A mere two months in and 2017 is already shaping up to be a great year for gaming. With releases like Nioh and Horizon: Zero Dawn reviewing very well and the new Zelda within touching distance, it would be easy to focus on the big budget games this year has to offer. But look past these towering behemoths and you’ll see there’s plenty to be excited about on the smaller, independent front too. Here are 10 indie games to look forward to in 2017.
The latest effort from Gone Home creators Fullbright, Tacoma is a narrative-driven experience set on a space station. Little is known about the game thus far, but it seems players will be tasked with uncovering the mystery behind what happened to the crew of the Lunar Transfer Station Tacoma. The majority of the story will be told using augmented reality avatars to represent the former crew. Best described as Gone Home meets 2001: A Space Odyssey, let’s hope Tacoma continues the studio’s streak for delivering engrossing stories.
Inspired by cartoons from the 1930s, Cuphead is a side scrolling shoot-em-up featuring giant bosses to beat and a Jazz infused soundtrack to enjoy. Originally meant to be a Boss rush experience releasing in 2016, developers Studio MDHR delayed the release of Cuphead to add interstitial platforming sections. Early reports seem to suggest that the delay was worth it. Cuphead can be tackled with a friend using local co-op and looks to be 2017’s most action-packed game.
Developed by Boneloaf and published by Double Fine Presents, Gang Beasts is a physics based multiplayer beat-em-up determined to start some serious beef between even among the closest of friends. In Gang Beasts you’ll punch, pull, and throw each other into an array of hazardous environments, all the while controlling a gelatinous, clumsy monster. Continuing to dispel the myth that couch co-op is dead, Gang Beasts arrives on PlayStation 4 later this year.
Simmering 80’s synth and theremins aplenty accompany this character-driven adventure game from Finji Games. The game’s protagonist (who just happens to be a cat) Mae Borowski returns to the former mining town of Possum Springs to find that things have changed. The people are different, the air even. Oh and there’s something in the woods. The game boasts a beautifully strange art style and a mystery just begging to be unraveled.
From the creators of Hohokum and featuring art from Swatpaz of Adventure Time fame, Loot Rascals is a rogue-like with a twist. The game unfolds via a card-swapping loot system, with the visuals of a 70’s cartoon. Players will explore grid-based sci-fi environments and battle enemies in simple yet deep turn-based combat. The game looks to set itself apart from the pack with its witty British humour and trippy visuals.
You’d be forgiven for missing 2015’s interactive story game Emily Is Away. It was released for free on Steam and was presented using a chat client styled after AOL Instant Messenger. The original followed the protagonist’s relationship with a girl called Emily, playing out over five years. The game perfectly recalled the feeling of maintaining a relationship using AOL in the early 2000s. Complete with authentic sound effects and all too accurate profile pics, it tugged on the nostalgic heart strings of everyone who played it. Let’s hope that the sequel manages to tell a story as painfully honest.
Chasm is a procedurally generated Metroidvania-style platformer coming to PC and PlayStation 4. The game is rendered using authentic pixel art, portraying dingy dungeons, mountain towns and hordes of enemies. The game’s main character, Daltyn is fully customisable and is tasked with saving the town of Karthas from paranormal forces. Chasm is sure to scratch the retro gaming itch for many players this year.
What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of short stories about the Finch family, playing out through the first person perspective. The stories follow the cursed family over many decades, and have only one thing in common, the death of a family member at the end. Developed by Giant Sparrow games, makers of The Unfinished Swan, What Remains of Edith Finch continues the studios penchant for tackling difficult subject matter head on. Playing as Edith Finch, players will explore the massive Finch mansion to try to understand why Edith is the last living member of her family.
Continuing their streak of releasing meaty DLC updates to 2015’s Shovel Knight, developers Yacht Club Games will launch Specter of Torment this year. Players will take control of the titular Specter knight. With a whole new set of stages designed around the character’s brand new skill set, the free DLC looks to offer fans a tantalising reason to dive back into the beloved game.
Rain World was first unveiled at PlayStation Experience 2016, and is a survival platformer which harkens back to the 16-bit classics of old. Players will play as a Slugcat and will have to survive a brutal world filled with predators and environmental hazards. Finding food and shelter, all the while avoiding torrential downpours, the player must explore an industrial wasteland and find their family.