Small… But Perfectly Formed
Test your metal with five indie games about robots
Amanita Design’s gorgeous, hand-drawn point-and-clicker is as rich in life and detail as any blockbuster: you’ll click on everything because you’ll always get a response. And despite the rusty environments it’s anything but creaky, streamlining puzzles and offering hints. A gem.
SteamWorld Dig 2
No joints need oiling in this slick Metroidvania, which places a Nintendo-like emphasis on feel and certainly benefits from it. As the optimistic Dorothy, tasked with looking for original game protagonist Rusty, you’ll carve your own path downward: it’s a joy, and subtle design tricks ensure you’ll never get truly lost.
Developed by a tiny team at Ubisoft Reflections, this casts you as BUD, a little robot who must plant seeds and climb their shoots to reach new heights. BUD’s toddler-like movements as he makes his way up this ever-growing beanstalk add charm and comedy to a delightfully different adventure.
You don’t actually play as a robot in this furious shooter, but there are thousands here to turn into scrap. A collaboration between Housemarque and veteran designer Eugene Jarvis, it owes plenty to Jarvis’s Robotron, but has a tempo and flavour all of its own.
Conceived and developed in a matter of months, Mike Bithell’s lean, dialogue-led adventure follows a robot detective riding the subway and interviewing its passengers. Mixing intrigue and humour, Bithell’s witty script carries the game, with stylish presentation.