Indie Roundup: June 2018

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Published on June 30, 2018

June is always a packed month: the beginning of summer, and of course, the biggest gaming event of the year, E3. We still had time to spotlight our favorite indie games of the month; let’s take a look.

Disclaimer: All games in this article have been provided to viewport for free by the publishers.

If you are a developer/publisher and would like your game previewed by viewport, please reach out to Tristan (tristan@viewportgaming.com) for more details.

Hex Two

HexTwo

Release DateJune 8, 2018
Platforms: Windows
Developer/Publisher: Studio Goya
Price: $6.99

Previewed by Albert

A puzzle game can be best classified as a battle between the player and the game itself. Hex Two is the newest entry in the Hex series and is a frustrating yet enjoyable experience. Each puzzle follows the same simple rule in that moving to a tile will remove it from the board. Each tile is hexagonal, and the player can move up to two spaces away in a hexagonal direction. The goal of each puzzle is to clear the board of all tiles.

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The concept seems simple at first, but Hex Two consistently adds new tile types to spice up each set of puzzles. As the game progresses, you will encounter tiles that explode, lock, and even spawn new tiles. Each new tile type that you face adds another layer of complexity to each subsequent level making the game progressively harder. Additionally, each set of levels has additional bonus levels that will have you scratching your head for hours.

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In the end, Hex Two is an elaborate yet enjoyable game of planning. Each tile follows a specific set of rules allowing you to plan and predict every movement before you even start clearing tiles. Since every tile must be removed, even the smallest of mistakes can derail you from solving a puzzle. It is a game that requires perfection but rewards the player with immense satisfaction. If you are on the lookout for a new tricky puzzle game, you can’t go wrong with Hex Two. It’s now available on Steam.

Shift Quantum

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Release DateMay 30, 2018
Platforms: Windows, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One (Played on Windows)
Developer/Publisher: Fishing Cactus
Price: $19.99

Previewed by Alex

Shift Quantum is a black and white puzzle platformer that has you jumping around, pushing blocks, climbing ledges, and avoiding spikes as you make it from the entrance to the exit. However, the color motif isn’t just for artistic choice and instead becomes an integral part in determining solutions. The player can invert the colors of the stage, making the former solid ground disappear, and the once open areas become the new plane to act on. The mechanic is initially pretty disorienting, but it was immensely satisfying as my brain was starting to dial-in on the shift between colors rather than just fumbling clumsily through a level.

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Overall, the puzzles included with the game are not very difficult to complete. Optional collectibles are somewhat inconsistent, sometimes fairly far off the solution path and at other times next to impossible to miss. Despite that, Shift Quantum does an outstanding job introducing its various mechanics to the player. Beyond telling you how to jump and shift the world, the game leaves it to the player to observe and test how the introduction of new interact-able objects lead towards progress.

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Also included with the game is the ability to create levels and share them with other players. The in-game map browser has many sorting options, including tags to help zero-in the desired map style. It’s all very smooth to navigate and very intuitive, making it not at all a chore to use like other games. It’s a very engrossing game to play, and I found time flying by as the “one more level” syndrome kicked in. Shift Quantum may be the puzzle platformer that challenges you to change your perspective. Shift Quantum available on SteamPlayStation 4Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One.

Nairi: Tower of Shirin

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Release DateQ3 2018
Platforms: Windows, Nintendo Switch (Played on Windows)
Developer: HomeBearStudio
Publisher: Another Indie, Hound Picked Games
Price: TBD

Previewed by Tristan

Nairi: Tower of Shirin, developed by Home Bear Studio, is a point and click adventure puzzle game that blends a unique cast with beautiful hand-drawn characters and set pieces. It follows the story of Nairi, whose parents have been taken away by the Royal Guards of Shirin. As she tries to figure out what happened and how to reunite with her family, she will interact with a diverse set of characters: Bearson, a friendly bear who smuggles goods, Asim, a bandit with a golden heart, Rex, a rat who left the dark life to become a scholar, and many more.

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Gameplay is fairly typical to others in the genre, with the players being tasked to click around the environment to pick up items, interact with objects and characters, and combine tools in your inventory. Although most of the game is exceptionally intuitive, there were times where the lack of highlighting made it confusing to navigate between different parts of the map, or what I was about to click on. Other than this tiny issue, the game is entertaining; puzzles are tuned to the right amount of difficulty to make sure you’re not stuck but isn’t a mindless sequence of clicks.

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It’s hard to talk about this game without digging deeper into the fantastic visuals and audio that it’s able to bring to the table. Almost all of Nairi: Tower of Shirin is composed of hand-drawn art, from the background, foreground elements, to all of the characters along with their life-like facial animations. It helps add to the heartwarming, story-time feeling that makes the player feel like they’re part of this imaginary world. The music also strikes a similar chord; it’s never intrusive, but instead helps with the immersion. I often found myself pausing to enjoy the music while I tried to figure out how to solve the puzzle at hand.

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Nairi: Tower of Shirin brings the genre back to its roots with a personal touch of heartwarming story and visuals. It’s due for release some time in Q3 for both the PC and the Nintendo Switch.

If you are a developer/publisher and would like your game previewed by viewport, please reach out to Tristan (tristan@viewportgaming.com) for more details.

Categories: Previews

Tristan Jung

You’ll often find Tristan wasting his life away at League of Legends if he’s not busy bugging the other two members about writing reviews. He’s in charge of the website and editing the podcasts, so if anything looks or sounds out of place, please yell at him.