The decline of physical game purchases has made it easier than ever for indie developers and studios to get their games into the console market. Heavy hitters like Nintendo and Sony are eager to get a piece of the pie and are putting more and more indie games on their newest machines. Microsoft has made it even easier with their brand new Xbox Live Creator’s Program. The program requires developers to pay a small joining fee in exchange for the ability to directly publish any of their games to the XBOX Live store – no publisher needed.
Sounds pretty awesome, right? We thought so too – so we compiled a list of our top 5 indie games coming to consoles in the near future. Stretch those hands and prepare for many consecutive hours of clutching a controller because some of these games look pretty awesome!
1. Surviving Mars
Platform: XBOX One, PC/Mac, PS4
Release date: TBA 2018
Developer: Haemimont Games
Surviving Mars is a retro-futuristic settlement building strategy game from Bulgarian developer Haemimont Games (responsible for the Tropico series). The player serves as overseer of a human settlement on Mars. His or her goal is to expand and sustain the settlement without being destroyed by the elements or the planet’s mysterious secrets. The game places importance on careful planning. Unlike most base building games, the main adversary for the player is the environment itself. Surviving Mars is set to drop in 2018.
2. Manifold Garden
Platform: PS4, PC/Mac/Linux
Release date: TBA 2017
Developer: William Chyr
Manifold Garden is a beautiful puzzle-exploration game developed and designed by indie dev and artist Willian Chyr. The player explores the Escher-esque environment by solving gravity puzzles. The laws of physics in the world where Manifold Garden takes place are completely unlike our own. The player must utilize the unique game mechanics to solve mind-bending puzzles that have no place in the world we know. Some of the footage is a little dizzying, so I’m going to avoid playing this with a hangover.
Platform: XBOX One, PC
Release Date: September 29, 2017
Developer: Studio MDHR Entertainment
Cuphead is a classic side-scrolling, boss-battling platformer with a very unique art style. The developers were clearly influenced by retro cartoons like Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat. They claim to have used various old-school techniques to achieve the look and feel as well as soundtrack of the game. The game is set to release at the end of this month. I am interested to see what kind of zany retro-fied characters await!
4. Megaton Rainfall
Platform: PS4, PC (later)
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Developer: Pentadimensional Games
Megaton Rainfall is an action game where you take on the role of an un-killable superhero saving the world from an alien invasion. Each time you miss an alien target, you run the risk of destroying a skyscraper or even an entire city causing more civilian casualties. This is something that we’ve seen all too often in recent super-hero movies but is never given much weight. The game also has a massive scale. The player can not only explore planet Earth but a range of other planets as he or she searches for new missions and targets. Megaton Rainfall can also be played in VR where the hugeness of the world really comes to life.
5. Stardew Valley
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PS4, XBOX One, PC/Mac
Release date: TBA (Switch)
Developer: Concerned Ape
Stardew Valley isn’t a new game. It was originally released in February 2017 for the PC. However, I have clocked so many hours on this addictive retro Harvest Moon-esque masterpiece that no one is going to stop me from including it in this list. Stardew Valley is a throwback to the farming sim games of old but with some improvements. You can still get married, expand your farm, manage resources and hit the mines, but the game also has a slough of other features like a battle system, quirky NPCs and achievements galore. This amazing game will be coming to the Nintendo Switch in the near future. It is already available on PC, Mac, PS4 and XBOX One.
Be sure to keep tabs on these promising games. If there are any games we missed, don’t forget to let us know in the comments!