What’s up, nerds. We hope you’re having a great time playing the blockbuster releases of the year, but let’s not let those experiences overshadow some great new and unique games on the horizon. After attending PAX West 2023, we played a ton of games that gave us a taste of what’s in store for the near future. So, we decided to choose our favorite indie games and share them with you in the only form gamers seem to enjoy…lists. With that in mind, be sure to let us know which games stood out to you or share what you’re looking forward to playing. Whatever the case may be, be sure to subscribe to keep up to date with all of our PAX coverage.
Mina the Hollower | PS5, Xbox Series X, Switch, PC | TBA
It’s becoming more and more difficult not to demand a release date from Yacht Club games for Mina the Hollower. However, every time we get our hands on the game, we find something more to enjoy about it. After a look at an updated build, we were happy to see the game retains a high level of challenge through retro systems but still provides a sense of progression by allowing players ways to access shortcuts that skip completed puzzles in case they die. Further, we found the jump and dig system adds a unique element to combat where you can avoid damage or make a quick escape by borrowing underground for a short period of time. While we didn’t have enough time to master the timing of Mina’s movement, I found the platforming sections to mirror the challenging combat in all the best ways possible. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the music.
Cricket: Jae’s Really Peculiar Game | PC | TBA
Calling Cricket: Jae’s Really Peculiar Game a passion project is an understatement. Since its reveal, the adventure RPG has continuously caught our eye at events as we get to experience updated builds that show significant progress has been made in terms of the battle system and character interactions. The writing is emotionally relatable, but that creates a foundation for these characters, who are each signing up for an extraordinary adventure, or should I say a peculiar adventure? Anyway, if you are craving an indie RPG that oozes discovery and adventure with a splash of innocence, put this game on your wishlist.
Metal Bringer | PC | TBA
Cute anime girls and Mechs, consider me interested. Metal Bringer is a roguelike action game from the developers of Samurai Bringer. This release allows players to build and control robots known as Labor or pilot a giant mech called “Arms.” There’s a high degree of customization that players can dive into, but all of this leads to the hectic in-game action. Players can equip Apps that allow them to extend their combos and slice through hordes of enemies. I think the game has a story, but we were distracted by the amount of fun we were having, taking our creations to a level. Without a release date, we’re eager to see how this game evolves, but we are definitely looking forward to playing more.
Umbraclaw | Switch, PC | TBA
Who would think a 2D action game starring a cat could be so challenging? Well, leave it to developer Inti Creates to deliver a gorgeous and unique experience with Umbraclaw. Here, players assume the role of a cat named Kuon, who must avoid getting hurt while navigating the Soulplane. Over time, Kuon gains abilities and powers that lead to an extravagant transformation that allows it to take down enemies. The experience features highly challenging moments of action and exploration through tough boss encounters and platforming. Given the developer’s past titles, we can expect there to be an emphasis on replayability paired with dramatic story writing. God, I just hope the cat doesn’t die.
Silent Hope | Switch, PC | October 3, 2023
Taking place in the Rune Factory universe, Silent Hope retains much of the colorful charm of the series. However, the adventure appears to be much grander thanks to the emphasis on creating a unique action experience where players can build up their characters across multiple job classes. The story follows the events after a calamity plagued a peaceful kingdom, which caused rifts between the civilians. The king decided to steal away people’s ability to speak and threw himself into the Abyss, which caused his daughter to cry until she turned into a crystal teardrop. A little dramatic, but let’s give her some slack. After years, light flew from the Abyss, which manifested into seven heroes who would help bring the voices and the king back to the kingdom. There are so many layers to this game that it’d be impossible to lay them all out now. Regardless, are definitely looking forward to playing more.
Freaked Fleapit | PC | TBA
Walking the isles of PAX West can be a little overwhelming. However, from a distance, I spotted cute anime girls in a dark and twisted visual novel adventure called Freaked Fleapit, and I knew I had to know more. So, I cleared my afternoon to spend some time with these waifus. Freaked Fleapit is a rhythm-based dungeon crawler with dating sim elements where players must move to the beat, avoid obstacles, and hopefully get out of purgatory. With inspiration from games such as Crypt of the NecroDancer, players get to experience an adventure full of cool beats, cute girls, and deadly enemies. Our 15 minutes with the game definitely wasn’t enough, but we’re happy to share it with you as we wait for its release.
Roman Sands RE:Build | Switch, PC | TBA
The three tag lines of Puzzle, Visual Novel, and Apopcolypse are initially what grabbed our attention in Roman Sands RE:Build. You find yourself washed up on the shore of a luxury resort and must work for the inhabitants as they await the day that the Sun will swallow the world. The game’s mysterious setting isn’t the only puzzling element of this adventure. Players must navigate a narrative full of intuitive puzzles and whimsical characters. Each room is full of interactable objects and residents that can help you progress and figure out what exactly is going on. The world is on its last legs, and this place may be your last hope for surviving, or it could just all be a metafore for something deep and introspective. Whatever the case may be, we’re here for it.
Long Gone Days | PS4, PS5, Xbox Series, Switch, PC | October 10, 2023
Long Gone Days is a title we’ve seen evolve over the years. It entered Early Access so players can provide feedback to refine the RPG systems and narrative. Through this, the team has improved several aspects of the experience, but the core presentation of what makes it so unique is on full display. Long Gone Days features a first-person RPG battle system where players must strategically take down enemies by controlling Rourke and his party. The game features a narrative to provide a nuanced experience of war. The game features several interesting systems where players must interact with NPCs who may require an interpreter to understand. Further, a second battle system where Rourke can show off his sniping skills only adds to the intense plot beats that await us in this game’s full release.
EDEN.schemata(); | PC | TBA
One look at EDEN.schemata();, and you can probably guess that Noisy Pixel is going to have some coverage for it. The game’s sci-fi aesthetic and adventure visual novel systems hooked us in, and we knew we needed to play it. There’s a long list of what this story contains, such as a headless corpse, sealed laboratory, limbless android, you get the idea, but through gameplay, all of these pieces begin to connect. Players can reach multiple endings based on their choices and how they interact with the world. To further enhance the experience, the UI and game design change while you progress the narrative. We’re excited to report that the game is just as solid as the announcement trailer, so be sure to keep your eye out for more news.
Ink Inside | PC | TBA
A flavorful Saturday morning cartoon adventure combined with dodgeball-style battle mechanics makes for a joyful experience with Ink Inside. You play as a doodle trapped in a box of notebooks, hoping to save your friends from a leaking ceiling. Not only is the art style significantly charming, but the humor and atmosphere brings laughs and glee. Each world brings a bustling energy that keeps you engaged. Also, the dodgeball-like combat is so fun and addicting to learn and master. The more you play, the more pleasant surprises come your way. Though the PAX demo was primarily focused on combat, the Steam demo has a lot to offer and showcase. Keep your eyes peeled for this silly but lively adventure.
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