You’ve got to love the first few months of any year. Usually devoid of the behemoth AAA releases that suck all of the air out the room, these are usually a small window for indie games to set out their stall and find their niche. January was exciting with the likes of Sunlight and Cyber Shadow starting off this year right. By the looks of it, February 2021 is about to kick it up a gear. This month is packed to the gills with potentially great indie games and we’re here to list 11 of our favourites. Enough waffle. Let’s get this list started so you can fill up your Steam wish list and find a new indie game favourite.
Speed Limit by Gamechuck – February 16th
Speed Limit looks like the kind of game that’s going to repeatedly beat me over the head, and I’m going to thank it for it, then ask for more. A genre splicing pixel art masterpiece, this game throws up tough challenges and just when you think you’re cracked it, it switches it up. From side scrolling shooter to top down car chase to helicopter escape to a fake-3D dog fight, Speed Limit bowls a whole lot at you. You’ll die often but each failure is a chance to learn and…I can’t believe I’m about to write this… ‘git gud’. All of the pixel art animations have been hand drawn, frame by frame and that soundtrack is sublime. This one could be the first sleeper hit of 2021. Make sure to check it out when it launches on PS4, X1, NS and Steam on Feb 16th.
Nuts by Joon, Pol, Muutsch, Char & Torfi – February 4th
Okay. This one is a little bit of a cheat because Nuts, the adventure game about peculiar squirrel surveillance, is already available on iOS devices via Apple Arcade. This means reviews for this game have already started to arrive with Eurogamer calling Nuts “a real trip”. The art style is unique. The premise is beguiling. The plot is a mystery I’m desperate to unveil. I played a demo of this game in one of the Steam festivals and was immediately hooked into this world and watching many squirrels do many squirrel things. Because I’m jealous (I don’t own an iPhone), I’m going to pretend that release hasn’t happened and tell you all about the Nintendo Switch and PC (STEAM) release on Feb 4th.
Arrog by Hermanos Magia & LEAP Game Studio – February 5th
Arrog is already available on PC via Steam and has been for 6 months. It’s an “enigmatic puzzle adventure game” with just a 30 minute run time but despite its short run time, it has garnered ‘very positive’ user reviews with its initial release. Now the game is headed to PS4 and PS5 (via backwards compatibility) on February 5th thanks to Nakana.io. Featuring a lovely and crisp hand drawn black & white art style without coloured accents, Arrog looks very pleasing on the eye. I for one can’t wait to kick back and consume this game in an evening when it launches on consoles.
Tartapolis by Fusion Studios – February 12th
In Tartapolis you play as a private detective called Richard Bor. Alongside his partner in crime, Marla Cox, the protagonist must explore this open world Metroidvania RPG to solve cases which will unveil the mystery of the “City”. This game has a stark art style, like a sci-fi noir film, set in a “huge metropolis full of dark corners, aware technology and shady characters”. I’m getting a lot of “1984” vibes from this game from the HIVE, a centralised consciousness which “control’s the consciousness of citizens by the means of propaganda, terror and force holding the population in a technocratic chokehold”. Toby bought this game to my attention and just from the Steam description, I’m absolutely on board to check it out when it launches on PC and Switch on February 12th, 2021.
30XX by Battery Staple – February 17th in Early Access
Just watch that trailer and tell me you don’t want to play 30XX. You can’t, can you? Like Mega Man played through a kaleidoscope with the crisp controls and fluidity we come to expect from modern day roguelikes, 30XX looks stunning. Plus, co-op with character Ace! A sequel to the well-received indie gem 20XX, 30XX has the protagonist awake 1,000 years after her past adventure where “the advent of the Synthetic Mind and a human race that’s lost the will to reach for the stars”, the game has us explore, blast and leap our way through a vibrant world. Randomly generated so you never play the same version of 30XX twice, this game boasts a whole boat load of replayability. There’s even a level editor for the creative folks out there. 30XX is aiming to launch on PC and consoles at some point in 2021 but it’s hitting Early Access on Steam on Feb 17th.
Rustler (Grand Theft Horse) by Jutsu Games – February 18th in Early Access
Here’s how I imagine Rustler came to be. Jeff Goldblum was at a house party and he decided to show off his top party trick – using the transporters from The Fly that he stole from the movie set. He dropped a copy of the original Grand Theft Auto into one telepod but as he turned to turn it on, an entire Medieval fare fell into the pod too. Jeff, a few sheets to the wind at this point, failed to notice as he turned the machine on. What stepped out was the unholy combination of GTA and a medieval adventure. “Complete insane quests, kill heroes, steal horses, fight guards, rob peasants, listen to some bard music”, all from that almost-top-down angle that we love so much. Rustler is hitting Steam Early Access on Feb 18th.
Kinetic Edge by Seacorp Technologies – February 5th
“It’s like crazy golf meets Tron”. I was sold on Kinetic Edge from that sentence alone. A compendium of different games that combine physics based racing with neon kissed visuals, this single and multiplayer party game is aiming to find “that brilliant sweet spot between being a perfect package of fun for those wanting to play with their friends, but also serving as an addictive set of challenges for single players as well.”. With 6 different game modes to dig into, Kinetic Edge might be the game that sees us over the finish line of this lockdown (that’s my one and only mention of COVID – promise) with some bright and fast paced fun. Check it out when it launches on PC on February 5th.
Ampersat by Gaterooze – February 6th
An old school ARPG, Ampersat has you play as just that. Yeah. One of these – “@”. All the other language and letters in the game have been corrupted and it’s up to the little @ that could to free them from that fate. You’ll need to venture into the 12 different towers and dungeons to combat the constants and vanquish the vowels. As you do so, you will unlock letter or word in the text of the game, allowing you to piece together the story bit-by-bit. It’s a very cool premise which has already shown to be a hit with a demo on Steam. Ampersat is releasing on Steam (PC, Mac & Linux), PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch on the 6th of February, 2021.
King of Seas by 3DClouds – February 18th
King of Seas is an Action Role playing game set in a “deadly procedurally generated pirate world”. Swashbuckling, treasure hunting, nautical battles, pirate quests and a lush world to explore are the catch of the day for King of Seas. The plot will introduce you to a cast of intriguing characters as you see if you can become the royalty of the waves by avoiding falling foul of those looking to claim the bounty on your head. I’m always up for a pirate-y adventure and if you’re looking for something a little more intimate than Sea of Thieves, this might be one to get on deck. This one is leaving landlubbers ashore when it casts off on PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on February 18th.
RetroMania Wrestling by RetroSoft Studio – February 26th
The wrestling game landscape is a bit baron right now. The last 2 WWE games didn’t meet fan expectations and the AEW video game is still a long way off. Instead, many of us wrestling fans have gone back to some old favourites like No Mercy and Fire Pro – but a new contender is about to enter the rumble. RetroMania Wrestling is a game inspired by the classics like WWF WrestleFest but instead of focusing on the Fed, it’s bringing to virtual life some indie wrestling heroes and current and future Hall of Famers. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal), hard-core legend Tommy Dreamer, NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis, Indie hero Colt “Boom Boom” Cabana, the powerhouse of Jeff Cobb, fan favourite Warhorse, both members of the The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast and Impact wrestling stars Matt Cardona & Brian Mysers and even the iconic Austin Idol are playable here among others. The Story Mode features a fight to the renown 10 Pounds of Gold NWA title. Battle Royals, Steel Cage Matches, Elimination Tag Team Matches and more will be available to play too. RetroMania Wrestling is looking to be another alternative to the big budget wrestling games that have proved to be a disappointment in recent years and Andy and I can’t wet to get to graps with it when it launches on Switch, Xbox One, PS4 and PC on February 26th, 2021. There’s even a physical edition from Limited Run!
The Virus by Elusive Panda – Late February
I’ve always wanted a really good InnerSpace style game. Traversing the inside of human body seems like a real slam dunk but every game I’ve ever played with this premise has been a bit of a let-down. Imagine my surprise then when I open my email box to find a link to “The Virus”, a game that is taking on a similar premise. In this game, you play as a White Blood cell that’s navigating around the body in order to fight off the titular villain. A challenging physics based game, the player is tested to navigate their way through each level while controlling their momentum and collecting red blood cells. Fall off the safe area’s or get hit by a virus and it’s back to the start of the level you go. As you progress through the game, each new area will incorporate new unique elements that use the same physics based mechanics but pose new challenges. I’m going to be honest – I love these types of games. They’re quick fun, “easy to pick up, difficult to master” type games and I’ll certainly be rolling in (eh, eh) when The Virus launches in Late Feb (or early March). Add it to your wishlist.
So there’s our list of upcoming indie games you should have on your radar. Think we’ve missed one? Want to bring an upcoming hidden indie game gem to our attention? Hit the comments section and sound off.
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