We look at 5 of the most interesting games that never were.
The Games of Humble Indie Bundle 11
Another week, another Humble Indie Bundle.
However, this week’s bundle is a particularly strong looking line-up with big indie titles like Guacamelee! and Dust: An Elysian Tail available at choose-your-own-prices. To help sell you on the Humble Bundle 11, the Leviathyn PC team is stepping up to recommend their favorite games of the bundle.
Guacamelee! Gold Edition
Fergus Halliday: Guacamelee! isn’t the kind of indie game trying to break new mechanical ground that the larger game industry fears to tread nor is it the kind of game that makes a compelling case for games as art. It’s a game that was made by the fans of the Metroid and Castlevania games (a genre often referred to as Metroidvania) and it knows exactly what it wants to be. This quirky open world sidescroller sets you as a Luchador named Juan who must traverse a colorful world inspired by Mexican folklore and culture in order to save his love, El Presidente’s Daughter. Guacamelee! manages to achieve both being fun to play and being funny to play and on top of that there’s a lot of additional content for completionists to sink time into once the main game is complete.
You can check out Leviathyn’s full review of the game here.
Dust: An Elysian Tail
Aaron Randolph: The Metroidvania goodness continues with the exemplary Dust: An Elysian Tail. It starts with that most tired of gaming tropes, amnesia, but Dust soon finds himself in the company of a talking sword, Ahrah, and an adorable bat-squirrel thing named Fidget. The writing is hilarious, often breaking the fourth wall to poke fun at itself, but it can also be extremely touching and poignant. And the visuals – this is a beautiful game with a sort of Disney-meets-anime design sensibility, incredible animation, gorgeous music and fun characters. And the combat – oh, the combat! Whipping Dust’s talking sword around like a buzzsaw is just as fun and satisfying as grabbing an enemy in mid-air and bodyslamming them into the forest floor. This Humble Bundle is worth the price for Dust: An Elysian Tail alone. But there’s a lot more…
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Aaron Randolph: I haven’t spent as much time with Giana Sisters as I have with Dust, but the time that I have spent, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. The original Giana Sisters was known as a Super Mario Bros. clone, but this game is anything but. Giana and her sister Maria get pulled through a portal into a weird world, and Giana has to rescue Maria using a number of abilities, the most significant of which is the ability to switch between two personas – a ‘cute’ Giana and a ‘punk’ Giana. Switching between them changes everything – the world, the music, the enemies, and your abilities. The game isn’t terribly difficult unless you’re a completionist, in which case, be prepared for some truly puzzling platforming. This is one of those rare breeds of games that’s fun for all ages, so I highly advise checking it out.
You can check out Leviathyn’s full review here.
Cameron Wade: The Swapper is the sort of game that I don’t spill any details on when recommending it to a friend. It’s the sort of experience I want people to go into mostly blind, free to immerse themselves in what it does and what it has to say without expectation. But I will say this of The Swapper: it was my favorite game of 2013, and it’s one of my favorite games of all time. It’s an atmospheric puzzle-platformer with a gorgeous clay-model aesthetic, but what sets it apart for me is just how beautifully it’s mechanics support it’s narrative. It’s a story about identity and consciousness and the gameplay matches it perfectly. The Swapper is one of the best examples for how to design a game to express ideas through both the story and the play. The Swapper is gaming at its best; don’t miss it.
You can check out our full review here.
Daniel Mellman: Antichamber understands that any game world we interact with is given flesh by our understanding and potential traversal of it, and plays with that understanding brilliantly. Antichamber‘s world is one with constantly changing rules; a floor becomes solid only when someone meets the gaze of an eye on the ceiling, corridors loop infinitely, the perspective of a viewfinder can be left to find an entirely new world. Proverbs line the walls, turning these small puzzles into fables, while the player’s growing ability to manipulate small cubes is never quite as important as finding out what makes any given area tick. A legion of secret areas and multiple puzzle solutions give Antichamber some serious replay value, but it is the eerie surprises and constant sense of wonder that make Antichamber such a masterful game. Highly recommended.
You can check out Leviathyn’s full review here.
Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine
Daniel Mellman: The bundle’s final game is frenetic, addictive co-op sneaker Monaco from Pocketwatch Games and Majesco Entertainment. Four criminals escape from a Monaco prison and pull off a series of daring heists to flee the country, but things quickly get more complicated after they are hired by a dastardly ex-banker. Every character (four at the start with four more quickly unlocked) has their own set of powerful abilities, and teamwork is paramount. Every stage is a fast-paced flurry of secret tunnels, charmed guards and paper-thin disguises. I had a lot of fun retrying levels with different strategies, and trying to get every piece of loot often means traversing especially dangerous areas and taking some outrageous risks. The bundled version has been updated with an optional streamlined campaign, an extra-difficult prologue campaign, three PvP missions and a bizarre zombie mode. The streamlined campaign slices away most of what didn’t work about the original game, while the prologue and PvP missions makes things even more hectic, while a level editor and online level sharing gives Monaco a potentially infinite number of heists. We’re getting the best version of a fantastic game.
You can check out Leviathyn’s full review of Monaco here.
The Bundle has since been upgraded to also include the delightful FEZ, the cosmic Starseed Pilgrim and the downright groovy Beatbuddy: Rise of the Guardians and there’s always a chance that more game’s could be thrown into the mix as the Bundle draws to the end of its lifespan. You can check out and pay-what-you-want for the Bundle here.