ByAlan Bradley, writer at Creators.co
Alan Bradley is a freelance games journalist, vagabond, and collector of oddities. Find him @chapelzero on Twitter.
Alan Bradley

It’s a brand new year, which means a fresh slate of hot upcoming releases. And the further we get into the PlayStation 4’s lifespan, the more Sony’s initiative to welcome indies onto its lead platform is paying off. In fact, all indications are this will be the best year for independent games on any PlayStation system yet. Here’s why.

Manifold Garden

I like to think that if M.C. Escher were alive today, he’s be a game artist. With his passion for mathematics and love of non-Euclidean geometry, he’d fit right in creating games like , which obviously owes him a debt in influence and inspiration.

Manifold Garden looks like Escher’s work made interactive, with all its recursive, stellated stairways and impossible architecture. There’s also some sort of gardening/cultivation mechanic, which will open up pathways for the player to proceed. While I can’t vouch for the gameplay, the art alone is more than enough to tantalize me.

What Remains of Edith Finch

From all indications, the Finch family has a troubled history. Of course, it doesn’t help that each of them that appears in is only playable on the day of their death. But even with that in mind, the fractured past that Edith unearths exploring her family’s massive home indicates a dark legacy of strange accidents and untimely death.

A gorgeous, surreal game with some of the voyeuristic qualities of Gone Home, What Remains of Edith Finch challenges the idea that death is always a tragedy or that the lucky ones are those that are left behind. While it’s unclear what Edith is ultimately searching for, the quest to find it promises to be interesting, bizarre and perhaps even cathartic.

Rime

First things first: is breathtakingly beautiful. This story of a boy and his island looks like what would happen if someone threw the HD remake and into some kind of metaphysical blender, seasoned liberally with the works of Team Ico, and pulsed them all together until they dissolved into a gorgeous tropical destination.

Rime drops you into the shoes of a boy who washes up on an island after a tremendous storm. His new home, dominated by a massive central spire that seems to beckon from every beach and hilltop, is a world of puzzles and mystery that all seem tied to that ivory monolith with it’s odd, keyhole shaped opening, the penetrating of which seems to be the game’s primary objective.

Cuphead

feels like a game I’ve been hearing about forever, which isn’t surprising given that it’s been in development since way back in 2010. Its impressive, then, that everytime a new tidbit leaks about this 1930’s-cartoon-inspired run and gun action game I get amped up for it all over again.

The brainchild of a pair of Canadian brothers, Cuphead puts you in the shoes of its eponymous protagonist or sidekick Mughead and launches into you a frenetic side-scrolling fracas of beautifully animated boss battles. While the action looks very competent, the main appeal here is clearly the art style, which even as someone with no particular affection for interbellum era cartoons I find very seductive.

Though it's been announced as a timed exclusive for Microsoft platforms, I'm holding out hope it'll still make its way to PS4 in calendar year 2017.

Disc Jam

The success of games like have illustrated that there’s an underserved market for competitive (and fantastical) sports games, a market that really hasn’t been properly catered to since the NES era.

Enter , a competitive hybrid of air hockey and frisbee golf that has individuals or teams of two squaring off against each other to try to land a high velocity disc into one of three scoring zones on the opposite end of a symmetrically divided court.

Not shy about its influence (a game that is also returning to the Playstation 4 in 2017), Disc Jam promises to expand the suddenly, bizarrely crowded flying disc genre with a wide array of customization options and both local and online multiplayer.

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