E3 Indies

12 Fascinating Indie Games From E3 2021 To Keep Your Eye On

It’s easy enough to get sucked into the mainstream news vortex where oxygen is a rare element, reserved only for the big and bold blockbuster games. Over the past few days, we’ve heard plenty about Halo Infinite’s multiplayer overhaul, Square Enix’s redemption arc with Marvel and we’ve heard a lot about chaos.

Indies never seem to get their time in the sun, even if they do feature in a big Xbox and Bethesda showcase they’re quickly swept aside by the hysteria of what tentpole experiences lie over the horizon and two-dollar buzz words like ray-tracing.

So here are 11 indie titles from E3 2021 that you should definitely be keeping an eye on.


Somerville

From one of the former co-founders of Playdead, the studio behind Limbo and Inside, Somerville feels very much like a natural extension of the themes and tone those games cemented.

Dino Patti’s Jumpship could have a real hit on their hands as, based on his credentials alone, expectations are bound to be high for this sci-fi odyssey.

Somerville is coming to PC and Xbox and will also be available on Game Pass when it launches next year.

Atomic Heart

Despite its expensive production values, Atomic Heart has likely spent the most time in the oven out of all of the games on this list.

Its release window has continued to slip over the years to the point where its appearance during the Xbox and Bethesda showcase didn’t even bother to offer up a new one. One thing is for sure, Atomic Heart is a stunning looking game with a lot of personality.

Atomic Heart is also going to come to Game Pass at release. Whenever that is.

Replaced

Though it was mistaken for Tim Soret’s The Last Night by our team during its reveal — for good reason, they’re identical twins — Replaced is an exceptionally gorgeous pixel-art action-adventure in its own right. It’s drenched in atmosphere and looks as though it’ll tell a pretty confronting narrative.

Hopefully it doesn’t get trapped in development limbo like its contemporary, because a style injection is exactly what Replaced brings to the table.

Replaced is also coming to Xbox Game Pass.

The Anacrusis

This is one Ewan is excited for, in particular.

From the mind of Valve’s original project leader on both Left 4 Dead titles, The Anacrusis blends a co-op survival shooter with the groovy style of Logan’s Run.

With impressive A.I. drivers capable of directing the action to ratchet up or tone down the action depending on your foursome’s ability is a neat feature that should keep anybody who plays The Anacrusis engaged and rewarded.

Tunic

After it captured hearts and minds with its announcement a few years ago, the adorable fox-led faux-Zelda adventure Tunic is back to confirm that it’s cuter than ever and it’s still coming soon.

There’s a playable slice of the game, remixed for a demo experience, available now on Xbox. Although it’s relaxing, it looks darling and it promises relentless exploration, the game is surprisingly unforgiving.

There’s no reason not to give Tunic a try.

Gloomwood

Like Dusk before it, Gloomwood feels like a continuation of the return to a golden age of PC first-person shooters. It’s Dave Oshry and New Blood’s world at the moment and we’re just along for the ride.

There’s a dark and understated gothic vibe to Gloomwood that permeates the experience, with the pulpy occultism reminding of something like Blood—which might be a deep cut to today’s audiences.

I love this publisher’s unwavering and cocksure approach to ensuring the rebirth of classic shoot ‘em ups is a swift and bloody one.

Lemnis Gate

I knew nothing about Lemnis Gate before seeing it in action this past week, but as soon as I heard the premise of a turn-based first-person shooter where battles are waged through time as well as space I was hooked

It sounds unique and unlike anything we’ve seen before, and though it might not revolutionise the entire genre, the fact it’ll stand apart from the crowd is reward in itself.

I just hope it succeeds, the last shooter that tried to reinvent the wheel, a little game called Disintegration, didn’t fair so well. Although I expect developer Ratloop Games has visited the near future and aren’t concerned.

An added treat is that Lemnis Gate is available to preinstall on Xbox Game Pass.

Death Trash

Death Trash is a game I’ve had my eyes on for several years, ever since designer Stephan Hövelbrinks first posted the image of the grim, pixelated Fleshkraken.

Having tried the demo, which was also released as part of the [email protected] Summer Games Fest helping, the game is an amazingly capable twin-stick shooter full of gore, viscera and deep role-playing game systems.

Although it’s coming to just about everything, it arrives on PC as an early access title on August 8.

Inscryption

Although Devolver Digital are a damned good publisher, their roots lie in strong, indie creators so I don’t really feel like it’s incorrect to include Inscryption in this rundown. Even if it is, who cares? The game looks insane.

It’s one of the few trailers that had my jaw hit the desktop as the strange, Lynchian-horror qualities of the game stepped out to mask what the trailer’s first half led me to believe was a fairly mundane card game.

It’s why Devolver’s name is synonymous with irregular, unforgettable experiences—who else would take a chance on a game like this?

Harold Halibut

Harold Halibut has been on our radars since the developer put out that story trailer a couple of months ago. It’s a charming stop-motion game that, like Gloomwood is doing for shooters, sees a return to a forgotten art form in games.

It’s got the whimsical premise of a Wes Anderson film, and a gorgeous art direction that’d go a long way to making The Neverhood, one of my favourites from way back, blush.

The best part is is that the game is, in the developer’s own words, “coming soonish.” You’ve got to love optimism within an active pandemic.

Immortality

When your new title is trotted out as a showcase’s “one last thing” stinger, it’s probably fair to say you’re an indie developer of significant renown.

Sam Barlow’s follow up to Telling Lies, which itself succeeded Her Story, is called Immortality and tells the story of Marissa Marcel, an actress who filmed three never-released films before vanishing.

There’s no shortage of writing talent as the game features a real who’s who of surreal storytelling with credits ranging from The Queen’s Gambit to Mr. Robot.

Immortality is set to launch for PC sometime next year.

Loot River

In no uncertain terms, if a game is published in partnership with Superhot Presents then it’s a sign to take notice. Loot River looks like the spawn of Tetris and Diablo after a lusty night of passion.

As a procedurally generated dungeon crawler it’s certainly in vogue, but it’s the unique concept at the core of the gameplay cycle which sees you balancing slow, contemplated combat with sliding and locking afloat barges into place to either lure in enemies or like hell from them that sells me on Loot River.

With that said, the art is to die for and reminds me a lot of something like Hyper Light Drifter.

 

 

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