Rat Attack!

Honestly, I didn't expect much from this game before I turned it on. I’d never heard of it, its box art is pretty ugly, and the developer didn’t exactly have the strongest of careers. But I gotta say, Rat Attack! is a solid game! It takes a simple, tried but true concept and throws so many wrinkles and wrenches into it that it becomes a chaotic yet considered cacophony of hazards, ideas, challenges, and triumphs. Qix is the kind of concept that’s hard to add onto, but I think this game does a really good job of expanding on the idea. Having to juggle dozens of rats while keeping hazards, power-ups, and pad locations in mind makes for a surprisingly tense and exhilarating experience.

Deadly Arts

I have such goodwill towards Deadly Arts despite acknowledging it as mechanically inferior to any of the major 3D fighting game series. It just doesn't fit into conventional descriptors like "good" or "bad". Instead, it's the kind of game you just want to root for, one that captures both your heart and your imagination. It doesn't feel like a tightly designed, mechanically strong game that you could recommend to anyone passively interested in the genre, but if it hits right for you, it leaves one heck of an impression, and you can tell pretty easily just by looking at it if it'll do just that. I love its ideas, its soundtrack, its aesthetic, and its vibe, so I can't help but be generous towards it. Deadly Arts is an encapsulation of that late 90s gaming magic that so many people reminisce fondly about. This is the kind of game that I think indie developers could learn a lot from. Even though it never goes far enough to give its characters depth and complex personalities, it plants all of the right seeds, so if someone comes along and takes those seeds to a more suitable location, they could really work some magic...