It’s time for the second part of the 2020 edition of the beginner’s guide to indie. If you didn’t find something that tickled your fancy in the first post yesterday, then hopefully we’ll manage to put that right today.
While part one focused on independent titles that came out during the past 12 months, we’re now looking forward to 2021 and checking out some indie games which are due to be released in 2021. As mentioned yesterday, I tend to favour the adventure genre or titles with strong narratives and this is obvious from the following list – and I’d encourage you to give them a look even if they’re not the sort of thing you’d usually play. Without further ado, let’s round off 2020’s guide!
Beyond the Veil
Perhaps my favourite title from LudoNarraCon this year
was Beyond the Veil
by Sun’s Shadow Studios
. Thanks to a love of creepy stories (although I’m too scared to play scary games on my own) and a long-time desire to visit New Orleans, this text-based horror has earned its spot on my wishlist
. Although much wasn’t given away in the live broadcast
, the end of the alpha build made it clear that something bad was about to happen to the protagonist – and I’m looking forward to finding out what waits in store for her.
I’ve written before that I don’t enjoy turn-based combat
, but Morteshka’s Black Book
demo convinced me to back the for Kickstarter campaign
. This game tells the story of a young girl destined to become a witch and left heartbroken when her beloved dies in mysterious circumstances. She’s given the Black Book, said to be powerful enough to grant any wish to the person able to unlock its seven seals, and sets out on a quest to bring him back to her. Will she surrender to its forces and become a lost sorceress or will she atone for selling her soul?
Book of Travels
Book of Travels
is another game I backed through Kickstarter
and is somewhat unique. Might and Delight
have said this is going to be a very different sort of MMORPG experience, even going so far as to call it a ‘tiny multiplayer online’ because few players will be on each server. It takes place in a world called Braided Shore inspired by fairytales and Eastern mythologies, and focuses on social roleplaying, exploration and non-linear narratives in a beautiful place with darkness at its edges.
I went into the demo unsure of what to make of Chicken Police
because you don’t often come across black-and-white titles featuring protagonists with feathery heads and beaks but human bodies and mannerisms. But two hours later and it was added to my wishlist immediately
. The interesting contrast between these crazy characters and a mature storyline brings us something completely different and it kept me on my toes throughout – and I’m a complete sucker for noir detective games. (Disclaimer: Chicken Police
is already out but I haven’t played it yet and wanted to include it on today’s list!)
Children of Silentown
I really enjoyed the demo for Children of Silentown
during this year’s Digital Dragons Indie Celebration
. There was something about its dark, fairytale atmosphere of Elf Games’
title that drew me in straight away. The story revolves around Lucy, a young girl growing up in a village deep inside a forest where people frequently disappear, and there were just enough hints of something sinister happening in the section I played to leave me wanting more. Looking forward to this one when it’s released in full.
Chinatown Detective Agency
General Interactive Co.’s Chinatown Detective Agency
is inspired by the classic Carmen Sandiego
games and will take players on an adventure across the world in hot pursuit of criminals, witnesses and clues. Its setting was influenced by media including Blade Runner
, The Da Vinchi Code
and Black Mirror
, and the cases you choose to follow up on as private investigator Amira will matter
. Do you side with the shadowy underworld informant or root out corruption for a junior politician?
takes place in Warsaw City at the end of the 22nd century, where many people choose to escape into virtual worlds to enable them to fulfil their fantasies forget about the horrors surrounding them in real life. These digital lands have therefore given rise to the problems of human nature and their residents often call for specialist private investigators to aid them. Players step into the shoes of one such Gamedec, and it looks like Anshar Studios
are going to give us a release which is full of moral dilemmas
Ghost on the Shore
I wishlisted Ghost on the Shore
by like Charlie
as soon as I’d finished the demo. I want to discover the history of its characters, the mysterious reason for one of their deaths and whether the other manages to escape a deserted island. Walking simulators only work for me personally if I can find some way to connect to their characters and the developer seems to be working on a gorgeous project which is going to achieve this
. Any protagonist who says the line ‘Let’s investigate the shit out of this’ is going to be one I can relate to.
After enjoying Grundislav Games’ Lamplight City
in August 2018, I couldn’t wait to give the demo for Rosewater
a try when I heard the developer was working on another title. This time it’s a Western adventure which takes place in a sleepy border town once the prospectors have realised that there’s no gold in them thar hills. It’s here that Harley Leger has found herself several years after leaving New Bretagne and heading west to leave the past behind – but she doesn’t expect to end up on a journey across Western Vespuccia in search of a hidden fortune
The Wild at Heart
My favourite demo from the summer Steam Game Festival
was The Wild at Heart
by Moonlight Kids
. It was a wildcard (no pun intended) as I picked it randomly thanks to its artwork – and I was left impressed, with another title added to my wishlist. It’s similar in gameplay to Overlord
, and its story about two kids finding a mysterious realm within a forest is charming. I may have encountered a bug during the demo which prevented me from finishing it (the developer is working on fixing it) but I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.
Hopefully you’ve found a few indie releases in this year’s guide that have inspired you to give them a try. If you have any other recommendations, please feel free to leave them in the comments below so I can add a few more entries to my wishlist!
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