With the great indie showcase that is EGX Rezzed fast approaching, I thought I’d share some of the upcoming games made by independent developers that are on my radar. The community is very alive, very active and has some very exciting concepts to reveal in the coming months.
I first came across Shadowhand at EGX 2015, where the husband and wife team of Grey Alien Games were in full costume to show off their latest project. I was immediately smitten with what I played. It’s a clever little game of solitaire-meets-RPG-meets-highwaywoman’s adventure, where you are tasked with guiding the titular Shadowhand (Lady Darkmoor by day) on her quest to retrieve a stolen family jewel.
It builds on the successful higher/lower system from the excellent Regency Solitaire and will include the addition of weapons, clothing and special abilities in the mix. I’m so confident about this title I think it may well be the sleeper hit of the next 12 months. Absolutely worth a look when it arrives later this year on PC and Mac.
Mighty Tactical Shooter
Bullet-hell games have been around since the days of Space Invader and yet no-one has put the spin on it that the team at Sock Thuggery have. On the outside it plays just like any other side-scrolling shooter with a lone spaceship blasting away at alien hordes until only one is left standing. The twist here is that every move you make has been plotted, planned and executed in a clever tactical interface.
It’s a clever blend of RPG and real-time-strategy mechanics where control of the ship comes from pausing the game, plotting out the route it will take over the next couple of seconds and choosing the right armament for the job. Helpful lines show the expected trajectory of bullets and baddies, allowing the player to determine the best route to dodge and destroy. It might sound like a slow process but the intuitive control systems means the time to the end of each level flies by.
Even better is once a level is complete you can view a replay of the whole thing in real time as if it were a single run. It’s the most satisfying thing to see your ship zip in and out of enemy bullets like a pro, blasting to victory. Yes it’s moving slowly, and there’s no fixed release date yet but it’s bullet-hell with brains – can’t wait.
I’m surprised the buzz around Absolver isn’t louder. It’s an online melee-combat RPG that sets you in the role of a Prospect who must wander the land, fighting and learning from other Prospects online. Alliances will be formed, enemies made, students will become teachers. There’s a certain (dare I say it) Jedi-like appeal to the concept.
The team at Sloclap promise intense real-time fights, with weapons, combat styles, combos and counters to learn. There will be PvE alongside the PVP environments. Why don’t you check out the trailer above? It looks very special indeed.
Did you like Transistor? How about Bastion? Chances are the answer to at least one of those is yes. Incredibly stylish games with amazing design, deep gameplay and meaningful story. Well, the team at Supergiant Games are going to be releasing another this year called Pyre, an action-RPG. Here you must lead a band of exiles through ‘an ancient competition spread across a vast, mystical purgatory’.
Sounds cracking and given Supergiant’s past, it will look stunning. Coming soon to PS4 and PC.
Divinity: Original Sin II
This one’s already available on Steam’s Early Access but, as it’s not finished, it sneaks on the list by way of a technicality. Building on the excellent systems and classic RPG elements of Divinity: Original Sin it looks as though Larian Studios are making another winner, and this time with four-player co-op. I’m forever hovering over the purchase button for this sequel but keep reminding myself to wait until it’s finished. I want to experience it in all it’s glory.
But… If you didn’t play the first one, then brace yourself for deep, deep CRPG mechanics with a modern twist. In fact, why don’t you go and play it while you wait for this one to be finished? It’s really that good.
Which indie games are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!
Dad, Gent, Geek. Occasional grumpy old man. Console Peasant. Should know better.