2018 has been a wonderful year, there has been so many excellent indie games on all the platforms to play! Not to mention all the mainstream title too. Unfortunately I started on the scene a bit late so there is a huge backlog of awesome games to try to catch up on before 2019 starts.  There are a few games in particular that I feel embarrassed to have not enjoyed for more than a few minutes. Especially since they are already on the PS4 or Xbox One sitting there waiting to be played. 

2018 Indie Game of the Year Winner

Celeste title

First up is the Video Game Awards Best Independent Game of the Year; CelesteCeleste has been covered on Cliqist before, check out Andrew’s article here. In this game you play as Madeline who is trying to make her way up to the top of Celeste Mountain, despite warnings from her Granny. It sounds easy like an easy task, but in the bit I played it was incredibly challenging.  There are a lot of deadly obstacles you have to face on your way up like spikes and big jumps. To help out, Madeline can perform a mid air dash in 8 directions, that can only be done once until you touch a wall or another platform. If that isn’t enough, instead of being the princess needing to be saved Madeline can kick butt on her own.  Especially since the game has good, tight controls. 

When you die it’s not because of an error or oversight when they designed it. It is because of your own error. If you find that Celeste is just too hard, there is an Assist Mode that can be turned on that gives you things like infinite air dashes, a slower level speed and the ability to be invincible. The great thing with levels that are challenging in the feeling of accomplishment that you have when you clear a difficult section or level. This is reminiscent of games like Ninja Gaiden on the original NES. In 13 minutes I died 30 times.

Celeste - deaths

Celeste has an awesome soundtrack and a retro pixel look to it.  It is not just your typical 2D platformer game. Celeste has multiple endings for you to unlock by finding hidden strawberries and obtaining cassette tapes along the way. Growing up with cassette tapes this is was awesome to see in the game with B and C sides that switch up the levels.  Celeste is available on PS4, XboxOne, Switch and the computer so you definitely spend some of your Christmas money and check it out!

You Will Die Again and Again in Dead Cells

Dead Cells- title

Next up is Dead Cells on the PS4. If you haven’t seen it check out the trailer. This is a rogue like action game where you will die… a lot. The castle you trying to explore is always changing. So once you think you have the layout figured out it has changed on you. Unless you are able to survive and get past the castle keepers that are trying to kill you.  There aren’t any checkpoints at all so it’s up to you to kill as much as you can, probably die, learn a bit along the way then start over and repeat.

This totally reminds me of the Edge of Tomorrow movie that came out recently with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. There are thousands of enemies to defeat so this will be no small task. Dead Cells has great controls and fast again along with a huge selection of weapons and tools. I don’t think you would ever be able to discover all the secrets in this game.

When you die in the game you know exactly where you went wrong. Even though it’s frustrating to die so much the game pulls you back in to try again. I can’t wait to jump in again and learn the skills I need to get through the game. 

Dead Cells-level

If you love 2D action platformers that are challenging and always changing, this is a title for you to check out. If you do manage to complete the game, being rogue like and always changing will keep you coming back for more. Each play through will never be the same.

My shame list is long but I’ll keep it to only three titles.  The final title in my list is Mega Man 11.  I have been a huge Mega Man fan ever since the NES titles and I have beat every title and game in the X series too. The fact I haven’t even picked this up yet, or even completed the demo is shameful. The Mega Man tattoo I have is also disgusted with me. 

The Blue Bomber Returns

Mega Man 11 Demo Version

From what I’ve played of the Mega Man 11 demo it feels like the classic games with hand drawn environments and 3D character models.  It has multiple difficulty levels depending on how hard of a challenge you want. The music is catchy and memorable just like the classic games. Though they have also changed things a bit to make it feel different.  It introduces the Double Gear system. Here is a video that shows how the system works. This allows Mega Man to switch between power ups instantly. One of the power ups slows down time. This really comes in handy when there is a difficult platforming section to try to navigate through, or can be really helpful when you are fighting a difficult boss.

The second power up gives you a power boost for Mega Mans Buster. So you can deal a lot more damage for a short period of time.  You have to be careful when you use these though because they can easily overheat.  Keep an eye on their meters, if you overuse them then it will take a long time to cool down so they can be used again. 

Mega Man 11 Demo- Double Gear

Mega Man 11 has introduced another change that I really like. When you defeat a boss and acquire his power/weapon you don’t just change color, you now have a helmet that looks similar to how the boss looked. So this makes it a lot easier to tell which weapon you have switched to if you are just using the shoulder buttons to switch during a battle or level. There is no multiplayer here, which makes sense. But I am really happy that it is available on all the systems for all existing fans and for everyone to experience for the first time making new fans of the Blue Bomber. This is definitely a must play title.

These three games alone will keep me busy throughout the holiday season. Not to mention all the other games coming out. Hopefully you found time to play all the games you had wanted this year. Though I have a feeling this may be a common issue. It’s definitely a good time to be a gamer! Even if you just love classic 8 or 16 bit games there’s tons of amazing indie titles to check out.  Do you have any games on your shame or must play list?

About the Author

Alana Dunitz

A huge game fan since the late 80's when she got her first Nintendo System. She has been amassing a huge assortment of NES, SNES, and japanese import games with the Famicom, Super Famicom. When she's not gaming she is playing with her kids, writing about gaming or creating video game themed artwork. Be sure to follow on Twitter and Instagram!

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