Hotshots Roundup: Another 10 Indie Favourites From Virtual Non-E3 (Part 4)
We have demo fatigue after the last few days. Steam has outdone itself with this Games Festival. The sheer amount of games means that every time you load it up, the algorithm shows you new stuff you’ve never seen before, and virtually every one of them is playable, at least until today. There are hundreds of games and I’d be here until this time next year doing them all one list of ten at a time. So this is our pick of another ten that deserve your attention and that we hope, come release, will live up the hype of June 2020. Is it just me getting hyped in my own little bubble? Who knows?
Check this action out. Some of these have demos and some have had slightly earlier announcements but all deserve a place on Part Four of our Hotshots Roundup!
Developers Exbleative have said that Dear Esther was a big inspiration on the development of Exo One. On the surface, that seems like a weird claim. What does a game about a flying alien orb have to do with a walking simulator? After playing the demo, the similarities become clear. A game that has limited yet mesmerising interactivity, it delivers a narrative as you traverse alien terrains just by clicking the mouse. The game looks brilliant, even on my potato laptop and I can’t wait to see where the plot takes Exo One when it releases on Steam later this year. You can try the demo for one more day.
Windbound is like Breath of the Wild, by way of Wind Waker and its got all the cell-shading, ancient blue neon tech, and heart of both those games. But what’s great is this one won’t just be stuck on a Nintendo system. It’s also got a healthy dose of Moana with its Polynesian sailing mechanic, and it looks glorious.
You can brave the Storm with Windbound on Switch, Steam, Xbox One, PS4 and Stadia on August 28th 2020. There’s even preorder bonuses.
One of the biggest announcements in the indie scene this month is The Riftbreaker, and its a popular one, riding high up Steam’s combined wishlist. A top-down mech twin-stick shooter and a base-building tower defense all at once, the Riftbreaker has AAA graphics in a package that will please any indie lover. Battle hordes of swarming aliens reminiscent of Starcraft, but in a fast action shooter.
The Riftbreaker is coming to PS4, Xbox One and Steam, and there’s also a demo out until the end of Monday.
Disjunction came up early in June on the first days of Guerilla Collective and its an interesting one. Realtime cyberpunk stealth that has you using smoke grenades and hiding bodies, and some striking Pixelart, makes it look like an old Metal Gear resurrected. Plus what happened to that guy to make him need a metal beard!?
All will be answered when Disjunction comes to PS4, Xbox One and Steam this year.
A third-person narrative-driven game, The Uncertain: Light at the End features a world where humans have been all but wiped out and replaced by robots. It’s clearly a theme going through the small world of developers recently, what with Stray having a very similar premise, and you playing as a cat. The locations and graphics on this release are stellar and easily as good as any AAA currently out. We can’t wait to find out what happened to all the people.
The Uncertain: Light at the End lights up Steam this year.
Whoever thought winemaking would make a good game? Seems strange but then you think of Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley and 19 iterations of Farming Simulator, and you think actually give me more, and make it more specific. Enter the gorgeously designed Hundred days, which has you managing your cute vineyard and harvesting a fine grape, running the winery and selling your bottles of vim to retailers across the country. It’s all rather marvelous and has me thinking I’m Jean Luc Picard.
Hundred Days has base notes of originality and will be aged to perfection when it hits Steam later in 2020.
Coming from new Shanghai developer Pixpil, Eastward is a charming pixelart RPG and adventure game. Set in the near-future, society is collapsing, and what’s left of humanity has flocked to underground villages to escape a toxic miasma. But one hardworking miner and a mysterious young girl escape this life and take an epic adventure eastward cross country on the old rail lines.
Eastward is coming westward on Steam and Switch, but we don’t yet know when.
YesterMorrow is a single-player time-travelling 2D Metroidvania, with a wonderful asian-influenced narrative and Fez-like graphics and puzzles. You play as Yui, in an engaging story about travelling into the past to save the present. Seven years ago, Yui’s family were lost to the shadows, and her world is now trapped in a never-ending night. Featuring beautiful music and ancient gods, this one has a wonderful feel.
Yestermorrow is coming to Steam but no date yet.
I was already hyped for Fights in Tight Spaces. It’s from Ground Shatter, a studio with a brilliant track record (RICO, SkyScrappers) and is being published by Mode 7 (Toyko 42, Frozen Synapse) with help from Bithell Games (akin to the way they assisted with Ancient Enemy). That’s like the Avengers Assemble of video game companies for a few of us here at Finger Guns. Then I played the game…
Initially woo’d by the art style which is clean and bold, what I didn’t expect was to instantly fall in love with the concept. Aligned to a grid, you’ve got to fight in tight places using the 5 random cards you’re dealt each turn. You’ll know were your foes will be attacking next and you’ve got to channel you’re inner Jackie Chan by out manoeuvring them so they don’t hit you (or the person you’re protecting) and instead hit each other while getting your jabs in when you can. It’s instantly accessible but within 3 missions of the demo, I was already starting to see some serious depth of what was capable in this game. This is now one of my most anticipated games on the horizon.
Fights in Tight Spaces is coming to Steam before the end of the year.
Competitive Jumping Action in Jumpala. With it’s fantastic pixel sprites, and 2D competitive gameplay, Jumpala looks like a neat throwback to SNES days, or even the kind of thing I used to play on Newgrounds. As you bounce up the screen, you can use powers to freeze your competition or thwart them by destroying platforms. Stay above the screen death, and be the last one still bouncing at the end! It looks great and can be played with up to 3 of your friends in 1-4 player action.
Jumpala has a demo on Steam for the rest of today, and is releasing on Early Access this year.
Thanks for reading Part Four of our Indie Roundups. June 2020 has been mad and if you are interested in indies, you need to check out Part One, Part Two and Part Three of our list. See ya.
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