Once again we've collected together a huge selection of the most interesting indie games to (probably, maybe) launch in the next twelve months (or thereabouts). Enjoy.
Yooka-Laylee (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
The spiritual successor to the beloved Banjo-Kazooie is at long last releasing in April. Everything Playtonic Games has shown has been what fans of the genre have been craving; open world, lots of things to collect, cheeky humour, and a colourful cast of characters. Yooka-Laylee is shaping up to be one of the most fun, wonderful, and heart-warming games of 2017.
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (PC, PS4)
Developer Ninja Theory are calling Hellblade an 'independent AAA' game. It was announced back in 2014 and received insta-praise for the concept. As seen in the trailers, the game is based on Celtic mythology, and the story is about the main protagonist Senua's personal journey through an underworld made up of psychotic manifestations of her own mind, and it has powerful story to tell.
Rain World (PC)
Indie publisher Adult Swim knows how to pick a game, and Rain World is no exception. In this delightful looking platformer the player assumes the role of a nomadic slugcat (yep, you read that right) and advances through multiple industrially-themed levels as both hunter and hunted.
Cuphead (PC, Xbox One)
Cuphead is much-anticipated here at GR and it rocks a unique art style. It resembles old cartoons from the 1930s, like Disney's Steamboat Willie, and it's a run and gun platformer. The story follows Cuphead as he has to repay a debt to the devil by clearing levels and defeating bosses, but the hand-drawn art is the main talking point.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Metroidvania games are still popular to this day. Bloodstained's development is fronted by former Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi. Many consider it to be a spiritual successor to that series and it's not hard to see why, given all the similarities and the fact that Igarashi himself is working on it. While it's scheduled for released in 2018, we're still going to be watching this one like a hawk.
Death's Gambit (PC, PS4)
Death's Gambit is an action-RPG that seems to draw inspiration from Dark Souls. The story follows an agent of Death and you have to endure the struggle that lies within Leydia. Designed to be difficult, developer White Rabbit has warned us that we're going to die a lot. Each boss will require a different strategy, and you can also scale buildings and monsters with your grappling hook.
Outlast 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
The first Outlast was a great horror game. It was an intense experience that kept you on the edge of your seat and made you nervous throughout. Outlast 2 is releasing next year and it's shaping up to be even better than the first. Developer Red Barrels hasn't shown much, which is good. Horror game fans have certainly got a game to look forward to next year.
Ashen (PC, Xbox One)
Forging relationships is at the core of RPG Ashen, and it's all about who you trust. Each person you meet has a skill that will aid you and increase your chances of survival. The game is open-world and will feature a non-linear progression system, and according to developer Aurora 44, "simply being in a different place at a certain time will alter the story in dramatic ways".
Moonlighter (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Shopkeepers in games don't get much credit, despite giving you the necessary equipment to aid your quest. In Moonlighter, however, the shopkeepers finally get the attention they deserve. Will is a shop keep and he dreams of becoming a hero. This is a rogue-lite game with procedurally generated dungeons to keep things fresh.
Legrand Legacy (PC)
Legrand Legacy is a JRPG made by an independent Indonesian team called Semisoft. It features a tactical turn-based combat system which is sure to please genre purists, and the 2.5D visuals look fantastic, giving it somewhat of an anime style. The game also has hand-drawn 2D backgrounds that stand out, but unfortunately Legrand Legacy's Kickstarter didn't meet its goal. It's a shame, but the team say that they aren't giving up.
Aven Colony (PC)
A city builder with a difference, Aven Colony has you setting up shop on Aven Prime, a strange new world full of challenging environments for players to tame as they establish their new empire on this distant planet. Erect buildings, manage your resources, and keep the people happy in what looks an interesting take on the genre.
Below (PC, Xbox One)
We've been waiting on Below for some time now (it was announced back in 2013). This action-adventure game is viewed from a top-down perspective, and as the name implies, has you exploring deep under the surface. Capybara has been quietly making progress, and it looks like 2017 is going to be the year that we finally get to see if this ambitious title is going to deliver on our lofty expectations.
Crossing Souls (PC, PS4/Vita)
There are five playable characters to choose from in this 80s-based action-adventure RPG, and each has their own unique ability and weapons that help them surpass the challenges that lie ahead of them on their quest. We haven't heard a lot from this game recently, so we assume that the developer is hard at work on the game, but it looks great, and we're hoping it lands in 2017.
Doko Roko (PC)
Another roguelike scheduled to come out next year is Doko Roko. It's a 2D vertical-action game that has a heavy emphasis on fast-paced action and an interesting and intriguing atmosphere, with an art-style that's eye-catching. The world is procedurally generated and hand-crafted, and according to the game's Kickstarter, the estimated delivery date is October 2017.
Vane is an adventure game that focuses on atmosphere. In this upcoming title you journey to unravel the secrets of your own land. The developers Friend & Foe consist of ex Team Ico developers. Given that the game is made by people who worked on titles such Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, this one should have an engaging atmosphere and a powerful story.
Paradise Lost: First Contact (PC, Wii U)
We aren't quite sure when Paradise Lost: First contact will actually drop, but next year seems the most likely time. You play as an alien plant, trapped in a scientific facility full of those who would rather cage you up and experiment on you than see you freed. As a sentient lifeform trapped in the facility, you must use your new-found abilities and learn the sinister purpose of the research organisation who imprisoned you.
System Shock Remake (PC, Xbox One)
Night Dive Studios' remake of this genre-defining classic will let you experience being trapped in Citadel Station all over again, this time with beautiful new visuals. In System Shock you're forced to fight for survival against mutated crew members and cyborgs, all under the control of an insane Artificial Intelligence named Shodan.
Agony is a unique-looking survival horror game in which you play as a tortured soul trapped in Hell. The only thing you have to defend yourself against the demons down there is the ability possess people and certain demons. This will be your primary method of survival, but don't get too comfortable; Hell will throw everything it can at you.
Inner Chains (PC)
Set in a bio-mechanical world full of danger, Inner Chains is a surreal first-person shooter where everything is out to get you. Technology has gone out of control, evolving at a rate far faster than humankind can comprehend, leaving every man to fight for himself. The game is a first-person shooter under development from Telepaths Tree, and you will need to rely on your reflexes and make clever use of the environment to survive.
Beacon (PC, Xbox One)
Beacon is a sci-fi themed action roguelike played from a top-down perspective, which tasks you with fighting your way through and escape from a hostile world. Don't think it will be easy, though, as you'll die, a lot. You can collect the DNA from the enemies you've killed to grant you different stats and mutations with every new life.
EITR (PC, PS4)
EITR is what some people have been calling Isometric Souls. It's an action-RPG with a focus on combat, so you'll need to battle your way through a gritty Norse fantasy setting, slowly equipping your character with better weapons and armour along the way. Once again, you should expect to be dying quite a lot in this beautiful-looking game.
Flinthook (PC, Xbox One)
Flinthook will be swinging onto our screens in early 2017, bringing some fast-paced fun. In the game you play as Captain Flinthook, an opportunistic space pirate with a keen eye for treasure, and you'll use your trusty hookshot and slow-motion powers to plunder infinite randomly-generated space ships and spend the lot to become the greatest space-pirate in the galaxy.
Hob (PC, PS4)
The next game from Torchlight II developer Runic games is the immensely pretty Hob, a stylised adventure with a unique method of story-telling. There are no cut scenes or even any dialogue, and the player will need to discover the game's story for themselves as they explore the planet and interact with its various strange inhabitants. You will be tasked with solving puzzles that will repair parts of the planet and change major parts of the world you think you know.
Hollow Knight (PC)
Another Hand-drawn 2D title will be hitting our screens next year with the beautifully stylised Hollow Knight, a side-scrolling adventure that sees you dodging, dashing, jumping, and slicing your way around an expansive open world that boasts over 130 unique enemies and 30 different bosses. You will also be able to evolve your abilities as you progress, allowing you to overcome your enemies in style with increasing variety.
Rise & Shine (PC)
Gamearth is a once peaceful planet now wrought with turmoil, as the Space grunts of Nexgen threaten to wipe out all life as we know it. Rise and Shine is a side-scrolling shooter-puzzle-platformer hybrid in which you play as Rise, equipped with the sacred gun, Shine. You'll be forced to tactically shoot your way through Gamearth in order to wipe out the Space Grunt threat.
Pyre (PC, PS4)
From the creators of Bastion and Transistor comes a party-based RPG set in a completely new world, but with the same creativity that Supergiant are becoming known for. In Pyre you'll be leading a group of exiles through a series of mystical competitions in order to win your freedom. Battles will be high-stakes encounters that bring your group every bit closer to freedom, and over time you'll unlock new abilities. That's only in the campaign, though; in versus mode you can enter into a fast-paced ritual showdown against other players.
Kologeon is an action-adventure with dark themes under development from Chillcrow studios. Set in a procedurally generated realm constantly ravaged by spirits and demons, you play as a soul able to traverse dimensions outside of physical bodies. You will have the freedom to explore the world at your leisure, fighting demons and progressing the story as you go.
If procedurally-generated survival is your bag, then Overland might be something for you this year. A strategy game revolving around post-apocalypse North America, Overland requires you to manage resources and your squad in your fight to stay alive. Developer Finji promises plenty of "close calls and hard choices".
For something totally different; Gnog is a puzzler that sees you move from one "interconnected microcosm", or gnog, to the other, and each is a head filled with different things you can interact with. The art style obviously stands out, being colourful and definitely outside the box (to say the least), but the "soundscapes" of the game are also something we're looking forward to experiencing. Top this all off with PSVR support and you have an intriguing puzzle game.
Night in the Woods (PC)
Infinite Fall's game Night in the Woods sees your character, Mae Borowski (who is a cat, no less), return home after dropping out of university. Things have changed and the focus is on exploration and story as you work out what's going on, and there is something not quite right about the woods either. Mystery is certainly in the air here, but what could it all mean?
Vindit's Quote has been keeping relatively quiet, with only drips and drabs of information released, however, the intriguing concept sees you purge a world where knowledge is banned, and combining this with detailed, hand-drawn artwork means that there should be plenty to look at when Quote shows its hand.
We Happy Few (PC, Xbox One)
Set in an alternate dystopian 1960s England, We Happy Few might sound fun and joyous, but it very quickly turns dark and sinister. The overall backstory is that inhabitants of this peaceful English town take a small pill known as Joy every day to suppress all emotions aside from happiness. It's a title that looks to provide many hours of grim entertainment.
Pit People (PC, Xbox One)
The fourth game developed by The Behemoth, Pit People is a strategy game that has us playing as Horatio, harassed by an ominous narrator and whose home has been destroyed in an apocalypse caused by a giant bear oozing green blood crashing into the planet and creating madness all over the world. We expect hilarious mayhem to ensue.
If you enjoy flinging projectiles at walls and then watching the said walls tumble down, the Besiege should be on your radar. It's been out on Steam Early Access since early 2015, with Spiderling Studios using the time to add polish to the physics-based effort. On top of offering impressive destruction, this one looks really well presented. As far as we can tell this is PC only for now.
Astroneer (PC, Xbox One)
Astroneer is a space game that focuses less on the action-packed laser fights of Star Wars and more on the construction and colonisation of a planet as shown in Andy Weir's 'The Martian'. You can land either alone or with a crew of friends on a small empty planet, and you must survive the elements and develop suitable living conditions so you don't die.
After a successful Kickstarter in 2013, strategy game Faeria should be coming to us this year, combining a strategy card game with the idea of a "living board", so new strategies can be adopted and the board can be shaped. With the promise of competitive focus and tournaments too, this is something we'll keep our eye on when it lands in the first part of the year.
Maia has been available via Steam Early Access since December 2013. Will the full game see release in 2017? It's hard to tell. Developer Simon Roth has been making progress adding features. We're particularly fond of the aesthetics and idea of seeing the simulation through what looks like the lens of a 1960s science fiction show. Recalling classic Bullfrog titles of old, we're still keeping tabs on this one.
Tacoma (PC, Xbox One)
Tacoma is a space exploration game that follows Amy Ferrier, who has arrived on a commercial lunar station only to find out that all the crew has vanished. The game is being developed by Fullbright, the people who made Gone Home, and like Gone Home, Tacoma's main focus is on narrative. Might it be just as compelling a journey?
Star Citizen (PC)
It feels a little perverse sticking this one in a monster list of exciting indies, given that the game has attracted more than $100 million dollars in funding from the community, but it's an indie project without publisher oversight, so it makes the grade as far as we're concerned. It also makes the list because we're really interested to see how the various component parts mesh together. If Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts can realise his vision then we're in for an almighty treat when this one takes off.
Mr Shifty (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Imagine Jacket from Hotline Miami imbued with Corvo's Blink, and you're getting close to what Mr Shifty offers. TinyBuild's top-down action game lets the player shift through bullets and walls, using lightning-fast attacks to wipe out enemies at warp speed. If you're a fan of Hotline Miami then keep this one on your radar.
Cryptark (PC, PS4)
Cryptark is a 2D rogue-like shooter which tasks players with boarding/invading alien ships and neutralising the enemies inside, all to earn money for their privateering enterprise. That's the concept, but it's also worth noting that each alien ship is procedurally generated, so each one you invade will be new. The game was released via Steam Early Access, and developer Alientrap are aiming for a full release sometime this year.
The Long Dark (PC, Xbox One)
The Long Dark is an open-world survival game, and it's already available through Steam Early access and on the Xbox One Game Preview. You assume the role of a pilot who has crash-landed in the frosty Canadian wilderness, and you're struggling to survive after a global disaster. Players must survive the harsh weather conditions and rough terrain. Resource management and patience are absolutely key, and if you die, you die for good.
The team behind Squad originally developed the popular Project Reality mods for Battlefield 2 and Arma 2, and Squad is a spiritual successor to that legacy. It's a multiplayer project that has two teams of 50 players battling against each other across large scale maps. It aims to capture the reality of combat and focuses heavily on communication and teamwork between players, and looks a challenging yet immersive experience.
Thimbleweed Park (Mobile, PC, Xbox One)
Thimbleweed Park is a crowdfunded title from the duo behind Maniac Mansion; Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick. It's a spiritual successor to the 1987 point-and-clicker. The story follows two detectives called out to investigate a corpse found in a river outside of town, and throughout the game you'll play as five different characters attempting to uncover the mysteries of Thimbleweed Park. Hopefully this should be a nostalgic throwback.
Devolver Digital picked this one up, so it's fairly safe to assume that it has got something going for it. In fact, Ruiner has a lot going for it, including an evocative sci-fi setting and what looks like brutal and fast-paced action. We're being promised a story-driven experience that's grounded in cyberpunk trappings, and it looks like it's going to be an absolute treat.
At the Gates (iOS, PC)
Jon Shafer's At the Gates is an empire builder in much the same vein as Sid Meier's Civilization. In fact, its creator is no stranger to the series it gets inspiration from, having acted as lead designer on Civilization V. What sets At the Gates apart is that it constantly remains a challenge. Your established empire will slowly drain the world's resources forcing you to seek out alternative opportunities for food and wealth. The landscape is also dynamic, so fertile grass can turn to wasteland unsuitable for crops or unfavourable to even the most well considered military campaign.
Perception is a game starring a blind girl, made by a team that knows a thing or two about creating deeply atmospheric and immersive experiences. Deep End Games is 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.
Expeditions: Vikings (PC)
Logic Artists' strategy game revolves around, unsurprisingly, the Vikings, however, they aim to give a deeper experience than just warmongering soldiers. Instead there's trading, politics, reputations, and more to consider, all interwoven with Nordic history. Truly one for fans of the authentic Viking experience.
Osiris: New Dawn (PC)
Ever wanted to build a colony on a planet with your friends? Well now you can do that in Osiris: New Dawn, which requires you to craft, research, and fight to survive in this hostile alien world. Space explorers have a lot to see and cope with, including dungeons and meteor showers.
Team Niche's strategy game tasks players with creating their own animal tribe, merging roguelike elements into the experience as you search for an ecological "niche" to inhabit. Resource management is required to fight against the dangers threatening your tribe, and you control animals on a top-down board. It's survival of the fittest.
Snake Pass (PC, PS4)
Games are no stranger to physics these days, but Snake Pass utilises physics in a unique way, as you work to control a snake with authentic snake-like controls. To move forward, you have to slither; to climb, you have to coil; and to win, you need to master it all. You'd think controlling a snake would be pretty simple... you'd be wrong.
Woven follows a stuffed elephant called Stuffy and a robot called Glitch as they traverse a truly cutesy world made up of different fabrics and materials, and these play into the gameplay, offering different abilities to utilise as well. Oh, and the story is told in rhyme, as if this all wasn't adorable enough.
Beat Cop (PC)
Being a cop can be hard, and Beat Cop requires you to juggle all your responsibilities in order to be the best. This isn't all about car chases and gunfights though, as there's plenty of day-to-day stuff to do, like issuing tickets and investigating disturbances. This pixelated police experience also has witty humour to go with it.
Tower 57 (PC)
Fans of top-down twin-stick shooters should look out for Tower 57 this year, which aims to reproduce that classic gameplay in a pixelated dieselpunk world, with various characters to choose from who can all take part in the intense action. There's also destructible environments, co-op, and more to look forward to.
Nidhogg 2 (PC, PS4)
Nidhogg was such a hit because it offered excellent local multiplayer, and Nidhogg 2 looks to up the ante with more weapons and moves to take down your friends with, spanning across 10 different arenas. If you were screaming at the screen for Nidhogg, then the sequel should have you doing the same... just with more to scream at.
Strafe scraped its way through the Kickstarter process, hitting its funding target at the very end of its campaign, and we're so glad that it did. This is a love letter to all things Quake, with retro visuals and challenging gameplay meshed together with more in-vogue elements, such as permadeath and procedurally generated environments. Definitely one to watch.
Wizard of Legend (PC)
Wizard of Legend is shaping up to be a pixelated treat for fans of dungeon crawling. Fast-paced action is being fused with roguelike elements and wonderful pixelart, and we can't wait to see how it plays in both single-player and PvP when it finally lands.
One of the most eye-catching indies on this extensive list, Kieru looks like a mix of Sin City-style visuals with Kill Bill-esque swordplay. In this deathmatch-focused affair, players stalk each other around black and white environments with one thing on their mind; taking out their opponent as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Abandon Ship (PC)
If Faster Than Light was your thing - and it was very much ours - then Abandon Ship should definitely be on your radar. The space setting of FTL makes way for nautical adventures, with players braving the seven seas, monsters, enemy vessels, and much more, as they seek their fortunes in a game with permanent death and tactical combat.
Elsewhere on this list you'll find us talking about how much we're looking forward to Strafe, and Gibhard looks like it's going to scratch a very similar itch. This run and gun shooter evokes classic Doom, but throws in procedurally generated environments to keep repeat plays feeling fresh.
Jupiter Hell (PC)
From the people who made DoomRL (that's a roguelike based on Doom, for the uninitiated) comes Jupiter Hell, another turn-based roguelike that takes many of the genre's more traditional features, and throws them together with lush Doom-inspired isometric visuals. If you like a tactical challenge then stick this on your watch list, as it's shaping up nicely.
Ultimate General: Civil War (PC)
After the modest but well earned success of Ultimate General: Gettysburg, Game-Labs are returning to the same period of history, but this time their offering is going to be more detailed and much more expansive in terms of taking in the entire war. From what we've played so far, this is shaping up to better its predecessor thanks to intuitive controls and an accessible campaign.
Caves of Qud (PC)
Another roguelike for those who prefer to keep things traditional. Caves of Qud has been in Early Access for some time, and creators Freehold Games are constantly adding new content via weekly updates. There's a lot going on, and it can be a bit daunting, but for roguelike purists, it's definitely a game that will hold plenty of appeal.
If you love games with strong pixel art, Pathway should have your attention. Set in the 1930s, players explore ancient temples and haunted tombs, and while you're down there you'll be engaging in turn-based fisticuffs. It looks utterly charming, and if they can deliver gameplay to match the lovely visuals, then this could be one of the best indies of 2017.
Tokyo 42 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
If Where's Wally (or Waldo, depending where in the world you live) gave you a sniper rifle and had you take out your target from range, you'd get something along the lines of Tokyo 42. The quirky visuals and isometric viewpoint set this apart, and we're intrigued to see if they can deliver stealthy, murderous gameplay to marry up with the colourful style that has well and truly caught our attention.