This article has been a long time coming especially in conjunction with our IGM awards which will be announced very shortly. I’m going to start by covering all the games that made it into our IGM nominations and then move onto the games that we missed.
Starbound by Chucklefish
How could the spiritual sequel and successor to the immensely popular Terraria not make this list? While Chucklefish is a new studio, it was started by Tiyuri one of the designers behind Terraria and their game Starbound looks to be incredibly grand in scope. Starbound begins with you fleeing your homeworld in a space shuttle, just as it’s destroyed by an unknown enemy. With nothing to guide it, the escape pod shoots into space without direction, becoming hopelessly lost in a sea of stars. Starbound promises to expand on Terraria’s core gameplay mechanics by mixing in influences from Diablo, Metroid, Castlevania, and Pokemon while promising an endless number of procedurally generated planets to explore.
Gnomoria by Robotronic Games
Gnomoria is clearly inspired by Dwarf Fortress, a game that I could never quite get into because of its crazy ASCII graphics and steep learning curve. Gnomoria makes the core gameplay and depth of Dwarf Fortress much more accessible. For those that don’t know, Gnomoria is a sandbox village management game. You help a small group of gnomes start a new kingdom and survive as long as possible. The game has already been in development for over a year and was one of the first games to get Greenlit despite being in alpha. Gnomoria already has huge promise and a ton of features even in it’s current state so it will be very exciting to see what the full and final release entails.
The Banner Saga by Stoic Studio
The Buzz for The Banner Saga started with a massively successful Kickstarter (raising $723,886) partly due to the fact that Stoic is made up of a bunch of Bioware RPG veterans in the industry. The game boasts a fantastic art style that harkens back to the fluid 2 dimensional graphics of adventure games like Dragon’s Lair, Monkey Island and more. The Kickstarter was so successful because of the amazing trailer that oozed production and the faith that gamers have in folks from Bioware, but it’s the solid Multiplayer in the current beta that has us so excited for this epic RPG to come out.
Project Zomboid by the Indie Stone
One thing the Walking Dead tv series and the slew of zombie movies out there have taught us is that When the Zombie Apocalypse happens, you eventually die. One of the coolest things about Project Zomboid is that there is no winning. The game is all about how long you can survive said Zombie Apocalypse. At it’s core the game is a survival RPG sim with plenty of ways to die: starvation, exposure, disease, mental breakdown, zombie bite… you name it – you can die from it. It’s great to see the game building up a community of modders and fans especially after the theft and setbacks that struck the development team. That’s all behind us now and each new update to the game proves that Project Zomboid’s isometric survival game may be one of the best indie games of 2013.
The Witness by Jonathan Blow
What the heck has that guy who made Braid been up to? Jonathan Blow has been hard at work on the Witness since late 2008. The Witness is described as an exploration-puzzle game on an uninhabited island. Blow has been tight-lipped about what the game is about, so there is a degree of mystery surrounding the game. That coupled with the fact that Blow made Braid makes this game one to add to your watchlist.
Kenshi by Lofi Games
Here’s another game that was recently greenlit that is still in the early stages. Kenshi is an open ended, squad-based Strategy RPG that revolves around some cool concepts: You can play the game as 1 character or 50 and the player characters and NPCs are always on equal footing making survival an ever present struggle in Kenshi. The open world spans 400km and is seamless and open. All of these features work together to create an enticing, interesting and different kind of RPG.
Proteus by Ed Key and David Kanaga
Proteus represented on the Indie Awards circuit last year picking up a slew of nominations and awards at the IGF, IndieCade, and AMAZE. Proteus is also very close to being “released” as a final version (it’s been playable and purchaseable in beta for quite some time). Described as a game of audio-visual exploration, Proteus really isn’t about anything more than stopping and smelling the digital flowers. It’s an escape, a gaming vacation if you will. Now is the time to buy your ticket.