Indiegram - Review

Author: Andrea Maderna
Date: 2020-07-30 22:18:01
This month our review of the most interesting or curious indie games of recent times ranges between every possible and imaginable genre: shooter, strategy, boardgame, racing game, horror adventures, lysergic adventures ... as usual, we have very recent games and some gems with a little more weeks on the shoulders. On the first page you will find Zenzizenzic, Legions of Steel and The Music Machine. In the second it's up to Star Hammer: The Vanguard Prophecy, Guild of Dungeoneering and Kholat. Finally we close with No Time to Explain, The Next Penelope: Race to Odysseus and Anna's Quest.

Happy reading and enjoy!

Zenzizenzic

Zenzizenzic seems like a tongue twister, a stretching under the palate, invigorating yoga in just eleven characters. Under the almost onomatopoeic blanket, there is a game that, without reverential fears, fits fully among the twin stick shooters, a rather crowded genre and full of alternatives, noble and not.

Zenzizenzic finds its identity in the shapes and minimalism of a geometric carousel: the fulcrum is an unfortunate square, forced to sweat a thousand and more points, while maintaining its integrity. A moment of distraction and his life, a hell lived dangerously, flows into cosmic nothingness, in a deflagration of pixels. On the chessboard, a two-dimensional plane, darts and bullets fly, round or sharp, which proceed in formation, except to veer suddenly, like a flock of razor blades. Showy rosettes, born from the intertwining and overlapping of different shapes, observe their misdeeds with detachment, while entire platoons of rectangles, in martial attitude to say the least, march at a decisive and resolute pace. Once the assault troops are annihilated, we find ourselves, the protocol imposes it, in the presence of the gigantic boss, except to start from scratch in the next level.

The difficulty curve, well balanced, makes Zenzizenzic an experience that is never frustrating, although there are no sharp edges. In that tangle of rulers, triangles and circumferences, it is often difficult to separate the bonus from the malus, the color distinction is not effective enough. The defect, I think it is of a minor entity, emerges more in the last painting, a section in black and white. And then, let's be clear, the twin stick shooters pass, by definition, for a repetition of tears, sweat and blood.

Alongside the well-known structure, Zenzizenzic, in the Macro variant, flows into a sort of role-playing game, complete with refreshment points and avatar customization. Here, and it seems a paradox, we proceed at a placid, almost sleepy pace, up to the unexpected climax. At the apex gigantic monstrosities emerge, giants of lines, apparently devoid of a weak point, vulnerability protected by a thousand and more cages. As pleasant as it is, in my opinion the Macro formula falls slightly into the background, as if there was potential still unexpressed.

I believe that Zenzizenzic is a commendable, geometric shooter, even in a broad sense, and carefully designed. The offer of the game does not creak and the price to the public is more than appropriate, a particular the latter to be taken into serious consideration.

Platform : PC
Genre : If Flatlandia was a shooter ...
Price : € 9.99
Rating : 7.7

Lorenzo Baldo

Legions of Steel

Do you know Space Hulk? The cult boardgame signed Games Workshop that also generated a couple of video game incarnations? Here, Legions of Steel is the younger brother who has had less success in life. Here too we find ourselves controlling a team of marines, here too we fight in the claustrophobic corridors of a spaceship, here too there are swarming aliens intent on making the skin. Except that those of Space Hulk, in the best tradition of Alien, crawl in the shadows and attack melee, while in Legions of Steel the evil androids shoot at us without too many compliments. The gameplay here is much more symmetrical, and the game generally more traditional. In fact, Legions of Steel works exactly as you'd expect from an on-board boardgame: units have action points that are spent on moving, opening doors, firing and so on. Then you can run and turn in different directions, and little else. The problem is that the interface is clearly designed for mobile - think that to pass the shift you have to do "long press" with the mouse - and rather uncomfortable on PC. Ordering all marines to run requires an unacceptable amount of clicks for such a simple game. Beyond this flaw, the title is discreet. There is an exhaustive tutorial - but certainly not essential for strategy veterans - and two fairly large campaigns, narrated with a rather captivating comic style.

Platforms : PC, iPhone, iPad
Genre : Pocket tactic
Price : € 19.99 / € 8.99
Rating : 7

Claudio Chianese

The Music Machine

The Music Machine is one of those weird and twisted games where you don't understand what the heck is going on. It is an adventure with a strong narrative imprint, with a first-person view, in which two characters "merged" together are controlled. The protagonist is a man who died in circumstances that I will not be here to reveal, whose soul has for some reason taken control of a little girl's body, without expelling his conscience. We then find ourselves exploring a mysterious island in the shoes of the child in question, but with two consciences that quarrel with each other and converse discussing their relationship, the past that binds them and what they are going to do. There is a sort of revenge at stake and the main choice that is made during the game lies in deciding whether to complete it or not. Doing what? Exploring the island, finding increasingly crazier settings and solving small game situations, which range from some interesting enough puzzles, various conversations, a bit of exploration and even a shooting.

David Szymanski's game is a very special experience, an adventure with a reduced interactive, but not as it would seem initially, with a linear development, but which offers great freedom of movement in the individual settings, and which offers a certain amount of freedom in decide how to complete the story. It hides some delicious secrets to discover, but its charm lies above all in the themes it deals with, rather delicate, and in the attempt to propose them with an adult cut, if we also want to be brave enough, filtered by a vision completely out of mussel. It is certainly not a game for everyone, but it is fascinating thanks to the very particular graphic style and the almost horror cut it takes in its best moments. In short, the atmosphere is the right one. It lasts little, but it also costs little, so those who appreciate this kind of experimentation should give it a chance.

Platform : PC
Genre : Surreal mental exploration
Price : € 5.99
Rating : 7.3

Andrea Maderna