There’s undoubtedly a swath of promising triple-A games set to release over the remaining months of 2016, from Mafia III to Dishonored 2. But for every massive open-world action game and fast-paced FPS, there are a handful of smaller, more focused and unique games coming from small indie teams around the globe.
There are probably more indie games on PC, mobile, and consoles releasing in 2016 than we could ever possibly cover, but these nine are some of the most notable we wanted to shine a light on. Feel free to chime in on the Chatty with your own picks!
STRAFE - PC, Late 2016
Playing STRAFE is a barefoot walk on the beach, stroking a soft adorable dog, and taking a hot bath after a long day. Everything about it feels incredible; its fast-paced, twitchy movement, throwback graphics and style, madcap metal soundtrack, explosive shotguns with massive kickback, and even the gore as it splatters on the walls in surprisingly decorative ways. it’s simultaneously a nostalgia trip and a brilliant new experience, playing up the strengths of classic shooters while infusing it with modern sensibilities. STRAFE looks, feels, and plays amazing, and we can’t wait to finally get our hands on the finished product.
Night in the Woods - PC& PS4, Fall 2016
A game about mystery and figuring out what it means to be an adult, Night in the Woods is quirky and poignant in its narrative. Well-crafted dialog and compelling story beats give it an added dose of personality, and its interpretation of young adult life is eerily spot on. Here’s hoping it continues to impress later this year.
Klang - PC, 9/22
An EDM-fueled frenzy, Klang is a beautiful rhythm-based action platformer combining greek mythology with the ethereal and pulse-pounding beats of the dace floor. With music by well-known OC Remix artist and composer bLiNd and some impressive neon visual flair, Klang is a stylish take on a well-worn genre.
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows - PC, Sept. 2016
An isometric 2.5D RPG, Masquerada takes place in a uniquely realized fantasy world with a lore and style all its own. Mixing Venetian design with traditional fantasy elements, Masquerada tells a story of intrigue and focuses on one of the most powerful and compelling aspects of any fantasy campaign: magic. As a Robin Hood-esque character, players attempt to stabilize the balance of power between the classes of a mythical city by delivering the ability to harness magic to the average citizen. Crimes are committed, intrigue is sparked, and different magic abilities are determined by the masks worn by the people within the world.
Shadow Warrior 2 - PC, Oct. 13
Shadow Warrior 2 is shaping up to be everything a sequel should. It’s more of what made the original Shadow Warrior a cult hit; silly humor, beautiful environment and enemy design, fun gun and sword play, plus a host of supernatural abilities influenced by asian mythology.
All of this has been combined with level verticality, environment diversity, an element-based system that allows for more weapon customization, and more ridiculous and fun weapons than before. Plus, there’s co-op in it, so you’ll be able to tear demons apart in several different environments with a friend in tow.
Blade Ballet - PC & PS4, Available Now
A mix of Super Smash Bros. and Battle Bots, Blade Ballet is a fun and deceptively simple competitive brawler pitting several different robot fighters against one another in different arenas. Deliberate controls and well-balanced abilities give Blade Ballet its own distinct identity, and a diverse array of robot styles and abilities makes it an interesting and fun experience.
Mirage: Arcane Warfare - PC 2016
Made by the creators of Chivalry, Mirage: Arcane Warfare is a team-based first-person combat game in which several different magic users fight against one another in order to determine the outcome of a moral dispute between groups. The use of magic has been hotly debated in the fiction of Mirage, since it’s been revealed Magic is harnessed by using living entities. Set in an entirely new fantasty world and utilizing new mechanics, Mirage is a solid multiplayer game with cool new ideas.
Through the Woods - PC, Oct. 2016
With the exception of games like Alien: Isolation and Until Dawn, horror games have largely fallen into the independent scene. And while many of them are jump scare fests targeted at the YouTube/streamer population, others are more earnestly attempting to embrace the great horror predecessors of before.
One of those is Through the Woods, a horror game drawing inspiration from an unlikely source: Norse mythology. Rather than the traditional spooky ghosts and goblins found in old folklore and internet creepypastas, Through the Woods harnesses centuries-old legends to add in brand new scares you’re unlikely to have seen before.
Sometimes Always Monsters - PC, 2016
The sequel to Always Sometimes Monsters, Sometimes Always Monsters is set up as a mirror to its predecessor. Whereas ASM was about the steady climb to success, SAM is an exploration of the darker sides of success and eventual decline. Expect more complex character moments, overhauled visuals, moral conundrums, commentary on intense issues, and an obsessive attention to even the finest of details in this compelling follow-up.