If you’re anything like me, you spent more time than you’d like to admit beating your head against some challenge in “Elden Ring”. I, for one, never got into other Soulslikes, except for a brief stint with “Sekiro”, which I didn’t finish. Elden Ring was different for me in a way that it brought out a side of me that relishes in overcoming seemingly impossible challenges. After I’d had my fill of the game, I felt it time to turn back to something a bit more lighthearted, indie, and less intense. Perhaps I missed the mark with my choices, but you be the judge.
My first pick was Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters (44 hours). This is “XCOM 2” with a coat of Warhammer 40K paint on it. Due to my experience with XCOM, I was able to seamlessly jump in with very little effort in attempting to learn new systems or controls. Pretty much every system or gameplay element had a Space Marine-flavored analog. I had a ton of fun customizing my Paladins with different loadouts and attempting to manage the demonic space pandemic. As far as licensed properties go, I’d say this is a very solid game, particularly when compared to most other Warhammer licensed games (with the exception of Fatshark’s fantastic Vermintide Series. All aboard the hype train for “Darktide”!) I recommend Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters to anyone who is a fan of the XCOM strategy games, or Warhammer in general. Find it on Humble Bundle Here
I didn’t quite finish “Daemonhunters”, because “Rogue Legacy 2” recently came out of early access, and I had to check out what they had to offer with the 1.0 version. I was a huge fan of Rogue Legacy 1, so this was a highly anticipated title for me. I played around with the game a bit during early access, but there wasn’t a whole lot to sink my teeth into yet.
The full release brought with it an abundance of satisfying content that kept me busy for almost 80 hours. The core gameplay loop involves playing as different classes through a “Mega Man”-like 2D platformer map while collecting gold and fighting bosses. New mobility upgrades are slowly unlocked, similar to metroidvanias, such as “Hollow Knight”. With each death, a new character class is chosen, and permanent upgrades, new classes, armor sets, and combat modifiers can be purchased.
Once the first playthrough is complete, additional difficulty modifiers can be added to the game for New Game+, with more difficult bosses, more gold, and more challenging monsters. So far I’ve finished New Game +3, and I’m not sure I want to put it down yet. The game also has a beautiful art style, music, and lore. The Docks, the game’s hub area, has a heartwarming cast of characters who almost always have something new to say, developing the story of the game between playthroughs. Rogue Legacy 2 built on its fantastic predecessor in a number of ways that had me hooked. Definitely one of my more enjoyable gaming experiences this year. I recommend this game for fans of roguelikes, platformers, and for anyone addicted to unlocking things.
My most recent obsession is “Vampire Survivors”. This bargain-bin choice has a lot of arcadey replayability. The gameplay involves your character taking on hordes of monsters that slowly attempt to surround you. As you kill monsters, you level up, gaining new abilities that allow you to kill the creatures in different ways. The monsters mainly damage the player by coming into contact with them, so the game becomes similar to a bullet-hell shooter, but in slow motion. Herding massive hordes of enemies in sheepdog like fashion is quite satisfying, particularly when I’m able to juuust manage to squeeze through a massive group of baddies that seemed poised to end my run and end up dispatching the horde 30 seconds later. Any gold gained during the game can be used after the player dies to purchase upgrades and new characters before attempting another run. The amount of depth in this game is astonishing, particularly considering its price. If you’re a fan of bullet-hell shooters, and roguelikes, this is the game for you. To be honest, at three dollars, I think most people should check it out. It’s fun!
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