Here are our personal picks for Indie’s biggest hits of 2017
2016 saw a plethora of hugely popular indie games released gaining varying degrees of success, demonstrating that the industry is continuing to creep ever more into the mainstream consciousness. If 2016 is anything to go by indie games are here to stay and are challenging the medium in more creative and innovative ways than ever before.
In fact, indie games picked up serval BAFTA’s last year, as well as seeing fair representation in multiple other awards, including Playdead’s well-received puzzle/platformer, Inside, picking up a handful of the bigger awards over triple A titles.
With this in mind, we take a look at what you have to look forward to in 2017 and give our personal predictions for what will be the biggest hits.
Cuphead is a classic run and gun action game, with a heavy focus on boss battles coming from Studio MDHR this year. Drawing a lot of attention due to its unique art style, which is inspired by 1930’s cartoons, Cuphead looks set to enthral audiences when it is released sometime this year.
Placing you in the shoes of either Cuphead or Mugman, following a failed deal with the devil, you will blast your way through furious stages facing off against giant screen filling bosses, all to a toe tapping authentic jazz soundtrack. Sounds good to us, this is one we are really looking forward to.
Finji Studios squad-based strategy game should see a release this year and it is shaping up nicely so far. Overland is a beautifully cel-shaded survival game that puts you in control of a varied cast of survivors on a road trip through a ruined continent after a post-apocalyptic event. You will have to scavenge for fuel, weapons, and other supplies to help them keep moving and protect themselves from the strange, sound-sensitive creatures now roaming what remains of North America.
Featuring procedurally generated levels and randomly generated encounters, no two games will be the same. With a friendly UI, soft pastel artwork and an interesting story this is definitely one to watch this year.
The original scared the life out of just about everyone and it looks like the sequel only intends to up the ante, even going so far as to offer an adult size dipper with the game. Red Barrels, Outlast 2, will see you venture deep into the Arizona desert following the trail of a murder as an investigative journalist. Are you willing to risk everything for a story no one else would dare touch?
Featuring the same first-person gameplay as the original, players will again have to run and hide to avoid the enemies stalking them. If you thought the first one was bad the return of this seminal horror series looks set to leave fans rocking in a corner in floods of tears.
This year will also see Xbox and Microsoft Windows exclusive, Below, by Capybara Games, plunging players into the darkness. You will be tasked with exploring a remote island in this spell binding adventure game, all from a top down perspective.
Similar to indie games before it, such as Fez, Below has an enchanting soundtrack, lo-fi visuals and gameplay that focus’ on survival and exploration. Phil Spencer has gone on record describing the game as a “creative take on roguelike gameplay” with the developer also stating that the game is designed to be difficult, with “brutal but fair combat” and permanent death. So if you are a sucker for punishment make sure you do not miss this one.
Little Nightmares is a stylish, dark, puzzle platform game developed by Tarsier Studios and set to release early 2017. As a kidnapped 9 year old girl, known as Six, you enter The Maw, a surreal underwater resort catering to the whims of the powerful elite. The game follows the journey of Six in her efforts to escape this bizarre and unpredictable world she has been plunged into.
Following the traditional gameplay mechanics of the puzzle/platform genre it is more the dark, fantasy world setting that has truly intrigued players. The Maw seems to be full of strange, dangerous creatures, representing the corrupt heart of modern happiness. Offering classic gameplay with an unusual horror twist this interesting little platform game is surely something to watch.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign the ambitiously original, Rain World, will see a 2017 release. As a slugcat separated from its family you will have to scour the industrial wastes, hunting enough food to survive in a broken ecosystem.
Inspired by the simplicity and aesthetics of 16-bit classics, this survival platformer will boast colourful, retro inspired visuals and a funky synth soundtrack, which ensures that Rain World is one not to be missed.
Online martial arts epic, Absolver, is scheduled to kick, punch and chop its way onto PC and PS4 this year. Touting itself as an ‘online melee action’ game Sloclap Studios kung-fu fighter looks like a cross between Jade Empire and Dark Souls, featuring impressive visuals and fluid combat merged into one seamless online world.
Players control warrior characters known as Prospects, who travel the fictional land of Adal to fight other players and prove their worth to become one of the Absolver peacekeepers. As you brawl your way through the game, attempting to unlock various pieces of armour and equipment, you will encounter other players in a mixture of cooperative and competitive encounters. With its in-depth combat system and unique approach to multiplayer it should be interesting to see what kind of experience Absolver offers.
If you are looking for a little more first-person horror then you might want to check out Kona. Currently in development by Canadian studio, Parable, this eerie tale of mystery will thrust you into the shoes of a private detective tasked with exploring an eerie village to investigate surreal events, whilst battling the elements to survive.
The vintage atheistic really comes through here, with the game being set in 1970, and representing the look and feel of the rural communities in Northern Canada at the time. Investigating this small town after a strange blizzard ravages Atamipek Lake who knows what you will find in this chilly interactive tale, which is the first instalment in a series of four games.
There is no way you could write a list of 2017’s best upcoming indie titles without mentioning Playtonic’s Yooka Laylee. Announced on Kickstarter back in 2015 Yooka Laylee raised over 2 million in pledges, showing the world that there was still a demand for classic 3D platform games.
Being developed by a group of former key personnel from Rare during the Nintendo 64 era, this spiritual successor to the popular game series, Banjo-Kazooie, became one of the fastest video games in Kickstarter history to reach 1 million dollars. Players will take control of new dynamic duo Yooka and Laylee, as they venture out from the safety of their home in Shipwreck Creek to explore deep inside the work halls of a baneful business known as the Hivory Towers in a battle to stop Capital B and Dr. Quack from absorbing all the world’s literature and converting it into pure profit. With cool retro visuals and traditional 3D platformer gameplay we cannot wait for this classic in the making to take us back to the Nintendo 64 era.
It is looking like 2017 is going to be an interesting year for indie games. From hiding in lockers in Outlast 2 to blasting cartoon bosses in Cuphead, it seems that indie games will again continue to push the envelope and innovate the industry we all love.
That about does it for our predictions for 2017’s biggest indie games. Do you feel like we missed any? Let us know in the comments below.