Indie Excavation No. 2: Post-Sale Madness
Featuring: Godstrike, Ultra Space Battle Brawl, My Night Job
Christmas is now behind us, and that means a lot of people out there are staring down the barrel of a really questionable Steam backlog. I hope that among the discounted AAA titles that all of you found it in your hearts to spare a few nickels for a deserving indie, but if you didn’t, then here are three more to consider for the next sale.
Today’s features are a bit of an odd blend. Opening the showcase is a recent release that I think has a real chance of breaking out in the future. Following that, we have two titles that have been sadly buried — one a console-styled multiplayer gem, the other an odd arcade throwback.
As always, if you want to clue me in on an overlooked indie title, you can leave a comment here or send me a message on my site.
Watch the games in action:
OverPowered — 2021 — $14.99
Meet Talaal, last of the Heralds. For the moment, it’s not too important to know what that means. Just know that the other Heralds have been acting up, one of them in particular has gotten too big for his britches, and now it falls to Talaal to clean up the mess. And how will she accomplish this? Through firepower, that’s how.
Godstrike is a twin-stick bullet hell shooter. By writing that I’ve probably already either won you over or turned you away, but I hope you’ll stick around because this title brings a few twists to the formula. The game is a boss rush featuring ten multi-stage fights, available in either a straight down the line story mode or a semi-randomized challenge mode. As you defeat the bosses, Talaal gains access to a range of both passive and active powers, the latter of which can really help you clear a fight in a hurry.
And you will need to play this game in a hurry. The battles are all timed, and while the clock may look generous, there is a catch. Getting hit depletes the timer, a la the cult freeware game Warning Forever. One more hit while the timer is at zero, and that’s it for the round. Oh, and those boss destroying active powers? Equipping those also diminishes the starting timer. The candle that burns twice as bright really does burn half as long.
Overall, Godstrike is well above average, with solid controls, a memorable graphics style and a variety of bosses and mechanics. As far as difficulty goes, I’d put it in the middle for titles of this style. It might even be appropriate for beginners, but if you’ve never played a game like this, be prepared for it to let go of your hand after the first few bosses.
Ultra Space Battle Brawl
Mojiken — 2018 — $9.99
The second I booted up Ultra Space Battle Brawl, I had a thought: This game probably did a lot better on the Switch than it has on Steam. Perhaps it’s down to the game’s console fighting game aesthetic, the kind of thing that doesn’t always play so well on PC.
And oh boy, does USBB want you to think about fighting games going into this. From the pre-title sequence that parodies the intro to Super Street Fighter 2, everything here is meant to take you back to the arcade on the day the new cabinet was wheeled in. USBB has a gleefully absurd fighting game premise, complete with a roster full of over-the-top characters based on stereotypes from Mojiken’s home country of Indonesia. All of them are misfit students from an interplanetary school who have some reason or another to enter the obligatory tournament.
My personal favorite is the wanna-be IT geek whose dream is to create a hybrid video game / computer virus that he can force the entire Solar System to play so that people won’t think he’s weird. It makes (marginally) more sense in context.
The game itself is pitched as Pong with a fighting game twist. Each player has a crystal (two in some levels) surrounded by little minions with matching haircuts. The goal is to smash a ball so that it breaks through those minions and hits the crystal five times. The controls are simple enough, with one button to strike the ball and another to sprint a short distance. Each of the game’s ten characters has different attributes, as well as a unique hyper move which — in true fighting game fashion — can be used to help a losing player catch up. Hypers range from simple boosters that make the character hit the ball harder or faster to more exotic techniques that blow the ball back at the opponent or steal their minions.
USBB is made for multiplayer and can support up to four people at once. If you’re looking for something a little different for your next game night, give it a look.
My Night Job
Webcore Games — 2016 — $3.99
Something tells me that My Night Job is taking off on a game I’ve never heard of. An obscure arcade title? Something from one of the 8-bit computers? Maybe one of you can help me out here.
One fateful night, a down-on-his-luck ice cream vendor sees a TV ad for a shady rescue company. Next thing you know, he’s being sent bare handed into a mansion so full of B-movie monsters that it’s on the verge of falling down in order to rescue a motley assortment of late night horror flick cannon fodder. The things we do to pay the bills, right?
The objective in My Night Job is to rescue at least one hundred people from the aforementioned mansion without being killed yourself. Some of the survivors are armed but, for the most part, you will have to babysit them as you guide them to the extraction points. Since your employer didn’t bother to arm you, you’ll need to find weapons on site — everything from kitchen knives to wooden chairs to the obligatory chainsaw. To make things a little nicer, the rescue team will reward you for you efforts with health, bonus points, or a firearm.
This wouldn’t be so hard, but there’s another wrinkle: You also need to keep the monster population down. Ghouls and demons of all kinds are constantly flooding into the mansion, and if too many of them gather in one place, they’ll start to stomp the floor, damaging the room. Let this go on for too long and they’ll completely destroy it; if the monsters destroy too many rooms, the mansion will collapse and it’s game over. As the mansion is too big to keep it clear by yourself, you’ll need to play this thing efficiently to reach the end.
My Night Job is a hard game — as of this writing, I haven’t finished even a single run. For those of you who appreciate old-school arcade hard, this might just be the game for you.
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