Indie gaming at its best in 2016
The year 2016 is shaping up to become one of the best years in terms of gaming. There are going to be big AAA titles and exclusives releasing throughout the year, games such as Uncharted 4, Gears of War 4, XCOM 2, Mass Effect Andromeda, Final Fantasy 15 and many more coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC this year alone. But let’s not forget about the numerous indie game developers that have been working hard in their small teams to bring us some of the most promising, unique and long awaited indie games this gen. 2016 is going to be an exciting time and I’m going to run through 10 Indie games you need to keep your eyes on, as well as a bonus game that wont make it in 2016 but looks like it may become one of the best indie games ever.
1 – Unravel (9th February – PS4, Xbox One & PC)
EA are known for their huge sports franchises like FIFA and Madden, as well as the online FPS juggernaut Battlefield series. So it was a nice pleasant surprise at E3 2015 during the EA conference when Unravel was announced and wowed gamers for the first time. The game Unravel and the red yarn creature thing created a lot of internet buzz for being visually gorgeous and creative with a peaceful nice soundtrack.
2 – Cuphead (2016 – Xbox One & PC)
Cuphead is a run and gun platformer with the art style of a 1930s cartoon, something I’ve never seen before in games. The art style looks unique and beautiful, the jazz score in the game suits and compliments the game so well. So even if you don’t know anything about the gameplay or story, the game looks worth buying just for the unique visuals and audio alone. The visuals and audio were created with the same techniques of the era, such as traditional cel animation (hand drawn & hand inked), watercolour backgrounds, and original jazz recordings.
3 – Hyper Light Drifter (Q2 – PS4, Xbox One, Wii U & PC)
Dubbed as a hybrid of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Diablo, Hyper Light Drifter is an action RPG that resembles the 8 and 16 bit gaming era with beautiful colourful neon pixels, great music and brutal fast gameplay with hard as nails bosses. Hyper Light Drifter looks like a game that would have been on the SNES, and that was the developer’s goal, there will be no spoken dialogue, placing more emphasis on the game’s music and visuals to tell the story.
4 – Chasm (2016 – PS4 & PC)
Chasm takes its inspiration from hack ‘n slash dungeon crawlers and Metroidvania-style platformers, this is a fantasy world full of exciting treasure, deadly enemies, and secrets to discover. You’ll be able to fully customize your character by equipping armour, weapons, shields, or spells to either hand.
5 – Cosmic Star Heroine (2016 – PS4 & PC)
Zeboyd Games have been making RPGs for nearly 6 years, making titles such as the Penny Arcade Adventures series, with all their years of experience Cosmic Star Heroine is set to be their most ambitious title to date. Inspired by great JRPGs such as Chrono Trigger, Phantasy Star and Lunar: Eternal Blue. This sci-fi RPG looks to get the best balance of both classic and modern design.
6 – Firewatch (February 9th – PS4 & PC)
Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman, who were the creative leads on Telltale Games’ amazing The Walking Dead, team up together again with new game studio Campo Santo to bring us first-person adventure game Firewatch, that follows the story of a volunteer fire lookout in the aftermath of the Yellowstone fires of 1988. Communication and character relationships are key here with the game taking the walkie-talkie interaction from the player’s relationship with Atlas in Bioshock, as well as the dialogue system from The Walking Dead. The player’s choices will influence the tone of his relationship with Delilah, his only form of communication.
7 – Inside (2016 – PS4, Xbox One & PC)
Inside is the spiritual sequel to Xbox Live Arcade classic Limbo, and it keeps many of Limbo’s features as you play the game as a young child. While there is more colour than in Limbo, the game remains dark and nearly monochrome in colour, and has that very uneasy feeling when playing.
8 – No Man’s Sky (June 2016 – PS4 & PC)
What else can be said about this game’s ambition and innovation that hasn’t been said before? The scope of this game is scary, players are free to explore this open universe, which includes over 18 quintillion planets. This is one of the many reasons why we need a good balance of indie developers as well as big AAA companies. As without developers willing to take a huge risk like this, there would never be games like No Man’s Sky. I think everyone in the gaming industry is hoping this game succeeds.
9 – Death’s Gambit (2016)
Become the agent of Death and rid this world of immortals, if that isn’t a catchy tagline then I don’t know what is. Death’s Gambit looks like a smaller scale Dark Souls game. Set in a medieval planet filled with beasts, knights, and horrors. This is a challenging action RPG side-scroller that’s about strategic combat and thinking outside the box.
10 – Tokyo Dark (2016 – PC)
Tokyo Dark is an anime-style horror adventure game combining the point and click and visual novel genres. You play as Detective Itō across inspired real locations in Tokyo as you search for the truth behind her partner’s strange disappearance. With puzzles to solve, stat management, and difficult decisions, Tokyo Dark puts the narrative in the hands of the player which will then lead to 1 of the 11 different endings.
Bonus 11 – Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (2017 – PS4, Xbox One, Wii U & PC)
Bloodstained is a spiritual successor to the Castlevania series and the game is led by former Castlevania series producer Koji Igarashi. Bloodstained successfully raised more than $5.5 million from backers, making it the highest-funded video game on Kickstater until Shenmue III surpassed it about a month later.