2019 Preview: Indie Wishlist #2
We take a look at another batch of promising indie titles, this time games with indie label backing.
Elsewhere on Gamereactor you'll find our wishlist of indies that are set to land (hopefully) sometime in 2019, and the ones in that feature are completely independent games. These are too, but they're being published by the growing community of indie labels and publishers that specialise in identifying the cream of the crop, helping creators finish their titles and, perhaps most importantly, telling the world about their games (something that independent developers aren't always the best at). And so, without further ado, here's our second indie-themed preview.
Ape Out (PC, Switch) - February 7
Developer: Gabe Cuzzillo / Publisher: Devolver Digital
We do love a bit of monkey business and Ape Out is certain to deliver just that. You play as an unarmed gorilla trying to escape through various levels full of armed guards, and the ingenious design featuring walls that obscure your top-down view means it's less of a puzzle game and more of a case where you need to react to situations quickly in order to progress. The inspired soundtrack along with the stylised visuals made us sit up and take notice of Ape Out.
Black Future '88 (PC) - 2019
Developer: SUPERSCARYSNAKES / Publisher: Good Shepherd Entertainment
No other game in 2019 captures the exaggerated '80s look better than this. With its fast-paced run and gun gameplay surrounded fog machines, laser beams, and a synth-punk aesthetic, nothing else is likely to get our bionic-hearts beating quite as fast this year.
Blazing Chrome (PC, PS4) - Early 2019
Developer: JoyMasher / Publisher: The Arcade Crew
Everyone loves a bit of Contra, but we've all been pretty starved for that style of action for a while now. The Arcade Crew aims to remedy that with this upcoming 2019 release, where you fight back against your robot overlords - alone or with a friend - in this exciting mission to save mankind.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) - 2019
Developer: ArtPlay / Publisher: 505 Games
Koji Igarashi - responsible for many of the best Castlevania titles - is bringing us a brand-new game in his signature style. Featuring both an updated combat system reminiscent of his old games and an updated 3D art style, Bloodstained could be the modern 'Igavania' style game we always wanted.
Children of Morta (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) - 2019
Developer: Dead Mage / Publisher: 11 bit Studios
When danger approaches Mount Morta, you can't fight it alone. Instead, bring the family along for Dead Mage's top-down adventure game. With each individual family member having their own unique fighting style, and dungeons that change in every playthrough, this is a game we shouldn't struggle to find enjoyment in. Here's hoping at any rate.
Close to the Sun (PC, PS4, Xbox One) - 2019
Developer: Storm in a Teacup / Publisher: Wired Productions
Bioshock comparisons are always a good sign, and it's easy to see why Storm in a Teacup's game Close to the Sun was on the receiving end of such comparisons. You're looking for your sister on a dark and gloomy ship owned by Nikola Tesla, but what secrets are there to find? We'll have to wait and see, won't we?!
Dark Devotion (PC) - 2019
Developer: Hibernian Workshop / Publisher: The Arcade Crew
Pilgrimage is never easy, but for your Templar in Dark Devotion it's particularly tricky, as there are plenty of bosses and baddies hidden in the secret temple you're in town explore. It looks to be dripping with atmosphere and challenge, not to mention some very sinister mysteries.
Disco Elysium (PC) - Hopefully 2019
Developer: ZA/UM / Publisher: Humble Bundle
There are many things that stand out about cop-RPG Disco Elysium. It's got a unique somewhat painterly art style, and you're able to shape and customise your cop through actions and the skills you pick too - do you want to be a completely brutal hard-boiled detective or will you be a more analytical Sherlock Holmes type? It also features original music from post-rock band British Sea Power.
Indivisible (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) -2019
Developer: Lab Zero Game / Publisher: 505 Games
The team at Lab Zero are experts when it comes to hand-drawn 2D animation, and the stunning visuals shown here further prove that. Combine that with a variety of unique characters, a vibrant world to explore and a traditional RPG combat system, and you've got yourself a game to keep an eye on this year.
Inmost (PC) - 2019
Developer: Hidden Layer Games / Publisher: Chucklefish
Three playable characters are on a journey in Inmost, as this puzzle platformer takes you to a pixelated spooky castle where traps and escapes may be the best option for defeating your foes. Flickering lights, eerie hallways, and spooky ghouls make this a frightfest to look out for.
Lost Words: Beyond the Page (PC, Xbox One) - 2019
Developer: Sketchbook Games, Fourth State / Publisher: Modus Games
If the words "written by Rhianna Pratchett" aren't enough to entice you in, perhaps the fact that you have to move words around in this game will. It looks to be unique as you physically interact with words in your diary, and we can't wait to see how this manifests itself in the game.
Mosaic (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) - 2019
Developer: Krillbite Studio / Publisher: Raw Fury
Every day seems the same. Get up. Dress. Go to work. Work. Leave work. Go to sleep. Rinse and repeat. Mosaic is an adventure game from Norwegian indie developer Killbrite (Among the Sleep) that brings Inside to mind. It puts you in the shoes of a regular office worker, and the idea here is to try and break your daily routine while trying to discover a Big Brother-esque conspiracy.
My Friend Pedro (PC) - 2019
Developer: DeadToast Entertainment / Publisher: Devolver Digital
Who doesn't love the idea of a cute banana that encourages you to kill people? That's what we have in My Friend Pedro, as you're guided by your fruity friend to engage in 2D Matrix-style slow-motion stunts and gunfights, worthy of any badass hero on the big screen.
Night Call (PC, PS4, Switch) - Summer 2019
Developer: MonkeyMoon and Black Muffin / Publisher: Raw Fury
There is something about the conversations you have with cab drivers. There's an intimacy, yet it's with a complete stranger. In the promising murder mystery game, Night Call, you take the role of a taxi driver who needs to help the police figure out the identity of a serial killer in Paris. There are different killers each playthrough, and you never know what passengers you'll pick up and while solving the case is important you also need to earn good fares to pay for gas, food, and expenses.
Ooblets (PC, Xbox One) - 2019
Developer: Glumblerland / Publisher: Double Fine
It's difficult not to smile when you take a look at Ooblets. It looks adorable. The developer describes it as a combination of elements of Harvest Moon, Pokémon, and Animal Crossing. So you'll be farming, collecting creatures, and take part in dance battles with other Ooblets trainers. Sounds lovely if you ask us.
Outer Wilds (PC, PS4, Xbox One) - 2019
Developer: Mobius Digital / Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Much like Obsidian's similarly-titled The Outer Worlds, this indie lets you explore new planets, but here you craft your own adventure as you manually guide your spaceship, explore all the nooks and crannies, and undertake a plethora of quests on your merry way. It's all so quiet and lovely too, rather than a fury-fueled space battle.
Pathway (PC) - 2019
Developer: Robotality / Publisher: Chucklefish
The Chucklefish-backed game mixes WW2-era storytelling and tactical combat together with some lovely pixels and the results look extremely promising. Thanks to some procedural elements no two game experiences will be the same, although as each story diverges there'll be plenty of pixelated tactical battles for players to get their teeth stuck into.
Sable (Xbox One, PC) 2019
Developer: Shedworks / Publisher: Raw Fury
After being shown at Microsoft's E3 conference last year, we couldn't get the stunning visuals of Sable out of the ol' noggin. Paired with the musical talent of Japanese Breakfast, exploring this world and uncovering its mysteries might end up being an audio/visual experience we never forget. Here's hoping.
Sayonara Wildhearts (PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One) - 2019
Developer: Simogo / Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
After making a name for themselves on mobile platforms the Swedish indie developer Simogo (Year Walk, Device 6) is gearing up for their biggest game to date, described as a pop album video game. Sayonara Wildhearts was first unveiled at The Game Awards and looks like an absolute smash hit in the making.
She and the Light Bearer (PC) - January 17
Developer: Mojiken Studio, Toge Productions / Publisher: Toge Productions
Described as a blend of a music album and adventure game, Toge Productions is putting its fairytale aesthetic and poetic writing on the centre stage. As a firefly on a journey to decide the future of the forest, this looks like a truly unique game we're interested in playing this year.
Streets of Rage 4 (Platforms TBA) - 2019
Developer: Lizardcube and Guard Crush Games / Publisher: DotEmu
Reviving a classic franchise is never easy, but from the looks of the reveal trailer, Lizardcube and Guard Crush Games are doing Streets of Rage right. With Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding getting a total redesign - and a brand-new art style to boot - this game looks like a welcome return to a series we've missed dearly.
The Last Night (Xbox One, PC) - 2019
Developer: Odd Tales / Publisher: Raw Fury
The Last Night is a stunning and memorable game that was first shown at E3 2017. It's an adventure game that takes players to a bitter dystopian future. While the team has recently run into some financial troubles, we're still very eager to play this game once it's ready. Here's hoping the struggles the studio is going through doesn't push this one even further in the future.
The Occupation (PC, PS4, Xbox One) - February 5
Developer: White Paper Games / Publisher: Humble Bundle
We do love a game where you play as a journalist (no bias, promise!) and in The Occupation we get to do so in an alternative history circa October 24, 1987. The action takes place in northwest England and the game as effectively an investigative thriller. Perhaps most interesting of all, The Occupation features a flexible narrative with multiple outcomes and where time is of the essence if you want to stop a terrorist attack.
Trüberbrook (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) - 2019
Developer: btf GmbH / Publisher: Headup Games
Originally funded via Kickstarter this classic-style point and click adventure will instantly grab you with its beautiful art style and environments that are in fact miniatures. In Trüberbrook you are an American physicist named Tannhauser who shows up in a mysterious German village after having won a contest he can't remember entering. This is the set up of a 1960s sci-fi mystery adventure that should see release very soon.
Valfaris (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One) - 2019
Developer: Steel Mantis / Publisher: Digital Uppercut Productions
Defining their game as "a heavy metal space opera", Digital Uppercut is infusing wailing electric guitars and drum solos into their action-packed 2D platformer. If you're a fan of heavy metal, or just some good old-fashioned Contra-style gameplay, this game deserves your attention.
Void Bastards (PC, Xbox One) - 2019
Developer: Blue Manchu / Publisher: Humble Bundle
This ain't your average first-person shooter. To survive your time in space, you'll need to plan out your journey, scavenge derelict ships for supplies, and craft a range of weird and wonderful weapons. With a range of characters with different skills added to the mix, and some serious pedigree behind the project (the chief devs behind it had key roles at Irrational), we're eager to see how this one plays out when it eventually lands on PC and Xbox One.