Get ready for some mystery gaming vibes as we release our official SRG Mixtape Vol.4 review!
The Mixtapes from Super Rare are an extremely clever idea: curated collections of indie microgames, hidden gems and demos – along with loads of supplemental material. And they’re all stored on a brightly coloured (a shockingly vivid neon pink in this instance), faux cassette tape with a USB connector.
Just plug it straight into the USB port of your PC, and voila! It’s a neat compromise between the physical and digital realms that turns the collection into a collectible; an objet d’art if you will.
This fourth Mixtape contains no less than thirty full indie games and ten demos. Additionally, it also has an impressive selection of soundtracks for many of the games, along with art galleries, developer diaries and more.
There’s an incredibly varied selection of experiences and genres on this Mixtape; it may be a cliché to say this, but it really does feel like there’s something on here for everyone.
What’s On The Vol.4 Mixtape?
This wouldn’t be a SRG Mixtape Vol.4 review if we didn’t talk about the games!
The full list of games included – in alphabetical order – is as follows: 0SPACE, A Knife Made of Whispers, A Raven Monologue, Abyssal Plains, AnoMalice, Cats on Mars, City33, CONFLICT/RESOLUTION, Death Strike, Devil Catcher, Drifting Hearts, Fishie Fishie, From Primordial Egg, Grandpa’s Minigun, Ignis Universia: Eternal Sisters DX, Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls, LCD DREAM ESCALATOR, Machine Gun Gardener, Monstruous, My Friend is a Raven, Olive’s Art-Venture, Punch Guy, Reed the Robotanist: Plus, SELF, Swallow the Sea, The Frightening Nightmare of Little Eddy, The Giraffe World, The Power, Veinless Property and Yolkspire.
That’s without mentioning the game demos: Astra and the New Constellation, Bullion: Curse of the Cut-Throat Cattle, Harmony’s Odyssey, Minishoot’ Adventure, Potion Prodigy, Pry into the Void, Schrodinger’s Catgirl, Snap the Sentinel, the machine that BREATHES and The Wreck are also included on the ‘tape’.
Considering the wealth of titles and material on the Mixtape, it is almost impossible to have the space to give everything the space it deserves. But then again, half the fun and appeal of the Mixtape format is the joy of discovering unusual and captivating experiences that you may otherwise have never stumbled upon.
There are more than a few games on here that really stuck with me, however, and several of them definitely deserve a mention separate to the whole SRG Mixtape Vol.4 review.
1. A Raven Monologue
Brief, narrative-driven title A Raven Monologue – with its beautiful hand drawn aesthetic – was surprisingly affecting, despite (or perhaps because) of its story being so open to interpretation. The soundtrack is also gorgeous – and adds to much of the game’s poignant, moving ambience.
Swallow the Sea, with its roughly 15-minute duration, initially seems like a surreal, almost nightmarish twist on the formula of games such as Feeding Frenzy. Players guide their tiny egg away from danger in what seems like a submerged, yet organic environment – growing bigger and developing as they eat smaller organisms than themselves. Despite its brevity, it has an ending that absolutely leaves your heart in your mouth and – in a different way to A Raven Monologue – leaves you to draw your own conclusions as to what transpired.
2. Cats On Mars
Cats on Mars is a compelling fusion of rhythm action and top-down, classic retro RPG – or at least was, until its final dance-off broke my brain. Still, it’s a witty and pun-fuelled game that’s well worth checking out even if you can’t quite dance as well as you need to in order to reach the end of the brief, bonkers story.
The Giraffe World is a gorgeously stylised, puzzle-based take on Snake – with your stretchy-necked Giraffe collecting hats from various obstacle laden environments. Incredibly addictive and wonderfully designed.
City33’s excellent open world action is incredibly compelling. Nicely designed sub-aquatic, submarine treasure hunt Abyssal Plains is another winner.
There’s much more than those games to discover, however. A few really weren’t my cup of tea – the deliberately disorienting discordance of first person horror game AnoMalice, for example.
But again, with this Mixtape being so eclectic and catering for such a wide variety of tastes, it’s not surprising that there’s the odd title that might not appeal to everyone.
4. Veinless Property
From an audio and visual standpoint, most of the games take a deliberately lo-fi, retro approach. The aforementioned A Raven Monologue, as well as nightmarish, Junji Ito-inspired horror Veinless Property and Ben Day dot style of Devil Catcher, as well as a few others, do more than just ape classic console colour schemes and graphical techniques, however.
A number of the games also support controllers too, adding to the accessibility of the collection in general.
The wealth of supplemental material that’s also on the ‘tape’ is pretty impressive too; most games come with their soundtrack, accessible from the launcher (with a built in music player too!), as well as development diaries, art galleries and numerous trailers.
What Else Comes In the Package?
Packaging-wise, the Mixtape comes in a neat little cardboard box, complete with a nicely-designed, full colour manual which covers every one of the included games – giving the rationale for their inclusion too.
It does feel like a genuine treasure trove and with many more hits than misses, the quality bar is set pretty high and I didn’t come across any bad titles per se, despite one or two not being to my taste.
I did encounter one issue with a game – local multiplayer deathmatch title 0SPACE – which had a corrupt file.
This meant that I couldn’t launch and play 0SPACE at all; however, as much of a shame it was that I couldn’t give it a try, with so many other experiences to get into, it didn’t feel like a massive problem.
Copies of the SRG Mixtape Vol 4 are limited to just 1500 – and once gone, there won’t be any more.
It’s also worth noting that the Mixtape series is set to end its current run after the fifth volume, at which point it’ll switch to themed collections, rather than the satisfyingly eclectic and unpredictable melting pots that we’ve seen so far.
If you do have any interest in quirky, short experiences or retro-style games in general, I can highly recommend checking out the SRG Mixtape Vol 4.
It may well be that you find a new favourite game amongst the many on offer on this thoughtfully designed, carefully curated collection.
If you enjoyed this SRG Mixtape Vol.4 review, then you can purchase the SRG Mixtape Vol. 4 directly from Super Rare Games at this link.
Speaking of super rare stuff, check out our rare Magic the Gathering cards list while you’re here!
Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).
Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.