Exciting New Indie Games To Check Out in 2015
Video games are entering a renaissance, a new age of smaller innovative titles made by sparse teams. In contrast to the sprawling excess of many AAA titles, indie games are exactly what they intend to be with no bloat. With new tools that streamline the development process and crowdfunding from sites like Kickstarter, indie games are booming.
Here are some of the best and brightest indie games to check out in 2015. If you're looking for something a little different, be sure to give 'em a look!
Spinning out of the Fallen London universe, Sunless Sea from Failbetter Games puts you in the captain's seat of a Victorian era barge setting out from London after a great calamity has sent the legendary city deep underground. Part Jane Austen, part Lovecraft, the Fallen London world is one of the most vibrant new settings in video games.
As you explore the "Unterzee" you'll discover sights that takes your breath away. Or your sanity. It could go either way, honestly. Sunless Sea is an often slow, sometimes frustrating, occasionally scary naval exploration game with a unique voice that shouldn't be missed.
Darkest Dungeon is a Steam Early Access success story. After a successful Kickstarter, Darkest Dungeon was released as an Early Access game so players could enjoy this survival-horror RPG while working on more content. Even without the final half of the game being available, Darkest Dungeon is a top seller on Steam and one of the top indie titles in 2015.
Like Sunless Sea, Darkest Dungeon is clearly inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Aside from that, the two games couldn't be more different. Darkest Dungeon uses a traditional turn-based RPG battle system to pit hapless heroes against a horde of sanity sapping monstrosities infesting an ancient mansion.
This is a brutally difficult game, and players will often find themselves losing beloved party members, abandoning lucrative missions in favor of escape, and struggling for every last inch in bloody battles. Your characters will go quite insane and need to find ways to calm their shattered psyches between missions.
Although it is already available in an incomplete state, Darkest Dungeons will have a full release by the end of 2015.
The latest survival horror to hit the indie scene, White Night goes where other titles don't dare: art. It has all the usual tropes of the modern survival horror game: a mysterious abandoned mansion filled with ghosts and puzzles and dozens and dozens of notes and journals to fill in the backstory. Where it excels is it's unique presentation. Shaded in a monochrome black and white, players will be forced to explore the dark mansion with only a pack of matches to light their way.
The intersection of graphics and gameplay in White Night is perfect. Often times your character is stranded in an inky blackness that can only be peeled back with whatever minimal light source you have at your disposal. Even the light doesn't provide much relief though: long shadows and dark corners cast even well lit areas into a brief oasis surrounded by the horrifying unknown.
For a look at White Night's amazing graphics in action, check out the video below.
White Night Gameplay
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky has been one of Sony's major selling points for the PlayStation 4 even before the system was announced. Sony locked up exclusive rights to No Man's Sky and has been featuring it at every major press conference since the PS4's announcement, making it perhaps the highest profile indie title in world. Expected to ship around the 2015 holiday season, No Man's Sky has a lot to live up to.
The big question is if No Man's Sky can live up to the hype. Although it has been shown a number of different times, this exploration based space-shooter still has a lot of questions to answer. However, if the game can live up to half of the hype of the majestic reveal trailer, No Man's Sky might just be the big story of year.
Although it will launch on the PlayStation 4, No Man's Sky will eventually be available on the PC.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
The sequel to one of the most popular and talked about indie titles of the decade, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number looks to recapture lightning in a bottle. A frenetic, pulse-pounding action title that rewards quick thinking and merciless murder, Hotline Miami 2 is immediately recognizable as a continuation of the original. Featuring bigger levels and a wide variety of new characters with more specialized skillsets, Hotline Miami 2 builds on the foundation of the original to try to make something new.
Don't bring the kids, though. Hotline Miami 2 is unashamedly violent. Featuring gruesome murders and a number of adult themes that are sure to alienate even grown up gamers, Hotline Miami 2 is not for the blood averse.
If you can handle geysers of red stuff and a lot of tense battles, Hotline Miami 2 might be the indie game that tops your "Best of 2015" list.
The freshman offering of Camp Santo, Firewatch is a moody adventure game set out in the wilderness. Featuring only two characters, one of them a disembodied voice over a CB radio, Firewatch is about the isolation, beauty, and danger that can be experienced when you find yourself along outside of civilization.
You play as a park ranger stationed in a lonely Firewatch tower. Your job is to monitor the national park and report any fires to your supervisor Delilah so that they can be dealt with before becoming a huge tragedy. As events draw you out of your comfortable routine, will you be able to survive the dangers of the wild? And if you do survive, can you salvage your only meaningful friendship?
Firewatch has no release date yet, but is expected to be released in 2015.
Torment: Tides of Numenera
The spiritual sequel to beloved 90s cRPG Planescape: Torment, Tides of Numenera is a throw back to a classic era of RPGs. Based in a setting designed by beloved fantasy game creator Monte Cook, Tides of Numenera looks to fill a hole that has been left empty in RPG fans hearts for years.
Featuring a world just slightly askew from the typical sword and sorcery fantasy world, players will explore a huge 2.5D world where their every action could change the face of history. Grapple with confounding moral and ethical dilemmas while clashing blades with epic foes in this KickStarter phenomenon.
With a release date in late 2015, Tides of Numenera will be an amazing way to wrap up the year.
Another indie title being hyped hard by Sony, The Witness is Braid creator Jonathan Blow's answer to Myst. Wander around a mysterious island, solve puzzles, get some story, you know the drill.
Blow's known for his thoughtful game design and unique story telling. Hopefully The Witness can live up to the hype.
What games are you looking forward to in 2015?
Do you have any games you're excited for in 2015 that didn't make the list? Maybe a AAA title you think deserves a little extra attention? Leave a comment down below and let us know!
© 2015 Len Cannon
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