Did these games fall through the cracks for you? Here are 6 excellent indie games from 2017 that are worth a second look.
In years to come, we’ll probably look back on 2017 as one of the all time greats. Any year in which a new Mario, Zelda and Metroid release was bound to be special (okay, the Metroid was a remake but the point still stands) but the past year was so much more than that with the likes of What Remains of Edith Finch, Horizon Zero Dawn and Night In The Woods surprising almost everyone then going on to feature on many GOTY lists (including ours). It was a year in which a steady stream quality releases meant that there wasn’t a week without a new hotness to try out and invariably, this means some games slip through the cracks. With this in mind, we thought we’d cast the spot light on some of the indie games from 2017 that we think deserve another moment in the spotlight and warrant another chance in your gaming schedule. Let’s get on with it shall we?
1). Mages of Mystralia
I recently described Mages of Mystralia as “the best RPG you’ve never heard of”. Written by Forgotten Realms creator and award winning fantasy writer Ed Greenwood, this game follows the journey of Zia, a young girl who discovers she has magical abilities. This wouldn’t be such a problem except the use of magic has been outlawed in her land by the Royalty and upon accidentally using her newfound abilities, she exiles herself from her village. On the run, she meets another magic user who takes her under his wing. Mages of Mystralia is a fantastical but light hearted tale that doesn’t take itself too seriously and that’s mirrored in everything from the art style to the conversations with NPC’s. What stands this game out from the crowd (aside from the engaging storyline) is the deep but player friendly spellcraft system which allows you to craft and stack effects. If you’re looking for a pleasant RPG romp through a fantasy setting which is as deep as you make it, give Mages of Mystralia a try on PC, PS4 or Xbox One.
2). Radial-G: Racing Revolved
Rossko and I waited years for Radial-G to arrive on consoles having had our minds blown by it at EGX 2015 and last year, after a year on Steam, the game arrived and certainly delivered on PS4 and PSVR. In our 8/10 review published in September, we described it as “a cracking good time, with a pumping soundtrack and some fiendish courses” and since then, it has been on regular rotation in FingerGuns towers. In it, you race around courses at breakneck speeds on tracks that are more often than not in a cylindrical shape which you can rotate around completely. It has all the frills of a WipEout title with the added spice of being able to spin around and pass around other racers on the other side of a the cylinder. Radial-G is available on PC and PS4 with VR options available for PSVR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
3). Nex Machina
Nex Machina (our review) might have been a critical darling but it didn’t sell particularly well. In fact, developers Housemarque described the sales as “lacklustre” – so much so that they’ve decided to move onto other genres after 20 years of dedication to arcade coin-op inspired games. It’s an understandable decision, given the direction in which gaming has been heading in but it’s a big loss for fans of arcade games. Nex Machina is an arcade masterpiece and if it’s going to be among the last arcade games to come out of the studio, you couldn’t ask for a better swan song. Self described as “Cable Punk”, Nex Machina is an arcade shooter which challenges you to save humans while defeating enemies in quick succession and avoiding damage in order to build up combos. It’s a game which is as deep as you need it to be and is enjoyable for seasoned arcade pro’s and newcomers (even my 8 year old lad) alike, unwrapping new layers of intricacies to consider the longer you play. It’s visually sublime with a soundtrack to match. Nex Machina is available on PC and PS4 and if you missed it last year, you should absolutely check it out.
Shadowhand was one of the few indie games to take on the Big Publisher Q4 crush in 2017, releasing in early December in a short lull between releases – not that it would have mattered too much because there’s a lot of quality in Shadowhand that speaks for itself. From Grey Alien Games, this title is a pseudo-sequel to Regency Solitaire that adds a whole new level of strategy to the age old card game of Solitaire. Complete with a story set in 18th Century England, gorgeous artwork and unique card-turn-based game play it’s really something quite interesting. Shadowhand is certainly worth a look and has kept us busy when we should be working on the office PC.
5). Thaumistry: In Charm’s Way
Really great text adventures are a rarity these days but Bob Bates, award winning veteran from the Infocom haydays, and his team released one just last year in the shape of Thaumistry: In Charms Way. In my review, I said the game was “full of absurdist humour and crazy characters” with puzzle solutions that have “a very Monkey Island meets Monty Python feel to them.”. One of the great aspects of Thaumistry is that it’s accessible to newcomers while retaining that classic text adventure charm and attention to detail. If you want to experience some of the best recent output from a criminally ignored genre, give this a shot.
6). Loot Rascals
Loot was a hot topic last year but Loot Rascals was one game that did it right. A roguelike puzzler complete with turn-based gameplay, random level generation, permadeath and tactical decisions, this game is a true hidden gem of 2017. The splendid art style and dry humour aside, there’s a lot to like about Loot Rascals and aside from some difficulty spikes, it’s thoroughly enjoyable with tactic heavy game play that leverages the idea of “loot” in interesting ways. If you like a challenge, give Loot Rascals a try on PC or PS4.
Are there other indie games from 2017 you think we should be taking a look at? Head to the comments section and sound off.
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