Top 5 Hidden Indie Gems of October

Hey folks, welcome to get indie gaming and our top 5 indie game hidden gems for October 2018 we’ve enjoyed playing of late and feel are well worth you checking out.  Up today we’ve a superb platform action game we ashamed we missed towards the back end of last year, one that’s like Star Dew Valley but with Goats and at the pointy end something with a hand drawn art style with aspects of survival, role playing and interactive fiction. And with that, please read on. . . .

5) Barbearian

At number 5 and out in August this year for the PC and iOS, Barbearian is a colourful and dare we say cute hack and slasher where you play as a barbearian covered in bear skin. You’ve been kidnapped by a group known as the Arbitrators and you’re forced to fight and battle your way to hopefully find a route back home.

The game features a sucession of connected worlds in which you find things, creators and other people hell bent on quite simply taking you down.  As could be expected, your tasked with battling through these hordes of enemies before defeating the level bosses and moving onto the next level.

As you kill off the eneimes and destroy the trees, walls and other items, you’re rewarded with food and gem stones that can be used to purchase better weapons that drop into the game.  There’s also the ability to acquire companions to help you and your able to upgrade their weaponry. Sadly they seem rather easy to kill off and yet they can be revived via magic to bring them back from the dead.

Of course the biggest draw to the game is the combat which from the start offer a fast and frantic challenge.  You begin with an axe with upgrades coming via machine guns and other such weaponry whereby soon your sending hundreds of enemies bouncing around the hand crafted fully destructible levels.

We played this on the PC and on mobile where its one of the better games of its type for the platform.  Overall while Babearian is challenging, its great fun to play and wonderfully pleasing on the eye.

4) Semblance

From the summer of this year, Semblance may look just another 2D platformer, and yet here we have a game that looks to twist and move the genre in an entirely new direction and one we’ve not seen before.

In Semblance, you are able to shape the world to suit your needs in any given situation.  You can vary and reshape  platforms to help reach where you need to go or even reshape your character’s body to fit through spaces and past otherwise inaccessible areas.

As you can see on screen, you play as blob type character and while there’s no dialogue, your goal is to drive out the crystalline creatures that threaten to take over your world by seeking red orbs littered across the worlds to purify the areas that have become infected with the dastardly crystals.

Getting these orbs is easier said than done. Semblance offers a stern challenge with the puzzles you need to solve to find them.  Once in a while we became frustrated at being unable to progress and yet by moving onwards to another section, we sometimes saw the necessary gameplay needed to go back to the previous zone to finish it off. Thankfully you can also hard reset the world should you find yourself stuck or neededing to take on another track.

The games simple and yet changing colour pallet and its beautiful backdrops and accompanying music makes for an overall pleasant experience.  Sembalnce is available on the PC, the Mac and the Nintendo Switch.

3) Where the Goats Are

Our number three and no doubt most polorising choice of the month, Where the Goats Are came out on itch.io for the Mac and PC in early September of this year. As we mentioned early on in the intro, it’s all as a premise Star Dew Vally but with Goats.

The in game days pass quickly and you won’t find any hard goals. You can milk your goats, collect eggs from the chicken coop, make goat cheese to sell for profit, water your plants, or mess around and go play with a stick.

On the game the developer states “Mechanically, it was driven by a desire to create a non-action, non objective-oriented narrative game, which told a small, personal story,” said Cardenas, “probably due to the fact that sometimes it feels like every video game I see nowadays has shooting or fighting in it, and honestly a game where you just look after goats seemed refreshing.”

It’s a lonely existence. The only human contact you have is a man who comes by to offer trade and deliver letters from your far-off relatives. These snippets begin forming the story as you learn what’s happening elsewhere in the world, away from your little plot of land. Other than that, you can choose how to spend your day.

Without spoiling anything, you eventually read that all is not well beyond the farm. Several family members offer well wishes to you , saying they hope you’ll staying safe and avoid  the disasters that are befalling the cities elsewhere .

Even with this though, you can’t leave the farm to see whats happening. You are where you are and that’s it. While odd on paper, the experience of going about your business  feels wholesome and offers a calmness you create by way of your daily routine.  Where the Goats are is available on a name your price offering.

2) Lucah Born of a Dream

The runner up in this October hidden gems rund down, Lucah Born of a Dream grabbed our attention with its unique scrawl like doodle animation style. Like semblance from earlier, this is something quite new to use and works our nicely throughout.

Having awoken from a dream, you the player are cursed and have your inner daemons come to life for you to fight to purify and end the corruption that’s slowly consuming you bit by bit.  So yes, that sounds rather bleak and this aspect is clear from the game design with the darkness, the shadows and the superb use of contrast between the background and the cast of characters helps grab your attention and draw you into the action which at times is pretty darn dark in places.

The combat system feels simple and intuitive with you becoming venerable to attack  should your strike miss its target. Your able to chain together light and heavy attacks with a stamina meter you need to watch and manage which is the key to gaining progression.

Get used to the finery of this system, together with the option of a rewind system type of perk that allows you a second chance at any given battle. This option becomes invaluable towards the later sections of the game where you face of against many powerful enemies at the same time.

With the ability to acquire a familiar to pull off long ranged attacks, the use of mantras to adjust attack profiles and more, this isn’t your basic hack and slash action RPG.  Then there’s the characterisation that delivers a powerful and at times depressing narrative, it’s never too over bearing and with multiple endings and customization, Lucha Born of a Dream is one to consider adding to your back log

1) A Hat in Time

From October 2017, and one we missed back then, our number one for October is a Hat in Time which we finally got round to properly playing on the PS4, only a month or so ago.  Now this one really is so much fun.  It’s utterly marvellous and while it’s inspirations are worn very much in clear sight, it manages to rekindle the joy of historic 3D platformers like Mario 64 while feeling new enough to be fresh and relevant and for those watching for this since 2013, its been worth the wait.

The game starts off with you finding yourself as Hat Girl in your spacecraft being asked by a local Mafia enforcer to pay a toll for passage past their planet.  Upon refusal, the Mafioso smashes the glass on the craft whereby your sucked into space to then land upon the Mafia run aforementioned planet.  As we mentioned earlier, this one not only evokes memories of Mario 64, it follows that games structure fairly closely.  Each level as you undertaking challenges to unlock hour glases with some of the later levels being locked until you have enough glasses to gain access.

Rather oddly, we found the initial level to be the most banal and dullest of the entire game and because of this, we urge anyone looking to pick this up to look past this first underwhelming experience.   Things quickly pick up and once you unlock your abilities the enjoyment level sky rockets and by the second and third chapters you will forget your earlier missgivings.

There’s clever touches throughout, the avian version of Hollywood where you negotiate between two waring directors is very nicely done as is one section were you find yourself in a murder mystery alongside Columbo styled crows – its all wonderfully silly and stunningly imaginative.

For anyone with a love of these type of games from the N64 era, A Hat in Time is one of the best standout games of it’s type in the last 5 or so years. Highly recommended.

Outro 

Which of these games here are you most looking forward to playing or seing more from? Let us know in the comments.

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