12 October Indie Games Worth Checking Out
After a bumpy ride, the latest Call of Duty installment has touched down to very positive reviews, and if you’re not taking advantage of crossplay with friends, you’re probably diving into The Outer Worlds, playing Overwatch on the go, or marveling the MediEvil remake. That’s all well and good. But what if nothing’s captivated you this month? What if a game you were really looking forward to didn’t meet expectations and now you’ve agreed to a family screening of It’s A Wonderful Life? Stop right there. Do not do that to yourself. We’ve come up with a list of indies that are not only great time-sinks, but perfect excuses for avoiding social obligations during the pre-Christmas season.
Permission to use liberally: granted.
Frozenbyte’s weakness for arresting fantasy backdrops is back with a vengeance in Trine 4. As the latest puzzle-platforming entry in the beloved franchise, Trine 4 washes itself clean of the 3D perspective that weighed down its predecessor, resurfacing in familiar 2.5D with gussied-up combat and new skills. This time, resident heroes Zoya, Pontius and Amadeus are off questing in search of a troubled prince whose oneric terrors cross into the waking world.
Games like Limbo, Never Alone and GRIS have already carved out a respectable mold in the atmospheric platformer niche, and it seems SkyBox Labs is interested in occupying some of that real estate with Stela. Design director Joe Stack revealed Stela is meant to be an immersive experience above all else. That means punishing difficulty takes a back seat while smokey landscapes and puzzles that interchange between foreground and background take center stage.
#9—John Wick Hex
Perhaps it would have been simpler to make John Wick Hex a generic third-person shooter, but for developer Mike Bithell (Thomas Was Alone, Volume), that was never part of the plan. By carefully mimicking the slow, tactical choreography of the eponymous films, John Wick Hex becomes a much more strategic affair, something Bithell describes as “X-Com with one character”. Time is your most valuable resource; every action consumes a certain amount of temporal bandwidth, whether it’s stealing weapons or finding cover. And in true stealth fashion, ammo is scarce, amping up the tension as you sweep through interactive comic frames.
Get it via the Epic store (PC, Mac).
#8—Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
Playtonic has sobered up from its 3D platforming hangover and reskinned bat and chameleon in what appears to be a much more form-fitting 2.5D perspective. Fans of the Donkey Kong Country games will be pleased to know Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is having a very good stab at aping what made vine-swinging, barrel-throwing and rhino-trekking such a potent gameplay mix. Capital B is back in the villain’s chair, and collectibles (quills, tonics, T.W.I.T coins) are still a major staple, but the 1,2 combo of sidescrolling and top-down overworld exploration adds some welcome refreshment—not to mention reality-distorting switches that drastically change level layouts.
Valfaris is a lot of things—epically pixelated, grungy, a brutal action-platformer. But most importantly, it’s the kind of thing Tobias Sammet would dream about at night. Prepare to get lost in space as Steel Mantis (Slain: Back From Hell) drops you into a blighted paradise overflowing with grotesque enemies and a banger of a heavy metal OST (Curt Victor Byrant).
Let’s not lie, Picorrine Soft’s budget Pokémon tribute Disc Creatures looks like a Game Boy Color relic, and that’s it’s biggest appeal. Anyone who gets intense pangs of RPG nostalgia should feel right at home scooping up the beastlings and transforming them into steel-hearted warriors. Open the packaging, and you’ll discover 200 original creatures plus a trio of starters (Bladeguin, Electring, Flamorb) that are delightfully reminiscent of Ash’s first steps with Professor Oak. Unsurprisingly, this is the precise emotion solo dev Satto wanted to share with players. When you take the imminent release of Sword and Shield into consideration, Disc Creatures couldn’t have had a better launch window.
Catch ’em all on Steam.
Love Esquire appears to be a game for men (and women) of ‘culture’, if you catch my drift. Yangyang Mobile’s take on the visual novel is a NSFW RPG battler that encourages players to ‘git gud’ and ‘get laid’. Aside from building relationships with one of the five waifus, there are still the requisite hassles of elevating stats and maxing out romance points.
If you’re after chicken-themed romancing, may we kindly redirect you to the I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator.
#4—Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind
A Sharp’s spiritual successor to King of Dragon Pass has finally made the jump from iOS onto Steam (Windows, Mac) and GOG storefronts, and fortunately, none of the beautiful ink illustrations were damaged in the process. Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind is an interactive storybook where choices have consequences—good or bad—that can ripple across generations. Essentially, you are the author of your own clan. You have the freedom to drive your people towards greatness, and that entails everything from defeating nemeses and maintaining diplomatic relations with neighboring clans to keeping your clan nourished. But disrespecting a god (or ignoring their warnings) may lead you into serious trouble.
Slow and steady will not win you the race in Profane, a 3D bosh-rush armageddon where every second counts. Your time bar doubles as your health bar, and naturally, that means any damage you sustain will reduce your battle duration. Memorizing attack patterns and dodging stray bullets is your best bet. OverPowered Team has included more than 40 unique skills to utilize, story and roguelite modes, and the ability to customize your loadout prior to each encounter.
Rise to the challenge on Steam (Windows, Mac).
If you ask The Farm 51 (World War 3, Get Even) what the secret is to making a good survival experience, they’ll tell you it’s going straight to the source. That’s exactly what the team’s done in Chernobylite. After multiple trips to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and a successful kickstarter campaign, there was enough data to properly convert real-world environments into 3D models, which effectively blasts the game’s authenticity value through the roof. Chernobylite‘s gameplay consists of crafting, resource management, and fending off supernatural threats, which has earned it comparisons to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and the Metro series.
#1—Moons of Madness
It’s usually the dark side of the moon that magnetizes the media, but in Rock Pocket Games’ Moons of Madness, the spotlight falls squarely on the red planet. As a techie stationed on a Mars research outpost, your job—making sure the lights stay on—is mundane to the point of boredom. That is, until a strange mist engulfs the greenhouse, and you start witnessing visual hallucinations that quietly rock your sanity.
Take a tour de horror on Steam. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players will have to wait until January next year.
Sift through more indie content here:
- 8 February Indie Games Worth Checking Out
- Top 8 March Indies Worth Checking Out
- 11 April Indie Games Worth Checking Out
- 16 May Indie Games Worth Checking Out
- 12 June Indie Games Worth Checking Out
- 11 July Indie Games Worth Checking Out
- 11 August Indie Games Worth Checking Out
- 13 September Indie Games Worth Checking Out