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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Editorial: Five Indie Games Worth Checking Out.


Hey! Here are some Let's Plays recently put up: Knights of the Old Republic [P8] Reddish-Orange Vulkars and Spooky's House of Jump Scares.


Editorial: Five Indie Games Worth
Checking Out.

So, that most steamy and summery of sales is coming up, the Steam Summer Sale. While an excellent place for triple-A games, many of which will be on sale this coming summer, Steam is also a thriving storefront for indie games, some of terrible quality (Unit Z and its compatriots), and some excellent enough to put certain big name developers to shame.

So, here now in no particular order, are five indie games you should definitely contemplate this coming summer. Because remember, summer is not for going outside. Summer is for staying inside with the curtains drawn.


Ori and the Blind Forest.

The only game on this list that I've actually reviewed, Ori and the Blind Forest is a fantasy platformer in which you take the role of a young, glowy forest spirit after their home has been horribly devastated. 

I'm not going to talk about this one too much, as I already did so at length here. Needless to say that the game is stunning, consistently builds on its Metroidvania-style gameplay, and come February will absolutely be a contender for my game of the year.


Pillars of Eternity.

Pillars of Eternity, created by Obsidian Entertainment, a company made up of Bioware and Bethesda employees and the minds behind Knights of the Old Republic II, Fallout: New Vegas and Alpha Protocol, is a Neverwinter Nights-esque fantasy RPG that harks back to the olden days of the late nineties with its isometric viewpoint and sometimes unforgivingly hard gameplay.

The game boasts impressive character customisation, with eleven classes and six races; a large game world; and a reputation-faction system that promises to make your in-game choices matter to the larger story. 

It comes highly recommended, having been given rave reviews by virtually every gaming outlet to get their lobster claws on it.


Kerbal Space Program.

Kerbal Space Program has a simple yet addictive premise: You're going to build a rocket and then go to space. It is, in essence, a physics simulator, and as such is ripe with possibilities for your rocket-building misadventures to go horrifyingly wrong, resulting in explosions and the fiery deaths of your crew; or delightfully right, resulting in reaching the moon or another body in the solar system, and maybe even returning safely.

While physics simulation is the bread and butter of this game, there's also a Career mode, where you can handle all administrative aspects of your space program too - including crew management, procuring funds, and keeping your reputation up.

With an Overwhelmingly Positive score on Steam and 88/100 on Metacritic, Kerbal Space Program looks like a fun little game that you can sink some time into whenever you're craving the vast, screaming void of space.


Sunless Sea.

Set in the world of browser-based text game Fallen London, Sunless Sea sees you become the captain of a boat on the high-zees. Similar in gameplay to old favourites like the Escape Velocity series, Sunless Sea puts you in a vast, often funny, often bizarre, equally often horrific world where horror has become commonplace, and tasks you not just with survival on the treacherous waters, but with building a fortune and name for yourself. 

While there are those who dislike it's relatively slow pace and steep learning curve, Sunless Sea has been met predominantly with positivity, and it's an addictive experience for any player. There is something oddly relaxing about gently sailing across the ocean, the salt wind in your face and the void stretching high above you, as your crew slowly goes mad and turns to cannibalism.

Besides, everyone knows the zee and the zeeside are very summery.


This War Of Mine. 

One slightly baffling review referred to this game as showing 'the bad side of war' - as opposed to precisely what good side? I thought that as a culture, humanity had collectively come to the agreement that war was generally not a good thing. Just ask the Fallout narrator, he knows what's up.

That said, This War Of Mine does look at war from a perspective that is regrettably usually passed over, especially in video games - that of the civilians of the wartorn country in question. This War Of Mine is a brutal, unforgiving survival game, where you and a ragtag band of other survivors must endure the war you've found yourself caught up in.

It's not a pleasant game to play, obviously, with the game forcing you to make choices that will leave you shaken and emotional - what it is, though, is engaging, meaningful, and sharp.

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