In With The New
It’s a quiet, rainy January morning. I’ve just gotten home from my third shift night job, and I have a mug of flavored cafe cinnamon mix hot milk drink in front of me. In typical me fashion, I’m a couple days late on a deadline for a write-up here on IGR, but as I collect my thoughts, the days spent musing over the upcoming indie titles just make me even more excited, as the first batch of them have nearly arrived.
In near no particular order, here are a few of what I expect to wow me this year. A tentative disclaimer: I have backed many of these on Kickstarter, as well.
from Tarhead Studio
RUiN is a strange cross of a cooldown-based arena shooter, such as recent Early Access game Battlerite, and the knock-back mechanic of Smash Bros. Players equip skills to use in the arena and try to control the center of the map while knocking their opponents into the edges of an ever-shrinking play area. It takes the play style of Battlerite and adds its own twists of style and customization to it.
Paradise Lost: First Contact
from Asthree Works
Paradise Lost: First Contact is a stealth game with a The Thing twist. You’re a mostly helpless viney plant breaking out of a laboratory, where you’ve been taken to be researched. It’s been in development for a long time, but a demo was just released that plays up to a boss fight. It has some good puzzles and almost maze-like level design already, but the demo is very limiting, as it’s only the first part of the game with very few ability unlocks. I just hope it arrives this year.
Crowfall is already turning heads in the MMO Press. It’s presented as a Game of Thrones-style MMO, because surely they expect guilds to back-stab each other when it suits them. The team has been hard at work refining the combat system and making it feel good before they moved on to other aspects of the game, because if the combat is no good, then they’ve failed. While combat continues to be refined, they are now tweaking and testing crafting and harvesting.
The original draw that made it catch my eye was the temporary worlds: maps last 30 to 90 days on average and then implode, ejecting you out back to your home world, which never dies. You can then build up your home with loot gained from your adventure, then embark back out to a new fresh world with a randomized layout using shuffled prefabs and doodads. Finally, player progression is being done similarly to EVE Online, with passive time-based progress – no levels.
Tooth and Tail
from Pocketwatch Games
Tooth and Tail is being made by the gang behind Monaco. Their goal is to provide an entire session of RTS satisfaction in a quick five to eight minute round. Being in the Alpha myself, they’ve done quite a good job of it. You select a few units to use in your match, out of many more that you have to do without. Capture farms and buy farmers to keep your troops fed and place unit spawners that will steadily supply you with fresh troops as long as you have the food to support them.
They’ve spent over a year just balancing the various troops via tiny adjustments to the numbers on their stats. I don’t know if it’ll be ready this year, but I can hope so, as I want to match myself against people I have a chance to beat and get better with rather than the tester vets who dunk me! I don’t know what sort of story-based campaign there will be along with it, but it’s unlikely to ship without it if Monaco was anything to gauge things by.
AI War II
from Arcen Games
This will be a quick one. AI War II is AI War, but on a new engine: Unity. This will allow it to be more expandable, look better and even run better. The classic AI War is fairly old now, but one of my favorites. It’s a…co-op RTS 4X Rogue-like. And it does every part of that mouthful very competently.
The Dragon’s Trap / Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
from Lizardcube / Game Atelier
There are two Wonder Boy remakes in the works on the verge of release. The Dragon’s Trap is a faithful remake of the original Sega Master System gem. The other, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, is a much looser “inspired by” game, almost a spiritual sequel. The original Wonder Boy being one of my favorite games, I feel like I might blow right through The Dragon’s Trap. Monster boy and the Cursed Kingdom, on the other hand, will be a completely new experience.
from Bit Kid, Inc.
Chasm is a Metroidvania with a promise of a kind of random dungeon layout. Picture a purer Metroidvania-style game with the level layout style of Rogue Legacy. I shouldn’t have to say too much more about it, as we should all know what to expect from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night‘s love child.
from Playism Games
La-Mulana 2 promises more of the same: a very deep, puzzle-heavy, side-scrolling, platformer dungeon explorer. I got lost in the first one, and I can’t wait to get lost again. The dev time for this one has also been extremely long, but I’ve learned that waiting for Kickstarted games is not something to hold your breath over. Just let them come when they come.
Tell us in the comments what indie games you’re looking most forward to in 2017!