Welcome to February, Single Players! We hope your 2016 started out great with some excellent game experiences. For this week’s Indie Roundup, we’ve got another quartet of great indie games for you to keep an eye on: Blood Alloy:Reborn, Slasher’s Keep, Heiroglyphika, and Semispheres.

Blood Alloy: Reborn (Suppressive Fire Games)

The description for Blood Alloy:Reborn starts simply with “Jetpacks. Guns. Swords. Endless robotic death.”

I could probably just move on to the next entry on our list, but I’m a professional, so I’ll keep going.

Likened to high-octane, adrenaline pumping games like Strider and Dust ForceBlood Alloy is a side-scrolling shooter in which you play Nia Rhys, a “hyper-agile cybernetic machine of robot death” full stop. Moving on.

Ok, ok. Here’s the rest of the description.

Render the robot swarms unto wreckage and shrapnel in the hyper-acrobatic tactical shooter/slasher Blood Alloy: Reborn! As the cyborg soldier Nia Rhys, you’ll hit subsonic speeds thanks to the BLade Assisted Surface Traversal (BLAST) system. Boost along the floor, up walls, and across ceilings at breakneck speeds to gain positional advantage on your foes. Blast and slice your foes to bits from every angle!

Rising from the ashes of a failed Kickstarter, Blood Alley‘s team has quite a pedigree of developers and the game will be focused on fast-paced action with ten different mechanical enemy types, an experience bar that will unlock weapon loadouts, new levels to fight in, and even new songs in the techno/80’s synth soundtrack. It’s honestly about as cool as you can get without being drenched in liquid nitrogen.

If you’re still not sold, I don’t know what to tell you. Jetpacks, guns, swords, cybords, explosions…just check out Blood Alloy here and the trailer below already. I’ve done my job! (Ok, ok, they’re also on Twitter and Facebook)

Slasher’s Keep (Damian Schloter)

As a gamer from the 80’s and 90’s, as well as a long-time D&D player, I’ve been a huge fan of the first-person dungeon crawlers immortalized by games like the classic Eye of the Beholder series. Slasher’s Keep, then, is right up my alley.

Slasher’s Keep focuses pretty heavily on melee combat with craftable and customizable melee weapons, though you have the option to use special wands you find for ranged combat. You can block and parry attacks, shove enemies, and even attack destructible environments to bring parts of the keep down on your enemies. There are six playable races with their own racial abilities, unlockable skills, traps, secrets, optional permadeath…pretty standard and all competently presented in stylistic and quirky cell-shaded visuals to keep things fresh.

The premise of the game is simple: you’re unjustly imprisoned in the titular Slasher’s Keep and must fight your way out. No unnecessarily complication here.

You can find out more about the project at the game’s website here or on the game’s (successful) Steam Greenlight page here. The developer is also on Facebook and Twitter (@DamianSchloter)

Heiroglyphika (M. Hanka)

Releasing in just a few days (Feb. 3), Heiroglyphika is a rogue-like that takes an interesting spin on its own premise. It’s a game without text but rather, in keeping with its Egyptian theme, relies entirely on pictograms.

You get lost in an ancient Egyptian pyramid buried deep under the sand of the desert and full of traps and monstrous beings. Decrypt hieroglyphs to learn spells and to understand the magical nature of artifacts.

As a Prussian adventurer, it’s up to you to fight your way out of an ancient pyramid deep beneath the desert.

Hieroglyphika is an attempt to innovate the traditional roguelike games. The game offers mouse controls and a streamlined interface, but no tutorials or hand-holding of any kind. The gameplay mechanics are designed to be easily intuited and to keep the player experimenting and finding novel solutions to odd combinations of random events.

As you progress, you’ll find the aforementioned artifacts that will gain power the deeper you find them. The game is a lot more slow-paced and methodical than the previous two on this list with turn-based combat and ability cooldowns requiring you to plot out your moves well in advance if you hope to stand a chance against the horrors you find in the ancient Egyptian pyramid.

You are an explorer. There is no hand-holding of any kind. Figure out the mechanics and rules on your own. Be attentive and creative. Find novel solutions to odd combinations of random events.

Check out the game on Steam Greenlight here or the game’s website here.

Semispheres (Vivid Helix)

Finally this week, we have a unique puzzler called Semispheres where you “simultaneously control two characters in connected parallel realities.”

The game is a mix of mind-bending puzzles and motor coordination challenges. Later levels introduce the co-op aspect of the game where the two sides need to work together (sometimes simultaneously) to progress.

Semispheres tells the tale of a friendship between a boy and his robot, and will be presented via a series of comic strips as the player progresses through the game. Levels will be grouped in clusters rather than presented linearly, with progress in the story unlocking access to the next set of levels.

If that sounds complicated…well, it kind of is. But the mechanic is integrated quite fluidly and the beautiful, color-coded visuals make the game look quite appealing in its simplicity.

The main story mode of the game grants the player special abilities like a distraction that occupies the game’s various obstacles (allowing your other half to proceed), portals, teleportation, “guard transfer,” and the ability to switch sides. There will also be a speed-run mode in which the player can challenge individual levels or even the entire game to beat their own (or others’) best times.

In addition, the game’s sound and music have been “custom-crafted to embrace the duality of the game, with each side’s respective movements affecting the soundscape in different ways.”

You can check out the game’s webpage here and learn more on Steam Greenlight here. The developers are also on Twitter (@VividHelix).

Brienne Gacke
Writer, journalist, teacher, pedant. Brienne's done just about anything and everything involving words and now she's hoping to use them for something she's passionate about: video games. She's been gaming since the onset of the NES era and has never looked back.

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