Warlock's Tower [Steam store page]
I quite enjoyed this, although about 45 minutes in I'm already 100% done with 2 out of 5 worlds and well on my way to finishing the third, and the game still doesn't seem as "punishing" as the store description would lead you to believe.

There's no downside to losing or restarting a level, and the "brutal rule" of one move, one life lost, is the core puzzle mechanic of the game - you count your steps to nearby life pickups, and figure out the order you need to survive.

This gets more challenging when enemies move at certain intervals as well, but I only found one level so far where that really complicated matters. Overall it was a relaxing and enjoyable puzzle experience so far.

DifficultIndiePuzzleRetroLink
I want to like this game, but while the graphics are gorgeous and the flying feels good, the content is lacking and inconsistent. The difficulty curve is polar opposites most of the time, either you're dominating the enemy or dying very quickly, and there's little to do besides pick up resources and shoot enemies.

The EVERSPACE - Encounters DLC pack sounds like it adds some actual mission content, but I haven't played that so I don't know if it's actually satisfying, and it's silly to be charged extra for what should have been part of the base game. Granted the game+dlc is $40, not $60 like AAA titles, but it also has a lot less content than one too.

I give them credit for the weapon design and feel though - each of the main ones is unique and feels powerful if used correctly. And although there are only three ship types they each play completely differently. It's just too bad they didn't add a decent variety of gameplay to go with them.

Just Get Through [Steam store page]
If you mash together the responsiveness of Super Meat Boy, and the randomness of Spelunky, you get a simple but satisfying randomized platformer.

Hotline Miami [Steam store page]
Prepare to enjoy smashing open heads with a bat, slitting throats, and shooting enemies at breakneck speed in a psychedelic environment.

Hexcells Plus [Steam store page]
Basically the same as Hexcells, just adding another set of levels - since this game doesn't randomly generate them (unless you buy Hexcells Infinite).

Minesweeper on steroids - this is a great take on the genre, adding a lot more elements while still keeping a good deductive feel.

For me this game fell somewhere between Legend of Grimrock and Legend of Grimrock 2 - not quite as good as the open-world of the second game, but Vaporum's voice acting made it more of an engaging experience than the original Grimrock.

Quern - Undying Thoughts [Steam store page]
A really enjoyable first-person puzzle game, with unique challenges and an attractive environment.

You may need a game guide now and then, because the island is expansive, but the majority of the puzzles can be solved by logic rather than guesswork. The exceptions are ones where you may not realize a game mechanic is possible.

Furious Angels [Steam store page]
Simple yet elegant gameplay. This is a great example of how to make a game engaging but super accessible.

The Binding of Isaac [Steam store page]
Decent mechanics but disgusting theme. Enemies can shoot diagonally, you can't. The bad hit-boxes on arrows are frustrating, making yours regularly miss enemies and allowing enemies to occasionally hit you through walls. Made with Flash, low res.

This slick looking puzzle game is simple, but enjoyable. As the game progresses you unlock six special abilities and more complex puzzles to go with them. Aside from the simple 'normal' puzzles, there are also 'hard' and 'bonus' levels.

PAYDAY The Heist [Steam store page]
A fun co-op experience. The latest AI patch made it much easier to play without all four players being human. Enemy AI still has nearly perfect aim, but the body armor balances nicely if you use cover. You earn new guns and upgrades as you play.

The casting system is reasonably intuitive, and the gameplay itself is as fun as Torchlight, though the heavy corridor feel of the levels detracts a bit. There is a smattering of story and humor throughout, but I wouldn't call it story-driven.

Killing Floor [Steam store page]
The graphics are a bit rough but this game is all about speed and accuracy killing waves of experimental creatures. Forget story, the co-op is loads of fun with a group of friends, and fairly challenging as well.

The most difficult part is the way enemies rubberband - if you run full tilt on many maps, and turn around they'll still be very close behind you - rounding the nearest corner or doorway. The spawn locations also don't seem to be set specifically - they seem to appear directly around any corner that you haven't looked around in the last few seconds, or further ahead if you're running rather than camping. On some areas in maps they also drop down from above, off buildings or through holes in the roof.

These mechanics aren't necessarily flaws - they make the game much more fast paced and difficult than it would be if you could kite them more strategically. Kiting is still very much possible because the game limits the number of enemies on the map at any time - so if you can group them all behind you then they will slowly appear in front of you as you kill ones behind.

This is a well polished and reasonably innovative machine building puzzle game. The interface is complex yet easy to use, and the game can be challenging. The graphics are clean and simple, but fitting. A well done indie.

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