Amidst all the hype and bluster of the usual triple-A releases, there are the little indie games. Made at a fraction of the cost of their big-budget counterparts, indie games were once the looked-down upon poor relation of the gaming industry. Oh, how times have changed.
Original indie titles like Minecraft, Firewatch, and Hotline Miami, have crushed it both commercially and critically. Suddenly, they’re not so little anymore and everyone wants a piece of the indie game market.
But unless you kept a constant eye on gaming sites, or even work in the industry yourself, some indie titles could easily drift under your radar. With a flood of new releases every week, it’s possible for you to potentially miss a title that could well become your new favorite game. Time to make some notes in your calendar app then, because these are the future indie games that you’ll want to be getting your hands on…
Dontnod Entertainment’s follow-up to the excellent Life Is Strange couldn’t be more different from their first game. In Vampyr, you play a doctor-turned-vampire, who must traverse a 1918 London in the grip of the Spanish Flu epidemic. Vampyr presents itself as an action role-player, where you can choose to either turn the cobbled streets red with your victim’s blood, or be one of those “good” vampires, like Angel, who don’t murder anyone but just brood an awful lot of the time. Every choice you make ultimately affects your path through the game, as well as the story itself. It sounds like this could be Dracula Dishonored, and we can’t wait to play it when it’s released in November.
The latest in a new era of mind-bending puzzle games, Manifold Garden looks positively incredible. A visual feast of Escher-like imagery, and imaginative architectural design, all wrapped up in a complex puzzler. The early indications are that Manifold Garden could be the next Portal, and the industry is buzzing to get their hands on it. As is the way of indie games though, development is taking some time on this one. It’s been over three years in the making, but hopefully a release is imminent later this year. We eagerly look forward to our brains being broken by it when it eventually comes out.
Point-and-click adventures are back, and we couldn’t be happier. From Monkey Island to Broken Sword, they were a staple of every geeky child’s gaming life. Sadly, with the advent of super-powered consoles, the genre fell out of fashion somewhat. But the rise of indie games, and nostalgic re-releases of some of the classics, have helped to bring these adventures back into our lives. And Jenny LeClue looks like it could be the revisit to the genre we all need. With gorgeous hand-drawn visuals, Telltale-style narrative trees, and a promise of a complex plot, Jenny LeClue could herald a new generation of point-and-click games.
Superhero games are a tricky beast to get right. If you’re playing as Superman, how do you create a sense of rising difficulty in a game, if you can basically do anything you want from the start? Fly through some rings? Megaton Rainfall is here to change all that. A first-person game where you fight alien bad guys with your increasing super-powers, and you can fly anywhere on the planet. Take that in for a moment: you can fly ANYWHERE. The game’s developers have promised the ability to travel from the bottom of the oceans, right up to the stratosphere. And even beyond that too, as later in the game you’ll be able to walk across the Moon, and even the Sun itself! With a link-up to PlayStation VR, this indie game has the potential to be earth-shattering when it’s released on September 26th.
KNIGHTS AND BIKES
A Kickstarter-backed darling in 2016, Knights And Bikes looks set to be packed full of nostalgic charm when it finally arrives later this year. Heavily influenced by old-school SNES classics like Secret Of Mana and EarthBound, it’s a colourful update on the 16-bit action RPG genre. Except with knights. And bikes, obviously. With the brains behind LittleBigPlanet and Ratchet & Clank developing it, the potential for this one is huge. A family fun game, which could contain enough depth and difficulty to keep seasoned gamers coming back for more is exactly what the industry needs more of.