Welcome! It’s that most famous of national holidays, Indie Penance Day! The day on which major gaming websites attempt to make up for their AAA coverage by dedicating space to unknown indies. Any gaming site you see not joining in both hates indie developers, and America. Not us though, so read on for a whole bunch of games you’ll want to wishlist or buy.
If you’ve been with us on one of these splendid journeys before, you’ll know that I am not endorsing nor reviewing any of these games, and have not played them unless stated otherwise. If you’re new, you now know that too. These are games sent in when I let loose the clarion call, that look well worth further attention. Starting with...
Developer: Alejandro Zielinsky
Well, here’s lovely. Existing on the midpoint of Tomb Raider GO and Monument Valley is Poly Vita, a puzzle game where you rearrange the level’s tiles to build your character’s path.
Developer: Mr. Thee
Out: Late 2023
While I do not feel neither frog nor toadkind will take kindly to this conflation, Olliefrog Toad Skater looks like the CUTEST skateboarding game. Cuter even than Skatebird. The emphasis here is to be on improvisation and self-expression, and it’s currently in a pretty precarious position with its Kickstarter. Two-thirds there, one week to go.
Developer: Final Screw Games
Out: Now (Steam 2023)
With a name that sounds like it should already be a genre, Tower Escape is instead a combination of two others. It’s a “reverse tower defense,” and Snake. Bet you didn’t see that coming. You play as the creatures attempting to get past the defenses, who follow the pattern of your snake from the start of each tower level to the descending stairs.
It’s coming to Steam next year, but you can play it right now, entirely free, in your browser via Itch.io.
Developer: Lifetap Studios
Out: Q4 2022
One of my all-time favorite games is the long-unavailable Attack On Pearl Harbor, an arcade plane combat sim that cruelly vanished about a decade back. So when The Brew Barons immediately reminded me of it, I wanted.
This game sounds splendidly bonkers. It’s about brewing and then attempting to deliver booze to pubs, while overthrowing a pirate organization. And having some dogfighting antics in the air. Can’t wait.
It’s a classic RTS game, but it’s also a roguelite deckbuilder. I love the look of the art here, a bit like a slightly more developed Darwinia, with a squillion units on screen at once. Then there’s deck-based attacks, and the ever-looming threat of the whole thing ending in failure, as its rogue-y desire.
Developer: Lumi Family
I’m rather taken with the plot here. A VR metaverse game—Haven—has developed a virus, causing the NPCs to turn on the players, and the game being shut down by its creators. You remain, trying to find the source of the virus, in a very silly-looking first-person shooter/chopper. Also, you know, it’s called Mayhem On A Rainbow.
Developer: Petal Cat Games
If you’d asked me ten years ago, “So what do you think will have replaced all these zombie games in a decade?” my answer wouldn’t have been “Farming.” Because I am no soothsayer. Research Story fits right into that category, a very cute-looking Harvest Moon-me-do, about identifying plants, growing crops, making friends, and taming animals.
Developer: Lemonade Flashbang
Out: Late 2022
What are your plans for the apocalypse? If your immediate answer is “Party,” then I have a game for you. Doomsday Paradise describes itself as a multiplayer RPG, which can be played as you best prefer. You can team up, compete, or remove combat altogether, as you and chums put off saving to the world to have a good time.
Developer: Erik Anderson
The idea of learning Japanese terrifies me. Firstly, because I’m abysmal at all languages but for the one I happened to be born around, and secondly because I can’t even see a starting point. But look at So To Speak! It’s a game about deciphering Japanese by using context clues, listening to people, and piecing things together like a puzzle. Which has me intrigued.
Developer: Alchemist Interactive / rokaplay
Out: Summer 2022
This looks like the wizarding game Warner has been trying and failing to make for the last decade. A couch co-op spellcasting action-adventure, in which you have to save a wizarding school, here Greifenstein, from an infestation of magical creatures. It looks like if the greatest Sims add-on pack ever came out.