Before the days of Steam sales, Xbox Live Summers of Arcade and the like, summer gaming was just code speak for “playing through Final Fantasy IX for the fifth time.” And though the summer still represents a lull in the action between the end of the fiscal year and the beginning of the holiday season, it has never been easier to envy those young enough to enjoy summer vacations. August alone is an embarrassment of riches from indie studios, particularly for the Switch; here are a handful of the best.
Chasm (PC, PS4, Vita | July 31)
There are more Metroidvanias releasing in a 30-day time frame than we’ve seen in any year this century, but Chasm’s gorgeous pixel art helps it stand out in a crowd. Players explore the procedurally generated depths beneath the Guildean Kingdom as a young recruit aiming for knight status. His task —saving the recently abducted townsfolk from mysterious creatures who call the depths their home. You’ll slay monsters, discover new abilities to access previously inaccessible areas and accrue a metric ton of loot in the process. Chasm has been a long time coming; the game’s been in development for the better part of six years. But six years is a small price to play for Chasm’s remarkable polish and snappy controls. It adheres to the Symphony of the Night guidebook a bit too closely at times, but there are far, far worse games to emulate.
Jonathan Bryant is a journalist, programmer, hip-hop head and Dr. Doom apologist from Seattle, Washington. He's probably a red mage—pretty good at a lot of things, but not necessarily great at any of them. His comic book collection outweighs him, and it's a problem. You'd also find him most Tuesday nights at GameWorks in downtown Seattle holding L's in his local fighting games scene.