Ah, summertime! Tis the season of vacation, pool parties, exotic trips and, of course, playing some nice video games. As this year is canceled and most of the above is either unavailable or advised against, many of us will have more spare time for playing games. So see, it’s not all bad! The upcoming months bring some highly anticipated titles such as Death Stranding, Horizon Zero Dawn and New World. Along with these big boys come some very interesting indie titles that can as easily make you take a sudden day off or two(or five, it’s your life after all). So let’s get started: below you will find six of the most enticing indie games expected to release this summer.
Honorable mention: No Man’s Sky’s next big expansion
Release date: unknown
Unfortunately there is exactly zero information about No Man’s Sky’s next big update. Which may prompt the question why is it even included in this list. Thing is, all of it’s other big expansions historically have been released either July or August. While the fact that we did not see any trailers on PC Gamer’s show, while Hello Games did choose to show its other title might breed some additional skepticism, there are a few things to consider. The studio has the habit of announcing upcoming updates very close to their actual release, usually within a few weeks tops. Also, if the update is scheduled towards the end of summer, as was with the Next update, it is possible Hello Games had decided that the PC Gamer show is too far from release. I strongly hope that my observations are correct as I believe it is time No Man’s Sky gets a new dose of freshness and innovation pumped into it.
Release date: August
On first glance Craftopia looks like the kind of game that has it all. It is a member of the still somewhat popular Survival genre and it is focused around multiplayer. It has resource gathering, hunting and crafting. It also features base building , farming and even production automation. It has flashy combat, vehicles such as motorcycles and hover boards, ruin exploration, monster hunting even! I mean, looking in the Steam page, there is some wild stuff out there! Main question is whether the developers haven’t over-promised the game and how will the multiplayer be balanced with so many features. Let’s hope they manage to pull it off!
Release date: July
Creaks is the next game of Amanita Design studio. If this does not ring a bell, I believe titles such as Samorost and Machinarium definitely should. Creaks still carries the same bizarre and otherworldly style so typical of the aforementioned games. It is a clever puzzle game where you manipulate the environment as well as your enemies in order to progress to the next set piece. There is also some light platforming sprinkled in for good measure. To be honest, it kind of reminds me of Braid and even The Neverhood, which is not one bit a bad thing. We will see what kind of a strange world we will be thrown in later this month.
4. Isles of Adalar
Release date: August
This one is a very curious case as it draws heavily inspiration from my all time favorite game: Morrowind. What is interesting is that Isles of Adalar does not only aims to capture the spirit and the style of TES III(it even has giant mushrooms, for Azura’s sake), but also replicate it’s modding model. Modders will be able to use the same tools the developers have, meaning that we will be able to see some complex stuff. That is, if the game develops a serious modding community. Isles of Adalar manages to bring a lot of charm, but is yet to be seen whether the foundations are solid enough, i.e. whether there is enough of a game to begin with. If Isles of Adalar provides enough entertainment from the start and manages to generate enough of a following, this could easily be one of the most interesting RPGs of the year.
3. Rogue Legacy 2
Release date: July 23
The successor of more innovative rogue-lites out there, Rogue Legacy 2 aims to be harder, better, faster, stronger, meaning improved in every aspect. For the unacquainted, Rogue legacy tasks you with the uneasy quest of saving a cursed kingdom. In typical rogue-lite fashion you will probably not be able to do this in your first try and you will die. Let’s be honest, you will probably die a lot. The kicker is that in every run you play as a successor of your previous character. This means every time the hero has a different class as well a specific trait. Said traits can be positive like ADHD, which improves your move speed, negative like Near-sighted, which blurs the farthest areas of the screen, or such that are there just for the hell of it, like the trait where your hero farts every time they jump. Rogue legacy puts a charming spin on the whole metroidvania genre and it’s sequel aims to add lots of new stuff that are bound to improve the game in every aspect. Oh, and also, clowns…
Release date: August 28
On first glance Windbound looks to be quite similar to Craftopia. Both games fit in the survival/crafting/exploration category and both seem to artistically draw heavy inspiration from The Legend of Zelda. Yet, Windbound feels like the more focused game. It is a single player experience where you explore a mysterious archipelago and search for a way to escape it. Along the way you will uncover ancient ruins that hold the secrets to a civilization long gone. You will craft tools in order to survive, but you will also need to update your boat. Similar to The Wind Waker, traversing the ocean plays a big part in the game. Windbound adds a layer of depth(pun intended) as you will need to be aware of the direction of the wind and of other types of difficulties such as coral reefs. Add to that a procedurally generated world, which would add an additional level of replayability and Windbound has definitely set sail to be a hit.
Release date: July 15
We can never have enough cutesy Pokemon clones, I guess. While the core idea is similar to the abovementioned ultra popular title, Oobles takes it’s own spin and adds some sweet ideas. After you defeat an ooblet, you don’t capture it, rather it will drop seeds, which you use to grow your own version of the critter. Farming also helps you provide food for your tiny ooblet army. You can also decorate your house and there appears to be a lot of customization of your character as well. When you are done farming and playing dress up, you can venture into the world, explore it, find new ooblets and other trainers to challenge. Oh, and your ooblets fight in the form of a dance battle! What’s not to like?! Charming and highly energetic, Ooblets seem the perfect game to help PC gamers fill that Pokemon void.
So there you have it, these are some of the finest indie titles you can lose yourself in this summer. Pick one(or more!), take a few days off, make sure you are stock on essentials such as pizza and coffee and you are set for a cool gaming vacation.