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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

10 Indie Games I'm Really Looking Forward To

Nintendo's Indie presentation on February 28th not only has me even more jazzed for the Switch but for all the great indie games coming out in 2017. While some of these games are exclusive to the NS, some are time exclusives, so they will be hitting other platforms in due time. Regardless, if you're a big fan of indie games, you've got a lot to look forward to this year.

SteamWorld Dig 2 (Multi)

The first SteamWorld Dig was a fan favorite and prayers for a sequel have at long last been answered with Steam World Dig 2. SteamWorld is a platformer, but the primary focus of the game is the mining. Armed with your pickax. you can dig both vertically an horizontally to unearth treasures and find hidden passages. Just don't get to dig happy with that pickax that you pull a Dig-Dug and off yourself by getting crushed by a rock. SteamWorld Dig 2 retains the dark, yet cartoon-like art style from the first game and if the one track we heard from the trailer is any indication, the music will be on point as well. If you missed out on the first Steam World Dig, you can get it along with SteamWorld Heist on the PS4 and Wii U for dirt cheap. Now if you'll excuse me, my pickax needs some love.

Blaster Master Zero (NS, 3DS)

Blaster Master. Two words that will make any fan of the NES era of gaming swoon. Sadly, the series has had it rough over the past few decades with fans and critics alike being in agreement that none of the follow up games have come anywhere near the 1988 original. Blaster Master Zero looks to change that. Sporting spiffy 8-bit style NES graphics, making it look like an HD NES game (is that even a thing?) Blaster Master Zero sets out to recapture the look of the original game and it looks really freaking good. The game will have side scrolling as well as top down levels so whether you're blasting enemies in Sophia, your tank or shooting it up on foot, Blaster Master Zero will always deliver plenty of action. Two player support sounds exciting and if you don't have a NS, you'll be able to play the game on the 3DS. The original Blaster Master was no cakewalk and Zero is being developed by Inti-Creates a, game developer known for pumping out some pretty hard games (the entire Mega Man Zero saga) so be sure to bring that S+ game. You won't have to wait long to get your grubby hands on this one as it releases March 9th.

Yooka-Laylee (Multi)

This vibrant platformer gives off a very strong Banjo-Kazooie vibe and it isn't hard to see why. Yooka-Laylee is being developed by former members from Rare. Just the like aforementioned game, players take control of two characters at once, taking advantage of each character's unique abilities to explore vast worlds ranging from ancient-looking temples, underwater caverns, a city made up of books and other crazy environments. Anyone that adored the Banjo-Kazooie games ought to love Yooka-Laylee and this game even has multiplayer support. The current Rare may be a shadow of its former self but the old Rare lives on in Yooka-Laylee.

Shakedown: Hawaii (Multi)

As much as I enjoy 3D Grand Theft Auto games, I do miss the top down gameplay from the earlier entries. That was one of the main reasons I enjoyed GTA: Chinatown Wars so much. It mixed the old with the new to create one of my favorite GTA games. Shakedown: Hawaii does give off the impressions of the early GTA titles, but you can tell it is still very much its own game. At heart, it is a top down run and gun shooter but you can do drive-bys, run people over and if you really want to upset Smokey, you can torch an entire forest. Who else is stoked to watch the world, or at the very least, the forests, burn?  

Flipping Death (NS)

Yes, yes, it looks like Tim Burton had a hand in the development of this game. The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corps Bride have some of the most visually appealing art styles in cinema, so I'm certainly not complaining with the way Flipping Death looks. But it isn't just the visuals that have my attention,. This game has "weird" written all over it and it is the kind of weird I can get down with. In Flipping Death you *ahem* switch between the world of the living and the dead. The ghosts that reside in the land of the dead need your help and you can aid them by possessing the bodies of the living. No doubt this is going to lead to all sorts of crazy scenarios and I can't wait to see them unfold. The characters appear goof in a good way, the voice work sounds great and hilarious and I'm really intrigued by the back the forth nature of the two world dynamic.

Mr. Shifty (Multi)

Someone at Tiny Build must have thought "Hey, you know what's a sick ability that doesn't get used nearly enough? Teleporting! That's make a game outta that!" OK, so the development process was probably more complicated than that, but because someone was thinking of quick vanishing acts, we got Mr. Shifty. This top down action/stealth game has you teleporting past bullets and lasers to deliver swift kills to pull off the sweetest heist ever. While your teleportation powers may seem OP, you are very much a glass canon as it only takes one hit for enemies to end you. You'll need to approach groups of foes with more caution. You can also get your enemies to shoot each other, which is always nice. Mr. Shifty sports a slick cel shaded graphical style and a  killer soundtrack, Shifty is quickly securing his badawesome status in gaming.

Graceful Explosion Machine (Multi)

I'm a huge fan of shoot 'em ups so when I saw Graceful Explosion Machine in action, I immediately sat up. Using different weapon types, you destroy swarms of enemies to increase your combo chain and rack up your high score and I can already see this game becoming quite addictive. The visual style is really cool and the NS edition will benefit from the Joy-Con's HD rumble feature. Kinda curious to see how that works for this game.

Wargroove (Multi)

Are you loving Fire Emblem but missing Advance Wars? Wargroove looks to be set in the midevil times like Fire Emblem but it is clear taking its strategy cues from Advance Wars. With 12 campaigns, four player support both online and locally, Wargroove sounds like a strategy fan's dream come true and  just might fill the void that was left when the Advance Wars games stopping dropping. The multiplayer already has me excited but Wargroove also lets you make your own maps and if those can be shared online, then the replay value of this puppy just went through the dang roof.

Celeste (Multi)

If you played Super Meat Boy and somehow managed to maintain some sliver of your sanity, this indie title is here to tear it away from you and send you off with the white coats. From the makers of Towerfall comes Celeste, a mountain climbing platformer that demands nothing but perfection from anyone that plays it. One screw up, one miss timed jump, the slightest bit of hesitation and you die. And to make sure your life is all the more interesting, you'll have to jump over spikes, climb up narrow passages and avoid all manner of things that kill you fragile little body in a single hit

Pocket Rumble (NS)

As much as I love the NES, the console was  wasteland when it came to fighters. By the time fighting games became big business, most developers had moved on to the 16-bit systems. Yeah, Pocket Rumble is obviously a far more advanced game than what the NES is capable of, but its hard not be be reminded of the NES when you look at the 8-bit visuals it has. Pocket Rumble uses a two button control scheme but anyone that's played fighters that use only a few buttons knows how complex they can get. Casual player swill be able to execute some quick combos with the A and B buttons but more dedicated player will string together combos that rack up hit numbers I'm scared to even think about.

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