Saturday, January 21, 2017

16 Indie Hopefuls

2017 looks to be a promising year in terms of video games.  I have so many titles that I'm looking forward to this year I can't possibly go over them all in detail, but at the very least I'd like to make a tentative list of lesser-known titles with brief descriptions to share here on this blog.  Think of it as of a preview of sorts although I can't guarantee that I will make dedicated posts about all these games in the future.

Shrouded Island
Secret conspiracies, an evil cult and human sacrifices might sound like a good backdrop for a point-and-click adventure game, but here the player isn't some foolhardy investigator.  In this game you play as the cultists in a resource management game that has an art style straight out of Darkest Dungeon.

Ghost Song
I'm not a rabid consumer of 2-D Metriovania games, but the idea of crash landing on an alien world filled with all sorts of strange flora and fauna has a certain appeal.  The art style and overall mood are also top notch, which for me is a must have in games that reach back to old-school video game design.

I've played my share of submarine sims over the years, but I have yet to sink my teeth into one that really floats the best aspect the setting a genre have to offer.  This particular take on WW2 naval warfare might do the trick though the very least the 3-D cutaways of submarine internals is a nice touch.

A.K.A. "Gladiator Stable Simulator 2017" surprisingly isn't as original a concept as one might think (several other games have tried the idea before in recent years).  However this particular take on ancient Roman blood sports standout from the rest by way of a distinctive pixel art style.

Rain World
There are a lot of games out there where players can take the role of an animal.  This game promises a similar idea, but with a twist; the animal is an alien creature somewhere between marsupial and primate.  Equally fascinating is its (un)natural habitat which is also swarming with exotic lifeforms.

This long delayed civil unrest strategy game might have a timely release considering the recent political climate in the United States.  Allowing players to take the side of the protesters or the police might lead to this game being more educational than entertainment for some would-be activists.

This isometric dark fantasy game has players filling the shoes of a lone shield maiden.  In the most reductive terms possible, it's a Soulsborne clone.  However, I think calling it that would be a disservice due to the distinctly Norse themed enemies and environments (plus the art is top-notch).

A first person horror title that shares DNA with SOMA but swaps the sci-fi trappings for hell, Hades, the underworld, or whatever word best communicates a fantastically awful land of absolute misery and suffering.  Unsurprisingly, the central goal of the game is to escape from that place and the terrifying creatures that infest it.

At first glance one might be tempted to call this game a Soulsborne clone trying to differentiate itself by drawing on Asian, rather than European, imagery and myths.  However, I more inclined to see this as a rebirth of the Onimusha series except with more Action RPG elements.

Tiny Metal
Turn-based strategy games are few and far between these days.  As a fan of the subgenre it's a bit saddening.  That said, this little indie project appears to be a love letter to people who have played and enjoyed the Advanced Wars series.  Everything from the slightly cartoonish look to the rock-scissor-paper tactics rekindles feelings of an era where war games weren't grey/brown and gritty.

This could almost be a companion piece to Agony, in that it's another first person game filled to the brim with haunting imagery.  In this case the environments are bio-mechanical landscapes that feel like they were ripped straight out of a H.R. Giger art exhibit.  I'm not sure if the game will support VR, but even if it doesn't it's still going to make more than a few people nauseous.

A top-down rogue-like with an emphasis on scale (as in you are tiny and the world is huge).  Multiplayer also seems to be in the cards, although perma-death is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the layout doesn't change unless the player opts to start over from scratch.

Death's Gambit
Here we have a side-scrolling hack'n'slash fantasy game that, visually speaking, has a lot in common with 16-bit era titles like Ghouls'n Ghosts.  While one only needs to look as far as last year's Slain! to see a similar title, here's hoping this particular entry in the genre has a smoother launch.

I tend to refrain from team-based competitive online multiplayer shooters because of their repetitive nature.  On the other hand I have a deep and (at times) irrational love for space navies, especially when it features huge capital ships hammering away at each other.  Put simply, this is World of Warships in spaaaaaace!

This is one of those weird retro-future games that has a visual aesthetic based on what people living in the 1970s and 80s thought the future would look like.  Details are scarce, but it's supposed to be a first-person rogue-like set on the moon with perma-death and a strong horror vibe.

Another space sci-fi game, another crashed starship, although this one subjects multiple marooned crew members to a survival situation on a cold, desolate, seemly abandoned planet.  The graphic style is deliberately minimalistic and the developers have hinted at difficult moral choices as well as deeper underlying mystery to unravel.

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