Indie Games Round up – August 2023

Every month we take a look at some of the various indie games out there, play them, and talk about the ones we liked. In case you missed last month’s Indie Games round-up, you can find it here.


Now I’m a real late-comer to the Trepang2 party, but I’m glad I arrived anyway. Trepang2 is a sick, fast-paced, absolutely brutal horror-shooter that’s absolutely FEARless with showing off its inspiration. Hehe.

It’s a little bit of a double edged sword – whilst trying to act as a spiritual successor to FEAR, Trepang2 unavoidably has to be compared to that cherished memory a lot of us have of the first time playing FEAR, and it misses the mark, but not massively so.

Gunplay is tight. It’s frantic. It’s brutal. It’s awesome. You feel like a psychopathic supersoldier let loose, the flow-state you enter makes you feel invincible. Dodge left, slo-mo, toss-a-’nade, airburst it by shooting it with your tricked out Nail Gun, then baseball slide the surviving mooks’ legs out and let them hit the ground in real time with nothing but a CRUNCH and a panicked “FUCK-FUCK-FUC—”

That last note loops into something I think this game does truly surpass FEAR on. Its sound design is excellent. Guns sound great. Bullets whizzing by and smacking into things is cool. But the NPC reactions are what sell the fact you are a psychopathic supersoldier whose only purpose in life is to overcome any obstacle, whether it be a platoon of goons or literally the Backrooms (yes, those Backrooms) through high-speed ultraviolence. They will frantically call for backup when their numbers start dropping, cursing their handlers for sending them in. They’ll shout at each other in panic as you vanish and reappear. They’ll scream in pain from having their knees bent the wrong way from having you slide into them at Mach 1. It’s great, and the voice acting rocks, and it doesn’t even stop there. There’s so many audio tricks the game pulls when it’s time to remind you it’s a horror-game.

And boy, yeah, it’s definitely a horror game when it wants to be. Fuck that hallway. Fuck that unidentified site.

To let it down a little, Trepang2 fails in the little things. Its environments feel more static. In FEAR, when your rampage winded down, it looked like it. It’s movement doesn’t feel as tight and lucid as FEARs did. It’s tight, but a bit overly snappy. It’s extremely short, with pretty so-so side content (aside that great unidentified site mission), but it is a good ride while it lasts.

I’d recommend this game in a heartbeat, I don’t think fans will regret it, and I think newcomers to this type of experience will find it a good place to start.  Plus, it’s got Gianni Matragrano, everyone’s favourite YouTube voice actor guy, voicing a bunch of characters in it. Always a bonus to hear his voice pop up in indie games.

  • Platforms: PC (Steam and GOG), XBOX Series X|S and PlayStation 5 TBA.
  • Developer: Trepang Studios
  • Publisher: Team17
  • Release date: 21st June 2023


Dave the Diver

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum of games, Dave the Diver is an amazingly wide-scope game that has failed to run out of content to deliver to me after 15 or so hours. It’s gameplay loops within gameplay loops that interact and bisect one another and it feels so fresh every time I play.  During the main part of the day, it’s a roguelike experience where you’re traversing an ocean that changes each and every time you dive in (with some static locations remaining the same). You’ll get different landscapes, different fish, and different items in each playthrough all whilst slowly upgrading Dave’s gear to dive into deeper and deeper zones.

But you’re not just catching fish. You’re fighting fish. Big fish. Sometimes REALLY big fish. You’re looking for weapon crates to unlock new ways to combat, capture, and beat up fish, all while your oxygen tank ticks down to limit how long you spend on these runs. (This oxygen is also your health, meaning getting into fights limits your exploration if you get hit.)

But wait. There’s more. At night, you’re doing Diner Dash with your sushi restaurant. You’re serving customers, doing tea pouring minigames, refilling the wasabi, fetching dishes to run up and down to the guests. (With a menu that you, yourself designed, based on all the fish you caught.)

But wait, there’s more. You’re managing your employees to get ones with great stats and switching them between kitchen and server duties. Special guests VIPs come in to challenge you to an eat off. You’re going through Cooksta and liking posts (because it’s cool.)

Every cutscene is a treat.

But wait, there’s MORE. You’re navigating an entire story on top of this, weaving your daily grind of fighting fish, running a restaurant, and dealing with time-limited VIPs to complete story content.

And it plays so smoothly. You switch between your brain being turned off as you hunt fish to actively engaged as you beat up a shark with a baseball bat because it’s deciding you look like a bigger snack than that tuna fish you just bagged. It’s appreciating the distinct art for each character and enjoying the funny dialogue that’s shared back and forth.

But wait. There’s more. The music is also a bop.

Should you pick up Dave the Diver? Yeah. You can sink hours into this game without a second thought and not feel bored for any second of it. Its progression is paced to make you feel accomplished with each step forward, and setbacks aren’t so hurtful they make you ALT+F4 in frustration. Most of the time.

  • Platforms: PC/MAC (Steam) Nintendo Switch (TBA)
  • Developer: MINTROCKET (Based in Seoul, South Korea)
  • Release Date: 28 June 2023. Nintendo Switch Version TBA.

Shadows of Doubt – Logo

Shadows of Doubt

You wake up. It’s raining again. It’s bitter outside, and not so different inside. You don’t remember what you did last night. You don’t know where Sam is. You know Sam isn’t coming back. 

You get up and stumble around your bedroom and find Sam’s note. Rent is due, and they want you to please take care of yourself. Sam loved you. Before you can feel sorry for yourself, the phone rings. You barrel through the kitchen to get it. Dead air. Heavy breathing. Nothing.

There’s a note underneath your front door. A name. An address. A body.

You fish out your gear from the wardrobe, an old keycracker, a scanner, and your cuffs. Sam didn’t want you to do this again, but Sam isn’t here. It’s not a pretty living, barely a good living, but it is a living. It doesn’t matter. You’re good at it. That’s what matters.

Shadow of Doubt is truly a game to be on the lookout for. A procedurally generated, cyberpunk hyper-industrial dystopia detective game with a voxel-style, Shadows of Doubt is an early-access gem that literally hits all of my buttons at the same time. I’m a sucker for voxel, I’m a sucker for noir detectives, and I’m a sucker for unique takes on cyberpunk.

SoD gets a lot of things right in its first try – the game feels alive, which is so important for something procedurally generated. You can break into a workplace to sift through employee files and find notes on their behaviour, and citations, and find corroborating evidence across their home and colleagues.  People have routines, work-shifts, habits (all their 4 digit passwords written on sticky notes, for some reason.) You feel like an outsider peeking into people’s lives, and it’s great.

You wander around the apartment of a murdered woman. She’s an enforcer, murdered by her own weapon, and her partner (also an enforcer) is nowhere to be found. Ominous notes are labelled around the apartments, scrawled in red about wanting to play a sick game. Neighbours reported angry shouting earlier.  Pentagrams drawn in blood surround the body. You find her wallet and pocket the cash inside, she won’t need it anymore anyway, and snap up towards the door. You locked it when you came in, and now the enforcers are here to break it down and secure the scene.

You’re not working above board anymore. (You never truly were anyway.) You’re trespassing, and they’ll beat your head in again if they catch you snooping where you don’t belong. In a panic, you throw a brick through the window and throw yourself out onto the fire escape, and vanish into the night with vague notions of what lead to pursue. It’s cold, and you buy a coffee on the way back to your haunt to warm up. 

It’s not perfect though. It’s Early Access. Your game will crash, a lot, and you will get stuck, a lot. Some features just aren’t fleshed out yet – your conversations are limited, and stilted. You never feel like you can just ask a normal question. There’s no quality of life features, not even an Autosave, and sometimes you’ll be left with why you can’t put together the guy called Alex G. is the same as Alex Goodwin despite you having all the relevant information about them.

Other than that, it’s great, and please do invest in this game if it’s your jam. I get lost in creating a vast detective board and colour coding my strings and naming them and all that. It just scratches an itch put in place by growing up with detective procedurals like CSI.