, more than a dozen spells, numerous character classes, several bosses and minibosses, and local competitive multiplayer.
Chasm | PS4 via PSN, PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Release Date TBD
Discord Games, the developers behind Xbox Live Indie Games titles Take Arms and 48 Chambers, returns with an action-RPG that mixes roguelike and Metroidvania elements. Chasm focuses on exploration through a procedurally generated cave system as you fight your way through enemies and bosses, grab loot, hunt for secrets, and hopefully return home alive. Players are able to equip weapons and spells, along with armor and passive buffs, as they fight enemies to gain experience points and level up, similar to the neo-Castlevania titles. As is typical of rogelikes, the dangers increase as you descend further into the depths of the mine, but you may return to the surface to do things like purchase weapon upgrades from the local blacksmith before heading back into the fray.
Chicken Wiggle | 3DS via Nintendo eShop and iOS via App Store | 2017
For many years, developer Renegade Kid struggled to stay afloat, and after seeing diminishing returns from their new releases, the studio finally folded in 2016, despite a robust catalogue of titles including the Moon and Dementium series, as well as 2D standouts like Mutant Mudds and Xeodrifter. Following the dissolution, founders Jools Watsham and Gregg Hargrove split their IP and founded two separate studios, with Gregg's founding Infitizmo and retaining ownership of the 3D games, and Jools founding Atooi and retaining ownership of the 2D titles. The first new game announced by Atooi is Chicken Wiggle, starring an odd partnership between a bird and his wiggly worm friend, which he keeps in his backpack (but not as a snack). The worm is able to stretch out and reach grapple points and zip to them, as well as smack enemies to stun them, while the bird hops about to navigate the environment and complete platforming challenges. In addition, players are invited to create their own levels and share them online, with new elements unlocking once the player completes the single player campaign.
Children of Morta | PC, Mac, and Linux, Wii U via eShop | Release Date TBD
Children of Morta, from developer Dead Mage, is a roguelike dungeon crawler where you hack and slash your way through legions of dark creatures. The game focuses on the Bergson family, each of whom has a different set of weapons, ranging from a sword and shield combo, to a bow and arrows, to an up-close short range weapon that requires quick movement to use effectively. Players may also visit the blacksmith to increase the power of their weapons, and a chemist mixes magical potions that can be tossed for area effect attacks. The game features incredibly detailed spritework and animations.
Chroma | PC, Mac, and possibly Linux | Release Date TBD
Clawhammer Games presents Chroma, an atmospheric puzzle-platformer centering around the use of light and color. Lately, there have been numerous games that use retro-styled graphics with modern lighting effects. In most games, the lighting is in place merely for show, but in this case the lighting is used for environmental navigation and puzzle solving. You control a white creature that gives off light within an otherwise dark environment, and casts hard shadows as a result. However, you can also split off into a shadow form, leaving your light-emitting self behind. This dark form can walk on the shadows that you create, using them as platforms to reach new areas. You also use light to activate switches, and placing your light form in the correct place is often the key to progressing. The game takes place in a large open world and features non-linear action-adventure play.
Clockefeller | PC and Mac via Steam | Release Date TBD
Clockefeller from Mighty Menace Games features gravity shifting gameplay, as players move around a magical clock looking for pieces of broken keys. The clock has broken down, and you must reach an elevator in order to fix it, which you may access by collecting all of the key pieces spread throughout various platforming environments. You are able to jump around corners and rotate the effect of gravity by 90 degrees in order to reach new areas. The game features dozens of levels and a number of boss fights as well, and players may collect coins in each of the levels which allow them to purchase useful items such as bombs and a jetpack.
Code: HARDCORE | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Q4 2017
Code: HARDCORE, from RocketPunch Games is a fast-paced mech combat platformer featuring a variety of mechs with different abilities. The game offers a single player story experience about a war between Earth and Mars, as well as local and online multiplayer versus modes, reminiscent of Metal Warriors on the SNES, but considerably faster. The slick 2D visuals look almost 3D with their smooth animation, rotation effects, and a skeletal animation system that conveys a sense of weight as mechs tear around blasting each other with heavy weapons. Mechs can fire multiple weapons, smash each other with melee attacks, defend themselves, jump toward enemies, and some can even transform into vehicles such as tanks and jets. And yes, you can eject from mechs and enter others.
CoinOp Story | PC, Mac, and possibly Linux | Release Date TBD
Developer KaMiZoTo harnesses his nostalgia for classic arcade cabinets to create CoinOp Story, the tale of an old arcade cabinet who must collect Jamma cards to save the world. In the not-so-distant future, all of the world’s arcade cabinets have been tossed into a garbage heap, but a generic cabinet gets struck by lightning and comes to life. With the help of his friend, a floating calculator named Professor Delta, he must seek out various arcade cabinets – designed after their real-world counterparts – and collect their Jamma cards. Each card he collects grants him new abilities, allowing him to reach previously inaccessible areas in an open Metroidvania world. For instance, the game begins with his discovery of the Donkey Kong cabinet, which gives him legs and the ability to jump. Later, after defeating a boss, he finds an Operation Wolf cabinet and gains the ability to shoot. The villain of the tale is another generic cabinet who has been loaded with illegal bootleg cards, which drove him mad. The developer plans to have around 30 arcade cabinets to unlock, along with their associated abilities.
Copy Girl | PC via Steam | Release Date TBD
Copy Girl, from Henrique "7Soul" Lazarini and Matt "Tokinsom" Gruber, is an action-platformer in the style of the Mega Man series. Copy Girl starts out with a basic pellet-shooter, but she is able to acquire eight more weapon types - complete with a palette swap for her outfit - and each weapon has unique properties that help her to strategically deal with her enemies and several boss creatures. The art is done in an 8-bit NES style with a reduced color palette, and features a number of classic 2D gaming environments, including factories with conveyor belts, underwater areas, and lands of floating platforms.
Courier of the Crypts | PC and Mac via Steam | Currently in Steam Early Access
Courier of the Crypts from Emberheart Games, is a top-down action adventure game featuring a courier with a magical torch on a mission to deliver a letter. The courier uses the torch to light his way and solve environmental puzzles, as well as ward of enemies, lure them to their deaths, or combat them directly. The world is filled with puzzles to solve and treasures to be found, along with numerous enemies that react to the light of your torch differently. But the torch needs to be fed, lest it burn out and leave you defenseless.
Crawl | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Currently in Steam Early Access
Crawl, from developer Powerhoof, is a multiplayer dungeon crawler where one player controls the hero, and the other players control the monsters. Up to four players can join in on the action simultaneously, and the creature who manages to kill the hero instantly takes his place and becomes the hero himself. All of the creatures take the form of ghosts that wander the dungeons and can manifest themselves as various corporeal creatures, or even inhabit traps. In order to survive, the hero must level up and increase his stats while collecting weapons to dispatch the rats, spiders, demons, zombies, and dragons hat he faces on his quest through a procedurally generated dungeon.
Creepy Castle | PC, Mac, and Linux | Release Date TBD
Dopterra presents Creepy Castle, a sidescrolling action-RPG with an old-school aesthetic. Like You Have to Win the Game and VVVVVV, this game features a low resolution and limited color palette like the computer games of old. While many classically-inspired titles are happy to cast off other hardware restrictions, Creepy Castle takes things a step further by presenting the game with the same janky scrolling offered by the limited technology of the day. The game has a rather unconventional star in the form of a moth (or perhaps not so unconventional given the name of the studio) who must travel through an expansive castle to uncover its mysteries. The game also mixes in turn-based elements, including duels against powerful enemies. The game also features guest appearances from Shovel Knight and Plague Knight from Shovel Knight and Dr. Fetus from Super Meat Boy.
CrossCode | PC via Steam, and eventually Mac and Linux | Currently in Steam Early Access
CrossCode, from developer Radical Fish Games, in an action-RPG inspired by 16-bit classics like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, except that is a science fiction game set in the future. The game's protagonist, Lea, finds herself trapped in an MMO called CrossWorlds where she must fight enemies, level up to increase her stats and gain new abilities, and solve environmental puzzles. While the game is inspired by 16-bit titles, the pace of the action is decidedly more fast-paced than anything that was being presented on the consoles of the day, with Lea furiously tossing projectiles, spinning and dashing through enemies, and taking on large fast-moving boss creatures.
Crossing Souls | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Q2 2017
Developer Fourattic presents Crossing Souls, an action adventure game set in California in 1986 when a group of kids discover a mystical pyramid-shaped stone that lets them see people and creatures long since dead. Using the stone leads to unexpected consequences, and the unassuming children find themselves in a fight to save the world. Each of the five kids has a different ability, with one having greater strength that lets him lift objects that the others cannot; another has greater agility which allows him to move more quickly; and another is able to use stealth to hide. Players must combat enemies in action-based sequences, as well as solve puzzles by interacting with people from different time periods.
Cryptark | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Currently in Steam Early Access
Cryptark is the latest game from AlienTrap Games, the developers behind Apotheon and Capsized. The player commands a small armed vessel which he uses to infiltrate a number of heavily defended procedurally-generated alien spacecraft called "arks". The arks' defenses come in the form of sentries, drone spawners, and robotic ships, all of which the player must destroy or bypass in order to reach the core and destroy it. The rewards the player receives can be used to upgrade his ship's arsenal to take on new targets of ever-increasing power.
Cuphead | PC via Steam, Xbox One via Microsoft Store | Q3 2017
StudioMDHR delivers Cuphead, a fighting game -slash- shooter with a very unique art style. Modeled after 1930’s-era cartoons like Popeye and some of the Disney classics, the game features colorful characters, washed out backgrounds, simple piano tunes, and some rather odd humor. Our hero is a guy with a teacup for a head and a straw sticking out the top. Dear old Cuphead gambles with the devil and loses, and finds himself defeating enemies to pay the fiend back. The poor fellow can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble and is constantly struggling as a victim of his own failures. The game features projectile-based combat in enclosed arenas against a variety of cartoonily menacing foes, as well as traditional platforming and shooting action.
Cyber Shadow | PC and Mac via Steam | Release Date TBD
Cyber Shadow from developer Aarne Hunziker, is a throwback to classic ninja games, starring a blade-wielding warrior with access to elemental-based special attacks... provided you are willing to take the lives of your clansmen; otherwise, you can go the tougher route of taking on enemies with just your sword. Those who move beyond the sword will find fast-flying shuriken, a fire attack, and explosive kunai. Players can expect classically-tough gameplay with loads of ninja enemies, as well as flying robots, deadly machinery, and and huge bosses ready to mete out a swift end.
Dead Pixels II: Straight to Video | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Release Date TBD
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's Gambit | PC | Release Date TBD
Death's Gambit, from White Rabbit Interactive (game site), is an action-RPG where you explore a Medieval-era planet, taking on the role of an armored knight as he battles across a harsh landscape. The knight uses a number of melee weapons, as well as a bow and arrows and a large shield to face off against similarly-armed foes and larger-than-life monsters, but he must occasionally tackle gigantic towering creatures Shadow of the Colossus-style. In these encounters, the knight must ascend the bodies of the great beasts by using a grappling hook to attach to specific points, and keep the creature's movements in mind in order to avoid falling. The game world is nonlinear, with new paths generally becoming available as major enemies are felled, which allows the player to tackle the world as he wishes, or try a new path if he finds himself unable to move forward.
Dimension Drive | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Currently in Steam Early Access
Dimension Drive, from 2Awesome Studio, is a teleportation-based shmup where you must pilot your ship across two battlefields. As you fly, you will encounter impassible lasers, sprays of bullets, other objects that require you to move to the opposite screen, teleporting to the same relative position on the other side. Your ship is capable of emitting a spray of projectiles that may be upgraded to several power levels, and the bullets may be aimed behind the ship to strike enemies you have already passed when you teleport across screens. If you're having a hard time keeping track of the action - or if you don't have two brains - you can bring along a friend for 2P co-op.
Dragon Bros | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Currently in Steam Early Access
In Dragon Bros, from Space Lizard Studio, you take on the role of a teenage dragon - or two teenage dragons in local 2P co-op - as he goes on a robot-blasting journey to rescue your mom and save the world from aliens. Players have access to pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and giant lasers to take down a variety of enemies and collect scraps that allow them to purchase upgrades to increase their firepower and add secondary effects like bouncing bullets.
Eagle Island | PC and Mac | Release Date TBD
Eagle Island, from Nick Gregory, is a procedurally-generated platformer starring a young falconer and his owl companion as they explore a colorful world of forests, mines, coastal caverns, and other locales. The player has the standard array of platformer moves, and he is also able to launch the owl in multiple directions, striking enemies at a distance to damage them. The game world is made up of interconnected areas, allowing exploration to locate key items and backtracking through previously visited areas in order to open the path forward. By discovering magical feathers, the player is able to change the owl's form and unlock new abilities.
EarthNight | PC and Mac, PS4 and Vita via PSN, iOS, Android | 2017
EarthNight, from Cleaversoft, is an auto-running action game with a simple control scheme set in a dragon apocalypse. You select a character and run across the back of a serpentine dragon as its body ripples up and down. Along the way, you take out a variety of enemies and surf along its back until you eventually reach the dragon’s head, at which point you rapidly punch it in the eye until you are flung off into the sky. From there, you freefall back toward the earth while flying dragons swarm below you. Line yourself up with one of these creatures and you will fall onto its back and begin the next stage.
Eitr | PS4 via PSN, PC via Steam, plus Mac and Linux in the future | 2017
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.
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.
The End of the World | PC via Steam | Release Date TBD
Developer Izanami GameWorks brings you The End of the World, an overhead car combat game that is less Bump 'n' Jump and more Bump 'n' Murder. In this game, your spend your time ramming other vehicles into oblivion, as well as firing machine guns with wild abandon, and taking on huge shmup-style bosses in the form of limo-riding jerks and huge mutant beasts made of eyeballs and tentacles that chase you through the streets. Smash through ambulances to get more health, cut a swath through busloads of baddies, and even blow off your enemies' heads, all the while racking up a huge combo of endless wreckage.
Fabular: Once Upon a Spacetime | PC | Q2 2017
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.
Flightless | PC and Mac via Steam | Release Date TBD
Nitrome is a developer known for its detailed sprite art across a number of freeware releases, although Flightless will be a commercially-released title. Flightless is a puzzle-platformer featuring drop-in drop-out 2P co-op, where players take control of ducks who have been caught stealing and had their wings clipped… thus making the birds flightless. In order to pay restitution, you must travel through a number of dungeons and use your magical ladder to collect gems. In addition to being unable to fly, you also can’t jump, so you must use ladders to reach higher areas, but you can also send them upward to kill enemies and grab gems. Complex puzzles will see you using the ladder on moving platforms, or hitting objects to make the ladder turn at 90 degree angles. In 2P co-op, players can team up and work together, or split up and explore different parts of the environment.
Flinthook | Xbox One via Microsoft Store, PS4 via PSN, and PC via Steam | 2017
Flinthook is a procedurally-generated grapple-based platformer from Tribute Games, the studio behind a number of pixellated actioners: Wizorb, Mercenary Kings, Ninja Senki DX, and Curses 'n Chaos. In this game, you use a grappling hook to swing around the environment, dodging lasers, saw blades, projectiles, and spikes, while also contending with a number of enemies. Fortunately, you have more than just a grappling hook to see you through, as you can blast away at foes, toss explosives, and even slow down time a bit in order to line up a kill shot. Some exploration is required as well, as rooms are interconnected, requiring the player to seek out keys and do a bit of backtracking to track down treasure chests. There are also a number of boss encounters that require deft use of your projectiles and grappling abilities, as you fly around the room, connecting to grapple points and aiming for the boss' weak point.
Fox n Forests | PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, XB1, and Switch | Release Date TBD
It seems that the season-changing fox-based platformer genre is starting to get a bit crowded, what with this and the long-in-development Seasons After Fall. Developer Bonus Level Entertainment (game tweets) presents Fox n Forests, a game inspired by the colorful platformers of the 16-bit era. You play the role of a fox as he travels through various environments (including forests) on a quest to uncover the legendary 5th season. Along the way, the fox controls the existing four seasons, allowing winter to give spring and summer a miss and go straight on into autumn, and changing the world around him. For instance, the impassable waterways of summer may be safely passed by changing the season to winter and freezing them over. The fox uses a short-range sword and various projectile attacks to take down pixellated foes as he hops across platforms, slides down ziplines, and collects coins, as well as facing off against the occasional screen-filling boss.
Freedom Planet 2 | PC, Mac, Linux, and consoles TBD | Release Date TBD
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.
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.
Goodbye! Boxboy! | 3DS via eShop | 2017
Goodbye! Boxboy!, from HAL Laboratory, is the third entry in the BoxBoy series, a fun and charming (and somewhat easy) series of puzzle-platformers published by Nintendo. This time around, Qbby has a number of new abilities to see him through the platforming challenges, including the creation of time bomb blocks that can blow holes in walls and jet-propelled blocks that he can use as a jetpack or to press buttons on the ceiling. There are also a number of stages where you must not only survive to the end but also protect a smaller box-person as well.
Grapple Knight | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Release Date TBD
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again… The world needs more grapple-based action games! Red Knight Games steps in to assist us with our goal/fantasy with Grapple Knight, an action adventure game featuring an axe-wielding knight who can swing through the environment and pull himself toward enemies with the use of a grappling hook. As you play, you unlock new abilities to assist you in your adventure. The game is inspired by classic 16-bit games and features colorful environments, numerous enemies, and the occasional boss creature.
Greedy Guns | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Release Date TBD
Greedy Guns, from developer Tio Atum, is an action platformer inspired by fast-paced high action games such as Gunstar Heroes and Contra, combined with Metroidvania exploration elements. Players may go alone or team up with another player in 2P co-op to blast away baddies on alien planets. Players are able to move and aim independently with full 360 degree control of their shooting, allowing for shooting while dodging, fast strafing, and the tried-and-true method of running away and screaming while shooting at the bad guys running up behind you. Explosions? Check. Double jump? Check. Enemies bursting into piles of spinning gold coins when they are destroyed? Checkaroonie.
Gunkatana | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | 2017
Gunkatana, from Torn Page Games (game site), is a fast-paced action game where players are armed with the titular gunkatanas, capable of slashing enemies or firing laser blasts. Players are dropped into an arena and tasked with slaughtering their way through their enemies in single player, local cooperative, and local competitive modes. Arenas are decked out with grind rails, allowing players to grind along at high speeds to travel the environment and get the drop on their opponents. In addition, laser blasts bounce off walls, allowing for some additional strategy as players attack around corners and fake-out foes by bouncing them off of walls as they run away... but the lasers can also kill the player who fired them, and all hits are 1-hit kills.
Heart Forth, Alicia | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, PS4 and Vita via PSN, Wii U and 3DS via eShop | 2017
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.
Heat Signature | PC, and possibly Mac and Linux | Release Date TBD
Tom Francis, the developer behind the excellently crazy spy/electrician game Gunpoint, is back with a brand new adventure, this time focusing on infiltrating ships in space with a focus on sneaking up on them by keeping your heat level low… thus the Heat Signature title. As you hurtle through space, you encounter ships, each of which has a radius of sensors looking for heat signatures. By lining up a solid thrust outside of this radius, and minor tweaks within it, you can slide past their sensors unseen and dock with the ship. From there, the game goes on-foot in a top-down perspective, as you infiltrate the ship and attempt to make your way unseen by patrolling guards… or at least unheard as you come up from behind and knock them unconscious. Different objectives include disabling ships and their weapons, killing a specific target, stealing technology, or even taking control of an entire ship.
The Hero Trap | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, PS4 and Vita via PSN | Release Date TBD
The Hero Trap, from developer Smashworx, is a top-down action roguelike that allows the player to use the abilities of three different heroes. The player is able to take one physical character into battle, along with the ghosts of two others. Each hero has a different moveset, making some of them better at head-on attacks and others better at avoiding damage. The player is able to swap between heroes a will, but the selected hero will return to its ghostly form if it takes too much damage. Players travel through randomly generated dungeons with more than 20 levels of escalating difficulty, with numerous gameplay-altering items available to purchase and upgrade. The game also supports 3P local co-op.
A Hole New World | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | 2017
A Hole New World, from Mad Gear Games, is a retro-styled action game where dropping down through holes reverses gravity and turns the world on its head. The player takes on the role of an alchemist who tosses potions at his enemies, which adds a bit of extra challenge - especially in upside-down areas - since he tosses them in an arc. Different kinds of potions have different effects on enemies, with red potions igniting them in flames, and white potions bouncing and freezing them. The player also gains a charge attack that allow for a more direct assault on his enemies by firing off energy blasts that penetrate multiple foes in a row.
Hollow Knight | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, Wii U via eShop | February 24, 2017 (PC/Mac)
Team Cherry presents Hollow Knight, an action-adventure platformer set in the ancient subterranean land of Hallownest. The horned knight must traverse a large nonlinear world and battle dark insect-based foes with his trusty sword-like nail as he uncovers the mysteries of the land and searches for artifacts and treasure. Artifacts grant new attack abilities, including air dashes, energy blasts, and area effect attacks. Traditional action-RPG trappings are in place, with townsfolk requiring assistance, as well as a shop and a blacksmith.
Holobunnies - Hologram Bunnies Space Adventures | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | 2017
Holobunnies - Hologram Bunnies Space Adventures is an unwieldy but descriptive name for this title from q-bit games. The game is an action-adventure platformer where the player takes on the role of one of several holographic bunny siblings: Danielle the witch, Leenox the hunter, Roméo the bard, Mephisto the ninja, or Avril the catcher, each of which comes equipped with a projectile weapon and a jetpack. The bunnies' ultimate goal is to find a new planet to inhabit as they freely cruise through space in their ship. Tracking down a new home requires tangling with the local residents of various stellar bodies, speaking with NPC's, and collecting treasures that include starship upgrades, new items, and pieces of a mysterious door. Bunny buddies can also team up for some local 2P co-op. You can try the PC-exclusive demo from the game's Kickstarter page.
The Iconoclasts | PC | Release Date TBD
This game has a full-length overview in our Upcoming 2D section. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
The Iconoclasts is a colorful action adventure title from Konjak, starring a girl named Robin who is a mechanic in a world where her particular craft is considered to be illegal. As is typical of this developer, the game is set in a beautifully crafted world filled with gorgeous sprites, detailed animations, and loads of character and humor. More than just an aesthetically appealing title, the mechanics are solid as well, with precision platforming, varied gameplay, and a compelling Metroidvania structure.
Beneath the beautiful and colorful world, dark forces are at work, and it is up to Robin to set things right by upsetting the status quo and upending the power structure of the oppressors who have made such activities as excavation, mapping, and mechanics illegal. Unsponsored archaeology, cartography, or mechanical work are considered to be sins against the gods, and are punishable by death. According to the imposed law and religion of the land, holy agents of the gods are meant to control the world and ensure that it remains unaltered by earthly hands, which includes strict provisions surrounding the use of a rare fuel source known as ivory. And if that’s not enough, the moon is slowly breaking apart and pieces are falling to earth. Read more >>
In the Shadows | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, PS4 via PSN, and Xbox One via Microsoft Store | 2017
In the Shadows, from ColorSpace Studio, is an action-puzzler where the player uses light to combat shadow creatures... and to use them in puzzle solutions. It turns out that a number of objects transform into creatures in the evening, but the player is able to transform them back by exposing them to light. This generally involves pushing lighted boxes toward shadow creatures, at which point they may become doors, ladders, or other objects that the player may use in order to press forward.
Indivisible PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, PS4 via PSN, and Xbox One via Microsoft Store | January 2018
Indivisible is an action-RPG from Lab Zero Games, the developers of Skullgirls. The game stars Ajna who sets out across the world to discover the origin of her powers, which allow her to absorb and summon various beings, and she is joined along the way by a number of characters who fight alongside her. In addition to Lab Zero's trademark 2D designs, the game is accompanied by a soundtrack from Hiroki Kikuta, best known for his work on Secret of Mana. The game mixes action platforming (in 3D environments) with turn-based battles and the ability to inflict damage to enemies prior to battle, Paper Mario-style. The game also features loads of crossover characters from other 2D indie games, including the lead characters from Shovel Knight, Hyper Light Drifter, Curses 'n Chaos, and Guacamelee, as well as the skateboarding 80's dinosaur from Super Time Force, and Shantae from WayForward's Shantae series.
Infernax | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, and possibly consoles | 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.
Interference | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, iOS, Android | Release Date TBD
Interference, from Anthony Beyer, is a stealth-based puzzle platformer set in a neon-lit dystopia. The player sets out across an open world, using stealth to avoid confrontation as he searches for the truth behind a tyrannical government and mechanized police force. In addition to sneaking past guards and avoiding traps, the player can also use a strange device known as the Glitcher, which allows him to shift sections of the environment to change their layout and create a safe path of travel, block lasers, and reposition patrolling guards.
Intergalactic Race Warriors | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Currently in Steam Early Access
As a site dedicated exclusively to 2D video games, we don't see many (or any) entries in the vehicular combat genre. Developer Turtle Blaze is here to turn your head with its stylish 2D sidescrolling car combat game, Intergalactic Race Warriors. Gameplay looks like a 16-bit demake of Redline or some Mad Max film with cars burning up the road - or at least the offroad - with speed lines, shaking chassis, and debris flying everywhere. Players blast away at other cars with machine guns and rockets, while boosting, jumping, and flying off of steep slopes... and hopefully landing wheels-down. Races take place across multiple planets, and players can customize and upgrade their vehicles to make them best suited to their environment.
Jack the Reaper | PC | Release Date TBD
Jack the Reaper (devlog), from developer Dream’s Bell, begins when the moon crashes into the earth. As it turns out, the moon is where all of the world’s souls go when they die, and this recent event has caused them to return to life on Earth. It is up to Jack to restore order by re-killing these creatures and returning their souls to the Afterworld. This action-platformer is inspired by the Kirby series, wherein enemies’ abilities can be used against them – and even combined ala Kirby 64 and Gunstar Heroes – for a number of interesting possibilities. By killing enemies and absorbing their souls, you gain their abilities, including a number of different projectile types, like boomerangs and energy shots, as well as other powerups like increased speed and a shield.
Katana ZERO | PC | 2017
Katana ZERO is the latest from developer Askiisoft, featuring fast-paced acrobatic melee combat in a dark neon-lit world. It's tough to take down a whole slew of bad guys on your own, but fortunately you have access to a drug called Chronos, which allows you to manipulate time, reversing your mistakes and slowing things down to the point where you can knock an enemy's bullet back at him. Players can dash and slide quickly through the environment, dodging lasers and getting behind baddies before slicing them into bloody shreds, and they can hop between buildings by extending cables between them for some ninja-style rooftop running in the dark of night.
Kraut Buster | Neo Geo MVS and AES | Q2 2017
NG:DEV.TEAM, the developers behind GunLord and NEO XYX have announced Kraut Buster. Just as GunLord was a spiritual successor to the Turrican series, Kraut Buster pays homage to all things Metal Slug. In this new game, the player can take on the role of John "Küken" Mallone or Jack "Handsome" Rowdy, or work together with a friend in 2P co-op. Gunners are able to toss grenades and blast baddies, bosses, and minibosses with 8-way directional fire as they work their way through a detailed 60fps pixel world. Where Kraut Buster changes things up is in its mask system... grabbing a mask changes your character's basic abilities and weapons. For instance, grabbing the chicken mask allows the player to slow his falling speed, the Tengu mask gives him a super high jump and lets him move more quickly, and the hockey mask replaces the player's default melee knife with a long machete. Players can also find little yellow chicks that will fly behind them offering support by laying down additional fire.
La-Mulana 2: The 0th Body The 9th Spirit | PC | Release Date TBD
Developer Nigoro returns with a sequel to La-Mulana. This game picks up many years after the events of the first, and focuses on the original protagonist’s daughter, Lemeza Kosugi. Fortunately, she seems to be has handy with a whip as her father before her. Rather than adventuring through Egyptian tombs and catacombs, Kosugi takes to Norse-themed locales, although the look and feel is very much in line with the (enhanced) original. The adventure promises to be somewhat more forgiving than the last, at least in terms of directing players toward puzzle solutions, although the difficulty level is still planned to be high.
Legacy of the Copper Skies | PC and Mac via Steam | 2017
Legacy of the Copper Skies from Horrible Unicorn Game Studios (HUGS), features two playable characters, one who inhabits a world of life and color, while the other who inhabits a world driven by machines and industry. The pair must team up in a world-spanning action-adventure, defeating enemies, solving puzzles, and manipulating time. The player can swap control between the characters, or merge them together into a single being with a new set of abilities.
Legend of Iya | PC, with later ports to Mac and Linux | Release Date TBD
Developer Andrew Bado is an industry veteran, having worked on numerous major studio releases, including a number of cult favorites like Phantom Dust, Raze’s Hell, and Psychonauts, as well as several 2D titles including Blowout, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Monster Tale, and NG:Dev Team’s Turrican-esque actioner, Gunlord. Legend of Iya is a Metroidvania title set in a lush, detailed world, featuring gorgeous sprite art and loads of animations. The game centers on the exploits of a 12 year old girl who finds herself transported to a magical fantasy world populated with strange creatures, bio-mechanical beasts, and huge bosses. The game offers melee based combat, as well as numerous upgrades and new abilities which will help her defeat enemies and reach new areas.
Light Fall | PC and Mac | Release Date TBD
Light Fall, from developer Bishop Games, takes place in a world overrun by darkness where mysterious crystals have begun appearing and razing the land. The player makes use of a magical object called the Shadow Core which serves a variety of purposes, from environmental navigation to puzzle solving, and even as a defense against incoming projectiles. The player can manipulate the core to activate switches, block lasers, and use it as a counterweight, and it even acts as the basis for the player's double jump. Even on his own, the player character is very nimble and can manage platforming and wall jump maneuvers to move quickly around the environment, ascend great heights, and dodge enemies and other obstacles.
Luminesca | PC and Mac via Steam | Release Date TBD
Luminesca is an underwater exploration game from developer Matt Glanville. The player controls a small creature called Lum through various dark and shadowy environments, using light to solve puzzles and open up new pathways.
Mable & The Wood | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam and Itch.io | February 2017
Mable & The Wood, from Triple Vision Games, is an explorative action game stars a girl named Mable who lives in a world that is being drained of its color due to the overuse of magic. Mable is able to change forms, shapeshifting into the shapes of the bosses she kills, as she fights to save the world... but her very powers are also aiding in its destruction. Transformations include a flying fairy, a creepy grapple-spinning spider, and a stone form that allows you to petrify your foes. The player is able to select from multiple areas, but the journey grows more perilous as the destruction of the world continues. Music for the game was composed by Music for the game was composed by Fat Bard, who was also the composer behind CrashLands and Blitz Breaker.
MegaSphere | PC via Steam, consoles TBD | Currently in Steam Early Access
MegaSphere is an action platformer under development by Anton Kudin. The game puts you and your giant gun up against a bunch of robotic baddies in a procedurally-generated sci-fi environment. Players have multiple weapons at their disposal, including a bouncing energy shot, a flamethrower, exploding rockets, and grenades, which may be supplemented by a number of weapon and suit upgrades. Players can even blast their way through certain sections of the environment to dig tunnels and blast through floors and ceilings in order to reach new areas or search for hidden items.
Midora | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Release Date TBD
The developer has announced that all of the money raised during the successful Kickstarter campaign has been spent and the future of the game is uncertain without additional funding.
Midora, from developer Epic Minds, stars a young white-haired girl named Snow who – per fantasy game conventions – sets out on a simple errand and finds herself embroiled in a conflict that spans the world. This is a top-down action adventure title inspired by the likes of The Legend of Zelda and Secret of Mana, featuring sword-based combat, as well as shields and bombs. The player adventures across a colorful world map and into the depths of a dozen dungeons to solve puzzles and fight large boss creatures, with over 200 items to discover along the way, as well as a crafting and enchantment system.
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom | PC via Steam, PS4 via PSN, Xbox One via Microsoft Store, Switch | 2017
It has been more than 20 years since the last Wonder Boy game was released, but the spirit of the game lives on in Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. The game is being created by mobile developers FDG Entertainment and Game Atelier in partnership with Wonder Boy series creator Ryuichi Nishizawa. Monster Boy is able to transform into five different animals, each with their own abilities, allowing him to traverse the world, access new paths, and fight his way through baddies and bosses. The new game is getting the HD treatment with colorful high quality sprites reminiscent of Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (also featuring gameplay-altering animal transformations.
Möira | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | 2017
Möira, from Onagro Studios (game site), is an action platformer that mixes the aesthetics of the Game Boy and the Game Boy Color. You play the part of Rubick, a magician's apprentice on a quest to rescue his kidnapped master. Rubick is able to use his magic to copy the abilities of his enemies, as learning new spells from NPC's and defeated bosses, and he is able to combine the effects of some of these spells for new effects. Players will need to make the most of these combinations, as enemies are resistant to certain spell effects and weak against others. Levels are nonlinear, so players will need to explore them fully in order to move forward and learn the necessary abilities to overcome their enemies.
Moonlighter | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, Xbox One via Microsoft Store, and PS4 via Steam | March 2017 (Steam)
Moonlighter from Digital Sun Games is a roguelike action-RPG starring a shopkeeper named Will who dreams of becoming a hero. By venturing into the nearby dungeons, Will is able to acquire rare items for sale in his shop, which in turn further funds his adventures, allowing him to upgrade his shop, purchase better weapons and equipment, and craft new items. Of course, he also has to manage his shop and make determinations as to whether he should keep or sell valuable artifacts, and how much he should sell items for. He can also fulfill requests for customers who request specific items... and try to prevent customers from stealing his hard-fought goods! The game offers randomly-generated dungeons and loot drops with loads of tough enemies to face, leading to greater rewards for players who make it further in, with dungeon bosses offering rare items when defeated.
Moonman | PC, with Mac and Linux versions to follow | 2017
Moonman (game site) is a strange game starring a moonman on a quest to bring light to his world by collecting moon fragments in a procedurally-generated action adventure. His world is surrounded by many moons, and these fragments may be found by exploring caves and tombs, or by killing creatures who have eaten them. The moonman hacks and slashes his way through a number of enemies, equips weapons and armor, and uses items to construct buildings. Adding to the game's odd humor are a number of helmets that cover the mooman's smiling green face with traditional medieval armor, as well as others in the shapes of animal heads, including a cat and a pig. New weapons and armor may be purchased from merchants or forged by blacksmiths, and the moonman is able to find lots of items in the world that can be used and traded, and he can chop down trees and dig for treasure through the fully-destructible world.
Mort The Intern | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Release Date TBD
Polymath Games brings grappling hooks back into fashion (why isn’t everyone doing this!?) with Mort The Intern. Poor Mort is an intern in Hell, and he has found himself working for a company responsible for the delivery of souls. His adventure begins when an unfortunate clerical error causes a number of souls to be diverted into Hell when they should have gone the other way, and Mort must set out to find them in this nonlinear action-adventure title. Being a grapple-focused experience, the game offers smooth grapple mechanics, as well as grapple points that offer temporary enhancements, such as wings that allow Mort to double jump, and some grapple points act as switches. Mort is no platforming slouch either, as he can move quickly, jump, wall jump, and wall slide. Much of the game’s challenge centers on environmental navigation which requires Super Meat Boy-level precision to make jumps, avoid spikes, dodge projectiles, and generally keep yourself from exploding in a pile of bones.
Neon Grey | PC | Release Date TBD
Budapest-based developer László Csengő (a.k.a. Tazi) is developing Neon Grey (devlog), an 80’s-style action game set in a dystopian future. The game features straightforward linear progression across eight urban environments, with a pattern-based boss fight at the end of each and cutscenes in between. There are alternate paths and hidden areas within the levels for some added variety on repeated playthroughs. Combat is sword-based, although a number of your enemies carry projectile-based weapons, which means you’ll need to do a bit of bullet-dodging to get up close and deliver your brand of hacky-slashy justice.
Night in the Woods | PC, Mac, and Linux, and PS4 via PSN | February 21, 2017
Alec Holowka, the developer behind Aquaria and Towerfall, is teaming up with animator Scott Benson to create Night in the Woods, a narrative-focused adventure game starring a number of colorful animal characters, including a cat with anger management issues and several of her friends, which include an alligator and a fox. You’ll be interacting with townsfolk in Possum Springs, uncovering the mysteries of the town after nightfall , running, jumping, occasionally astral projecting, solving puzzles, and eventually – of course – heading into the woods.
No Place for Bravery | PC and Mac | Q4 2017
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.
Noct | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Currently in Steam Early Access
Developer Chris “c3sk” Eskins presents Noct, a top-down multiplayer survival horror game with a gritty greyscale aesthetic mimicking an aerial thermal vision camera. For reasons unknown, Earth has been plunged into darkness, and terrible creatures known as the Nocturnal now roam the land. Players must blast away these monstrosities with weapons and ammo scavenged in the environment, as well as survive life in the wasteland by ransacking vacant buildings to seek out food and other useful items. While the game is played from a top-down perspective, players are only able to see what is directly in the line of sight for their character, meaning that a lurking terror might be lying in wait around the next corner. The game may be played online with other players or as a solo campaign.
Orange Moon | PC via Steam | Currently in Steam Early Access
Moon Resources Corp. wants to offer you a job on the moon... but mining for resources can be dangerous with its harsh landscape, hostile wildlife, raiders, and the occasional ancient alien technology. Fortunately, you're well armed for the task with access to a machine gun, shotgun, flamethrower, rocket launcher, and minigun, each of which can be upgraded and loaded with specialized ammo types that allow them to pierce armor, burn enemies, or explode on contact. In Orange Moon, from Betelgeuse Zero, players move through a dangerous underground world, exploring the environment, defeating enemies and bosses, and gathering resources to upgrade their firepower and other abilities, including their grenades and jetpack-assisted jump.
Pale Blue | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Release Date TBD
Pale Blue, from Tinker Games, takes a look at the flipside to the familiar superhero origin, focusing on someone who has chosen to take the dark path. A young girl named Ellen was created as a weapon by the nefarious Cocoon organization, and she spends her days murdering superheroes and eating humans, as do her sisters, Tammy and Frei. Ellen unlocks new forms and abilities that allow her to reach new areas, hack and slash her way through enemies, and lay waste to the environment. New abilities open up along a skill tree as you kill certain people or destroy certain objects, thus enforcing your path to the dark side.
Paradise Lost: First Contact | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, and Wii U via eShop | 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.
Path to the Sky | PC, Mac, and Linux | Currently in Steam Early Access
DekDev continues the recent trend of roguelike action platforming, but flips the old structure on its head. Rather than descending ever deeper into more deadly and dangerous dungeons, the action in Path to the Sky focuses on ascent. As the player climbs ever higher in this vertically oriented procedurally generated world, the enemies become ever more difficult to defeat. The chunky sprites and outdoor environments are reminiscent of Risk of Rain, but focuses much more on climbing, melee attacks, and aerial combat.
Perennial | PC via Steam | Release Date TBD
Perennial (site), by Step 1 Games is a fairly straightforward platformer in which you bop enemies on the head and collect doodads for points, with combo bonuses if you are able to collect several of them in quick succession. The game has a very simple visual style, with a lo-fi presentation that runs fast while you, well, run fast. The game is somewhat reminiscent of Cannabalt with a simple color scheme and birds that fly away as you pass them. There’s even a ground slide move that is commonly found in auto running games. However, unlike these auto runners, Perennial offers full control over the character and more complex environments with curved surfaces and angles.
Phase Edge | PC | Release Date TBD
South African one-man developer Punk Arcade (formerly retroFuture) is taking the shmup into action-adventure territory with Phase Edge (formerly zX - Hyperblast). Gone are forced scrolling environments, replaced with a series of large caverns that can be traversed at will with your small but heavily armed ship. As in many shmups, your ship’s projectiles can be upgraded, but you also have a melee attack in the form of a pair of blades that emerge from the front of your ship. These blades allow you to deflect enemy bullets while also powering up your special weapon, encouraging up-close attacks. In addition to exploration, players will still face the more traditional enemy waves and bullet sprays while they attempt to avoid lasers, lava, and other environmental hazards.
Pig Eat Ball | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Q3 2017
Mommy’s Best Games delivers yet another oddity in the form of Pig Eat Ball. This game features a young pig princess named Bow living on a space station filled with clam people. Her father, King Cake, has decided to host a competition to win his daughter’s hand in marriage. But Bow has a different idea… she dons a disguise and enters the contest herself. The game features a number of different level types, most of which center around eating tennis balls. However, if you eat too many tennis balls, you get too fat to fit through narrow corridors, so you have to barf them up, slip through, and then re-eat the barfed up balls… called “barfies” for short. The game also features a number of competitive multiplayer modes for up to four players where players race each other, fight over tennis balls, and even build sandwiches. The game also includes a level editor.
Pinstripe | PC and Mac via Steam, iOS | Q1 2017 (Steam)
Pinstripe is the latest atmospheric puzzle-platformer from Thomas Brush, developer of Coma and Skinny. The game stars Teddy, an ex-minister who must travel through Hell in search for his kidnapped daughter. Strangely, Hell is a frozen wasteland, and Teddy wanders through six themed locales with a bearded dog named George as he blasts creatures into (out of?) oblivion with his trusty shotgun. He can also interact with NPC's who help him on his journey as he works to solve environmental puzzles - and shotgun-based puzzles - and uncovers information about his pre-Hell life.
Pyre | PC via Steam and PS4 via PSN | 2017
Pyre is the latest game under development by Supergiant Games, the studio behind Bastion and Transistor (our 2014 Game of the Year). Their third game is a party-based RPG focusing on a group of individuals who have been exiled from the Commonwealth, but they learn of a secret competition that may allow them to return home with their transgressions forgiven. Each of the exiled characters has different abilities which aid them in the competition, and players must learn to use the strengths of each character cooperatively, as only one can be controlled at a time. Each team has a pyre on their end of the arena that they must defend, while also attempting to carry a glowing orb into the pyre of their opponents, which temporarily removes that player from the playfield. Players must take advantage of speed to get the orb to the other side of the arena, strategy to avoid attacks from competitors, and weapons to disable their foes and remove the orb from their possession.
Radio the Universe | PC | 2017
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."
Rain World | PC and Mac via Steam, Vita via PSN | 2017
Developers Joar Jakobsson and James Primate present Rain World, a game featuring a smoothly animated “slugcat” who must explore an atmospheric yet dangerous world in search of food… without becoming food himself. This odd creature is capable of climbing up and across narrow poles like a mischievous feline, which is used to traverse the large open world, discover secrets, and even sneak up on unsuspecting critters. Players can also join up with other slugcats in various 4P competitive modes.
ReVen | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | Release Date TBD
ReVen, from Varia Games, is heavily inspired by Metroid (as is the name of the studio), featuring a lone android who sets down on the surface of a colorful world whose depths hold mysterious alien ruins and terrifying creatures. As an android, the player is able to divert energy to his various functions, enhancing weapon power, armor, sensors, and movement in real time. This can be used to take down powerful enemies, navigate the game world, or search for secrets and hidden upgrades. New skills can be added to your repertoire by mining for resources on the planet and choosing new traits to construct based on your play style, allowing to hone your skills more toward heavy firepower, exploration, or a mix of both.
RGB | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, iOS, Android | Release Date TBD
RGB from Big Boom Games is a puzzle platformer featuring a white pixel moving through a world of three colors, namely red, green, and blue. Every time the player jumps, the background colors cycle, and if a platform and the background have the same color, the platform essentially disappears. There are also some black platforms that are permanent, and bits of static that kill you when you touch them. Since you’re playing the game on and old-school CRT television, there are some additional mechanics revolving around the TV’s controls, including adjusting the tint, changing the channel, and using the volume slider. The game features more than 100 levels as well as a level editor.
Rise & Shine | PC via Steam, Xbox One via Microsoft Store | JUST RELEASED!!
Rise & Shine, from Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team (developers of Pro Zombie Soccer), is about a kid named Rise and his gun named Shine. All around him a war is raging against the Space Grunts, gigantic musclebound interplanetary soldiers who have invaded Rise's world. But Rise is a sharp kid, and he has a weapon capable of firing of many different kinds of ammunition, including radio-controlled bullets that he can steer around corners, allowing him to defeat enemies, avoid detection, and solve puzzles... and occasionally face off against the Space Grunts on his own. Taking a cue from classic video games, Rise's dilapidated world is filled with life and color, rather than the browns and greys so often seen in modern 3D titles.
River City Ransom: Underground | PC, Mac, and Linux | February 27, 2017
For years, developers have been creating brawlers inspired by Technōs’ River City Ransom. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, Fist Puncher, and many others have attempted – to greater or lesser degrees of success – to recapture the simple joy of cracking skulls while exploring a sprawling city and getting some RPG-style upgrades. And now, at long last, an officially licensed follow-up is headed our way courtesy of developer Conatus Creative. Resurrecting the Kunio art style and old-school look, with a few additional animations thrown in for good measure, players explore an even larger open world, with more shops, items, and upgrades. Go it alone or with some friends in 2-4P co-op, and punch some bad guys until they BARF!
RPGolf | PC, Mac, iOS, and Android | Release Date TBD
Golf is one of those sports that rarely gets a genre crossover. For every Ninja Golf or Ribbit King, there's a dozen Mutant League Football, Super Baseball 2020, or *gulp* Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball spinoff titles. What's more, RPGolf, from developer ArticNet, is not a simulator but rather a fantasy action-RPG with swordplay, treasure chests... and actual golf. The game takes place over 18 holes as you knock your ball onto the green, into the bunker, and into water hazards while also contending with enemies wandering around the playfield. Players may select between a warrior, wizard, or rogue, each with different abilities and equipment, and players may level up by defeating enemies, which results in stronger attacks and a longer drive. Players can also stop off at the clubhouse, work on their skills on a practice range, buy new equipment, and craft better clubs to better their game.
Secrets of Grindea | PC via Steam | Currently in Steam Early Access
Over the years, many budding developers have sought to capture the essence of the original The Legend of Zelda and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, mimicking their structure and mechanics, while sometimes lifting creatures, weapons, and puzzle solutions directly from the originals. Others have created new works simply inspired by the game, but with completely different gameplay, such as Konjak’s Legend of Princess. Secrets of Grindea (site) definitely falls into the former category, but rarely has a game borrowed so heavily from The Legend of Zelda formula with so much style. The structure should be familiar to Zelda fans, as the lead character walks through town, chatting it up with NPC’s, hacking hedgerows with a sword, and even scaring off the local chickens. But where Grindea makes its departure from the legacy is in its gameplay focus and character customization. The goal of the hero (or heroine, if you choose) is to become the world’s greatest Collector as he sets off on a quest to collect as many rare and valuable items as he can. There’s also a robust character creation and skill system that allows you to level up and apply points to a number of different attributes, allowing the player to craft a character to his liking. And, the entire game can be played in single player or with up to 4 players in co-op mode. The artwork is notable as well, featuring detailed spritework and animations, and even showing equipment changes on the main character.
Serious Sam's Bogus Detour | PC | Release Date TBD
Serious Sam's Bogus Detour is a 2D Serious Sam game from developer Crackshell (devlog), the team behind the top-down dungeon crawler Hammerwatch. While Serious Sam is known primarily for his enemy-spewing 3D outings, this is not his first foray into the land of indie-developed 2D, as he has previously blown up baddies in Serious Sam: Double D XXL, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, and Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack!. In fitting with the developer's previous work, Sam's latest adventure sees him blasting his way through an isometric top-down environment with his traditional array of armaments, from standard small arms to lasers, rocket launchers, and miniguns. Familiar foes return in the form of Gnaar, Kleer Skeletons, and the infamous Beheaded Kamikazes, spewing forth in large numbers, per series conventions. Players can move and aim independently - although aiming is restricted to 8 directions - and destroyed enemies leave behind sprays of blood and chunky bits when killed. The game also offers 2P cooperative and competitive modes (no word on whether Huff will make an appearance).
Shakedown Hawaii | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, PS4 and Vita via PSN, and unannounced Nintendo platforms | 2017
So, Brian Provinciano, the guy behind Vblank Entertainment has basically spent the last 10+ years of his life working on Retro City Rampage and its progenitor, Grand Theftendo. But now he's back with something new: Shakedown Hawaii. It's another open world top-down action game, but this time themed after the 16-bit generation instead of the NES era, and features a substantially larger world map. The game takes place 30 years after the events of the original game and is set in Hawaii (as you may have guessed from the title), thus offering a more colorful tropical locale. The game once again stars "The Player" from the original game as he comes out of retirement to rebuild his empire by attending meetings, coming up with crazy ideas to defeat the competition, and of course, shooting the hell out of everything. Maximum destruction is in store with machine guns, rocket launchers, flamethrowers, and an array of driveable vehicles for running down pedestrians and fleeing the Five-O (see what we did there?).
Skytorn | PS4 via PSN, PC, and eventually Mac and Linux | 2017
Skytorn is under development by a team of talented individuals (game site) whose previous works include TowerFall, Out There Somewhere, and Aquaria. The game takes place in a world that has been torn asunder by some great calamity, and mankind now lives aboard airships as they scour the lands for artifacts and other survivors. The player takes on the role of an explorer named Névoa as she sets out across a procedurally generated world made of floating islands, armed with only her shovel (might be a trend here), which serves dual roles as a digging implement and a weapon. Névoa is quite nimble, digging her way down into the world, air dashing, ledge grabbing, wall sliding, and clobbering enemies with her spade. The digging implement is also upgradeable, making it easier to take down groups of enemies, or adding secondary effects such as spitting a fireball or draining a foe's life force on contact.
Songbringer | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, and iOS via the App Store | Q2 2017
Songbringer is a sci-fi action-RPG from Wizard Fu Games, which offers a procedurally-generated overworld and ten dungeons packed with chunky pixel art and heavily inspired by The Legend of Zelda. The game may be played alone or with a friend in 2P co-op, as players explore the landscape in search of more powerful items and weaponry, as well as abilities that allow them to reach new areas. Players gain access to melee and projectile-based weapons as they take on varied foes, enemy swarms, and huge bosses. Dungeons require the player to solve puzzles to see his way through, with some even removing the player's sword until the dungeon is completed.
Sonic Mania | PC, PS4, and Xbox One | Q2 2017
It's no secret that Sega's most fondly remembered Sonic the Hedgehog titles were the 2D iterations from the Genesis era, and now - 25 years later - the company has decided to revisit these classics with Sonic Mania, an all-new game showcasing some of the finest moments from the series' 2D history, along with some entirely new areas for Sonic, Tales, and Knuckles to explore. The game is being developed in collaboration with Christian Whitehead and Headcanon, who worked on several modern re-releases of 2D Sonic titles, as well as Pagoda West Games. In addition, a new move has been added to the mix, called the "drop dash" which allows Sonic and pals to drop out of the sky and hit the ground with a burst of speed.
Space Dave | PC and Mac via Steam, Wii U and 3DS via the eShop, PS4 and Vita via PSN, and possibly additional platforms | 2016
Do you remember the faux arcade game Woah Dave? Well, MiniVisions/Choice Provisions has a spiritual successor in the form of Space Dave, which is a modern take on starfield shmups like Space Invaders and Galaga, as well as defense-based shooters like Missile Command. Dave, the hero from the first game, runs back and forth along the bottom of the screen, shooting upward at formations of alien invaders. Dave is affected by gravity, so he can't get much verticality, but he can jump and use a jetpack to hover for a while, which he needs in order to hop over ground-based obstacles as the earth below him is destroyed. He can also toss out a trap that sucks aliens down and forces them to fight alongside him, turning the aliens against one another and granting him a wide spray of bullets.
Spark the Electric Jester | PC and Mac | Release Date TBD
Spark the Electric Jester, from Felipe Ribeiro Daneluz, a.k.a. LakeFeperd, draws its inspiration from the 16-bit mascot era when every wacky character under the sun was given a starring role in a colorful and cartoony platformer, although the most obvious influence is the Sonic the Hedgehog series, particularly with the game's sloped surfaces and emphasis on high-speed movement. Prior to this game's development, LakeFeperd actually created several Sonic fan games, including Sonic Before the Sequel and Sonic After the Sequel, games which took place before and after Sonic 2, as well as Sonic Chrono Adventure. But this new adventure is not a Sonic clone... Just like Freedom Planet before it, it shares a number of Sonic influences but has new gameplay. Spark is a jester who finds himself out of a job after robots take over the world, and so he sets out to get his revenge and destroy them all. Spark can change colors to gain new abilities and is able to take down enemies with melee weapons, projectiles, and good old fashioned spin dashing, and he also gets to ride a cool jet-powered hoverboard.
Starr Mazer | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, Wii U and 3DS via eShop | 2017
Shmups and RPG's have intertwined on a few rare occasions, with such titles as The Guardian Legend, Wing Commander, and Sigma Star Saga, and now developer Imagos Softworks (game site) is merging genres again with Starr Mazer a combination of shmup and point-and-click adventure. The developer promises a seamless integration between the two genres with players engaging NPC's to inquire about ship upgrades, or learning new routes that may be taken during shmup sequences. Attacking non-hostile enemies during shump sequences may also impact future NPC conversations and have serious implications. You play as Brick M. Stonewood (and apparently, the "M" stands for "metal", making his name a combination of four types of building materials) a mercenary who emerges from a long hypersleep to pilot the Starr Wolf and possibly become the hero of the galaxy.
Sundered | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, GOG, and Humble Store, and PS4 via PSN | 2017
Thunder Lotus Games, the studio behind the solid and visually splendiferous Jotun, has returned with Sundered, a Lovecraftian metroidvania. The new game once again features hand-drawn visuals and battles against creatures many times the size of the protagonist. You take on the role of Eshe, exploring an eldritch underworld filled with horrific creatures, mysterious and powerful relics that grant new abilities, and titanic bosses, while attempting to retain your sanity in a darkly beautiful world.
Super Hydorah | PC via Steam, and possibly consoles | Release Date TBD
Super Hydorah is an updated and expanded version of the original Hydorah, a freeware game from Locomalito. The new game is a partnership between Locomalito and Abylight Studios, following their release of Maldita Castilla EX: Cursed Castilla, an expanded commercial release of Maldita Castilla, a Ghosts ‘n Goblins-inspired actioner. Super Hydorah is a horizontal shmup inspired by genre entries of the early 80's, but offering nonlinear gameplay that allows players to take different routes to complete the game and reach one of several endings. The original game was a single player experience, but the new one can be enjoyed locally in 2P co-op. In addition, the number of levels, bosses, enemies, and weapons has been increased over the original game, offering even veteran players something new to experience. The new game also offers bonuses based on level rankings, as well as CRT-style filters and various graphical improvements.
Super Skelemania | PC and Mac via Steam | Q2 2017
If you haven't played Skelemania from Benal, then you're missing out on a great - and somewhat unconventional - metroidvania. Fortunately, there's still time to check it out, as the game is pay-what-you-want on Itch.io right now. In Super Skelemania, you take on the role of a skeleton man who uses his skull to bash enemies, and he steadily gains new abilities that allow him to expand his exploration and grant new combat tactics. These include a long diving jump, a running charge, a downward slam, and the ability to roll through narrow openings, Samus Aran-style.
Switchcars | PC and Linux via Steam | Currently in Steam Early Access
Switchcars, from developer Altfuture, is roguelike arcade-style action game featuring a fellow who is racing madly across the landscape and trying desperately to reach the year 2055. The only problem? Spacetime is a huge mess, and he keeps leaping between locations and time periods while also being chased by gigantic alien space worms. The game offers more than 1,000 driveable vehicles, with different vehicles becoming available as you enter different time periods (from 1950-2055), but not all of them are suitable in all situations. For instance, you may find yourself hurtling down the tracks in a train when a timeslip sends you onto a highway, which quickly grinds you to a halt. The player must switch between vehicles, including cars, trucks, trains, boats, helicopters, and many others while dealing with oncoming traffic, draining fuel, blown tires, and tuckered out horses, requiring the player to make another quick switch or meet his end.
Temporus | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, and possibly Wii U | Release Date TBD
Temporus is being developed by Firebelly Studios, which promises to deliver a healthy dose of shmuppery and on-foot platforming action in a time travelling sci-fi adventure. In addition to blasting away enemies, you must also research new technologies and manage your resources as you set out to find fuel for your ship and food for your body. You are able to land your ship at various docking points and exit your ship to explore. You can even walk around the interior of your own ship to change weapon settings and make repairs. The developer compares the gameplay to that of Air Fortress and Blaster Master, both of which featured on-foot and in-vehicle segments.
Thy Sword | PC via Steam | Release Date TBD
Thy Sword, from Game Phase, is a chunky lo-fi action adventure platformer set in a fantasy world. The player selects a sword-wielding warrior to take on the quest and can eventually unlock additional playable characters as well. Player combat foes with sword strikes, bows and arrows, and magic, and can meet up with NPC's to purchase new items, weapon upgrades, and health restoratives. Players can go it alone or team up with a friend for local 2P co-op or enter into player vs. player combat. Levels are procedurally generated and take place over a number of traditional fantasy locales including forests, mountains, and caves, which are selectable from a world map.
Timespinner | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, PS4 and Vita via PSN, 3DS via eShop | 2017
Timespinner, from Lunar Ray Games, stars Lunais, a young woman seeking vengeance against the ones who killed her family. Using a device known as the Timespinner, the woman travels through time to defeat her enemies throughout history. In this metroidvania title, Lunais navigates a number of platforming environments, using her time-stopping ability to solve puzzles, move across falling platforms, evade enemies, and even freeze baddies in the air to use them as stepping stones to reach new areas. In addition, Lunais may access a number of magical orbs that allow her to unleash projectile and melee attacks that grow stronger as she uses them.
Tiny Thor's Revenge | PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, 3DS, iOS, and Android | 2017
Tiny Thor's Revenge, 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.
To Leave | PC, Mac, Linux, and possibly PSN | Release Date TBD
Freaky Creations is crafting a game about leaving the painful world behind. To Leave stars a fellow named Harm who has grown tired of the world and attempts to make his escape by means of a flying door, which he clings to for dear life. As the player navigates challenging obstacle-filled environments, he runs the danger of damaging the door, at which point it will absorb him, and he will have to restart from a checkpoint. The player flies his door around collecting blue spirits while avoiding the often face-packed obstacles that rise up to destroy him. This one is probably best suited toward those gamers willing to accept a bit of metaphor in their gaming experience.
Tower 57 | PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, and Amiga OS | 2017
Tower 57 is a colorful isometric top-down shooter from Germann developer Marco Pappalardo, a.k.a. Benitosub. The game is set in an 1920's art deco style cyberpunk world where people live in huge towers above a radioactive wasteland and are constantly at war with another. You discover that Tower 57 is planning an invasion, and you set out to put a stop to it, along with a friend if you like, in 2P offline co-op. Players have access to a wide range of weaponry, including Tommy guns, shotguns, lasers, electricity beams, rocket launchers, and flamethrowers as they take on robots, turrets, and even the occasional dinosaur (and maybe even ride one!). The wasteland is dangerous, and it's even possible to lose a limb during a fight, although there are terminals selling replacement prosthetics... but losing both arms leaves you unable to hold a weapon.
Treasure Adventure World | PC via Steam | Release Date TBD
In 2011, Robit Studios released a freeware game called Treasure Adventure Game, an action adventure title with a large open world to explore, creatures to kill, puzzles to solve, and treasures to find. The game took Stephen Orlando about 3 years to create. Now, he’s working on an updated (non-freeware) HD version of the game called Treasure Adventure World which features new content, new music, and a new visual style. The player controls a boy who sets out with his parrot to traverse a number of islands – to which he sails in a magical shrinking/growing boat that fits in his pocket when not in use – speaking to NPCs and embarking on various quests, slowly opening up the world Metroidvania-style as new abilities and equipment are earned, such as digging down through piles of dirt that block certain passages.
Treasurenauts | 3DS via eShop | 2017
This game was originally under development by Renegade Kid, the studio known for Mutant Mudds and Xeodrifter. However, now that the studio has gone out of business, development is now in the hands of Atooi, a new studio headed by Renegade Kid founder Jools Watsham. Treasurenauts focuses on a motley crew of adventurers, heroes, and some oddball characters (like a ninja) as they seek treasure. You can customize your character’s appearance and select their weapon, with weapons falling into melee, projectile, and explosive categories, each offering strengths and weaknesses. For instance, the sword is fast but has a short range, whereas the bomb is powerful but has a low speed, and firearms can fire over long distances but don’t do as much damage. Players can go it alone or team up with a second player in local co-op for platforming, boss fighting, and treasure hunting, all the while unlocking new abilities (like a double jump) and entirely new playable characters.
Trestle | PC, iOS, and Android | Release Date TBD
Developer Sets & Settings is working on a game featuring a rather odd amalgamation of Super Crate Box and the battle sequences in Mega Man Battle Network. Essentially, it takes the fast-paced action of Super Crate Box, adds it to 3x3 grid-based combat in Mega Man Battle Network, and removes all of the slow-paced inventory management that comes with the latter. Instead of chip-swapping, weapons now appear directly on the playfield, and the player activates them by moving onto the appropriate grid space. Players must use their knowledge of enemy attack ranges to dodge around the playfield and deliver blasts of fire across the border, and some attacks can cause grid spaces to disappear, offering less room to maneuver.
Vagante | PC, Mac, and Linux | Currently in Steam Early Access
Vagante, from developer Nuke Nine, is a sidescrolling action-RPG with roguelike elements, including procedurally generated levels and permadeath. Players enter a monster-filled cavern in order to seek a great treasure rumored to lie within. The game offers four character classes, including a fighter, rogue, and mage, as well as unlockable customizations and the ability to team up for offline 4P co-op. Players can run, jump, swim, avoid traps, fight loads of monsters and huge bosses, and even use a grappling hook to swing around.
Waldir’s Inferno | PC | Release Date TBD
Waldir’s Inferno, under development by Jani Peltonen (a.k.a. Argamix) , promises top-down beat ‘em up action with procedurally generated levels and RPG elements. The game stars a sword-wielding badass who hacks and slashes his way through numerous chunky and spritely foes, leaving sprays of pixelated blood in his wake. You can also grab a number of subweapons to up your carnage per second and dodge enemy attacks to keep yourself around a bit longer. Rather than simply increasing your stats, new items grant you new abilities (a similar method was used in Risk of Rain), which adds gameplay variety as players attempt to fight their way through a 30-60 minute dungeon slashing experience… or die trying.
Wildfire | PC via Steam | 2017
Developer and stealth-focused website Sneaky Bastards wants you to sneak around and play with matches in Wildfire. The game is a stealth-based platformer where the player is able to use fire to his advantage. The protagonist is able to sneak through tall grass and use smoke to hide his movements, and he can also use fire to frighten enemies and even cause them to be killed as they try to escape the blaze... which you must do as well, lest the flames burn out of control and consume you. Players must use fire strategically or they run the risk of being discovered as long grasses are burnt away, or the glow of the fire may alert nearby enemies in dark areas. Eventually, players will be able to do more than start fires; they will gain the ability to propel themselves to higher platforms with jets of flame and use smoke clouds to cushion landings from greater heights.
Witchmarsh | PC, Mac, and hopefully 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.
Wizard of Legend | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | 2017
Wizard of Legend, from Contingent 99, is a dungeon crawler featuring exploration and fast-paced combat for one or two players in offline co-op. Players can chain together attacks and incorporate magic spells into their offensive onslaught as they tear through enemies with a variety of environmental effects. There are more than 100 spells to learn, and all attacks are mapped to individual keys so players can switch between attacks on the fly, but the more powerful spells have cooldown periods to prevent the player from spamming these attacks. The world is procedurally generated with some hand-crafted setpiece rooms, and players can unlock several other wizards as they explore the areas.
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap | PC via Steam, Switch, other Consoles TBD | 2017
Developer Lizardcube is working on a modern take on the Master System / TG-16 classic Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap. But this new game, entitled Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is far from a simple port; it's a complete redesign of the original shapeshifting action adventure with an HD facelift with a remixed soundtrack and some gorgeous animations. You play the part of Wonder Boy who has been turned into a lizard man by Meka-Dragon... but as he explores Monster Land, he discovers that more transformations await him, allowing him to eventually take on six different forms, including a lion, a hawk, a mouse, and a piranha. Each form has different abilities that allow Wonder Boy to take on enemies and access different parts of the environment. For instance, the mouse can run up walls, the lizard can spit fire, and the hawk can fly.
Wulverblade | PC, Mac, Linux, and Xbox One | Q1 2017
Wulverblade, from Darkwind Media and Fully Illustrated, is a sidescrolling beat 'em up taking place in Britain in 120 AD. You control one of a pair of burly bearded men with swords and shields - or badass woman named Guinevere - who brutally slash their way through opposing armies, spraying blood across the battlefield. Battle your way though the rolling hills, forests, caves, cities, and enemy fortresses taking down enemies and bosses with a variety of melee weapons. Locales and certain key characters are based on their real world counterparts, and the game is presented in a dark illustrated style. Go it alone, or team up with a local companion for 2P co-op.
Xydonia | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | October 2017
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.