It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new year! Happy 2017 to one and all, and with one more successful completion of the Earth's orbital period, the release dates for many exciting new games inch closer and closer. Here's a selection of 10 indie games in development showing off a range of genres and playstyles, so hopefully there's something for everyone to add to their wishlists!
1. '29' (PC/Mac/Linux)
When? TBA 2017
Who? humble grove
The quietly introspective point-and-click game 29 follows the personal, yet familiar story of housemates Bo and Ao as recent graduates packing up to move out of their flat. Walking from room to room painted with cool, muted palettes invokes little asides and thoughts here and there from the characters. It’s quiet, naturalistic and sweet amidst an atmosphere tinged with magical realism – echoing some shade of a contemporary fairy-tale.
2. 'Absolver '(PC/Mac/Linux/SteamOS/PS4)
When? December 31, 2017
An online multiplayer melee RPG, the player dons the mask of a Prospect warrior who wishes to join the Absolvers, an elite corps of fighters vying to defend what remains of the dissolved Adal Empire. It’s intensely imaginative, visually and narratively. Gameplay is comprised of sharp and fluid movements and a personalized attack style dependent on the player’s Combat Deck and inventory. Additionally, the world shifts with the consequences of each encounter between Prospects and Absolvers, be it peaceful or antagonistic. Boasting PvP gladiator coliseums and PvE dungeon modes in a seamless environment, Absolver presents a whole new moody, complex and bewitching world to fight for.
3. 'Cuphead' (PC/SteamOS/Xbox One)
When? TBA mid-2017
Who? Studio MDHR
Ridiculously fast and triumphantly chaotic, Cuphead harkens back to the classic aesthetic of animation of the 1930s in every single way. It’s impressive to note that the game’s visuals are traditional cel animation using traditional media, and the music is jaunty jazz tunes of the era, spiced up with that modern run and gun quirk. Battle wacky bosses in unbelievable fights as Cuphead and/or Mugman in single-player or co-op mode, collecting weapons and powers while paying off their debt to the Devil. It’s as deliciously zany as it looks and sounds.
4. 'Death's Gambit' (PC/PS4/Mac)
When? December 31, 2017
Who? White Rabbit
In Death's Gambit, the planet Leydia has befallen a blight of enormous immortal monsters stalking its lands and laying waste to its settlements. In order to defeat them, the player must formulate unique strategies for each enemy utilizing class-specific weapons and magic, surviving an environment as equally deadly as the leviathans. If they succeed, Death shall grant them immortality. It’s not unlike a 2D side-scrolling Dark Souls, however the grappling hook is a fundamental mechanic allowing climbing of these huge beasts, and development of a combat dexterity that is all its own.
5. 'Four Horsemen' (PC/Mac/Linux)
When? TBA early 2017
Four Horsemen is a particularly politically pertinent visual novel on the lives of War, Pestilence, Famine and Death. They are four endearingly awkward teenagers navigating a new life as immigrants to a randomly generated country. Its aim is to be as true as possible to the everyday experience of being ‘other’, and it is admirably and fantastically detailed. How the kids adapt is dependent on player choices – do they acquiesce or do they rebel?
Those familiar with Japanese SLGs and visual novels will be fooled by a deliberately difficult world system, where use of conventional mechanics will not suffice. Inspiration from historical record, interviews and personal knowledge generates a fictional world painstakingly close to our own, coated with a bright, sharp art style and wit. Four Horsemen brings the immigrant experience to players’ minds, regardless of origin, and hopes for a better, more empathetic tomorrow.
6. 'Memory of a Broken Dimension' (PC)
When? TBA 2017
A mesmerizing fusion of glitch art, novel mechanics and experimental puzzle-solving, Memory of a Broken Dimension presents a twisting and turning journey through the gray-scale static of the R E L I C S virtual machine. Narrative appears to be intentionally minimal but there is no denying that the game looks and plays uniquely. The player must align the shattered signals correctly in order to construct pathways and control the ruin of R E L I C S. What one would find at the heart of the satellite transmission will be well worth the wait for its release.
7. 'Overland' (PC/Mac/Linux)
When? TBA 2017
An unknown tragedy has ravaged North America. It’s cloudy with a chance of apocalyptic conditions. The only option is to survive, even when all the odds are stacked against you and your team. In Overland, careful tactical thinking and strategy are vital for success in a procedurally generated environment, yet each encounter is fraught with difficult decisions and unforeseen circumstances. With sunrise and sunset, scraps of the story behind the catastrophe and weird monsters will be unearthed. Of course, provided the player’s squad stay alive that long. Finji assure an intuitive interface and mechanics for the game set against a charmingly rustic art direction. I have no doubt that survival sim fans will be hooked.
8. 'Project Wight' (PC/Mac/Linux)
Who? The Outsiders
A concept inspired by the 1971 book Grendel, Project Wight reverses the age-old conventions of medieval RPGs. An alternate Earth set in the early Viking period is populated by an ancient, intelligent species, unfortunately hunted to near extinction as a result of humans. Players survive the huge open world as one of these creatures, acquiring strength and abilities as they age into adolescence. Although the game is evidently still in its preliminary stages, it looks fantastically gritty as a contrarian contender in the wide-ranging RPG genre.
9. 'Somewhere' (PC/Mac/Linux)
Who? Studio Oleomingus
Somewhere is an abstract, narrative intense exploration game from two-person team Studio Oleomingus. It is the search for the artistic utopia Kayamgadh, through the written word of lives before your own. The art direction evokes both organic and crafted structures, seemingly carved and woven and cluttered with fondness. What’s enticing is that books are the vehicle between the various identities the player inhabits, and it promises to be a complex and emotive intersection of idealism and cynicism.
10. 'Visage' (PC/Xbox One/PS4)
When? March 31, 2017
Who? SadSquare Studio
The legacy of P.T. has got me thinking that the idiom 'home sweet home' should be changed to 'home sepulchral home'. Yet, SadSquare Studios ensures that this spook-fest is an innovative amalgamation of quintessential horror game influences, ramping up the scares more than a few notches.
Visage traps the player in a mansion where slivers of the home’s ghastly past manifest, and each reveals an insight into who, or what, is responsible for grisly deaths occurring under its roof. You’re not alone, and with each advance deeper and deeper into the evils lurking, the game becomes a battle for survival and sanity while uncovering the truth. The vision of Visage is to create a terrifyingly realistic environment that is totally interactive, resulting in different endings with randomly activated events that will have even the most confident veterans of horror doubting everything.
Naturally, this barely scratches the surface of all the quirky releases expected this year but it's seeming like a diverse array of games are lining up for 2017. We'd very much like to hear about any other games you're sighing longingly for, so drop a line in the comments and share the love!