With the constant mainstream bombardment of multiplayer games such as League of Legends and DOTA II, a large number of modern gamers may have forgotten that once upon a time, single player games were quite common across multiple platforms. Even if a particular game offered a multiplayer option, such as DOOM or Quake, the player wasn’t robbed of any significant part of the game simply because they wanted to play solo.
Where multiplayer games give the player an arena to compete or cooperate towards a common goal with local or online friends, a single player game offers a much more personal experience. Without the complex and sometimes unpredictable input of those around them, the player is able to absorb and interpret every sound, sprite, and cutscene in their own way and time.
Recognizing that there are gamers out there who still appreciate a rich, single-player experience, certain developers are still cranking out excellent games that don’t require a high-speed internet connection and a gaggle of buddies who apparently fucked your mother last night.
Without further ado, here are some of my top recommendations when all you want to do at the end of long day is exercise your divine right to play with yourself, with pride:
LOVE by Fred Wood
Video courtesy of The Bancast
Want to play something challenging with excellent music that doesn’t require a small fortune in computer parts to run? Look no further than LOVE, a minimalistic platformer by Fred Wood and James Bennett.
In development since 2004 and released February 7th, 2014, LOVE is reminiscent of Super Meat Boy in that the action is quick and the deaths are quicker. The game includes two unique features: respawn points and a suicide button. If you clear a particularly challenging spot, throw down a respawn point; if you miss a jump and find yourself all the way back at the start, simply kill yourself.
Even if you’re a graphics whore, LOVE still has you covered with an awesome soundtrack to accompany the blistering action. If you’re a fan of excellent music and hair-raising action that’ll turn your thumbs into absolute mush, check out LOVE on Steam. You won’t be disappointed!
The Curse of Issyos by Locomalito
I won’t lie, I’m a big fan of Locomalito, an awesome developer based in Spain. In fact, I’m such a big fan that I not only conducted an interview with the man himself, but I also created a video where I showed off every game he ever made up until that point. At that time, The Curse of Issyos was still in development and I wouldn’t get the chance to play it until almost a year later.
So what’s it all about? Think about the love child of a torrid and unprotected affair between Castlevania and Zelda II: The Adventures of Link, throw in some Ancient Greece-inspired environs, and you’ve got the right idea. Released December 15, 2015 after five years of development, The Curse of Issyos combines item-finding and challenging side-scrolling action that’ll sate the explorer/adventurer in all of us.
Shadowrun Returns by Harebrained Schemes
Video courtesy of T6Games
Though successfully Kickstarted and released in 2013, this is a game that I’ve only recently started playing. Based off of the wildly popular tabletop RPG, Shadowrun Returns gives players the chance to experience post-apocalyptic America where dead bodies line the streets and everyone’s out for themselves. After customizing your character, you’re thrown headlong into a rich storyline where you control interactions with other denizens and what upgrades are earned.
Speaking of upgrades: have you ever favored guns over melee weapons or vice versa? Shadowrun Returns has you covered with a varied weapon skillset that you can tweak to your own preferences. SMGs, pistols, bats, you name it!
With tons of side missions, items, and colorful NPCs, Shadowrun Returns will have you feeling like you really were dumped into the bowels of Seattle after the end of the world. This one’s available on Steam, and I cannot recommend it enough if you’re any kind of RPG fan. Put your well-worn dice down and pick up Shadowrun Returns!
VVVVVV by Terry Cavanagh
Video courtesy of Terry Cavanagh
Though it was released September 7, 2010, I continually bump into people online who have not experienced the sheer epicness of VVVVVV. And if you’re not sure how to pronounce it, you’re not alone because neither do I! Does that mean you should write it off? Absolutely not!
For those of you that have played games like Metal Storm on the NES, the prevailing gameplay mechanic will be familiar. In order to traverse the dangerous environs and rescue your crew members, the player needs to transition between floor and ceiling, sometimes within a split second. Retro fans will appreciate the simplistic yet colorful graphics and audiophiles will appreciate the adrenaline-inducing soundtrack.
Videos courtesy of Gamemasternumberone
Action platformer fans with an appreciation for old-school mechanics in a retro-inspired setting will feel right at home with VVVVVV. There’s no shame in flying solo with this one! Available on Steam.
Overlord by Triumph Studios
Video courtesy of Athrix255
Released June 26, 2007, Overlord is another grossly neglected title that deserves more love than it gets. Combining action and RPG elements, Overlord begins with a small group of Minions exhuming the titular character from a shallow grave. Though world domination is implied throughout, the player can dictate exactly how evil their character is: do they help those in need, or do they simply take what they want by whatever means necessary?
For those familiar with the Pikmin series, Overlord will feel immediately familiar in that the main character can spawn Minions from various fonts scattered throughout the terrain, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Attacks can be expertly coordinated where ten Minions work together to take down a stronger enemy while five more go to work on a weaker one.
With tons of areas to explore, items to find, a jester to kick around, mistresses to help spruce the place up, and copious amounts of humor throughout, Overlord is a fun experience for action RPG fans that keeps you coming back for more. Available on Steam.
What 1P games would you recommend to your fellow gamers? Let us know! Lumpz the Clown OUT!