While most gamers and publishers attend E3 looking for the next big thing in AAA titles from the obvious big 3, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. But what really stole the E3 show floor this year, were the #indiedev titles that you can’t find anywhere else. Indie games have a charm that allow for personal investments unlike those in bigger titles. The intimacy and passion in these projects is undoubtedly apparent as hard work is deftly identifiable within these works. Some of my best E3 experiences this year definitely came from getting hands-on with some of these pieces, which impressed me far more than most other titles available on the show floor. Here’s a quick guide of what to look forward to in the Indie universe.
Here’s the big one everyone’s been talking about, and for good reason. This is a title only an indie developer could envision, from two brothers, Chad & Jared Moldenhauer, here’s Cuphead!
What exactly is Cuphead you ask?
“Cuphead is a classic run and gun action game heavily focused on boss battles. Inspired by cartoons of the 1930’s, the visuals and audio are painstakingly created with the same techniques of the era, i.e. traditional cel animation (hand drawn & hand inked!), watercolor backgrounds, and original jazz recordings. Play as Cuphead or Mugman (in single player or co-op) as you traverse strange worlds, acquire new weapons, learn powerful super moves, and discover hidden secrets. Cuphead is all action, all the time. Do you have what it takes?”
Simply put, Cuphead and his partner Mugman have made a deal with the Devil, and must carry out his bidding. The two characters allow for co-op gameplay (which is the best way to play this game) and the game focuses heavily on boss battles. What originally drew me to the game was its unique 1930’s cartoon art style, which was more than refreshing on the E3 show floor. The game is hard to describe, as it has a classic look, with a modern feel, it’s something you have to see and play to understand. Though that’s what first attracted me to the game, what kept me playing was the gameplay and sheer difficulty. The cute art style will easily fool you into assuming the game will be a breeze, but when you’re dealing with the devil, everything is harder than it seems. Precise controls and techniques, coupled with huge screen-filling bosses, and constant action make Cuphead a fun time. It’s not a quick hack and slash, you’ll have to work to defeat each boss, and partner up wit your player 2 to ensure success. You will have fun with this game, no matter what type of player you are. You can look forward to Cuphead on Xbox One and Steam in 2016.
Super Dungeon Bros.
Speaking of bros, another fun Indie title comes in a petite, but fully bro style game, and that’s Super Dungeon Bros. Think Diablo 3, but with cute (ok probably a bad choice of description but they are) bros with huge personalities. Super Dungeon Bros is an action title with RPG elements in the form of weapon and ability upgrades.
“Super Dungeon Bros is a cross platform, rock themed, co-op dungeon brawler where a band of mighty rock bros must navigate the medieval fantasy realm of Rökheim and its hellish dungeons to seek out epic loot, fight hordes of evil undead and uncover the legends of long lost fabled Rock Stars!”
There are four different bros to choose from, and four different weapons with different abilities, including Swords, Crossbows, Hammers and Wands. The best part about the game is that you can play single-player or co-op, and both play styles feature procedurally generated worlds with daily and weekly dungeon challenges to get the best loot. The biggest (and only) difference between the characters is their personality, since they all play exactly the same otherwise. It’s also one of the best reasons to play this title with your bros, because these little bros are the definition of what bros really are. The game features puzzle platforming, that requires bros to work together to complete each level. If you can’t get your bros together, the game will procedurally generate levels that work for single-player dungeon crawls. The best part about this title though, is its personality. I laughed out loud more than once during our E3 play through. Any game that lets you pick up and chuck your bros to their death is a win in my book, and it’s even got its own Brotastic vocabulary. You must check out Super Dungeon Bros when it’s released this winter, with “Exclusive cross-platform gameplay with Xbox One to Windows 10 and PlayStation 4 to PC.” Also look out for a full preview of our hands-on time with the title right here at WTFGamersonly. You can check out our preview HERE and you can sign up for the beta HERE.
Teamwork seemed to be the name of the game at E3 in the Indie scene, and Gigantic was one of my favorite hands-on E3 Indie titles. I was fortunate to try it out because on a personal note, i’d been complaining about how I haven’t been able to use my Xbox because there just weren’t any titles I was interested in, and Gigantic is changing all of that. It’s the MOBA style shooter that is much more than what that simple description entails. What first drew me to the title was its fast paced combat. Then I was treated to a unique style of animation, and a vastly distinct selection of characters. Seriously, Gigantic is the one game on the E3 show floor that had the most diverse cast of characters that i’ve seen, (aside from maybe Battleborn, but that’s up for debate). I was treated with characters that were idiosyncratic and even anthropomorphic, with different fighting styles associated with each.
“Choose from elusive snipers, powerful spellcasters, and heavy-metal juggernauts. Whether you come from shooters, MOBAs, MMOs, or action games, you’ll find something familiar—and something new… As you fight, you’ll level up and improve your skills—and you choose how to improve. Get faster, tougher, or more lethal. Improve as a healer, develop a new area attack, or immobilize your enemies.”
Aside from the characters and art style, the game was just fun. Each match has a team of five members and a 5 story tall guardian. The objective is to destroy the other teams Guardian, but the play style is as vast and diverse as the characters. The game is innovative and finds a way to create new and exciting play styles in an overly saturated MOBA market. Gigantic has that charm that only an indie title could possess. This was definitely one of my favorite experiences on the show floor, and best of all it’s a Free to Play title with cross-platform play coming for the Xbox One and Windows 10. You can check out more on the title and sign up for the beta HERE.
If you don’t think my first titles were Indie enough, you can definitely believe this next one is the definition of Indie. It’s a Steam Greenlight project that deserves every bit of your attention. I continue to speak on how Indie developers are pushing the boundaries of games in new and innovative ways, and Chester United is the perfect example of what I am trying to iterate. So what’s going on with Chester and his world?
“Jump into the lack-of-shoes of Chester: a happy thumb-like dude on a quest for truth, vengeance, and cupcakes. Chester has the power to switch the Style of the world around him from crystal, to bit, to storybook and more. You can play through the world in any of these gameplay-changing styles, some even open up new paths to explore. RAD!”
And Rad it is. I’m not sure if you understand how impressed I am with this title. Chester has the ability to change the fashion of the world around him. You can literally alter the style, and in essence the entire world. Each style has a unique and distinct look, and the results of watching the world change around you are captivating. Most importantly, it’s fun and adorable. It has a very Tim Burton-esque feel and I can’t wait to play more of it. It’s really that irreplaceable charm that makes Chester United the game that it is. You can grab a demo of the game, and if you preorder now, you can also acquire your copy for half off HERE! We will have more coverage of this awesome Indie title, as well as a preview post of first impressions soon. Chester United is coming to PC, Mac and Linux, with other platform targets on the horizon. Keep an eye out for this Chester, and you can check out more HERE.
Since I can’t seem to stay away from adorable and cute things, (as my list of titles has easily revealed to me) it was only natural that I pick up an adorable Indie title for smartphones. Habit Monster has the best of two worlds, the cuteness of raising your own little monster, mixed with the ability to perform and create healthy habits.
“Habit Monster is a mobile game that helps you develop healthy habits. Adopt a habit monster today, and let it help you become the person you want to be. You and your habit monster will start off with a small but important habit that’s easy to accomplish. Just developing a single healthy habit puts bigger lifestyle changes within reach… Start off with a single habit, and unlock more as you progress. Before you know it, you’ll be on the way to learning healthy habits you’ll be able to call on for a lifetime.”
That’s right, you take care of your little monster baby, and by doing so you achieve the ultimate goal, caring for yourself. You can’t go wrong with this formula. You can check out the official website HERE and download the app for iOS and Android as well! I can’t wait to keep my habits in order and start building a healthier life in a fun way. Keep on the look out for a review of this title right here at WTFGamersonly.
Retro Runner: Princess Power
Another Steam Greenlight title, with a formidable art style and unique premise. What would happen if the princess of old, who always needed saving, decided she din’t want to wait to be saved and took matters into her own hands? Well, you get Retro Runner: Princess Power. Progressive, as Indie titles usually are, you’re given the ability to play a princess that doesn’t need rescuing, who has the opportunity to traverse through different eras in video game history, all the while transforming her appearance to accommodate for the era of gaming she has entered.
“Retro Runner is an irreverent side scrolling adventure that takes gamers on a trip through video game history, while also poking fun at some of the clichés and conventions of video games in general. In Retro Runner, players assume the role of a princess who gets tired of waiting to be rescued and instead breaks herself out of the dungeon in which she has been trapped. Players must then complete five distinct castle levels, each one styled after a different era in console gaming.”
What really drew me to this game was the story. It was fun, funny, and presented relatable levels for anyone who has ever rescued a princess in a video game. It’s easy to note the tropes and cliches presented and laugh at how ridiculously entertaining they are. Retro Runner: Princess Power does just that. The best part about Retro Runner: Princess Power, is that it’s completely free and available for download right now! Check out the Official Website for more information and download links. Retro Runner: Princess Power is available for Androids and iOS devices. You can also stay locked on WTFGamersonly for a review of this title in the future.
And there you have it, some of my favorite Indie titles from IndieDevs on the E3 floor, I am so lucky to have encountered such a vast array of talent, and can’t wait for these games to be the big success I know they will eventually become.
Is there an Indie title I didn’t include that you love? Were you hands-on with any of these titles and have different impressions? Let us know in the comments and @WTFGamersonly what you think!