Wccftech’s Most Anticipated 2016 Indie Games
Indie games have become a big part of the video games industry in the past few years. Where AAA games tend to play it safe most of the times, relying on consolidated gameplay mechanics, indie games are much more daring, featuring gameplay experiences that are often quite unique. 2015 has been a very good year for indie games and 2016 is setting out to be no different, with plenty of titles that will surely manage to become successful and fun to play.
Here's a quick look at some of the more interesting 2016 indie games. Of course, you can vote in the poll below and write your opinion in the comments section!
Death's Gambit, a 2D action role playing game currently in development by White Rabbit, is a dream come true for fans of the classic Castlevania games, as it will come with features that fans of the Konami series will surely appreciate.
Death's Gambit features a non-linear gameplay experience, unforgiving lands to explore filled with secrets to, a charming atmosphere, a deep combat system offering players multiple battle options such as several different weapon types, each one with specific attacks and special effects, plenty of fearsome and powerful creatures to fight and exciting 2D action. The combat system of Death's Gambit seems to be reminiscent of the Souls series, so the game may also appeal to fans of the popular series developed by From Software. It will launch on PC first, but the developer has left the door open to console releases in the future.
Escape from Tarkov
We didn't know anything about Escape from Tarkov until a couple months ago, when Russian developer Battlestate Games surprised everyone with this survival online shooter/RPG.
Escape from Tarkov will feature a realistic damage model, a deep RPG advancement system and even MMO staples like crafting, quests, guilds/clans and more. It also looks stunning, which always helps.
Check out the latest gameplay information (including early system requirements) in yesterday's article. The game is set to have a beta test in the next few months; the first release will be on PC, with consoles probably following afterwards.
There's really no way to properly define the first person adventure game Firewatch, now in development by Campo Santo, as it comes with a fairly unique premise that will make it stand out from this year's competition.
In Firewatch, players will take on the role of Henry, a man who has retreated from his messy life to work as a fire lookout in Wyoming. During an especially hot Summer, Henry's tower gets ransacked while he's away on patrol, forcing our brave firewatcher to explore the wilderness and learn more about some mysterious occurrences that are happening in the area. Even though Henry is out in the field alone, he'll have the chance to communicate with his supervisor Delilah at all times, with dialogue choices influencing their relationship.
Firewatch is definitely going to be one of the most unique adventure games of the year, a game that will be just perfect for those who want to escape from their daily routines just like Harry did. It's due in early February for PC and PlayStation 4 and you can learn a lot more by reading our exclusive interview with Nels Anderson from Campo Santo.
Heart Forth, Alicia
Heart Forth, Alicia, currently in development by Alonso Martin and Chucklefish Games, has the potential to become a huge hit this year, as the game will appeal to fans of platform games, role playing games, and Metroid / Castlevania influenced titles.
In Heart Forth, Alicia, players will control the titular main character as she explores a beautiful and colorful world in true Metroidvania fashion. Role playing games features are going to be the main focus of the Heart Forth, Alicia, with the game's creator Alonso Martin wanting to combine the open world nature of games like Zelda and Super Metroid with the compelling story style of classic role playing games such as Xenogears and Final Fantasy VII.
With a huge world to explore, a fast melee combat system and a deep story featuring a cast of fascinating and complex characters, Heart Forth, Alicia has the potential to become one of the best indie games ever released.
Hyper Light Drifter
With action role playing games like Death's Gambit and Heart Forth, Alicia, some titles will definitely have difficulty in standing out. This probably is not going to be the case with Hyper Light Drifter, another 2D action role playing game currently in development by Heart Machine.
The game, which is an homage to 8-bit and 16-bit action role playing games, combines features from classic The Legend of Zelda and Diablo. Players will have to explore a huge and diverse world in a top down view in search of a cure for the Drifter's own illness. This Drifter is no regular person, though, as he has access to technology from an ancient civilization and a variety of weapons such as a basic energy sword and much more.
The game's unique atmosphere won't be the only standout feature. For example, while trying to recreate a Super Nintendo like experience, lead developer Alex Preston has opted to not include any spoken dialogue, with the game's story being told by the game's music and visuals.
Judging from what we have seen so far about the game, Hyper Light Drifter is surely going to be among the indie titles to play during 2016. The unique combination of gameplay elements, visual and storytelling style might make Hyper Light Drifter a truly memorable experience.
Mighty No. 9
Mighty No. 9 is yet another Kickstarter success story like Yooka-Laylee, only that the excitement surrounding the game has taken a few hits due to delays, mismanagement and poor communication. Fans have been hungering for a new Mega Man game for years, however, so its spiritual successor produced by Keiji Inafune's Comcept still has the potential to do well.
In Mighty No. 9 players take control of main character Beck as he goes through a variety of stages, avoiding traps, jumping over gaps and shooting enemies in true Mega Man fashion. Like the classic Capcom games, you will be able to choose the order with which you want to complete stages, with each stage featuring one of the 8 Mighty units as boss. Alongside features taken from the Mega Man games, Mighty No. 9 also comes with some interesting new gameplay mechanics such as the ability to acquire both weapons and abilities from defeated enemies, the ability to obtain various temporary enhancements by absorbing Xel and more.
Mighty No. 9 was going to sport other innovative features that unfortunately didn't make it in the final game so disappointment is completely justified. The game, however, still looks like a solid title and a more than worthy entry of this list.
No Man's Sky
Very few games launching this year, indies or AAA, are going to be as big in scope as No Man's Sky, currently in development by Hello Games. With a procedurally generated deterministic open world universe including 18 quintillion planets, many with their set of flora and fauna, players will be able to spend hours upon hours in No Man's Sky and be nowhere close to experiencing everything it has to offer.
During their exploration endeavors, players in No Man's Sky will have to gather as much information as possible about the planets and submit them to the universal database called The Atlas, which can be shared with others online. You will also have to gather materials and find blueprints to upgrade your character's equipment, purchase starships to explore the game's universe further, interact with characters and much more. Space exploration is not a walk in the park, after all, and there will be plenty of hostile factions to contend with; Sentinels will also try to kill the player if too many resources have been taken from planets, too many creatures have been killed and more.
With so many unique gameplay mechanics, enriched by the shared universe features, No Man's Sky is setting out to be not only one of the best 2016 indie games but also one of the best titles launching during the course of the year. A procedurally generated experience always comes with risks and issues, but it seems like Hello Games has found ways to overcome them and provide a truly unique experience. No Man's Sky will be out in June for PC and PlayStation 4.
Do you remember games like Myst and Riven? Well, Cyan Worlds is at it again with Obduction, successfully funded via Kickstarter last year.
It will follow in the footsteps of its predecessors in that it will offer an adventure game filled with wonder and mystery. As hinted by the title, Obduction begins with the abduction of the main character: an artifact drops from the sky and takes the protagonist to an entirely different world.
Made with Unreal Engine 4, it will launch on PC with support for the Oculus Rift. The latest teaser trailer looked absolutely fantastic, by the way.
The Witness is yet another very unique indie game that will be released soon. The game, directed by Jonathan Blow of Braid's fame, has been in development since 2008.
In The Witness, players will have to explore an island featuring different structures and maze-like natural formations. The island is divided into ten different sections arranged around a mountain representing the game's final goal. Once all puzzles in a section have been completed, a golden turret will appear in the section to light the way towards the mountain.
The puzzles are obviously the main focus of The Witness, with the final game apparently including over 650 puzzles. Not all puzzles require to be cleared to complete the game, as the open world nature of the game allows players to proceed however they want. The open world mechanics will also make things more complicated for players, as it will be possible to encounter elements that are required to complete a puzzle located elsewhere.
With an open world structure, clever puzzles and beautiful locations, The Witness seems to be closer to adventure games from the past like Myst rather than straightforward puzzle games. We cannot know how The Witness will be received by critics and the public, but there's no denying that Jonathan Blow and his team did everything they could to provide an experience that cannot be found in many other modern titles. It's due for PC and PlayStation 4 later this month.
The Ultima Underworld series is one of the more important video game series ever produced. The games by Blu Sky Productions have influenced many modern titles with its non-linear and emergent gameplay, so it's not surprising to see so many players excited for Underworld Ascendant, a next generation entry of the series now in development by OtherSide Entertainment after a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Underworld Ascendant will take advantage of the power of today's technology to innovate the classic Ultima Underworld experience in many ways. Underworld Ascendant will once again be set in the Stygian Abyss, a vast world featuring mysterious locations such as ancient temples, forests, ice caverns, underground societies like human renegades, dwarves, mushroom people, dangerous monsters like rotworms, the ripper plants and more. And like in the Ultima Underworld games, players will be able to influence the world around them thanks to the Improvisation Engine, allowing players to take a creative approach to the game's many challenges, the same approach players will be able to take when creating their own characters or fighting the dangerous enemies roaming the Stygian Abyss.
It's been a while since the release of Ultima Underworld 2 and the gaming world is definitely ready for the return of the series. With titles like Deus Ex and System Shock having prepared younger players for a less linear gameplay experience, Underworld Ascendant will surely be one of the more successful 2016 indie games.
Yes, I know what you're thinking: this game is published by Electronic Arts. It is, but it's also being made by a small studio with a limited budget. Besides, we couldn't just leave this one out.
While The Witness has been influenced by puzzle games and adventure games of the past, Unravel (currently in development by Coldwood Interactive) is closer in style to modern puzzle games, with a physics based gameplay experience and a cute, yet unusual main character.
In Unravel players will take control of Yarny, a weird creature made of yarn. Yarny is a very curious creature and players will have to help him explore the world, making sure the twine which he is made of unravels. This gameplay mechanic is rather interesting, as you will have to focus on the movements and not just on the puzzle solving. Leaving the trail behind will also allow some really cool things like climbing on it, swinging on it and more. Unravel is a very creative game and it requires players to be just as creative when playing it.
In an era where physics based puzzle games are all the rage, Unravel has the potential to do exceptionally well on the market. With a very unique character, premise and gameplay experience, Unravel will be the game to play next February for all those looking for a creative puzzle game.
Yooka-Laylee is probably the most anticipated indie game of 2016 for many old-school gamers. The game, which has been successfully crowdfunded in just 38 minutes, is currently in development by Playtonic Games, a team consisting of former Rare members from the Nintendo 64 era. With such a team working on the game, Yooka-Laylee is rightly considered as the spiritual successor of the excellent platform titles developed by Rare (such as the original Donkey Kong Country games, Banjo-Kazooie and others).
In Yooka-Laylee, players will control the titular chameleon Yooka, a sensible male chameleon, and the female bat Laylee as they explore a variety of locations reminiscent of classic 3D platform games. To unlock new worlds and expand those that have already been unlocked, players will need to collect and use Pagies, golden book pages acting as the main currency. In true platform games fashion, Yooka-Laylee will also feature a variety of special abilities accessible through different forms and different gameplay segments that will add plenty of variety such as boss battles, arcade mini-games, mine cart sequences in the vein of Donkey Kong Country and more.
Yooka-Laylee is a love letter to the best platform games released in the past. The classic 3D platform game experience will be enriched with some modern twists to make the whole experience feel fresh even to long time fans of the genre. With its gameplay features and colorful art style, Yooka-Laylee has the potential to bring about a resurgence of the genre, which has been out of the spotlight for quite some time.