Many years have been named ‘The Year of Indie Games’, but these have been declared prematurely. THIS is the year! Just have a look at some of these titles:
Monaco has both a single player and co-op side to it, but the true fun of the game is only realised in the co-op side. Playing as various different thieves – each with their own special skill – with your friends makes the game so chaotic and fun that you’ll just be itching to re-try levels to top the leaderboards. Monaco contains a large campaign with two sides to the story – and it’s not just padding, it’s a good story.
An alpha game easily mistaken for the first release of an episodic title, Dungeon Dashers takes traditional board games and rogue-likes and mashes them into one creating a simple, yet interesting gameplay mechanic. While it may at first seem exactly like any other rogue-like, it soon shows its uniqueness through the inclusion of a story, the puzzles and puzzle-like gameplay. Rather than a procedural dungeon to dash through, you are given hand-crafted levels full of risk and reward. There is also a co-op mode (to be implemented).
Kenshi is an RPG. Kenshi is an RTS. Wait, what? That’s right, Kenshi dabbles in genre-mixing and does it well. You start out alone, but can recruit more people. This is where it gets a little bit unique. You manage every single unit as if you were playing an RPG. Each unit has to be trained from a weakling to a fighter and surviving alone isn’t an option – in the early stages, at least. Not only this, Kenshi includes a base-building and resource-gathering aspect. You gather ‘building materials’ to create buildings and place them exactly as you would in an RTS. You can assign people to buildings which collect things, such as a quarry to get stone, which can be turned into building materials. Kenshi manages to integrate you into the world in a way that makes you feel like you’re part of it rather than the world being centred around you.
Kitaru is a special one to me. This is the first time I’ve taken a genuine interest in a mobile game as a game and not as a means to wasting time – though release is slated for PC, Mac, Android and iOS. Kitaru has a wonderful setting that pulled in my interest. The early combat looks interesting and the production quality is amazing. While the game is an RPG, it takes more influence from the Japanese side of the market, resembling JRPGs and in some aspects, Visual Novels.
The Kickstarter page goes into more details: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bensteele/kitaru
Metroidvania. Can’t you just feel how good this game is going to be already? Chasm takes the classic style of gameplay popularised in Metroid and Castlevania, bringing to the table its own unique art-style and procedurally generated dungeons. Despite being procedurally generated, Chasm does have a story to it. Bosses, puzzles and lots of loot. Taking the basic elements of a game of this genre and stepping forward enough to define itself is a big feat for any game attempting to do so. Chasm is shaping up to be a new foot forward for the Metroidvania genre.
Find out more on the Kickstarter Page: ttp://www.kickstarter.com/projects/discordgames/chasm
I hesitate to use the description, but the best way to explain this game is ‘like Minecraft’. Taking the ‘build and survive’ genre into new realms, Planet Explorers looks very promising. The most interesting part of this game is the way you can build some objects, shaping certain parts exactly how you want and adding some stock components to it – such as a gun having a nozzle and handle/trigger as stock components for you to build around. While I described it as ‘like Minecraft’, it seems like it will have its own unique flavour and appeal.
Underrail is an isometric turn-based RPG in the vein of Fallout. It takes place in a setting quite similar, too. The difference being that Underrail is set far in the future where humanity has taken to living in the ‘underrail’. It’s not a word I often like to use in describing things, but the character creation and customisation in this game is insane. Most systems – even those taken directly for pen and paper games – are dumbed down to make them easier to use. Not Underrail. Underrail is deliciously complex, but strangely easy to use. You have access to all skills from the beginning, making it overwhelming to choose where skills should go, but while it seems complex it’s actually balanced enough that you can’t easily ruin a character.
Help Underrail get greenlit: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=92962826
Initially pulled in by the pretty pixel art, I wasn’t sure what to think of C-wars. Quickly, my hesitation was brushed to the side as I saw the combat system which is a combination of Plants vs Zombies-style tower defence and an RTS. My biggest hope is that this makes it to Vita/3DS as the developers want to port it and it’s a good fit for both consoles. The world has fallen apart, taken over by Crystal Mutants and humanity is on its last legs. With multiple routes for dealing with the Crystal Mutants, will you take the easy way out? Will you go for the moral high ground? Are the Crystal Mutants your only enemies? Questions need answered, and the only way to find answers is to play the game!
C-wars has technically already been funded, but there are still bonuses to be had: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1054244612/c-wars-roguelike-pixel-art-pc-game
C-wars is also available to greenlight on Steam: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=132003118
Waiting for Horus looks like a lot of fun. Taking gameplay reminiscent of old twitch-shooters like Quake and adding in a heavier element of free-running it already has me interested. Add on top of that an art-style very similar to Journey and you’ve got me hooked. The soundtrack is also unique – A mix between Industrial and Trance. In terms of gameplay, other than the free-running aspect, there isn’t much new offered. The game is still a refreshing blast from the past and best of all, it’s free!
Light it up on Steam: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=92917429
Remember Terraria? I’m sure you do, because its legacy is still going on. Being released on PSN and XBL just last month. Well, Starbound is a bit like that… IN SPAAAAAAACE! Let me get serious now. Starbound is very similar to Terraria and, in a sense, is a spiritual successor. Where does it differ? Well, Starbound will have a sci-fi theme, story and World, creature, dungeon and universe generation. The game will also feature vehicles for the player to ride. While it bears a of similarity to Terraria, it has definitely gone in its own direction. Starbound will also feature co-op and competitive multi-player modes.
It’s possible that in the future, I – or perhaps another CIG writer – will expand on this list as Indie Games are constantly moving forward and there’s a huge plethora to choose from. I tried to choose the highest quality games I found, but I’ll be honest in saying there’s some personal taste in this list. I hope you all look forward to these games as much as I do.