Inspired by 1930s adventure serials, pulp novels, Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider, this co-op third-person shooter is simpler and sillier, but still as much fun as those films and games. In Strange Brigade, you play one of four gun-totin' adventurers who travel to Egypt to find a missing co-worker. Her mission was to stop someone from opening a tomb that may have been holding an ancient evil in check, but her sudden absence requires you and your teammates to investigate what's going on. As a result, you spend most of this game shooting mummies, giant scorpions, and other magical monsters, while also looking for treasure and solving puzzles that will open doors to areas where, well, you'll shoot more monsters and find more treasure.
But what makes this different from similar shooters is that there are times when you're trapped in a large area and have to clear it out before you can proceed, but you also have traps you can trigger that include swinging blades and spikes to destroy monsters. Coupled with solid controls, clever puzzles, and relentless enemies, you have a fun and frantic shooter that works as well as a co-op game as it does as a solo adventure. That said, it does have some minor issues. The Horde survival mode is a bit too simplistic and redundant to overshadow similar modes in other games. There are also no options to raise or lower the difficulty, and the menus and captions are really hard to read if you sit at a reasonable distance from your TV. But even with these minor issues, Strange Brigade remains one of the strongest and -- in terms of its setting and story -- most unique shooters of the year.