Indies have become a prominent part of the video game industry in the past few years with both Sony and Microsoft reaching out to indie developers extensively, with Sony originally leading the way, and Microsoft playing catch up. Now, in the lead up to E3 this year, there are as many Indie games as there are triple A titles that we can’t wait to hear about. Last week I talked about the Top 5 Sony Indies we hope to hear about at E3, but for this week we are looking at Xbox One Indies which are kicking up a storm. Here are the top 5 upcoming Xbox One indie games we can’t wait to hear more about at E3.
Disclaimer – (Although a number of these games have console exclusivity to Xbox One, these are often just timed, meaning they may come to other consoles at a later date, and there is a strong possibility of them coming to PC platforms at any time.)
A title which caught my attention quicker than any other indie before, was the beautiful and intriguing Below. From the developers who brought gamers the delightful and explosive Super Time Force last year, Capybara Games, comes the rogue adventure game with simple yet almost breath-taking artwork. Originally shown for the first time in Microsoft’s E3 press conference back in 2013, before the current generation consoles were even released, the game is played from a top down perspective, with the player controlling a small warrior exploring the depths of a mysterious island.
Featuring many rouge-like mechanics, including randomly generated levels and permanent death, it’s a familiar take on the recently popularized rouge genre. However, it is the art style and tone which ultimately sets it apart, making it onto our top five Xbox One indie list. With no release date announced yet and little details given since 2013, we hope there will be some concise information at this year’s Microsoft press conference.
Blues and Bullets
With the episodic game formula becoming popularized by developer Telltale Games, it’s not surprising we are seeing a number of developers trying the structure for their own game ideas. The newest developers giving it a try is A Crow of Monsters, with their action-adventure detective game Blues and Bullets. The story follows Eliot Ness, an agent who jailed the infamous Al Capone, but after going into retirement is told Capone needs him to find his kidnapped granddaughter as his former nemesis is the only person he can trust. Players will need to search and find clues through investigations at crime scenes and match clues with suspects in order to solve crimes.
Another game which in concept is simple, but is set apart by its contrasting graphics. The noire style with tinges of colour occasionally to attract attention such as blood, acts as a dramatic and immersive mechanic. Blues and Bullets is another title which has caught our attention and we’ll be sure to investigate ourselves. The game was awarded Excellence in Story and Storytelling at the recent Game Connection Development awards. Set to be released onto Xbox One through the ID@Xbox publishing program, the first episode will be coming soon, with hopefully more details to come at E3.
Set to be one of the strangest yet interesting games we’ve seen in a while, Cuphead aims to revisit older times with 30s cartoon art style and classic run and gun gameplay which centres around 1-on-1 fights. Players will face a multitude of enemies and bosses in order to repay a debt to the devil gained from gambling. Cuphead is the first game from developers Studio MDHR, consisting of brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer. Development began in 2010 and is inspired by “subversive and surrealist” elements in regards to the art style in particular. The developers aim to mix up the style of game by having unlimited lives, but the game is continuous, in the sense it is one boss fight right after the other.
Cuphead stands out for its art style, dating back the original styles of Disney and other comics from the 30s. A title which is sure to turn a few heads and surprise many, we hope to see more of it at E3, with the game set to come out sometime in 2015.
Limbo surprised many with its deep puzzle mechanics and simple storytelling when it released back in 2010. However, the art style and theme of hopelessness, darkness and light were what drew gamers in and immersed them in the experience. The developers behind Limbo, PlayDead, are aiming for a similar feeling with their new title, Inside, a 2.5 puzzler and platforming game where you must guide a child through dystopian environments Although hard details remain thin since the original announcement, Inside follows the story of a small boy, living in a dystopian society of drones, as he hides, runs and investigates the people around him.
The players must slowly piece together and learn about the culture and civilization the boy lives in as he traverses the plain and seemingly government controlled world. Inside looks interesting so far to say the least, with an Early 2015 release date set on the website, there’s a strong possibility it will be coming out in 2015.
Continuing the theme of unique art styles and themes comes the fast and furious, SuperHOT. The game is a first person shooter, but with a unique element to the shooting mechanics. Bullets and other projectiles only move when the player moves, meaning you can freeze time by standing still. Along with the unique game mechanic comes a unique art style with simple colour schemes used to make enemies stand out for the player. It allows for players to focus on the skill needed to complete levels in the short time limits given. The idea came out of a game jam from a group of friends, but has since taken on a whole new life.
SuperHOT was remade from scratch, but with the core concept intact, after which the game was greenlit, kickstarted and is now set to come to Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program this Summer. Although there is a continuous influx of first person shooters in the industry, it’s nice to see developers innovating on core mechanics, leading to unique experiences such as SuperHOT on consoles.