The Best Indie Games of E3 2018

It’s time to take stock as another E3 comes to an end.

E3

Every year E3 gives gamers plenty to get excited about. While the headlines are often saturated with triple-A offerings that will make your graphics card wheeze and your wallet feel pretty empty, this year we had our noses pressed to the screen for all the indie offerings on display.

Sure, triple-A has got the big guns (quite literally), but does it have tiny vibrant foxes solving puzzles? A restaurant simulator constantly in chaos? And a DLC for the most difficult cup-related indie we’ve ever seen? Nah.

Here we round up all the best bits of E3 2018’s indie game offering.

 

1. Tunic

He’s cute, he’s got a tiny sword, he’s a fox; what isn’t there to love about this sneak peak of Tunic’s vibrant gameplay?

Described by publishers Finji as an ‘action adventure about a tiny fox in a big world’, Tunic sees players exploring a beautiful blocky wilderness, where spooky creatures and terrible monsters await.

We’re suckers for art styles as good as this and with Finji’s last release, Night in the Woods, becoming such a success, the news of this release is exciting indeed.

Release Date: 2019

 

2. Sable

Sable has been getting a lot of attention on social media for its unique art style for quite some time. Originally catching eyes after the game’s designer Gregorios Kythreotis tweeted a gif of its titular character, Gregorios’s Twitter feed has been a treasure trove in small, beautiful Sable animations ever since.

In this coming-of-age tale, players will go on a deeply personal journey across an alien planet as the young Sable, exploring ancient monuments, ruined architecture, and ships fallen from the cosmos.

From the trailer shown at E3, movement through this world looks nothing short of bewitching. Considering the gameplay’s focus on discovery and plot progression through open-world exploration in the striking desert, we’re assuming its a story of adventure. There’s even a hoverbike involved… be still my Dune-loving heart.

Release Date: 2019

 

3. Sea of Solitude

In Sea of Solitude, loneliness can turn people into monsters. This is the fate that has befallen the game’s protagonist Kay. While she sails across a flooded town in search of her monster self, she finds others like her; creatures that when turned back, may be the key to returning to the human she once was.

It’s an interesting concept and its new trailer is captivating for this reason and for the way this flooded environment ebbs and flows as Kay sails atop it. This is sure to be one to keep an eye on.

Release Date: 2019

 

4. Neo Cab

 

Joining the ranks of games focused on the future of a technologically advanced human race, Neo Cab takes us down a previously unseen route.

In this world, AI has taken over most aspects of daily life, including transportation, as self-driven cars dominate the landscape. Neo Cab’s protagonist Lina drives one of the last human-driven cabs in this near-future realm. Trying to keep a balance between gaining money through fares and keeping a good star rating, Lina has her work cut out attempting to get through to the techno-obsessed masses.

In Neo Cab’s E3 gameplay trailer, we get a real sense of the kind of conversation we might have in this neon-painted narrative game. It certainly looks like an emotive ride.

Release Date: TBC

 

5. Afterparty

The concept of Afterparty is pretty simple. You and your best bud have died, damned to live in hell for eternity. But, there’s a loophole. If you can drink Satan under the table, he’ll grant you re-entry to Earth. Okay, maybe it’s not that simple.

At E3 we were given a good chunk of gameplay to get an insight into Milo and Lola’s demise. From the snappy, swear-ridden dialogue of this snippet, it seems like Afterparty could be a snarky hit, with the consumption of different drinks opening up a plethora of dialogue options.

For now, its release date is slated as some time in 2019, but we’re sure the creators of hit Oxenfree won’t disappoint.

Release Date: 2019

 

6. The King’s Bird

Serenity Forge announced their vibrant geometric platformer, The King’s Bird, and this teaser trailer shows off the game’s reliance on fast-paced movement.

This unique momentum-based flying mechanic sees players run, jump and fly through the kingdom of a tyrant, in search of the secrets kept within. At the moment the rest of the game is also in the realm of the unknown, but we’re looking forward to finding out more.

Release Date: 2018

 

7. Overcooked 2

E3 2018 also saw the announcement of the much-anticipated sequel to Overcooked, Overcooked 2, which sees the same perfect recipe of fun, chaos and cooking.

In Overcooked 2 you can team up with up to four plays to manage your own restaurant and throw ingredients at your playmates, all while the environment dramatically changes at a moments notice.

Slated to come to PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on August 7th 2018, Overcooked features local and online multiplayer. Get cooking!

Release Date: 7 August 2018

 

8. Ashen

Originally showcasing a trailer at last years E3, Ashen is moving closer to a release date, demonstrating further gameplay at this year’s E3.

As its Steam page describes ‘Ashen is an action RPG about a wanderer in search of a place to call home’. With a gameplay focus on the player forging relationships with individuals in this transient world, the player must guide those they trust to camp, and together you might just stand a chance.

Release Date: 2018

 

9. Cuphead Gets DLC     

Do you want to put yourself through Cuphead’s difficulty level again? Seriously? Well, apparently you’re not alone.

Cuphead has a DLC on its way, cleverly named The Delicious Last Course. While we don’t know much about it yet, the trailer revealed at E3 gave us a sneak peek at a new playable character Legendary Chalice.

Release Date: 2019

 

10. KIDS

KIDS comes at us a little out of left field. A short interactive animation drawn by Michael Frei, KIDS may be more of an experience than a game, but its experimental nature certainly makes it one to watch out for in the future.

Release Date: TBC

 

11. My Friend Pedro

Looking like a mix between Deadpool and John Wick, My Friend Pedro got plenty of attention at this year’s E3, and not just for all those promotional bananas the press team handed out.

My Friend Pedro is a balletic 2D action platformer, seeing the protagonist gracefully leap over tables and bad guys whilst shooting everyone in the face. It looks to be a lot of fun, but won’t be on our screens until 2019.

Release Date: 2019

 

12. Microsoft Acquires Five Indie Studios

A brief intermission from all these fantastic upcoming game announcements: the big news for the independent gaming scene this year came in the form of Microsoft’s announcement of their acquisition of five independent studios.

Playground Games (developers of Forza Horizon), Ninja Theory (Hellbald: Senua’s Sacrifice), Undead Labs, The Initiative and Compulsion Games are all joining the ranks of Microsoft.

We hope this can only be good news for these independent studios, giving them the much-needed resources to continue making fantastic games, but we may not see the real effect of these acquisitions for some years to come.

(Yes, we know this is news and not a game, but we couldn’t not mention it.)

13. Unravel 2

Yarnie, our favourite ball of yarn, has found a friend and with this new blue addition, Unravel 2 gives us a sequel full of the joy of local co-op.

Using the thread of their own bodies to overcome obstacles and move around their world, players can play on their own or get the help of a friend. With an emphasis on tricky platforming, Unravel 2 looks to bring back all the beautiful environments of this friendly world that can now be shared between two.

Release Date: Right Now! It’s already out.

 

14. Ooblets

Combing gameplay elements of both the Pokemon franchise and Stardew Valley, Ooblets is the life simulator that everyone seems to be talking about.

In Ooblets you can manage your farm, grow and train your ooblets, run a shop, explore strange lands, battle wild ooblets and other ooblet trainers, and unlock the mysteries of Oob.

All together now! ‘Ooooob’

E3 2018 gave us a new trailer, now let’s try and make sense of this bonkers world.

Release date: 2018

 

15. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

And last but not least, our (my) personal favourite, Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Looking to be just as emotional as Moon Studios’ Ori and the Blind Forest, the sequel follows on from where we left off, with the addition of a baby owl.

The world is still gorgeous, but according to some gameplay reports, the sequel makes some much needed additions to the world combat options. With an ability wheel giving you access to abilities such as an energy sword, combat looks to be an interesting challenge in this new iteration.

The narrative looks set to be just as absorbing as the original and we can’t wait for it to be released.

Release Date: 2019

 

As always, there looks to be plenty of exciting and unique independent games to look forward to this year and beyond, and with big investors like Microsoft putting more weight behind independent studios, we could be entering a whole new golden era of independent games. Or maybe we’re in one already.

Associate Editor

Kate has been gaming since she could control a mouse. In addition to having a penchant for indie games, Kate had a World of Warcraft account when she was far too young, and has a weakness for any game with ‘RPG’ in the description.

Kate Fanthorpe

Associate Editor Kate has been gaming since she could control a mouse. In addition to having a penchant for indie games, Kate had a World of Warcraft account when she was far too young, and has a weakness for any game with ‘RPG’ in the description.