New Release: Cannon Dancer - Osman

An enhanced edition of a bombastic arcade actioner, from Mitchell Corporation and ININ Games

New Release: Hazard Saviour

An open world platformer inspired by Crazy Taxi, from Sinclair Strange

New Release: Ginsha

An open world action-adventure that takes place across multiple planets, from PolarityFlow

New Release: Haunted Lands: Burial Grounds

A tough and bloody DOS-style shooter, from Alexey Goryachev

New Release: Curse of the Sea Rats

An open world action-adventure featuring 2D animation and 3D environments, from Petoons Studio

May 28, 2020

Target Acquired: Pilots of Darsalon

Pilots of Darsalon, from Dr. Kucho! Games, is a gravity-based spaceship game where you must manage fuel resources as you dive into subterranean passageways to collect cargo and bring it back to the surface, occasionally blasting enemy turrets before they have a chance to do the same to you. The game is inspired by the classics of the genre, such as the foundational Lunar Lander and Gravitar arcade games. In particular, the game employs the rigid tow cable system employed in Thrust and Solar Jetman, where you haul your cargo up while being mindful of the pendulum motion created by tugging a heavy object behind your ship. The game takes place across 15 levels of increasing difficulty, and while environmental navigation is challenging (a keystone of the genre), the game offers multiple difficulty levels, a life bar for your ship and cargo, and a generous checkpoint system that will see most players through to the end. The game also stands out aesthetically with a Commodore 64-style color filter, multiple CRT display options, and music based on the C64’s SID chip.

The game is now available for PC and Mac via Steam. Check our coverage here.

Target Acquired: Shantae and the Seven Sirens

Developer WayForward presents the fifth entry in the Shantae series, entitled Shantae and the Seven Sirens. Everyone's favorite half-genie hero returns with Rottytops, Risky Boots, and her other and pals for a new adventure far away from their hometown on Scuttle Island. Apparently, there are other half-genies around the world, as Shantae discovers when she meets the eponymous Seven Sirens in a nonlinear action-adventure that takes her across a large interconnected world populated by villages, enemies, and bosses. As before, Shantae can dance to transform into animals, with a focus on aquatic forms this time around, and the game includes animated cutscenes.

The game is now available for PC via Steam and GOG, Switch via eShop, PS4 via PSN, Xbox One via Microsoft Store, and iOS via Apple Arcade (Parts 1 & 2). Check our coverage here.

May 27, 2020

New Blip: Super Cable Boy

In Super Cable Boy, from Sørb Games, you take on the role of a sentient handheld gaming device who is on a mission to defeat an entity known as The Glitch before it can destroy the world. You are able to jump, dash, and wall jump, and you can also use your power cord to get through the levels. Spin your cord around to fling yourself into the air, grab onto the ceiling to grapple and swing, and latch onto conveyor belts or moving platforms to be pulled along. You can even use it in boss encounters to grab pieces of the boss and unplug them, or impact other elements of the arena. Over the course of your adventure, you find game cartridges that grant you new abilities, and you'll eventually be swapping between dimensions and flying through electrical currents.

The game is coming to PC later this year. The game is a greatly expanded version of the original game jam entry, which you can check out on Itch.

To find more promising 2D games currently under development, be sure to check out our 2D Watchlist.

May 26, 2020

Target Acquired: Wildfire

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.

The game is now available for PC via Steam, GOG, and Humble Store.

May 25, 2020

New Blip: Bzzzt

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

The game is coming to PC and Mac in Spring of 2021. A demo is available on the game's Steam page.

To find more promising 2D games currently under development, be sure to check out our 2D Watchlist.

May 24, 2020

Target Acquired: BIOMASS

BIOMASS (not to be confused with Biomass, a completely different game on our watchlist) is the latest from BRAINOS, the developer behind Saving Princess and Space Cortex. The game is a short metroidvania centered around the theme of degradation. Everything breaks down the more it is used... your gun's ammo capacity drops the more you shoot it, your armor becomes less effective the more damage you take, and even the bio-printer that created you breaks down a bit each time you die and need to print a replacement body. With the odds stacked against you, you make your way through a space station, battling the ever-growing biomass that is consuming all life, in the hope that you can wipe them all out before run out of chances.

The game is now available for PC via Itch, and it's also planned for release on Android at a future date. Check our coverage here.

May 19, 2020

New Blip: Street Cleaner: The Video Game

Street Cleaner: The Video Game, from Creaky Lantern Games, is a retro style actioner starring Jack Slade, a motorcycle-riding badass who walks the streets of San Diego delivering vigilante justice the only way he knows how: with a gun and a baseball bat. You smack the bejeezus out of thugs, street punks, ninjas, menacing machinery, and... a giant squid!? The game features a reduced color palette with gritty visuals that hearken back to the NES era, but with a higher resolution, parallax scrolling, and slicker animations. The action takes place across seven stages filled with baddies, bosses, and environmental hazards in the form of fire pits, conveyor belts, and rows of electrostatic generators (because 1980's).

The game is coming to PC this fall.

To find more promising 2D games currently under development, be sure to check out our Master List.

May 15, 2020

Target Acquired: Huntdown

Huntdown, from Easy Trigger, is a 90's arcade-style shooter where each of the major gangs has taken over a section of the city, and bounties have been placed on their heads. You must hunt them down, as the title suggests, blasting your way through baddies on your way to each level's end boss, going it alone or bringing a friend in local 2P co-op. The game features a dark and gritty style with a rundown city covered in graffiti and packed with thugs wielding heavy-hitting shotguns and machine guns. Players smash through glass, blast exploding red barrels, and generally blast sprays of hot lead into everything they see.

The game is now available for PC via Epic Games Store, PS4 via PSN, Xbox One via Microsoft Store, and Switch via eShop. Check our coverage here.

May 12, 2020

New Blip: Garlic

Garlic, from Sylph (the studio behind Dragon Blazers), is a fast-paced platformer with 1-bit visuals inspired by Super Meat Boy, Celeste, and Gato Roboto. You take on the role of Garlic, a boy with an onion for a head (so wait, that's not a garlic head?) as he attempts to ascend the Sacred Tower and earn a wish from the Cyber Goddess at its peak. Garlic is a capable platforming hero with a jump, wall slide, and wall jump, as well as a multi-directional air dash that doubles as a means of environmental navigation and a tool for fighting enemies and bosses. While the game asks the player to perform many feats in succession, the game also offers frequent checkpoints to alleviate the frustration of failure. Garlic offers some comic emotes as his head embiggens to shows him reacting to things in the environment such as a pursuing enemy or being caught on fire.

The game is coming to PC on August 26.

To find more promising 2D games currently under development, be sure to check out our Master List.

May 11, 2020

New Blip: 1 Screen Platformer 2

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

The game is coming to PC later this year, and a playable demo entitled 1 Screen Platformer 2: Prologue will be available on Steam in June, offering one level and one character.

To find more promising 2D games currently under development, be sure to check out our Master List.

May 10, 2020

Test Flight: SteamDolls - Order of Chaos

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

The game is planned for release on PC, Mac, Linux, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One. A PC demo is available on the game's store page, and also on a dedicated concept demo page. We played through the demo already, and you can find our coverage here.

To find more promising 2D games currently under development, be sure to check out our Master List.

May 8, 2020

Target Acquired: Fury Unleashed

Awesome Games Studio, the developers behind the family friendly platformer Oozi: Earth Adventure, is back to wreck your sauce (ed note: your sauce will be fine) with Fury Unleashed, a fast-paced guns-a-blazin' actioner where you shred enemies across the pages of three comic books that contain randomized elements. You spray enemies with bullets from submachine guns, blast them with shotguns, torch them with flamethrowers, get up close for knife slashes, and warble-dee-doo them with alien weapons and advanced prototypes, and your attacks grow stronger as you string together combos. The game features customizable characters, a selection of weapons to bring into battle, and an extensive upgrade tree, along with 2P co-op for double the destruction as you fight your way through baddies and screen-filling bosses, with a heavy metal soundtrack blaring away in the background... just as nature intended.

The game is now available for PC via Steam, PS4 via PSN, Switch via eShop, and Xbox One via Microsoft Store. Check our coverage here.

May 7, 2020

Target Acquired: Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl

Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl is the latest from Interabang Entertainment, the studio behind Super Comboman and the upcoming Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch, both of which are HD sidescrolling beat 'em ups. Mall Brawl is a companion to its 2.5D big brother, but it takes a different approach with graphics done up in a retro 8-bit style reminiscent of River City Ransom and the Double Dragon series. If you're not familiar with Jay and Silent Bob (then honestly, why are even you reading this?), they're a pair of lovable drug dealers who get up to high-grade antics across multiple films in Kevin Smith's View Akewniverse. Like the last few of Kevin Smith's films, the game is an ode to fan service, featuring multiple cameos from various characters from the films (some of whom are portrayed by A-list actors) as Jay and Silent Bob team up in 1P or 2P co-op to beat the paste out of security guards, the Easter Bunny, a giant poop monster, and mallrat punks who have no shopping agenda.

The game is now available for PC via Steam, Switch via eShop, and in a very uncomfortable place (nooch).

May 5, 2020

Target Acquired: Pushy and Pully in Blockland

Pushy and Pully in Blockland, from Resistance Studio, is a 1P or 2P cooperative arcade-style game, taking place in 50 levels across five themed environments. The game's protagonists, Pushy and Pully, are zipping through space when they have a problem with their spaceship that causes them to land on a planet called Blockland, which is populated by many monsters and even more blocks. The game centers around pushing blocks in an arena, similar to the gameplay of Sega's classic Pengo. Players can push individual blocks into enemies, squashing them against the walls, or press against groups of blocks to break them one at a time. Lining up three blocks of the same color causes them to disappear and also leaves behind special items, such as bombs that can be pushed across the screen to cause explosions. The arenas are colorful, as are their various enemies, all of which must be defeated in order to move from one arena to the next. At the end of each themed area is a boss encounter, and defeating bosses allows Pushy and Pully to collect parts for their broken spaceship.

The game is now available on PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, and Xbox One via Microsoft Store. It is also planned for release on Switch on May 21 and PS4 at a later date.

May 3, 2020

Target Acquired: Snake Core

Snake Core, from Orangepixel, is a modern take on the classic Snake, but instead of controlling a slithering reptile, you control a line of soldiers. Throughout the game, you blast aliens, recruit new soldiers, fight snake minibosses, stop the spread of alien infections, and disarm bombs... by shooting them. As you gain new units, your line gets longer, thereby increasing the risk that you'll accidentally cross over your path or slam into a wall, killing your entire squad. Of course, you can also lose units by taking damage from enemy forces. Grabbing plasma pickups lets you purchase upgrades between levels, such as increased health and defense, and new unit types such as armored soldiers, jeeps, tanks, and mech suits.

The game is now available for PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam and Itch, iOS via App Store, and Android via Google Play. Check our coverage here.

May 1, 2020

Signals Lost: Pandemic Edition

You've probably noticed, but there's a global pandemic going on at the moment. Lots of people are spending more time indoors, resulting in more games being played (hey, how's that backlog coming along?), more shows being streamed, and more internet being surfed. So, we thought we'd take some of this surplus time to scrape our Master List and see whether any of these games are actually still in development.

We poke through the list every now and again to look for game dev websites that no longer exist, Twitter accounts that haven't been updated in the past year, or games that have been in Early Access since... forever, and then we take those games off our radar. Will they ever come back? Maybe. Hopefully the early access stuff will eventually reach a final state, even though they're in no hurry to get there. As for the games where nothing seems to be happening, perhaps the developers are so hard at work that they're not posting anything... but probably not. And with no activity to track, their signals are lost.

Black Witchcraft
Developer Quattro Gear was creating a combo-based action-RPG entitled Black Witchcraft and inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe. However, the website has never been updated since the game was originally announced, and last post on the official Facebook page was from 2017. Here was our initial take: 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.

Catacomb Kids
This game has been in Steam Early Access since 2015, but it is still receiving regular updates. 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.

This game has been in Steam Early Access since 2015, but it is still receiving regular updates. 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.

Möira, was under development by Onagro Studios, but according to the Steam store page, it's "coming soon" with an expected release in 2017, which is also what the press kit says. Things seemed to have been chugging along with a successful Kickstarter campaign that had ongoing updates, but there haven't been any updates since October of 2019. Oh, and the developer's website doesn't exist any more. Here's what we originally had to say:

Möira 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.

This game has been in Steam Early Access since 2015, and it's even got a publishing deal with Devolver Digital. Development is ongoing, with updates being posted on the developer's Twitch, but you wouldn't know that this is an active project by looking at the Steam store page, where the last update was in 2017. Here's what we had to say:

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.

Path to the Sky
This one made it to Steam Early Access in 2016 but hasn't received updates in many years, and the developer has announced that work on the game has been halted. Here's what we originally had to say: 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.

Phase Edge
Here we have a case where the name of the game and the name of the developer changed while the game was underway. Originally called zX - Hyperblast under development by retroFuture, the game became Phase Edge under development by Punk Arcade. The game even has a demo up on Itch that was released in 2016 and there's a page on Humble Store where you can pre-order it, but all of the materials there are also from 2016. And the expected release date listed in the press kit? You guessed it: 2016. Here's what we originally had to say about the game:

South African one-man developer Punk Arcade is taking the shmup into action-adventure territory with Phase Edge. 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.

Secrets of Grindea
This one has been in Steam Early Access since 2015, but it is still receiving regular updates. The structure if Secrets of Grindea (site 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.

In Steam Early Access since 2016, with no new updates since 2018. The developer's work on another project entitled Derail Valley ended up... um, derailing the game somewhat (see what I did there), but the developer has continued to provide updates via the comments section of the store page and intends to see development through to completion. Here's what we had to say about it:

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.

This game had been percolating for a long time, originally under development by Renegade Kid, the studio known for Mutant Mudds and Xeodrifter. However, that studio went out of business, leaving development the hands of Atooi, a new studio headed by Renegade Kid founder Jools Watsham. But after releasing Chicken Wiggle to limited success on the 3DS, the studio Kickstarted an HD Switch port called Hatch Tales, for which development is now underway. So that's a lot of time spent on stuff that's not Treasurenauts, basically. Here's what we had to say about the game:

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.