Indie games are on the rise. There’s no denying that. As titles like Fez are starting to become part of mainstream attention, it becomes apparent that the gaming industry is changing. Perhaps it’s evolving into something better or, rather, broader. As always, the largest independent company of the world, Valve, is a pioneer of changing tides when it comes to their digital distribution center, Steam. One year ago, the company launched Steam Greenlight to give lesser discussed games a chance to kick through the competition as well. It’s a highly flawed system of popularity contests and sadly necessary PR campaigns, just like a traditional model, but one year later, there are tons of great games to come out of the uncontrolled herd regardless.
To cap the year of existence, Steam recently announced a giant batch of 100 games that were approved to find their way to the most central digital distributor out there. That leaves users with an overload of choice, especially since some genres receive a multitude of approvals. To whittle down the numbers, we’ve taken a look at the present games that will be coming up shortly and picked the juiciest of them all. Please keep in mind there are more great games coming up than just these highlighted ones. You can find the full list of 100 Greenlight titles here.
Games are always boasting incredible freedom and customization. Even the massive multiplayer online (MMO) titles are ever-expanding to more custom experiences. That’s where 8bitMMO comes in. This title has been letting its community run the show however it wants for a while now. It’s possible to build an entire domain from scratch, brick for brick. Each player has their own built dwelling and it’s possible to stomp out an entire city with other gamers. If just emulating one’s own Animal Crossing substitute in low definition isn’t all that appealing, action can also take to dungeons and it’s all built as wanted.
9) Mutant Mudds
Despite originally working its magic the best on the Nintendo 3DS, Mutant Mudds proved itself just as capable without immediate 3D technology on other platforms. Gameplay is dictated between foreground and background in a colorful platform title of days past. Navigate the world with a jetpack and a watergun and defeat the forces of evil while avoiding traps. That’s all that really needs to be said here, but the 3D element is still artificially applied well. In Mutant Mudds, the movement going on behind the main area is just as accessible, because the entire world needs saving, not just the front part.
There isn’t a shortage of survival games coming out in the near future. Some choose to walk the same path as their muses, to such extent that Edge of Space will straight up get Terraria content. Speaking of the latter, Darkout will work on a similar side-scrolling scope, but with better visuals and more detailed design choices. Its titular element will make light or lack thereof essential to survival, as creatures fester in the black unknown. It’s the adventurer’s goal to bring light to this void, by seeking out resources to craft themselves a cozy network of technology, just like in real life.
Fans can go to wild lengths to create their tributes. Even wilder, Reprisal grew from simply a nod towards god game Populous to its own critically acclaimed title, in no small part thanks to its smoothly crafted visuals. Clean, soft hillsides and other minimalist landscapes let players create their own tribe, settle inhabitants in with some nice buildings, go out and explore the rest of the world or even take down enemy factions. Other items help gods control the weather, to truly show off their omnipotence. It works exactly as fans of Populous may remember it, but it’s a gorgeous reacquaintance.
6) Paranautical Activity
If you thought that the previous entry had a peculiar run, then Paranautical Activity can definitely measure up to that. This first-person dungeon crawler actually tried to sideline Steam Greenlight before, after finding ulterior support, but was supposedly called back by Valve to force their progression through the Greenlight project. Aside from that, it does offer a capable and utmost random shooting experience with tons of side action like traps and pickups. Fight the elements in dark corridors, while a multitude of harrowing creatures come for you flesh, just like the days of good old Quake. There will be pixelated blood.
Perhaps this title won’t immediately smell of nostalgic bliss for everyone, since its origin dates back to a cult classic called Neverhood. Still, it’s hard to deny Armikrog’s charm. Just like its predecessor, this adventure title is made up entirely of clay and animated with some labor intensive stop-motion techniques. It will most probably turn out to be a traditional point and click project, but it’s going to feel magical to watch it unfold with such a unique presentation. Its only flaw so far is that there is little gameplay to go on or it would’ve made it higher on the list.
4) Freedom Planet
Nostalgia has been a recurring theme in indie games as of late, as shown by the many approved games in the list. One of the more unique and yet genuine titles to come out of the batch is Freedom Planet. Those that loved everything Sonic has ever spawned will enjoy this platform title with an extra punch to it. While it is indeed heavily inspired by the universe that the hedgehog once started, this game does pack more classic tropes in its fast-paced action. There’s running, jumping and huge boss fights in a cute and colorful world waiting to be tested.
After exactly one year, my personal fondest Greenlight wish has been realized. When Steam Greenlight originally started, NEStalgia was my prime choice to get approved by the system. Its concept is as simple as it is brilliant. It’s a traditional roleplaying game (RPG), like Final Fantasy or similar titles, but molded into the modern world of MMO’s. Yet, this game retains old-fashioned gameplay with extra spicy elements, such as hidden paths, secret areas and so on. In true conventional fashion, the game is also brutally hard, but it gets easier when partnering up with friends, so do that and be enchanted already.
2) Salvation Prophecy
If there’s one game that can disprove that small teams need to resort to limited resources for their project, let it be Salvation Prophecy. This space simulation is big. It’s really big. It’s also visually impressive and that’s half of the battle won, when it comes to creating a believable journey for galactic conquest. Players can jump into a spaceship and partake in huge battles with other fighters, cruise through space stations and more. If that’s not enough, the action can also take place on the ground, for more epic combat with strange aliens. Then, rebuild the universe however it seems appropriate. It’s that big.
1) Chroma Squad
Some may already know Knights of Pen and Paper as a game where people sit around a table and play a roleplaying game, where the user is in charge of playing that meta-game. It’s quirky ideas like these that make up the genius of the creators behind Chroma Squad. In this pixelated adventure, players are tasked with running their own Asiatic TV show with superhero antics like the Power Rangers. This will include both the financial management and enhancement of the studio, as well as actually fighting out the battles on the show in turn-based combat. It’s just crazy enough to work.