There’s an argument to be made that Steam, generally my go to store front for indie games, has thrown open the floodgates to just about anything and everything that could be liberally classified as a game. It’s a lot harder to find diamonds in the rough when the diamonds are microscopic and the rough is the size of our solar system. Every other game releasing on Early Access doesn’t help either. Nevertheless 2015 has already seen the release of a few good indie games with several more on the way (some of which I covered off in my anticipated games of 2015 lists, which you can find here and here). With this list I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight a few more games that probably aren’t on your radar that perhaps should be. These are smaller titles far removed from the likes of No Man’s Sky, of which essays have been written in an attempt to drum up hype.
|Website||Early Access Page|
Monstrum is an independent, first-person survival horror game that was released on Steam Early Access at the end of January. It came to my attention just a few days ago after watching Markiplier play through the game a couple of times, and I was suitably impressed enough by what I saw to add the game to this list. In Monstrum you are trapped on a huge ship with a monster (or monsters) and you must find a way to escape. There are several potential methods of escape, each requiring you to gather supplies from within the bowels of your prison, all while dodging a pretty horrific monster. Monstrum is quite similar to Vanish in that it features a procedurally generated levels, sends you packing back to the beginning if you’re caught and is generally a giant douchebag. It’s £9.99 on Steam Early Access and seems fairly complete if you’re curious.
Mushroom 11 is an indie puzzle-platformer with a bit of a twist. To progress through its levels you must erase parts of the fungus present to allow other parts of the fungus to grow. I know it sounds exceptionally strange and to be honest it’s hard to put across what you’re actually doing when you play Mushroom 11, but if you follow the above link to the games official website you’ll see a trailer there that will make things clearer. Mushroom 11 looks like it has a finely tuned physics engine that’ll be a big test of your dexterity and reflexes. The art style is really nice too.
Memory of a Broken Dimension
I don’t even know how to possibly describe Memory of a Broken Dimension. It’s described on its Steam Greenlight page as a Adventure/Simulation/Horror and watching the trailer is…mind bending. However it looks fascinating and has been captivating a few indie games writers for a little while now. I don’t know what it is or what it’s all about, all I know is I want it.
Another horror game on the list, Uncanny Valley looks superb, following in the same footsteps of mindfuckery as such classics of the genre as Silent Hill or Lone Survivor, there is a demo of this pixelated nightmare available. IN the game you play as Tom, a newly recruited security guard at a remote, abandoned, closed down facility. The facility itself is made up of multiple buildings and floors, and the aim of the game is to explore, gather information and try to piece together what’s happening at the facility. Oh, and avoid your horrible death at the hands of whatever creatures are lurking in the darkness. Uncanny Valley promises to eschew the usual death/restart mechanic of survival horror games, instead featuring a consequence mechanic that allows you to continue on if you should fail, but with harsh consequences further down the line.
A Hat in Time
|Developer||Gears for Breakfast|
|Publisher||Gears for Breakfast|
A Hat in Time is a colourful 3D adventure game that looks endearing, adorable and a great deal of fun to play, with an awesome sounding OST to boot, if the trailer is anything to go by. Inspired by games such as Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64 and other 64 era 3D platformers, you play as the adorable Hat Kid – a time traveller who is collecting Time Pieces around the universe to stop the mischievous Mustache Girl from using them for nefarious purposes. The game looks built around exploration and discovery and has a very cool, colourful and cartoonish art style that I like the look of a lot. And there’s co-op too!
Popup Dungeon is a (deep breath) roguelike, tactical, co-operative, papercraft, dungeon crawler, board game. Phew that’s a lot to get out all at once. Seriously though, Popup Dungeon looks pretty damn awesome. It’s a dungeon crawler that allows you to create any character you can imagine, arm him or her with any weapon you can think of, and customise their abilities in any way you see fit. It has the art style of a papercraft game, and the gameplay elements of a grid-based RPG, or a board game. Popup Dungeon can be played solo, or with a party of up to five heroes, and a sixth player can even join the fun as the Dungeon Master. I’d say keep your eyes out for this one, but I doubt this is the last time it’ll feature on this blog. It’s a bit of a cheat throwing it into this list, as the targeted release date is early 2016, but the team are aiming to have a beta demo out this year, and I love the look of this game so much I couldn’t not put it here.
As a backer of The Mandate’s late 2013 Kickstarter, I’ve been fairly plugged into this games development for more than a year now, and as its release date approaches, I find myself eagerly anticipating this game more and more as the months roll by. Honestly just reading the description of the game, The Mandate sounds like it might be my dream game. It’s a space opera, promising far reaching a deep roleplaying experience where every action and decision you make will have consequences. The game itself is split into three parts; the story with RPG and adventure game elements, a focus on economic, political and diplomatic strategy, and a tactical element, which sees you taking control of your ship in space combat, and your crew in boarding actions. Not only can you create and customise your own captain, but you create and customise your entire crew. Hop on over to The Mandate’s official website and prepare to get hyped.
Planet of the Eyes
Planet of the Eyes is an action-puzzle platformer with a retro-inspired science-fiction design. You play as a robot who was aboard a ship that has crash landed on an uncharted world. Compelled to discover the source of a mysterious signal you’ll be faced with all manner of dangers as you attempt to find the signals source. There are few things I love more than atmospheric platformers. Except atmospheric platformers with a distinct and interesting art design, such as the one in Planet of the Eyes. Add in the mysterious storyline teased in the Greenlight trailer that already has me intrigued to know more and you’ve got my attention, and hopefully yours as well. Planet of the Eyes is currently looking to be greenlit on Steam and I highly recommend checking out the games Greenlight page and giving it a thumbs up.