Flea is an indie game released by the one-man studio Lowtek Games on October 30th 2020. Alastair Low ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to create a platforming game that would support a physical NES release. The NES was originally released in 1983 by Nintendo and changed the gaming industry as a whole. Having been a huge fan of NES games when he was younger, Low wanted to create a new game that would run on his favorite old console. Alongside the Flea physical NES cartridges that have been produced, you can also buy physical discs for the SEGA Dreamcast or download the game on Steam. All in all, this is a very unconventional 2020 release with a fun backstory behind it.
Back to the Basics
Flea is a 2D retro platformer. It’s a relatively simple game where you play as Henry the Hyperactive Flea. Henry jumps around and navigates enemies that take the form of different types of bugs You also collect blood in order to complete the levels. There are a total of 80 levels with plenty of interesting characters in the game. Characters include the Fleadom Fighters, Humflea, Taiflea, and the Itchhiker to name a few. This game doesn’t bring much innovation to the table, but that’s the point. Flea attempts to entertain the player by bringing them a classic video game experience straight from the 80’s.
Like many of the games that appeared on the original NES, Flea can be very challenging. Although certain levels might be brutally difficult, there is enough fun to be had so that most fans of retro games will be able to get through to the end. Flea is $10 on Steam but it’s 50% off until January 5th at noon. If you’re a fan of retro platformers, then consider giving Flea a shot.
Elliot is a 2D platformer developed by the Spanish studio, Plain and Game. It is currently out for PC and will be released on Xbox and Playstation on December 24th. The game features a relaxing original soundtrack and vibrant colors in the levels. But the gameplay itself is actually quite difficult. Sometimes presenting extremely challenging levels, this precision platformer can be very frustrating to gamers with minimal platforming experience. With over 60 levels, the amount of time that it will take to get through the game can vary greatly between players. It’s really dependant on how often you’ll die.
World of the Mombas
Elliot’s story revolves around uncovering the mysteries in his world. You play as the game’s namesake. He’s a bright little blue ball who lives in the woods. He has a bigger green friend, Manuel, and they both live in a forest with the other Mombas. But the rest of the game’s story will have to be uncovered by the player when they go on their adventure. There are in-game collectible that will provide insight into the story. There’s not much to this $7.99 game’s story though, the real draw for Elliot is the challenging gameplay and interesting design.
Elliot is presented as an exceedingly difficult platformer with relaxing art and music to accompany the gameplay. There is a movement to nominate the game for the “Best Game You Suck At” at the 2020 Steam Awards. Many of the game’s mechanics are what can be found in a traditional platformer. You run, jump, and dash through the levels. But the game is somewhat unique in the fact that the original soundtrack and art have a cute and whimsical implication while the gameplay itself is unforgiving and brutally difficult. If you have a knack for difficult platformers, you might get some real fun out of this love letter to the genre from an Indie developer.
Cyber Shadow is a platformer that will be published by Yacht Club Games for Switch, PC, and last-gen consoles. Yacht Club is the studio that produced the Shovel Knight series, a critically acclaimed platformer that received immense praise across the industry. Like Shovel Knight, Cyber Shadow will have an 8-bit art-style and feature similar side-scrolling gameplay. The soundtrack for the game will be deeply appreciated by fans of retro games. The game’s developer, Aarne Hunziker, considers Yacht Club to be the perfect partner for his style of game development. With cut-scenes, boss fights, and even an unlockable set of abilities, Cyber Shadow is earning the hype that it’s getting from the gaming community.
Ruins of Mekacity
You play as Shadow, a ninja who lives in a world that’s been taken over by synthetic lifeforms. You need to discover the secrets of your ninja clan and find out what sent Mekacity into ruin. There are over a dozen boss fights that include synthetic clan rivals and giant war machines alike. The game’s story is told through the action-packed gameplay and the retro-styled cut-scenes. As you progress through the game’s story, you will unlock new skills, abilities, and upgrades. These unlockables pair with how Shadow learns more about himself, his clan, and the secrets of Mekacity’s ruins.
Cyber Shadow takes the player back to when games didn’t even take up 1 MB of storage space. (although Shovel Knight took up almost 300 MB) It looks and feels like an NES game but it won’t have the tedious problems that video games had 35 years ago. What will be carried over is the authentic art style, nostalgic gameplay, and memorable soundtracks that many games had from that era. The game intends to seamlessly blend hand-crafted sprites and simplicity with the modern game design that gamers have become accustomed to. If you’re a fan of retro-styled games, keep up with Cyber Shadow in 2021.