Screenshot Saturday Featuring Desperate Times, Cuphead, Many More

Every week is a new Screenshot Saturday, and after a while it becomes clear that some developers are really exceptionally good at showing off their games.  Perfectly framed images, video clips that show off the action just right, or even entertaining bugs light up Twitter week after week, which is why so many games get featured multiple times in here.  While the whole point of this feature is to highlight the most interesting or fun clips of the week, the secondary function is to show off the new and unexpected.  There are all sorts of indie games that don’t get the Nex Machina treatment, with reviews on all the major sites, so one of the most fun things of Screenshot Saturday is discovery.  There’s always more New out there, and even if sometimes the final result doesn’t quite match up to the hopes you might have had for the game it’s always great to see something that looks excellent and is completely unexpected.

Desperate Times-  A shooter that’s as much about insane weapons for the player as dense bullet patterns.  When your current gun runs out you get a random new one, and with the mods and variables the firepower at your disposal can easily get out of hand.  It’s only fair that the enemy can throw back patterns as dense as you throw their way, right?

Pachacuti-  Meticulously hand-drawn and animated action platformer where the levels are defined by the player’s style.  The challenge is designed so that both skill and the way you approach things defines how the rest of each level is built out, so rather than being randomized the system puts things together in a predictable way once you know what you’re doing.  It’s all very early, though, with the primary focus at the moment being to finish coloring the fantastically expressive character animations.

Monolith- Top-down roguelike shooter where you venture ever-deeper into a not-that-abandoned facility to do something that’s just enough of an excuse to blast lots of robots and other defenders into pixelized shrapnel.

Dr. Spacezoo- Twin-stick shooter where you need to target the baddies but not the zoo’s space-critters, or at least not too many of them because they really do love getting in the line of fire. Playable credits are always the best credits.

The Experimental Chick- VR shooter very early in development. Navigating bullet hell in full 3D complete with spatial and depth awareness promises to add some very interesting wrinkles to the old formula.

Ayo the Clown- Classic platformer starring that rarest of all mascots, a clown that’s actually cute. Not creepy, weird, sketchy, gross, twisted, psycho, or any of the other accumulated “American McGee’s Alice”-style warpings, but just a cute little guy in a whole lot of trouble.

Solitude of Sun- Open-world action FPS where you get to take on the world with a bow. The gods are never happier than when dragging mortals into their drama, and as their latest drafted agent you get to take on the minions of Son of Moon in a low-poly quest to escape in one piece.

Ray Bibbia- From the “Well there’s something you don’t see every day” school of game design, a typing bullet hell exorcism game. Move with the arrows, type with your spare hand, try not to worry too much about not resting your hands on the home position of ASDF JKL;. It’s a little compressed but you can see the player entering the Latin words above the priest’s head.

Cuphead- Run & gun action that absolutely loves 30s cartoons. This is a pencil test of the animation for one of the baddies, complete with the fantastic detail of its nose falling off when the cigar’s face is smoked down to ash.

Apex Racing League- Lovely top-down racer featuring as many cars from as many eras as will fit. It doesn’t seem likely that it will worry too much about realistic stats because otherwise how would you race a 1960s coupe against a modern F1 behemoth?

Solar Warden- A little bit X-Wing, a little bit X-Com, in that you fly through space shooting threats targeting the Earth while also managing research and dealing with relationships with the countries funding the protection of the planet. On the one hand, if you let a threat through it can destroy a whole city, but if that country wasn’t paying its share anyway… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Pepper Grinder- Despite making a concerted effort to have as few returning games as possible in this week’s feature, Pepper Grinder features a drill-powered train and there’s just no passing by that kind of thing.

Manifold Garden- Speaking of returning games… Environmental first-person puzzler where the world repeats itself infinitely around you, gravity is what you make of it, and 3D space is more a suggestion of how things should go than a hard and fast rule. It gets a little richer and more polished every week, and now the levels unfold and color themselves in when you enter.

Zorya- Co-op puzzler where one player is the adventurer Asyu and the other controls the sun. The trick is to work together to get Aysu through the world without straying out of the shadows and into sunlight, which is deadly. Or at least highly unpleasant what with sunburns and all.

Gangs of Asia- Free-roaming martial arts brawler that’s a little River City Ransom except with giant magic special attacks to fill up all the screen space populated by the tiny little characters. No giant effects in this shot, but the background takes a beating.

Unnamed-  If there was information to be had on this I’d know what I was looking at, and that would be fine.  Personally, though, I prefer the scenario I know is wrong where four friends stare at a broken sky at a complete loss, because something big has happened but there’s no way to know what it was, what it means, or if there’s anything they should do about it.

Bonus Image

Distance- See, this is what happens when you let people create whatever they want. They go and turn a neon stunt racer into Desert Bus because the alternative was to think of doing it and then passing, and how do you do that?