TFI Friday: three new indie games that have nothing in common

It has been a hot minute since I hit you with some fun new indie games (I was on holiday! Gimme a break!) but I’m very excited to be back with some crackers this week. I was too tired to come up with a theme, though, so instead here are just some fun games that I think you’ll like, woooooo!

In fact, I’ve managed to pick three games that are so disparate in style and tone that I don’t think I could link them by a theme even if I really, really tried. I can start with a more topical one, though. Yes, it’s about vaccines. But like, in a fun way. I promise.


Metavaxx


Who’s it by? PUNKCAKE Délicieux!
Where can I get it? Itch
How much is it? $6

PUNKCAKE Délicieux! are a new collective releasing a game every month as part of a Patreon subscription service. Cool! Metavaxx is their second game, and it’s about developing a vaccine by either destroying infected cells and the virus within them, or by isolating the infected cells by destroying all the healthy cells around them. Yes: your vaccine has a gun.

So Metavaxx is a twinstick shooter crossed with minesweeper. You control your virus and swoop around an area of the body, and healthy cells will indicate how many infected cells they’re touching with a number. Exploding an infected cell releases some amount of virus, which are colour coded for different abilities. Blue ones fire a bubble at you. Green ones explode with a poison on impact. It is better, therefore, to try and avoid bad cells, which is a lesson I learned too late. I was going for the search and destroy tactic, and as you can see from my performance in the video above, I did not thrive using this method.

Metavaxx takes a hot minute to get the hang of, but it’s incredibly moreish once you do. Despite the fact that I am a terrible, terrible vaccine pilot, I am itching to boot it up again right now. [If you have the opportunity and haven’t taken it yet, get your Covid vaccine, I had both my shots and feel great about it.]

Omno


Who’s it by? Jonas Manke, Future Friends Games, StudioInkyfox
Where can I get it? Steam, Epic Games Store
How much is it? £17/€20/$20

In extreme contrast to Metavaxx is Omno, a really relaxed, chilled out puzzle game where you, a little person on a pilgramage, explore a very serene world. You exist in concert with the creatures you discover (like little crabby rocks, or frog things called freglets) and they share their energy with you to solve some of the puzzles you come accross.

These are all traversal puzzles, involving collecting enough orbs to open the teleporter to the next area. In the video, I finish the very first level, a swamp full of dragonflies and wallowing tortoises, but later on you’ll run into grassy plains, snow, and a desert you can glide around a la Journey.

You also unlock new skills, including stuff like dashing and the aforesaid gliding. It’s a really accomplished solo dev project that demands just enough of you in the puzzles to keep you engaged, and when you’re engaged you notice the lovely birds and bugs and freglets everywhere. If you need to give your mind a soak in a metaphorical bath this weekend, I’d recommend Omno.

Unbound: Worlds Apart


Who’s it by? Alien Pixel Studios
Where can I get it? Steam, GOG, Epic Games Store
How much is it? £17/€20/$20

Unbound: Worlds Apart is very cool on a number of levels. It’s a 2D metroidvania, with a bit of an Ori flavour. It’s got that good hand drawn art that I know you like, and the cutscenes are all fabulous animations like you’d see in a kids movie from the 80s, when cartoons were allowed to really put the shits up kids.

The real USP, though, is that while you’re platforming around this world you can call upon the power of portals, with the tap of your left bumper (yes, I played with controller, but mouse and keyboard is allowed for). The simplest kind of portal stays in place and shows a little bubble of the demon world that is trying to invade your own, where blocks might be removed of platforms added. But it can also add in new enemies, change little mosquitos into giant purple bat monsters, or speed up projectiles

Different areas give your portal a different power. In one, it reverses your gravity as well – along with anything caught in its sphere, even if that’s an enemy. In a pitch black area it grows to illuminate what’s around you, but only while you’re standing still. Well played, Alien Pixel. Well. Bloody. Played.

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