January 22, 2018 // 4 p.m.
It's 2018. You're a gamer. There are indie games you want to play, except you haven't heard of them yet.
It's okay - we're here to help.
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, iOS, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android
A sequel to Super Meat Boy is on the way in 2018, a bold new reinvention that sees the platformer making the jump to a two-button runner where players barrel through levels as Meat Boy and Bandage Girl to rescue the couple's child, Nugget.
Levels are randomly generated to match players' skill, and having played it on the Switch back at EGX this year, I can say that it hasn't lost any of its intensity from being stripped back.
When: 2018 (available now in Early Access)
Already in Early Access, this player-vs-AI strategy game sees you charged with trying to build and protect a human settlement from thousands of zombies.
There's something that feels very mid-90s RTS about the game, and I was reminded of teenaged efforts at Starcraft when I played the Early Access release. The building phase is a case of rapidly prioritising the buildings and technologies that'll stop you from dying, but there's also the looming threat of a massive undead assault, with bigger and bigger waves of attackers until one final apocalyptic crowd of zombies tries to tear your settlement apart.
There's a clawing desperation to the game, as when zombies attack a human building, more zombies explode forth from within as the occupants succumb to bites and join the horde. It means things snowball fast, and it requires fast thinking to stop a small outbreak becoming the end of your settlement.
This is a fun one, a single-player action/infiltration game that sees you playing as Vic, an ex-cop trying to check up on his nephew Alex, in a South American compound belonging to a cult, the Collective Justice Mission.
This one seems to be a tense and interesting adventure, with narrative elements, character personalities, and the truth at the heart of the cult supposedly differing between different playthroughs. Expect to learn the story of the Collective Justice Mission through letters, voice notes, and the town's PA system, with the cult's leaders, Rebecca and Isaac Walker, voiced by Ellen McLain (GLaDOS) and John Patrick Lowrie (TF2's Sniper) respectively, to add some heavyweight talent to all the listening you'll be doing.
When: 2018 (seriously, indie games are really vague with their launch dates...)
Burden of Command is described on its website as a leadership RPG, with you playing a commander looking to guide his unit through the hell of World War II and bring everyone home.
So far, this could be one of a number of games, but it seems here that real weight will be put on the decisions that you make and the emotional toll, something that hasn't been explored much in video games up to this point, barring hamfisted attempts like Call of Duty WWII's quick photo tour of an abandoned concentration camp.
This one is getting a lot of attention from historians for its accurate portrayals of war, and if you're itching for a more realistic look at the time, this could offer some real value.
Platform: PC, Xbox One
Ooblets is the Pokémon / Stardew Valley hybrid modern indie games needed but didn't know about.
Ooblets is being published by Double Fine's publishing arm and is a farm life sim where the crops you grow can include tiny monsters. These tiny monsters can and will follow you around and get into scraps on your behalf.
This mix of improving your farm, cultivating a tiny army of brawlers, and interacting with the village around you could make this an excellent chill-out game, and the cutesy art could win it fans, too.
When: 2018 (available now in Early Access)
Consortium: The Tower is a sequel to the indie immersive sim Consortium. You'll be tasked with infiltrating a high-rise tower from above using stealth, diplomacy, and good ol' fashioned brute force.
It's available in Early Access now. I confess to not having played it yet, but it looks likely to be an interesting addition to a genre that's been having a bit of a resurgence in recent years. This sequel is expanding the scope of the 2014 original, and it could well be worth waiting for the full release to feel the true impact of this.
When: Early 2018 (available now in Early Access)
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Mac, Linx
It's Berlin, 2089. The cold war never ended and, in fact, for the last 150 years, both sides have been using time manipulation to observe and counter each other. The situation is coming to a head, and you'll play an agent caught in the middle trying to stop a rogue nuclear strike.
The game is a tactical turn-based game where you'll attempt to complete missions in neon-soaked clubs and dark alleyways. This game oozes style, and it's receiving significant work in Early Access right now. In short, it looks incredibly promising.
The FTL developers' follow-up is a smart, small-scale, tactical kaiju blaster which puts you in control of a variety of towering mechs with orders to bring the pain on several big monsters.
The turn-based game lets you square off in cities made of eight-by-eight grids, and like FTL it has elegant mechanics layered on top of each other to provide context (and progression) for the battles.
Ben Prunty, composer for FTL, is back to do the music too - colour us excited!