It’s that time again. Time to shine a spotlight on all of the indie games goodness we recommend you have on your radar for the coming month. April 2021 has a bit of everything on offer from linguistic comedy arcade games, thoughtful narrative experiences and all the odd quirkiness you can handle. Let’s get into it.
Here are 14 indie games we think you should be excited about in April 2021.
Say No! More by Studio Fizbin
Despite the demanding title of the game, you might want to say ‘Yes’ to ‘Say No! More’ when it launches on PC & Switch on April 9th. A comedic adventure that puts you in the shoes of an intern, you’re tasked with transforming the world with the powerful linguistic positivity of saying “NO!”. Clean your car? NO! Pick up your food? NO! No, no, no! Create your character and spread those Nos around (or No in 17 other languages) across 8 colourful levels. A clever twist on the usual gaming trope of having to say yes to all kinds of menial tasks, Say No! More gives us back the self-respect to look those NPC’s in the face and tell them “No, I’m not running around Sector 7 looking for your missing cats”. If you know, you know.
Lost Words: Beyond The Page by Sketchbook Games
When we’re pulling these indie game lists together, they’re usually speculative based on our hands on previews, trailers and PR materials. That’s not the case with Lost Words: Beyond The Page. Despite the game launching on Switch, PS4, PC via Steam and Xbox One until April 6th, we already have a review up for the PS4 version. And it’s really quite good. Rossko described it as “a heartbreaking, beautiful tale” and “full of life and creativity”. Now that the Stadia exclusivity has ended, it’s likely to find a second lease of life on new platforms. Don’t let this one pass you by.
Before Your Eyes by GoodbyeWorld Games
If you’re after cutting edge, never seen before experiences, indie games are usually right on that forefront. Before Your Eyes from GoodbyeWorld Games is one such title. Originally a student project called ‘Close Your’ that went on to win awards at GDC and IGF, Before Your Eyes expands on a unique premise – this is a game controlled by your eyes. By using your webcam to track your face, it progresses a thought-provoking narrative journey with each real world player blink. I’m currently reviewing the game so I am unable to tell you whether this game is good or bad without breaking an embargo – but I will say that it’s no accident that this game is on this list. Make sure to check out Before Your Eyes when it launches on April 8th on Steam.
Cozy Grove by Spry Fox
I’m a sucker for hand drawn artwork and the visuals presented by Cozy Grove are no exception to that. Part survival game, part life sim, part “snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug” story adventure, Cozy Grove has been described as “Animal Crossing…but haunted”. The game puts you in the comfortable shoes of a spirit scout who finds themselves on an island paradise that’s also maybe a little bit, slightly inhabited by ghosts. It’s your job to build a camp, forage, craft, fish, make friends with the characters, and bring colour back to the isle by helping the spirits with their afterlife affairs. Promising a 40+ hour campaign that developers Spry Fox are hoping will “become a delightful ritual that you look forward to every day, and for it to remain that way for many weeks, months and possibly even years”, Cozy Grove is launching on PC via Steam, Switch, PS4 and Xbox One on April 8th.
8Doors: Arum’s Afterlife Adventure by Rootless Studio
The metroidvania genre is jam packed these days so it takes something pretty special for a title to stand out from the crowd. The art style of 8Doors: Arum’s Afterlife Adventure – channelling a combination of stark Samurai Jack and Studio Ghibli vibes in just red, white and black – certainly caught my eye. A story-rich adventure game that is based on the Korean myth of “Princess Bari”, 8Doors follows a character called ‘Arum’ as she ventures deep into the afterlife in search of her father’s soul. She’ll have to take on a rogues gallery of spectres 36 wide along this journey where she’ll get to wield 7 different weapons. Check this one out when it launches on April 8th on Steam and GOG.
Garlic by Sylph
Toby brought Garlic to my attention and I was instantly sold on it simply by reading the premise alone; “You are Garlic, an onion-headed boy and you want to climb the Sacred Tower to meet the Cyber Goddess that grants a wish to the heroes who reach the top”. Why is he called Garlic when he has an onion for a head? What does he want that wish for? How does an onion-headed boy get so buff? I have so many questions that I hope will be answered when this charming Celeste inspired 1-bit platformer launches on Steam on April 29th.
Darkside Detective: A Fumble In The Dark by Spooky Doorway
We’re big fans of the original Darkside Detective here at Finger Guns. The quirky dark humour and lovingly crafted pixel art is right up our shadowy, ominous alley. The sequel, 6 more standalone cases for Detective McQueen to investigate, looks to be building on everything that was great from the original season and we’re absolutely on board for it. A Fumble In The Dark starts where the last season left off (but don’t worry, there’s a quick round-up for those without the time and inclination to play the first game) as McQueen attempts to rescue Officer Dooley from the Darkside. From there, we’ll be point and/or clicking around a carnival, the local retirement home, an amateur wrestling circuit and even Ireland as the pair attempt to keep Twin Lakes – America’s 34th most haunted city – safe from the Darkside. April 15th. Mark it in your clue jotter – wishlist it on Steam or prepare the HDD space on your Xbox, PlayStation or Switch.
Emily Is Away <3 by Kyle Seeley
Social media was a different place just a few years ago. Thinking back to what Facebook was like in 2008 is like remembering a lost utopia. Third person status updates. Pokes. Weird virtual gift items sent on birthdays. Viral surveys that we all filled out with hipster answers. Don’t deny it. Emily Is Away <3 is like a narrative time capsule from those blossoming social media days. Set on a platform called “facenook”, you get to set up a profile, make friends and shape the story of your senior year via the interactions you have on this site. I love this premise so much, set in a time when social media felt like a net gain rather than an addictive hellsite, and you’ll be able to sign up on April 16th when the game launches on Steam.
Forgotten Fields by Frostwood Interactive
Frostwood Interactive proved with their previous title Rainswept that they have the chops to make a really compelling game. Their next project, Forgotten Fields, looks to be building on everything that made their previous work so enchanting and then dialling it up a notch. In this game you play a struggling writer called Sid who is visiting his childhood home to say farewell one last time and hopefully rid himself of some writers block. Here he’ll solve puzzles, rekindle old memories, meet old friends and take a nostalgia filled trip down memory lane as he learns to live in the present. I’m currently playing Forgotten Fields for a review so can’t comment on its quality (maybe it’s a spoiler that it’s in this article to begin with?) so I’ll just say this – make sure you keep a few hours free to play Forgotten Fields when it launches on April 14th on PC via Steam.
Stitchy in Tooki Trouble by Polygoat
Stitchy in Tooki Trouble is a 2.5D platformer inspired by Donkey Kong and Crash Bandicoot and I think you’ll agree that that shines through in the above trailer. It’s colourful, bursting with charm and looks to have that ‘challenging but not too tough’ level of difficulty to it that’ll keep us coming back for more. If you’re a jaded 30-something like I am, it might be a little too bright and cheerful for your liking but when I showed my brood of kids this game, I was met with a wave of “Please Daddy, can we have it please? Please?” requests. Thankfully, my little one’s don’t have long to wait as Stitchy in Tooki Trouble is leaping onto the Nintendo Switch on April 15th. This might make a great Easter gift that doesn’t contain 6 and a half spoonful’s of sugar.
Hoplegs by WhyKev
For each of these indie games lists, I like to include something truly quirky. Hoplegs certainly fits the bill for April 2021. An unconventional and obviously entertaining platformer where the gamepad buttons are your legs, the idea is to get your box around each of the games 30+ levels. If that’s not enough content, there’s a level editor which you can use to craft your own assault courses which can be shared with the community and friends. There’s a 4 player co-op mode and to ensure you know who’s who, you can customise your box with collectables too. If that didn’t put you over the edge, Hoplegs has…wait for it…dance mat support. I genuinely can’t wait to see this game played by Twitch streams with a DDR mat. Hopelegs is launching on Steam on April 22nd.
Praey For The Gods by No Matter Studios
I first covered Praey For The Gods (which was called Prey for the Gods at the time) all the way back in 2015 on a website that is now lost to silicon heaven. It ended up on a number of my “X Indie games to look forward too in 201X” lists over the years and it finally released on PC back in 2019. The game was always targeting consoles however, a pitch made when the game headed to (and crushed a campaign on) Kickstarter. No Matter Studios is a 3 person studio and this is a very ambitious game so it’s understandable that these things take time. The long wait for PlayStation and Xbox gamers is almost over however – Praey For The Gods is aiming to be out by the end of April. This game wears its love on its sleeve, making no aims to hide its Shadow of the Colossus inspirations. Personally, I’m ready to climb a whole new set of monsters and stab them in the glowing spots.
Stacks on Stacks (On Stacks) by Herringbone Games
The second game on this list that is joining a new platform after a period as a Stadia/PC exclusive, Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks) is a madcap game that’s all about stacking (of course) and tower making. Making tall towers then knocking them down. Squeezing many blocks onto a platform without letting it get too high or falling apart. Mini-tower-defence games where you’re actually defending a tower for a change. This game manages to squeeze a huge amount out of a single premise and does it very well indeed. I had an absolute blast with Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks) during my brief love affair with Stadia but now that the game is coming to Switch (April 6th), I can play it on the train even when the WIFI is on the fritz. Of course, if you can’t wait that long you can grab the game on Steam now.
Rain On Your Parade by Unbound Creations
When you read the synopsis of Rain on Your Parade, it’s the kind of game that makes you think “Why hasn’t anyone done this before now?”. It’s genius. In this game you play as a naughty cloud that’s out to ruin everyone’s day. Across 50+ levels, each with a unique setting, we’ll be brining the thunder (alongside rain, snow, lightning, tornados, acid rain and more) to the unsuspecting people below. This game has the potential and personality to be the next Untitled Goose Game when it launches on Steam, Xbox and Nintendo Switch on April 15th, 2021.
Know of other indie games we should have our eye on? Are you a developer yourself and want to show us what you’re working on? Head to the comments section or hit us up at Hello@fingerguns.net
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