Author: Rowen Cameron

Freelance writer, performer and content creator. Goes pretty much nowhere without colourful attire and floral headwear. Known as 'Pixie Poison' on YouTube, Twitch and most socials. Obsessed with indie games, pixel art games, RPGs & point-and-click-adventures. Can thrice-yearly be found consuming countless Steam Next Fest demos with copious glasses of Pepsi Max Cherry.
Mysteries, Myths & Melodies – Steam Next Fest October 2023
Features

Mysteries, Myths & Melodies – Steam Next Fest October 2023

Any indie gamer knows that one of the best places to find hidden gems is at Steam Next Fest. Three times a year, hundreds of upcoming/newly released games are showcased with playable demos, livestreams and dev Q&A sessions. And it’s where you’ll find me glued to my desk soaking up every last bit of it. Every year the number of incredible demos increases, the wishlist gets ever bigger and we're always here for it! So, having finally been able to fully absorb the sheer volume of great demos on offer, here’s a few that went straight in my basket:  Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express Developer: Microids Studio Lyon Publisher: Microids Release Date: 19th October 2023 Platforms: PC, Playstation 5, Playstation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch The Belgian de...
Bilkins’ Folly – PC Review
PC Reviews

Bilkins’ Folly – PC Review

When is a pirate not a pirate? When they’re a ‘treasure hunter’, of course! Sailing, swashbuckling and grog is all fine and dandy, but finding long lost booty is the meat of the matter. Of course, most modern pirate-themed games include this, as they should. But often it’s with the aid of a detailed map, HUD and quest markers. Bilkins’ Folly by Webbysoft takes it firmly back to basics, embracing the maps, methods and mania of a true treasure hunter. Percival Bilkins is the young heir of a line of famous treasure hunters, eager to live up to the family name. His mother and grandfather disappeared when he was just a young boy. Now of age, he sets sail with his faithful dog Drayton on a quest to find them. But a dreadful storm finds the pair shipwrecked on a deserted island without bearing...
The Tartarus Key – PC Review
PC Reviews

The Tartarus Key – PC Review

Despite the plethora of high-definition scares out there, low-poly indie horrors have experienced a surge in recent years. There's an audience out there eager for PS1-style spoopy entertainment. Following the success of their visual novel game Aviary Attorney, Portugal-based studio Vertical Reach decided to trade sparrows for scares. From this came The Tartarus Key, a psychological horror adventure game with both a Saw-esque nature and an eldritch aura. You play Alex Young, an average teenager who wakes up in a strange mansion. She has no memory of how she got there, but cameras watch her every move. Doors are locked with puzzles and devious contraptions. And it seems as though she is not the only one trapped here. But things take an ominous turn when Alex begins to hear things, see thi...
Full Void – PC Review
PC Reviews

Full Void – PC Review

Cinematic platformers are a rare find. Lost relics of gaming past, they are a sub-genre that only surfaces sporadically; very few games are classified as such to date. Even less that truly tap into the feel of ‘90s titles like Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee/Exoddus, Heart of Darkness and Another World. I myself spent many hours on the former two as a kid - dying many and sundry times, of course. So when one comes along that does, it immediately gets my attention. Full Void by OutOfTheBit Ltd is one such game. This pixel art platformer paints a bleak (and perhaps now not so outrageously farfetched) picture of a grim future. A rogue A.I. has taken over a sprawling city and controls mankind. Menacing machines now patrol the dilapidated streets and alleys. The only hope lies in a runaway teenage b...
Tails: The Backbone Preludes – PC Review
PC Reviews

Tails: The Backbone Preludes – PC Review

In 2021, Egg Nut Games and Raw Fury showed us that the world of animals was even more gritty and complex as our own with noir pixel art game Backbone. Following raccoon P.I. Howard Lotor, players were thrown into a world of intrigue and conspiracy and were left with some questions hanging in the air. 2 years later, they return to share how it all began with prequel Tails: The Backbone Preludes. Tails takes place years before the events of its predecessor, showing the beginnings of its key characters. Backbone protagonist Howard Lotor returns, as does reporter Renee Wilson and mob boss Clarissa Bloodworth. Joined by newcomer Eli Abbas, four stories of growth, discovery, intrigue and danger paint a picture of Vancouver's past. What is beyond the city walls? How did a don’s granddaughter m...
Clive ‘N’ Wrench – Switch Review
Switch Reviews

Clive ‘N’ Wrench – Switch Review

There are few gaming genres more nostalgic and fondly remembered than 3D platformers. Games like Banjo-Kazooie, Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank were hits with the popular hero/sidekick or dynamic duo formula. For the majority of gamers born pre-2000, these were a huge part of their virtual journeys. And like a cosy comfort blanket, they hold warm memories begging to be revisited. Clive ‘N’ Wrench from Dinosaur Bytes Studio, published by Numskull Games, looks to resurrect those fuzzy platforming memories. And in many ways, indeed it does. But it also revives some memories of 3D platforming that we’d rather forget. In an anthropomorphic animated world, the tyrannical Dr Daucus looks to conquer space and time. To facilitate this, he has stolen Professor Nancy Merricarp’s time trav...
Elderand – PC Review
PC Reviews

Elderand – PC Review

Titles like Blasphemous and Dead Cells brought the brutal challenge of the Souls series to the realm of Metroivania and proved to be quite the hit. Published by Graffiti Games, Elderand by Mantra and Sinergia Games is a pixel-art Metroidvania platformer/RPG that pits you against gruesome Lovecraft-inspired foes and terrifying bosses. While it doesn’t break new ground in the genre, it follows the formula solidly and ultimately provides an enjoyable experience. You are an enigmatic mercenary, contracted to stem the tide of evil wrought by the cult of Sserthis. The realm of Elderand needs you. But your ship is doomed to sink and you have washed ashore with little more than the soaked clothes on your back. Using your skills and the weapons you source along the way, you must battle your way ...
A Space For The Unbound – PC Review
PC Reviews

A Space For The Unbound – PC Review

Emotive sojourns are widespread in the indie scene, even beginning to become more prevalent in AAA territory. But rarely do they shed light on a relatively unknown region, be deeply relatable and also mind-bogglingly engrossing all at once. A Space For The Unbound by Mojiken Studio is a side-scrolling pixel art adventure that is both a warm, familiar embrace and a propulsion into a vortex of raw, all-encompassing emotion. Set in a fictional rural Indonesian town in the ‘90s, you play as protagonist Atma, journeying through high school life with his sweetheart Raya. But humdrum everyday life soon becomes anything but humdrum. Both possess supernatural abilities, Atma is troubled by dreams that feel familiar and a mysterious force threatens their very existence. What follows is a journey ...
Cats and the Other Lives – PC Review
PC Reviews

Cats and the Other Lives – PC Review

The overwhelming success of Stray back in July showed that the gaming world is hungry for more feline-centric adventures. Turkish studio Cultic Games’ latest release is one to further whet the appetite by bringing a more mature cat adventure to the realm of pixels. Part point-and-click adventure, part interactive fiction, Cats and the Other Lives is a 2D pixel art experience that tells the story of a fractured family through the eyes of a stalwart family companion. And good news for Steam Deck owners: this title is fully compatible and can be played on the go! When eccentric patriarch Bernard Mason dies, the estranged Mason family are brought back to their childhood home once more. As beloved pet cat Aspen, players uncover painful truths, suppressed memories and desiccated aspirations t...
Beacon Pines – PC Review
PC Reviews

Beacon Pines – PC Review

Changing fate and becoming a master of one’s own story is something everyone longs to be able to do. Indie developer Hiding Spot Games puts this front and centre with a blend of childlike inquisitiveness and dark, complex machinations only the adult mind can comprehend. Enter Beacon Pines. A BRANCHING TALE While visual novels aren't a big draw, adventure and choose-your-own-adventure games are soft spots for me. Beacon Pines is both. Being one of my Steam Next Fest highlights, I feverishly kept up with all updates on it. So like the art-loving, narrative-absorbing bibliophile I am, I was ready to get lost in the pages of a good book! Gameplay Beacon Pines tells the story of… well… a story! You are both the reader of a self-narrating book and its protagonist, young jackalope Luka VanHo...