The 10 most weird and wonderful indie games of E3 2018

Many indie games were sprinkled in amongst many of the conferences at E3 this year. There were lots of indie games that were uncovered this year showing a rise in popularity of the simple yet unique gameplay experience that only indie games provide. A word of caution however this list starts of normal enough but descends into absolute bafflement.

1. Unravel 2

The sequel to the popular puzzle platform can be played right now. The two doesn’t just present the game as a sequel to the first but as a co-op adventure with the 2 playable Yarney’s connected to each other by a piece of frayed string allowing you to swing across photorealistic levels and pull objects to solve puzzles. This proves to be a major obstacle in puzzle solving adding the same kind of brain teasers as Portal 2’s co-op mode allowing one player to progress while finding a way for your friend to join you allowing you his ability to progress further.

2. Sable

Another E3 means more opportunities for developers to really wow gamers with visually striking games. Sable provides a sandy open world reminiscent to the much popular indie game Journey. Although the visuals in Sable are strikingly different being more akin to a watercolour painting both games entice a strong sense of beauty and the most underrated game mechanic ever. Sand surfing. You’ll even be able to meet other players online aynonmously just like Journey. Well they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

3. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

When Ori and the Blind Forest came out a few years back it completely blew everyone away with not only its striking visuals but with its genre blending gameplay and heartfelt story too. This new instalment will deliver the same poignant experience tenfold, showing the beauty yet haunting side of nature. Traditionally this game would only would’ve been briefly shown at Xbox’s press conference but this year it is front and centre, holding it in high regards. It’s nice to see Xbox develop a new exclusive game for it’s catalogue that isn’t just a faceless space marine and a walking slab of marine muscle.

4.Tunic

Xbox really value their indie games it would seem. Tunic is heavily inspired by the old Legend of Zelda games except this time you play as a fluffy little fox.The combat system looks surprisingly deep as you explore ruins and traverse your way around this colourful landscape. This is all truly impressive considering that Tunic is all made by one developer, Andrew Shouldice.

5. Outer Wilds

Trapped in an endless time loop that resets every twenty minutes (and no we’re not talking about the games time in development) Outer Wilds is an open world mystery game much similar to Firewatch but this time in space. You must explore a “handcrafted” solar system full of tornados and planets with dangerous terrain. The games floaty gravity physics looks spot on.

6. Night Call

An intense and moody murder misery noir set in the not so romantic side of gay Paris, Night Call has you play as an undercover taxi driver that must squeeze enough info from his passengers about a series of interconnected murders before they can be dropped off at their destination.

7. Sea of Solitude

From EA’s Originals branch of the company, Sea of Solitude presents a creepy tale of what happens when you get too lonely by the seaside. It’s not exactly a day at the beach when you’re getting chased by monsters that resemble your charcoal black features you’ve suddenly obtained. This is a story about emotional battles within oneself much like Celeste but far less cutesy.

8. Planet Alpha

Planet Alpha is Sables competition in the striking visuals department. This side scrolling platformer has perilous leaps and relentless enemies in an intriguing sci-fi landscape. Indie games are always a treat to look at and they’re always described as being beautiful but this one is also visually stunning.

9. My Friend Pedro

To break up my gushing in how beautiful these indie games are here is one that is grey, grimy yet weird and kooky. My Friend Pedro is a stylistic sidescrolling shoot em up with added ballet like agility in the traversal and environmental based takedowns. I guess it is majestic and brutal in how the game relishes in how unapologetically violent it is. Think Rambo if he was a winter olympic figure skater. It’s bloody, brutal and full of bananas for some reason.

10. Kids

Another weird indie game for you. Kids is an experimental interactive animation that is strangely relaxing and incredibly hypnotic. The objective of this incredibly weird game is to move with or against crowds of people around the screen until they have all gone. Err I think? This game is pretty baffling. What we know is Doublefine want to replicate the psychology of group mentality. You don’t get as an indie and off the wall as this.

 

Journey Review

Is this a Journey worth taking?

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Image from Thatgamecompany

Upon witnessing the gorgeously rendered title screen you know you’re about to play something special. Journey is a unique game. It isn’t bound by genre much like thatgamecompany’s previous game, Flower but is a transcendental work of art.

Sony is a very lucky company to have this indie gem amongst its gallery of games. Experiencing Journey is quite different to other titles on the PlayStation.

Journey’s serene yet haunting musical score and glistening desert landscapes generate awe into those who relish a setting full of visual splendor. Thatgamecompany delivers a very tranquil experience with dialogue being replaced with chirps and whistles. This doesn’t take away but adds to the atmosphere of a truly memorable game.

The game starts with you being greeted with desolation, nothing but sand in every direction. You then immediately realize your goal, a mountain that is standing tall beyond the ruins of a civilization. It is gradually revealed to you through subtle cut scenes throughout the game of how this society fell. The lack of dialogue means that the player’s interpretation is required to figure out what happened to the landscape you traverse. It’s very enigmatic making this storytelling unparalleled to any game that has come before it.

When it comes to exploration, Journey allows you to beat off the straight and narrow path. Players find themselves questioning, “What will happen if I go over there?” It is evident that the developers of Journey encourage this; for this is the way you discover the shiny hieroglyphs hidden behind the remnants of old buildings that allow you to lengthen your scarf making you jump and glide higher.

This is when the controls come in and they are very simple to learn. The nameless hooded figure moves gracefully around with actions only consisting of X to jump and circle to interact with the environment. There are also no combat options just basic platforming and obstacle avoiding during the sand surfing segments, which provide the most elegant visuals in video game history.

It can be harked on for ages how Journey is sublime in its aesthetics however sound is also crucial. Most notably the stirring score that would even give casually invested players chills.

If you come to Journey looking for a challenging and lengthy game you will not find it. Challenge does not work within this games context of providing an artistic mood to relax the player and keep the pace flowing. It is easy to explore the landscape but it depends how you do it. It is slightly tantalizing however what a ten-hour experience of a game visually similar to Journey will provide. Quality has been favoured over quantity here, which is somewhat understandable with Journey only being an indie game after all.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of Journey is the ability for players to enter seamlessly into your current play through. There is a deliberate communication barrier to these encounters with no voice or text chat with your fellow traveller to maintain the tranquil style of gameplay. There isn’t even a notification that another person has joined your game. As you explore the game you strangely find yourself being compelled to your new buddy and wonder where he or she has gone if you get separated adding even more emotional investment to the game. The disconnect very much benefits the aspect of multiplayer making it fascinating knowing that this person your sharing this journey with is human. This suits the mysterious world Journey has to offer.

Through the way Journey immerses the player into a dreamlike state, Thatgamecompany have created the most ethereal experience in video game history. Journey is pure elegance.

Journey is available now for download from the Playstation Store for £9.99

Breakthrough-gaming-Score

Journey has been awarded the following badges:

Badge icon "Citizen (756)" provided by Phoebe Sexton, Vincent Zhang, Russell Lord, SimpleScott & Edward Boatman, from The Noun Project under The symbol is published under a Public Domain MarkBadge icon "Creation (2536)" provided by Jakob Vogel, from The Noun Project under Creative Commons - Attribution (CC BY 3.0)Badge icon "Actor (1547)" provided by Jonathan C. Dietrich, from The Noun Project under Creative Commons - Attribution (CC BY 3.0)Badge icon "Bullhorn (1580)" provided by Travis Yunis, from The Noun Project under Creative Commons - Attribution (CC BY 3.0)