Starr Mazer DSP
A side scrolling bullet hell game with some nice little touches.
This one has some controversy behind it, a music composer called Alex Mauer alleges that the company behind the game Imagoes softworks didn't pay her all the money owed for the sound track. Rather than do the sensible (and legal) thing of taking them to court to resolve the contractual issue she instead went on a DMCA rampage causing the game to be taken off steam then began hitting youtube videos that featured any content of the game any let's plays any twitch streams. She clocked up some 100 or so DMCA take downs of unreleated peoples content for using "her" music and stated she was doing this to get support for her claims against the developer directing people to take their complaints to the developer rather than her which isn't how the DMCA take down works. She then also started on other games she had worked on taking their content down put the sound track up on her band camp page for 1000 dollars a track then for free and generally went nuts. Some of the channels she targeted got multiple strikes and youtube have a three strikes you're out policy such that if you gain three strikes concurrently your channel is just deleted, not great if this is the persons source of income.
As far as can be determined she was hired under a contract that passed all the rights to the music to the dev's of the game and even if she hadn't gotten paid she still doesn't own the copyright.
The story got more and more elaborate as she unravelled and started sending death threats against the devs of this game and then the youtubers covering the thing the lawyer who was sueing her for her actions then when they got a temporary restraining order preventing her from issuing DMCA claims against Starr mazer content she doxed her own lawyer.
So an interesting story that has rather fucked up this games launch and screwed up the relationship with the potential publisher and meant they had to replace all the music Alex Mauer did with other music just to get it back on steam.
Which it now is and it's a bloody hard side scroller shooter with pixel graphics a nice retro soundtrack and some nice little touches.
Rather than additional lives you have a fleet of pilots each time you die a different pilot comes in to take up the fight. Each pilot has different ship graphics different weapons and a different voice actor (although they only say a few lines) It's fairly standard side scrolling bullet hell gameplay you shoot enemies you gather up crystals they drop for more powerful weapons it's a fun hard gameplay. It also has a mechanic where once you are defeated you can use your score to purchase new pilots for the next run. The better the pilot the more they cost. They also get better the more you use them upgrading weapons and such. There are three tiers of pilots to choose from the base one is free the others cost progressively more money but have the better and better pilots. It's a nice trade off system where you can invest all you points in a few really good pilots or a massive fleet of crap ones.
It's a shame such a fun little title got embroiled in trouble and made it miss the steam sale but hopefully it can make that up now it's back on steam.
In the mean time Alex Mauer has started going after other games like adult swim's Duck Game (she had the balls to send Turner broadcasting a cease and desist) and also River City Ransom: Underground which she apparently collaborated on some of the tracks.
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
This one has no crazy musician trying to sue it as far as I can tell.
This is a very nice looking game in the stardew valley/harvest moon style. You arrive on this island afflicted by the murk (sort of a dark shadow) and then go about rebuilding and helping out. It's a chill sort of exploration farming sort of game you collect resources setup a farm help other villagers farm various animals and plants to trade for other stuff or use them for crafting. It's a very relaxed sort of light experience there is no combat just wandering about completing various quests or fishing or farming or crafting. It has very stylized colourful graphics with a day night cycle and changing weather and various different biomes. Generally pleasant time waster of a game.