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The Most Exciting Indie Games of 2016 & Beyond

We take you on a tour of the indies we're most excited about that are (probably) coming this year.

  • Text: Gamereactor Staff

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Let's start things off with a disclaimer. Not all of these games will be released in 2016. Hell, some of them haven't even been confirmed as coming this year, we're just speculating about the indies that we're excited about that are likely to release in the months ahead. These games come in all shapes and sizes, from well funded epics, to solo projects and spin-offs, along the way taking in Early Access offerings and even the odd console title. Simply put they're an eclectic bunch. As such there's no one reason that we've included the games that are mentioned herein, and we've most certainly missed a few that should have been mentioned, and for that we apologise. So, without further ado, here's sixty games that we're looking forward to seeing more of in the months ahead.

Abzû (PC, PS4)
Release: 2016

There are two reasons to get excited for Abzû. Firstly, it's a beautifully vibrant exploration game that's set under the sea (and a little red Jamaican crab once told us it was better down there). Secondly, it's being developed by Giant Squid Studios. Granted this is the first title from the studio, but its founder is Matt Nava, art director for the phenomenal Journey. If Abzû can capture the same powerfully atmospheric experience filled with magic and wonder, then we have a real treat in store when Abzû launches later this year.

We Happy Few (PC, Xbox One)
Release: June

Set in an alternate dystopian 1960s England, We Happy Few adopts the method of sounding fun and joyous, but then very quickly turning dark and sinister. The overall backstory is that inhabitants of the peaceful town of Wellington Wells take a small pill known as Joy every day to suppress all emotions aside from happiness. You take the role of a 'Downer', someone who refuses to ingest any Joy, and wants to escape Wellington Wells. It plays similarly to Sir, You Are Being Hunted, except there's far more people hunting you, and Joy is hidden everywhere waiting for you to consume it, such as any water bottles you pick up. It's a title that looks to provide many hours of grim entertainment.

Perception (PC)
Release: 2016

Horror games are scary, but they're even more terrifying if you can't see what's in front of you. Enter Perception, a game starring a blind girl, and made by a team that knows a thing or two about creating deeply atmospheric and immersive experiences. Perception is a Kickstarter project by Deep End Games comprised of former BioShock and Dead Space developers. To make up for her lack of sight heroine Cassie employs sound to navigate a haunted mansion and uncover its secrets. Its clever gameplay mechanic involves using a cane to make noise that creates a momentary visual outline of the surroundings, but of course it also attracts the attention of the mansion's ghostly inhabitants.

Hellblade (PC, PS4)
Release: 2016

Hellblade is the newest project from Heavenly Sword and DmC: Devil May Cry developer Ninja Theory. Inspired by Celtic myth, the game has been described as an independent AAA game, with the developer stating it'll have all the same quality and production values of a big budget release. Interestingly, Hellblade will focus on the subject of mental health, with main character Senua battling physical manifestations of the demons that plague her mind. Ninja Theory promises the game will deliver "ninja-class melee gameplay, strong character stories and a unique art vision," making Hellblade one of the most exciting indie titles coming this year.

ARK: Survival Evolved (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Release: 2016

You can already dino hunt and craft to your heart's content over on Steam Early Access, and ARK has also appeared on Xbox One via the platform's own Preview Program. This crafting-flavoured survival game has impressed plenty of PC and Xbox-owning players, and the developers have a healthy and open dialogue with their growing community. We're definitely interested to see where Studio Wildcard take this prehistoric survival sim next, and with so much prehistory to draw from, there's 65 million directions they could go in.

Return of the Obra Dinn (PC)
Release: TBA

Return of the Obra Dinn is the next game by Lucas Pope, the developer who managed to turn the subject of border control bureaucracy into the unique and thought-provoking Papers, Please. His follow-up project is a first-person mystery adventure based around a ship belonging to the East India Company in the year 1808. A brief early playable build showcases a simplistic black and white design as the player travels back in time to witness events prior to the vessel's mysterious disappearance. It's a dramatic departure from Pope's last game, but here's hoping Return of the Obra Dinn proves just as innovative and engrossing.