The unsung indie game heroes of March.
What a month. The indie world was graced by the likes of barebones survival in Outward, high-stakes investigative journalism in The Occupation, and the seemingly humdrum world of Willowbrooke Post. But what about the titles that didn’t quite hit the headlines? Here are 10 indie games that came out this month that you may not have heard too much about.
10. Fragile Fighter
Marina Hova’s story-driven platformer takes players on a heartbreaking journey of resilience in the face of fragility. Main character Kira travels across snowy peaks with intermittent animated cutscenes introducing players to the reality behind her fantasy world.
Using powerful special skills and power-ups as well as your primary weapon, players must guide Kira through the fantastical world she has created to aid in the confrontation of her fears. Fragile Fighter’s narrative leaks out through hand-drawn animations that reveal a dark storyline bubbling under the surface of your beast-slashing, platform-leaping hijinks. While it’s certainly sad, Fragile Fighter’s storyline goes further, encouraging players to challenge their own fears through Kira’s own personal journey.
9. Tiny Dangerous Dungeons
Tiny Dangerous Dungeons started life as a free browser game but has quietly been growing into a Game Boy-esque masterpiece on the sidelines. This month, that process flowered into a full Steam release featuring brand new levels, new game modes and ‘full game’ features like controller support and a higher resolution. You’ll be glad for that extra fidelity as well, because Tiny Dangerous Dungeons looks gorgeous. If Game Boys were released in 2019, this is what we’d need their games to look like.
The metroidvania places players at the helm of a dungeon-crawling treasure hunter, Timmy. It’s a charmingly down-to-earth adventure that takes gaming back to its handheld roots with a lovely veneer finish. Explore every location and scour the green and grey lands for hidden loot and abilities, opening secret rooms and defeating classic dungeon bosses.
8. When The Darkness Comes
Even When The Darkness Comes’ Steam page acknowledges that it isn’t for everyone. And it’s true, you’ll need to get on board quick if you’re going to enjoy your experience. Nevertheless, once you’re in sync with the game, When The Darkness Comes places a powerful tale at your fingertips.
A walking simulator that revels in the meta, you’ll progress through the dark, bizarre corridors with what seems to be the developer themselves at your side. A horror game with one foot in The Stanley Parable’s narrative mastery and another in Depression Quest’s honest portrayal of personal exploration, When The Darkness Comes is a world of despair and confusion, with just the right amount of step-back-and-remember-to-breathe moments.
A minimalist puzzle game is one thing, a minimalist puzzle game where you first have to work out what the challenge actually is, is something completely different. What initially presents as a compilation of blocks and shapes soon morphs into a zen-like puzzle solving meditation indie game.
Each of ETHEREAL’s 4 game worlds offers new means of interacting with the level around you, without the time pressure usually associated with level based puzzlers. Instead, you’re left to drift along to the gorgeously responsive sound design and enjoy a world built around colour and logic.
6. Tick Tock: A Tale For Two
Perhaps it’s the intrinsic co-op nature of Tick Tock, or perhaps it’s the unfortunate name it shares with the current blight of social media, but Other Tales Interactive shared adventure has flown under the radar since its release this month.
Played across two devices, each player carries half of the game in their hands, meaning each has the answer to the other’s puzzles. Escape the eerily sinister world of Tick Tock by solving these puzzles and learning about the town you have found yourself trapped in. With a rich Scandinavian fairy tale backdrop and an intuitive collection of satisfying challenges and mysterious locations, this truly is a co-op adventure like no other.
Tabs’ perfect afternoon consists of a cuppa, a biscuit tin, and a good RPG. When she’s not writing, commissioning and editing indie game features, she’s writing for her own blog, Musings Of A Mario Minion.