Road trips, pepper grinders, maniacs, and ghosts

Road trips, pepper grinders, maniacs, and ghosts

We take a look at the coolest indie games out this week, March 29, 2024.

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first Indie Release Dispatch in... wow, it's been a minute, huh?! As what seems to be a constant theme in my life, just as I start to find a groove, some wild and unexpected curveball swings into my life and derails me for a little while. Thankfully, for once, this particular curveball has been a very exciting one - my wife and I are expecting a baby later this year!

When we received the news a few months ago, I needed to hit pause. It was time for me to truly evaluate my priorities and where I wanted to focus my energy. After some deep reflection, I decided that yes, Pixels for Breakfast is still a big priority for me, but it also needs to be able to slot into my life in a sustainable way, especially during those early years with a child in your life.

Can I still make videos? What about all those long-form essays I had in mind? And those streams, what can I do about those? During my reflective moments, I realized that this very initiative, the Indie Release Dispatch, was by far the most sustainable and useful effort that I could regularly contribute moving forward. Because I definitely still need to write. There is a reason that this site has existed for over a decade now in some form, and that's because it is part of who I am. And the Indie Release Dispatch, as small as it is right now, is something that I am truly passionate about and really believe in. So here I am, back at it, ready to drop a weekly newsletter with some fun gaming recommendos.

As for that other content though... it's better to not expect it. That means when it does arrive, it will be a nice surprise, a longer-form content drop out of the blue, and probably something that I am immensely moved by to warrant spending that time. To me, I think that's a net positive, and I hope it will be for you too!So for those who support me on Ko-Fi or Patreon who wish to cancel their pledge due to the lack of the other stuff, I completely understand and encourage you to do so! However, those who perhaps can spend a couple of bucks a month to help me keep the indie games rolling into my library for this newsletter, I truly appreciate it.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at what came out this week.

What came out this week?


Developer: Transhuman Design
Steam rating: Very Positive
Store page

If you are somewhere in the 30+ age bracket like I am, chances are that you have fond memories of running your little sprite around in the original Grand Theft Auto, gunning down innocent civilians, driving over rows of dancing Hare Krishnas, and destroying a metric shit tonne of cop cars all in the name of chaotic fun. Don't think about it too hard. Yes, it was kinda messed up. But that game reminds me of a simpler time. It was actually the first time I ever played a game over LAN at a friend's house, which started a life-long love of the LAN party, but that's a story for another time. 

Maniac is an action roguelike that cribs heavily from the original Grand Theft Auto, with the ridiculous over-the-top action of Fast & Furious added in. With an ever-changing city that features 11 unique districts and a built-in map editor, you will be able to hijack powerful cars, bulldozers, tanks, and more. With six character to play including a drunken Santa Clause, Maniac looks to be a silly throwback to a simpler time, that is getting some positive buzz on Steam. If you want to switch off and have some stupid fun, this could be worth checking out this weekend.

Open Roads

Developer: Open Roads Team
Steam rating: Positive
Store page 

The long awaited Open Roads is here! For those who haven't been following along, this is the new project from the developers behind Tacoma and Gone Home. In much the same vein, Open Roads tells a very personal story of Tess and Opal Divine, who discover a treasure trove of letters and records of mysterious family secrets when packing up a relative's house. It's from there that they hit the open roads, exploring the truth to these stories, and spending time with one another. 

The art style is absolutely gorgeous, meshing first-person environments with hand-animated character art that really make it looks super fresh and exciting. And the Gone Home and Tacoma connection is strong, with beautifully rendered hand-written notes strewn throughout the game. 

This adventure game has had a rather tumultuous development cycle. Originally developed under The Fullbright Company, about one year after the game was announced it was revealed by Polygon that around 15 employees (10 of which were women) across the year of development had left the company due to the behavior of studio lead Steve Gaynor. This lead to Gaynor stepping down from the head of the project, and eventually a new team put in place (mostly former Fullbright employees). To their publisher's credit, Annapurna stayed on board, and now we are finally seeing what the team has put together despite some rather tough circumstances.

Gone Home is one of my all-time favorite games, so I am very excited to check this one out sometime next week. 

Pepper Grinder

Developer: Ahr Ech
Steam rating: Very Positive
Store page 

The certified banger list keeps growing over at Devolver Digital with the release of Pepper Grinder this week. This platforming adventure from Ahr Ech is the ultimate love letter to Drilldozer, as you play the role of shipwrecked pirate Pepper, armed with a super-powered drilling device. Robbed of her treasure, Pepper must use her drill to get back what is ritefully hers, and to get some sweet revenge. 

The art and animation in Pepper Grinder is truly hypnotic, as everything has this gentle sway as the sprites move across the screen. It's looks like playing a hardcore classic from the SNES era but with all the visuals turned up to 11. 

This has had a lot of postive buzz in preview events and some hands-on time from journos and punter alike. So if you like platformers, this one is definitely worth adding to the Wishlist. 


Developer: Bread on Board
Steam rating: Overwhelmingly Positive
Store page 

OK, this one is a little bit odd, because I cannot find a trailer for it anywhere on YouTube. However the Steam reviews are absolutely glowing, and the game is FREE so I say, let's roll with it! 

Cureocity is a turn-based strategy game where you play a party of two- a new adventurer who is fresh to the dungeons and a former mercenary who is now acting as a healer. The two has wildly different personalities and goals, but working together they must divise the best strategy to explore the dungeon depths. 

The game is not just about whacking baddies though. Your strategy is materialzied as the numerical values of the items your two heroes are holding at the time. You can swap different weapons or items held in your left and right hands to alter your character's attack and defense stats. You can also change gestures to focus on heavy attacks to land critical blows, or perhaps you need to focus on healing and purification to survive. 

The game was created in just 21 days as part of a game jam for Chinese publisher GCORES, with the game being voted as the most popular game of the jam. With a 1.5 - 2 hour run-time, if anything about this strikes your fancy, give it a go. Don't let there chinese text on the trailers on the Steam page scare you, apparently there is English and Japanese support too!

Midnight Ghost Hunt

Developer: Vaulted Sky Games
Steam rating: Very Positive
Store page

Prop Hunt has been a fan favorite for many many years, across multiple games at this point, and Midnight Ghost Hunt wants to bring it to the mainstream with a game dedicated to the premise. After a stint in Early Access, this 4v4 hide-and-seek game has finally hit version 1.0. 

For those who perhaps have not played a game like this before, Midnight Ghost Hunt pits two teams against one another. 4 players act as Ghosts, hiding within innocent props waiting to strike with powerful telekinetic attacks. The other 4 players are Ghost Hunters, armed with only the finest of ghost busting apparatuses. If the Ghosts can remain hidden until the clock strikes midnight, that's when the true fun begins, and the Hunters become the hunted. 

Much in the same vein as First Class Trouble and other multiplayer madness games, if you have a fun group of friends, Midnight Ghost Hunt could be your next friendly party game. 

And that's a wrap. Thanks so much for reading. If you enjoy the newsletter, please consider sharing it with a friend and keep the good times rolling. Let me know in the comments what you are playing this weekend? I haven't had time to play much of anything so I am very open to suggestions right now!