Destination Indie - Weekly 1. Small beginnings

Ahoy wonderful people!  Welcome to our inaugural weekly feature that I still haven’t decided a name for yet! For now, let’s call it Destinat...

Ahoy wonderful people! 

Welcome to our inaugural weekly feature that I still haven’t decided a name for yet! For now, let’s call it Destination Indie - Weekly. My goal is to do some micro-reviews on the games I’ve played that week (streams and otherwise), the aim is to bring light to some games you might not have heard about or thought of! 

Two rules - If you ever have a question about a game - ask! Also, If there’s ever a game you’d like to see more on, let me know :) 

You can reach me at or I also discuss Xbox Game Pass games on the Keelhauled Podcast. And with no more delay, haul anchor and away we go! 

Game: ABZU

Game Type: 3D Swimming Simulator with light puzzle elements

What it’s about: You are The Diver, an entity who balances both the ocean’s life and the alien entities who have come to harvest it’s blue energy. You swim through various environments restoring the ocean to its previous glory and interacting with sea life.

What works? The game is absolutely gorgeous. The further you get through the story, the more colorful and in-depth the surroundings get. The creatures feel realistic and interactive. The music flows very well with the gameplay, and at moments it really feels like you’re playing art, not a game.

What doesn’t? It’s really easy to get lost, turned around or struggle with the controls. They are fairly basic, but the whole time you’re moving through the game it’s full 3-Dimensional movement. If you don’t handle that type of control well, that’s something to keep in mind.

Final thoughts: Abzu is a short game (under two hours) with relatively easy achievements. The further in the game I went, the more I enjoyed the gameplay. It really got its hooks in me after the halfway point. For an indie, it’s an impressive achievement of audio and visuals being used in tandem.

Would I recommend it? Yes

Game: The Last Campfire

Game Type: 3rd Person Puzzler

What it’s about: You are Ember- lost, lonely, and separated from your people - left wandering in an unfamiliar place. You interact with different NPCs (as seen above) and rescue the Forlorn, people who have given up, helping them come back to themselves and cross over into a better place. 

What works? The gameplay is smooth with no major glitches or control problems and the puzzles are excellent. The graphics are a unique style with coloration that leans into the high and low moments of the story. The NPC characters are fun and very different from one another, as well as the story is very touching. You help people find their purpose, show them the value in things that they love and move out of this purgatory style place. But I feel like I have to ask - WHY IS EVERYONE ALWAYS DEAD in these indie games? It’s like a large number of games lean on this crutch to try to hit you in the feels because they don’t feel like their game is good enough on its own. At least this isn’t like “The First Tree” which just outright kills your babies. 

What doesn’t? The narrator does her part well, but it’s a little off putting that she narrates every line in the game, for every character. The puzzle difficulty is also all over. Some of them are really easy and you can get through without a second thought, while some take concerted time to figure out the mechanics and proceed through the puzzle. 

Final thoughts: For a small indie studio, the game is very polished and I did enjoy my time with it. The achievements aren’t bad either, as most are just finding the collectibles and rescuing the Forlorn. 

Would I recommend it? Yes. It’s a great experience. It’s also included in Apple Arcade, if you’re an iOS fan!

Game: The Sojourn

Game Type: First Person Puzzler

What it’s about: You move through the different levels by solving increasingly challenging puzzles utilizing really interesting mechanics. Along the way, you witness the story of a young child and the trials and tribulations of his journey from birth. 

What works? You travel between alternating worlds of light & dark to get through each level. You might use a swap mechanic with a statue, rebuild a bridge for a limited amount of time, or even unlock a gate from across the level in order to move forward. The further you go in the game, the more mechanics they introduce. 

What doesn’t? It really makes you think. Like.. alot. There were several puzzles where I just stared at the different pieces for several minutes trying to figure out how they all go together. There are special collectibles to get throughout the course of the game but they are just extra levels. I thought they would be a hidden item of some sort. More importantly, the first chapter had 20 puzzles. Considering there are four chapters + the collectible scrolls - That’s a freaking ton of puzzles to solve.

Final thoughts: At first it seemed too easy, and then too hard, and now it’s hit a great pacing. The puzzles make you feel really clever when you solve them, and they aren’t TOO hard - sometimes you just have to try some logic or at worst, some trial and error.

Would I recommend it? Yes

Game: Uncharted Tides: Port Royal

Game Type: Hidden Object Game

What it’s about: You swap between two characters to follow a unified storyline. You play as either Jack or Mary Jane, each who has unique skills to advance through the story. 

What works? The minigames they have you play this time around are a nice refresher from some of their previous games and they also leaned away from as many hidden object puzzles. The unique skill each character has gives the gameplay a little more depth. 

What doesn’t? As with most of Artifex’s games the voice acting is BAD. REAL BAD. I’m absolutely convinced they employ one female and one male voice actor and they do every voice for their games. Also, the story is lacking and you really don’t get drawn in or attached to the characters. You won’t remember it after you finished the game - heck you may not even remember the story halfway through!

Final thoughts: This is definitely not the strongest of Artifex Mundi’s point and click games, but if you are looking to get 1k out of a game in less than 5 hours, then this game will be perfect for you. 

Would I recommend it? Only for easy achievements.

Game: Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island

Game Type: 3D Adventure Platformer

What it’s about: Skylar is a warrior cat and Plux is an owl - together they are fighting against an evil computer overlord named CRT who is capturing the local villagers and threatening to turn Clover Island into a wasteland.

What works? You travel from the hub into different subsections of the world - checkpoints are friendly and it’s easy to get back if you missed something. As you proceed further into the game you get additional abilities like jetpacking, slowing down time and magnetic power (my favorite). These abilities make the game really fun but it still feels very simplistic. 

What doesn’t? There are limited types of enemies, although your interaction with some of them after acquiring the abilities (like magnetics) is pretty fun. You can pick up an enemy and turn it into a mobile turret! Unfortunately, beyond that I would have liked to have seen some more depth of gameplay and the game is pretty short. Not to mention there were some very buggy sections where the game would either not give you guidance on how to proceed, or let you go into areas that were clearly off limits. I cheesed my way around one of the final levels by standing on a ledge that wasn’t meant to be used. 

Final thoughts: I enjoyed it as a quick Jak & Daxter style romp, but it clearly lacks the polish of a higher-quality platformer. 

Would I recommend it? On sale, and maybe for a younger audience.

Game: Ord

Game Type: Choose-Your-Own-Adventure

What it’s about: Ord consists of 5 stories, each of which you navigate by choosing one of (usually) two options. Based on the answer you select, it controls the next step in the story. The game has heavy RNG, and it creates a different path through that section each time. 

What works? The humor is great -as seen above- and it’s a really different take on games. The stories are very different from one another as well. I don’t think I’ve seen an xbox game like this...please correct me if I’m wrong. It also works great when playing remotely as basically no graphics need to load.

What doesn’t? It can get repetitive, although they try to vary it a little with sound effects and color changes. Due to the excessive RNG on what your next option will be, it can make it really hard to try to get the game’s achievements because you may play through a story section 10+ times and not see the story option you need. Also the “Foul Things” sub-section is unreasonably long and far less fun than the other stories - avoid it if you can or play through it only once.

Final thoughts: Was this the best game I played this week? Absolutely not. Was it a fun and time consuming $5 USD? Yes. If you enjoy silly humor and the “choose your own adventure” aspect, this will be an enjoyable romp. 

Would I recommend it? Yup!

About the Writer: Kyleia is an avid Xbox fan and achievement chaser. She has a love of all games with a burning passion for indies and nautical adventures. She can often be found streaming indie games, achievement hunts, building crafts, or sailing the seas on You can also find her discussing indie games on Xbox Game Pass on the Keelhauled Podcast.

Destination Indie content can be found centralized on, or if you’re just looking to say “hi” you can find Kyleia at


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