Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month With These Stellar Games

Although the video game industry has a long history in Asian countries such as China, Japan and Korea, it is important to note that Asian Americans have also played a major role in the development community since industry design. Asian American creators have helped create some of the most unique, innovative and influential games of the past decade, especially when it comes to groundbreaking indies.

In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, we wanted to highlight some of the best indie games from Asian American creators. Since we’re going through a relatively quiet season for AAA games right now, consider it a great time to check out these titles in May.

Spelunky 2


If you haven’t played them yet, Derek Yu’s roguelike masterpieces are both must-watch titles. This platformer is deceptively simple, as players move deeper and deeper into deadly caves on the moon with a limited toolset. The game is challenging and rewards thoughtful planning and quick reaction times to various traps and obstacles. Spelunky 2 The roguelike setup also makes it a great pick up and play game that constantly makes you want to do just one more run.

Spelunky 2 is available for PC, PS4, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. It’s even part of Xbox Game Pass, so you have no excuse not to experience one of the best roguelikes ever made. Once you have completed this game, we also recommend that you check out the original Spelunky, as it still stands to this day.

Quad Cowboy

Hacking mini-games are very common in video games, but few make the activity appealing. Quadrilateral Cowboy, from Brandon Chung of Blendo Games, challenges that notion with an excellent game almost entirely about hacking. In Quad Cowboy, you control a hacker who helps secret agents carry out a robbery. You type code and create programs to progress, truly making you feel like an expert hacker.

Its unique approach to gameplay will make the game and its puzzles stick in your mind long after the game is over. Quad Cowboy is only available for PC, Mac and Linux. If you like Blendo Games’ work here, consider checking out Chung’s other games like Gravity Bone, Thirty Flights of Loveand the next Superficial.

Outer Wildlands


Outer Wildlands is an ambitious adventure game where players explore a vast solar system that resets every 22 minutes. Through an intriguing time-looping story about a lost civilization, clever puzzles, and the amount of player agency it allows, Outer Wildlands is one of the smartest sci-fi games. Outer Wildlands‘, Mobius Digital, was founded by former Hero and Hawaii 5-0 star Masi Oka, who served as an executive producer on the title.

Outer Wildlands is currently available for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. It’s even on Game Pass for those who want to try it before you buy. You should also check out the fantasy game Echoes of the eye DLC once you have completed the main adventure.

Rakuen


Rakuen was created by Laura Shigihara, a musician known for her work on the Plants vs. Zombies score. In 2017, she released her own simple yet heartfelt adventure game. Sure, this game has a fantastic soundtrack, but it’s also a harrowing adventure game about a boy exploring both a hospital and a fantasy world with his mother.

Fans of retro games will appreciate the 16-bit aesthetic of Rakuenbut the gripping, moving narrative and incredible soundtrack are what will ensure you stick around. Rakuen is currently only available on PC, Mac, and Linux, and it’s only $3 until May 12 on Steam as part of its fifth anniversary celebration.

Anodyne 2: back to dust


Anodyne 2: back to dust is a unique blend of 3D platformer and 2D adventure game where you control a character named Nova who is trying to help free people whose minds are taken over by Nano Dust. While the adventure begins as a 3D platformer inspired by games from the early 2000s, delving into a character’s mindscape shifts the experience to a 2D style reminiscent of classic Zelda games. It’s an ambitious mix of styles that gets bigger and more meta than you think.

Sean Han Tani and Marina Kittaka from Analgesic Productions created the game, and they turned out to be some of the smartest indie developers working today. Anodyne 2: back to dust is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. And if you like Anodyne 2then you might want to check the original Calming, which is available on all the same platforms.

Battle Leaders Brigade

A nice mix of genres from Eric Huang of Trinket Studios, Battle Leaders Brigade is part side-scrolling brawler and part matching puzzle game. Players battle monsters to obtain certain elemental ingredients, then must cook dishes through a match-3 mini-game reminiscent of PuyoPuyo. Perform well and your dish will be rated highly by the judges.

Battle Leaders Brigade is such a unique fusion of genres and ideas that it’s not an experience you can have anywhere else. Fans of food, puzzles, and side-scrolling action should check this game out. Battle Leaders Brigade is available for PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.

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