Hello friends! I’m back with a second E3 listicle! This time we’ll be taking a look at the Indie games announced at this year’s E3. And boy were there a lot of those. AAA may have been less than stellar this year, but Indie devs sure made up for that. And we’re here to talk about some of them today!
So, without any further ado, let’s dive right in
Starting off our list is Immortality, a new game by Sam Barlow, creator of Her Story (as well as being the lead designer and writer for the excellent Silent Hill: Shattered Memories), with additional writing from Allan Scott (Queen’s Gambit), Amelia Gray (Mr. Robot), and Barry Gifford (Wild At Heart). It had one of the most stylish trailers of E3, and one of the best pedigrees to boot.
What’s it about? Well, apparently there used to be this movie star named Marissa Marcel. She made three movies. None of those movies were ever released, and she vanished. And…that’s it. The trailer wasn’t even a full minute long, which is why it’s at number ten on this list. But…it’s the writer of my favorite non-numbered Silent Hill, and my second favorite overall. And Her Story was excellent. I’m excited to see what this turns out to be, so it’s getting on this list.
Made by Stormind Games, the developers of the Remothered Games (rather a big leap, but an interesting one all the same) Batora is a colorful, intriguing sci-fi game, with visuals inspired by 1950s sci-fi, billed as combining elements of hack & slash and twin-stick shooter games, with an ambitious plan for a non-linear but story-driven RPG as the frame for it all.
The plot has you playing as Avril, who must use her sword, mind, and strength to journey through the universe, between multiple planets, in an effort to restore the Earth after a non-specific cataclysm destroyed the majority of the planet. It looks fun, colorful, and very interesting overall. I can’t wait to give it a try.
Letters is an absolutely adorable game, with a wonderful art style and premise. You play as Sarah, a shy young girl from Switzerland, as she writes letters as a young girl and then instant messages as a teen, exploring her journey and growth. The gameplay is puzzle-driven, with mild platforming elements. You control a small version of Sarah, who runs around the screen using the words Sarah writes to make things happen, picking them up and throwing them at certain objects and items to change things.
It’s cute, creative, and unique. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the demo (a review of which will be coming out next month) and I can’t wait for the full release.
As a massive fan of the Old World of Darkness RPGs, seeing the return of Vampire: The Masquerade in video games has been a delight, and this E3 just kept giving. There was no news on Vampire: The Masquerade-Bloodlines 2, but we did get something else of note.
Swansong is an RPG, set in Boston, centering around three vampires, each over a century old, as they try to deal with rising chaos and upheaval in their city. It promises multiple playstyles, choice-driven gameplay, and, well…another game in the world of Vampire: The Masquerade, and I couldn’t be happier about that.
What is Tinykin? Well, quite simply, it’s the result of a fan looking at Pikmin 4‘s stubborn refusal to just come out already and deciding ‘fine, I’ll do it myself’.
Put less facetiously, it is the tale of Milo, an astronaut who arrives on Earth to find that he’s too small, the humans are gone, and it’s somehow been the 90s for the last two hundred years. It’s your job to use the different types of Tinykin to explore the area and figure out what the heck is going on.
…it’s Pikmin. It’s…it’s just a new Pikmin game. But honestly, that’s not a bad thing! In fact, it’s honestly a very good thing. This is a very fun mechanic and gameplay style in general, and I’m happy to see new takes on it!
Firegirl is an action platformer, set in a world that’s rather bursting with fire monsters. You play a young woman, the titular Firegirl, who’s on a mission to save people, rebuild the fire department to its former glory, and figure out the mystery behind the sudden surge in fire monster attacks.
Armed with an ax and a fire hose, you’ll be exploring diverse areas, from apartment buildings to forests to a busted-up train, all in an effort to save the day and find out what’s going on. It looks cute, well designed, and very interesting, with shades of Mario Sunshine and Luigi’s Mansion. The former for using jets of water for platforming, the latter for using wavy streams to defeat monsters. But all in all, a good-looking game that I can’t wait to play.
Imagine if Earthbound was somehow more surreal, and you’ll have a good starting place to understand what this game’s about. It is, at its core, a game about dreams and personal demons, with fantastic art design that dives into exactly the themes and visuals you’d hope for from a game like that.
The game is about Thalia, a young woman with anxiety who’s currently trapped in a coma. You’ll guide her on her journey to confront the personal demons and nightmares that keep her from waking up, as well as trying to figure out what, exactly, happened to put her in a coma in the first place. It promises an involved, interesting, and deeply emotional plot, and I can’t wait for it to come out.
Aesthetically speaking, Behind The Frame is most definitely the best-looking game from this year’s E3. The art style is gorgeous, reminding me rather heavily of Studio Ghibli in all the best ways. Beyond just the beautiful art, it’s designed to be a combination of escape rooms and narrative games, which is a very interesting and promising-sounding concept.
The plot centers on a young woman, doing her best to try and fulfill her dream of becoming a professional painter, as she goes about her day, making new art, interacting with her neighbor and his cat, and recalling the past. It looks creative, charming, and, once again, gorgeous.
One of my favorite game series of the 90s was Thief. One of my favorite styles of games from the 90s was the FPS. So you tell me that we’re getting a game that combines the gameplay and immersive sim style of the Thief games, with the aesthetics of the best of 90s FPSes, and I’m just…over the moon.
You play a doctor trapped in a Victorian city beset by a curse, and must survive with stealth, your wits, and a few ‘eccentric’ weapons (that’s how the Steam page describes them anyway). It looks clever, interesting, and very well made, and once more, I must say that I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
…Capcom gets less flack than Konami, probably cause they still put out new games and haven’t cancelled anything big in favor of a pachinko machine recently, but when it comes to having a massive library of beloved games that would set the world on fire to see get new entries and refusing to touch them, I’d argue they’re just as bad, if not worse. From Viewtiful Joe to Darkstalkers to Rival Schools, Capcom’s motto seems to be ‘everyone loves our games but us’.
All of this is to say that I adore and deeply miss Dino Crisis. And while E3 didn’t give us a remake, or a reboot, it did give us a spiritual successor.
Does Instinction look good visually? Oh, very much so. Does it look like it’ll be fun to play? Absolutely? Is it at number one because it’s an explicit spiritual successor to one of my favorite game series of all time? Unabashedly so. This list is not objective. It is driven by opinions and emotions. And while there are probably objectively better games on this list, none appealed to me more, nor excited me more, than Instinction.
Thank you all for reading! Keep an eye out for reviews of different game demos from E3 and Steam’s recent Next Fest event!
Image courtesy of New Blood Interactive
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