Over the past few years the Indie game Market has expanded from a niche off-shoot of the gaming industry to a sprawling industry in its own right.
With crowd-funding like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo the indie development potential has raised even higher, with some indie games being regarded as better titles than AAA developers have managed with their recent game releases. In no particular order, here is a list of some of the best Indie games releasing in 2016.
Hyper Light Drifter
This highly anticipated indie game is stated as being a combination of The Legend of Zelda (in a sci-fi world) and Diablo; Hqyper Light Drifter developed by Heart Machine is a 2D action RPG that raised over $600,000 on Kickstarter and has been in development since 2014 due to the developer’s health conditions.
In Hyper Light Drifter, you are put in the role of the Drifter, a character with advanced technology from a long forgotten civilisation. The Drifter is searching for a cure for his mysterious illness and must search through the ruins of civilisation to uncover a solution to his illness and the lethal death sentence it carries. Alex Preston, the lead developer of Hyper Light Drifter has stated that the character’s illness has been inspired by his own heart problems. The world of Hyper Light Drifter is inspired by Castle in the Sky and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, two films by the famous Studio Ghibli.
Set to release in the first Quarter of 2016, Hyper Light Drifter aims to blend difficult and frantic action combat with the 2D top-down style of old school Zelda titles. With Vibrant colours and a unique sort of world. Hyper Light Drifter is easily one of the more highly anticipated Indie games to release in 2016.
Just released on the Playstation 4, The Witness is a highly anticipated Indie title created by the creator of Braid, which won numerous awards back in 2008 when it released. The Witness is a first person puzzle adventure that puts you in the role of an unnamed protagonist whose goal is to reach the top of a mountain, which is surrounded by ten different sections of puzzles. Completing every single one of the 650 puzzles in The Witness is not necessary, however if one were to attempt to complete them all it would take at least 80 hours to solve them all in a single run according to the developer.
You can expect a fun and challenging puzzle experience from The Witness. Whilst the game will attempt to explain and introduce every mechanic early on; puzzles later in the game may use multiple mechanics at once in order to test your comprehension on how these mechanics actually work. For a Playstation 4 exclusive The Witness seems like a comprehensive puzzle experience that might even surpass the quality of Braid, though people who did not care for Braid may find The Witness to be more enjoyable as the pesky mechanics of rewinding time aren’t present.
Update: The Witness Review
Mighty No. 9
Keiji Inafune, creator of Mega Man, kickstarted Mighty No. 9 back in 2013 when his Kickstarter goal was fully funded within 2 days after launching. The project went on to be funded 400% beyond its original goal leading to the funding of every single announced Stretch Goal during the campaign. Designed similarly to Mega Man (with Inafune himself stating that it was a spiritual successor to his Mega Man series) Mighty No. 9 is a 2-D action platformer in which you find yourself in the role of Beck, the 9th in a series of combat androids and the only one who can stop his brethren. The other 8 “Mighty Numbers” have been affected by a computer virus that causes them (and the rest of the machines in the world) to turn on humanity leaving Beck (and his partner Call) to fight them and save the world.
In addition to jumping and shooting, Beck is able to dash and acquire power-ups from fallen enemies. While Call is unable to absorb power-ups, she instead is able to use a shield and jetboots that slow her fall and she is able to dash farther than Beck.
Mighty No. 9 aims to capture the magic of the Mega Man series and you can most likely expect old school action platforming mixed with new modern mechanics. Killing bosses will allow Beck to have new transformations and abilities whilst retaining that element from the Mega Man series.
Firewatch is a first-person adventure mystery video game developed by Campo Santo where you are put in the role of Henry. Henry needs to explore the wilderness in an attempt to find the clues about the ransacking of his fire lookout tower while out on patrol. You will be guided by a woman named Delilah who can only be reached by walkie-talkie. As you progress your interactions with Delilah, dialogue choices, and reactions to the things you encounter along the way will change how Delilah and Henry’s relationship unfolds.
The developers have mentioned that Henry and Delilah’s relationship is inspired by BioShock. This narrative style adventure allows you to react to the mundane in a variety of ways and Firewatch being a mysterious indie adventure is a game that I myself have been itching to play.
Update: Firewatch review
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky developed by Hello Games has been on everyone’s watchlist since E3 2015. In this spacefaring survival adventure game you are able to explore an endless procedurally generated galaxy. Whilst being able to explore, mine resources, and collect “units” the galaxy’s in game currency you are also able to fight other spacecraft and upgrade your own capabilities to survive your epic journey in the vast galaxy.
With the amount of factions and endless procedurally generated stars and planets you can’t go wrong with giving No Man’s Sky a try.
Inspired by Shadow of the Colossus and Dark Souls, Death’s Gambit puts you in the role of an agent of Death who is put on an alien world with medieval style villages, dark forests and a variety of terrifying monsters that will require patience and skill to conquer. Banish your fears and discover the cause of immortality at the heart of the world of Leydia, face off with monsters in action-rpg style combat with weapons and abilities that enable you to explore and traverse the unforgiving landscape while attempting to face each battle strategically and carefully.
With visuals that are reminiscent of Castlevania and a variety of dark environments and dark, terrifying monsters, Death’s Gambit is perfect for fans of difficult, strategic action combat. Fans of Gothic style action Rpg’s should give Death’s Gambit a try.
Ninja Theory’s next title has been rather low on news over the past few months, but Hellblade is an experience designed to not only tell a story steeped in Celtic mythology, but also an experience that analyses the slow decline into madness. You will follow the story of Senua, a woman who embarks on a journey into a hellish underworld that mirrors her reality and the twisted manifestations of her own mind.
Hellblade boasts brutal action combat (which is common for Ninja Theory games) while also being a project that has had extensive research behind it into mental illness, and how it could be best portrayed without seeming disrespectful to it and those who suffer from issues such as Senua does.
The creators of Gone Home have begun on a brand new “walking simulator” Called Tacoma. In Tacoma you are placed into the role of Amy, a woman exploring a space station in 2088. Here you will figure out what we can only imagine is an amazing narrative story. With a variety of future technologies and a more chilling sort of story; Fullbright games is attempting to take what they succeeded in with Gone Home to an all new level. Fullbright is keeping the details of Tacoma’s plot close to the vest but it’s clear that they have high hopes for this game. It’s scheduled to release sometime in 2016.
The word ABZÛ means “To know water” and in this underwater exploration game you get to do just that. Explore the world of underwater diving, encountering beautifully rendered fish and marine life; ABZÛ was created to show peaceful interaction between humans and marine life, whilst showcasing real fish behaviour.
Not much has been shared about Abzu beyond a 2016 release date, yet it is somewhat clear that the game will include exploration and possibly character’s movement and ability upgrades. Fans of exploration games are likely to enjoy Abzu and all the Ocean has to offer.
Salt and Sanctuary
Developed by Ska Studios, Salt and Sanctuary is a side-scrolling platformer that puts you in the role of a sailor who winds up marooned on an island in the middle of a centuries-old war. Each of your weapons will have their own move sets, and in addition to jumping and moving laterally you will also be able to perform combos and aerial attacks.
Magic and Ranged attacks will also be used, but it is currently unknown as to what role these capabilities will play in Salt and Sanctuary’s combat system. Salt and Sanctuary also has hand drawn visuals that look as though they were ripped from a story book. We’ll leave it up to you to discover clues as to what is going on, and investigate the island’s secrets.
So there you go, 10 Indie Games to Look Forward to in 2016. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!