While PAX is a great way for AAA Publishers to show new trailers and updates for their latest “blockbuster” titles, for many developers it’s their first chance for major coverage. Indie games are the unsung heroes of gaming expos and many offer unique, exciting experiences that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are the 5 indie games that stuck out to me the most based on innovation, solid core gameplay and, above all else, entertaining gameplay.
5. Children of Liberty – Lantana Games
With one of the more unique artistic styles I’ve ever come across, Children of Liberty is definitely one of a kind. The player characters and NPCs are drawn in 2D, the environment is 3D, and both are cel-shaded beautifully. As far as stealth platformers go, this isn’t quite up to par with games like Mark of the Ninja, but the controls are tight and the mechanics are solid enough to be enjoyable. Children of Liberty focuses on four different children involved in the revolutionary war and tries to maintain historical accuracy. There’s definitely a lot of potential here and I look forward to additional content.
4. Fractured Soul – Endgame Studios
Picture Mega Man with duality and you’ve got Fractured Soul. High intensity, 2D platforming where you’re required to now pay attention to two screens instead of one. The controls are necessarily seamless and require both twitch platformer skills and quick thinking. I should also mention the game is gorgeous and the soundtrack will please any fan of electronic music. Fractured Soul is currently on Steam Greenlight for PC and it would be a shame if this one didn’t make it to retail.
3. Sanctum 2 – Coffee Stain Studios
Coffee Stain Studios really listened to fans when putting together the sequel to their unique take on tower defense. Some of the main complaints were the initial absence of multiplayer and the overall lack of content to the game. Well Sanctum 2 comes loaded for bear, sporting a solid 16 levels, 4 characters with individual skills/weapons, and co-op gameplay. Not only have they added more depth, but they’ve also “changed the game”, so to speak. Instead of waves of aliens mindlessly running towards your core, now you’re a target as well. If killed, players respawn after a hefty delay, and while there is no maximum number of deaths, the time off the battlefield has its repercussions. There’s no passive gameplay this time around; honestly who would want to sit back and just watch in a game this gorgeous.
2. Beatbuddy – Threaks
And now for something completely different…Beatbuddy is not just a game, it’s a musical experience. When I first caught glimpse of Beatbuddy, I wrote it off as just another underwater adventure game, featuring an overly cutesy protagonist and an extremely colorful environment. Well I was wrong. It’s actually a one of a kind, music action-adventure where players can experience musical scores in a non-linear, interactive fashion. In fact, unlike most games, the soundtrack was actually created first and then the game was designed around it. This is one game where you shouldn’t be afraid to lose yourself in the music.
1. Outlast – Red Barrels Games
True survival horror games are something the gaming industry is devoid of lately, as most intellectual properties that were originally based on the concept have molded themselves into a bullet-fest action/shooter genre. There are a few others, such as Penumbra and Amnesia, but these are few and far in-between. Well, Red Barrels seems to have found a winning combination of high quality graphics, creepy ass audio, and gruesome, hold onto your seat, gameplay. Having played the introductory 30 minutes of Outlast, I can honestly say I was on edge the entire way through. For a more thorough look into Outlast head over to my first impressions article.
Did you get a chance to test any of these out at PAX East? Looking forward to anything? Sound off in the comments below and keep it locked to Structure Gaming for more on these titles as they near release!