The Best Upcoming Games in July
Want to explore exotic planets as a space smuggler, or become a time traveller who has stepped back in time and found themself in ancient Rome? A new month is here again, which only means there are more indie goodness to be uncovered. Take a look at these:
Claire de Lune
Probably named after the French poem Clair de Lune by Paul Verlaine, which in turn was the inspiration for the achingly romantic piano masterpiece of the same name by French composer Debussy, Claire de Lune is an interstellar sci-fi FPS that, I hope, harkens to the wistful and introspective beauty of both pieces in its tale. Marooned on an alien but fascinating planet, you’re a smuggler on a quest to find your missing young daughter Claire, who has been separated from you ever since your spaceship’s unexpected crash landing. You’ll need to explore this alien landscape with only your nanogun, which can produce blocks that serve as footholds for traversing through precarious obstacles, as well as a smart-talking AI companion named Arturo. While this setup resembles Portal in its puzzles and the non-lethal use of its iconic gun, it’s also tinged with other space action adventure staples, such as hacking and combat. But most of all, I’m looking forward to an emotive experience–perhaps even a good cry–from this exquisitely rendered game.
Claire de Lune will be released on 13 July.
The Forgotten City
Based on an award-winning mod for The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim–a game that’s decidedly not indie–The Forgotten City is a narrative adventure game set in the Roman empire, where a tragedy has befell a cursed city. Here the Golden Rule–the biblical rule of “do as you would be done by”–is taken to its extreme: the residents of this Roman city will die if any individual decides to commit even a single sin. You’ll play as a time-traveller looking to uncover the identity of the one person who has been planning to break this Golden Rule, by exploiting a time loop to investigate this mystery. At the same time, you’ll explore ancient Rome and question the locals in order to help the city avoid this dreadful fate. With 3 million downloads of the original mod and a national Writers’ Guild award under its belt, The Forgotten City surely is a feast waiting to be savoured.
The Forgotten City will be launched on 28 July.
Eldest Souls is crafted in the vein of the polished pixel art of Hyper Light Drifter and punishing combat of the soulslike genre, where you’ll play as a lone warrior taking on the Old Gods of this dark fantasy universe. It dispenses with the customary warm-ups of tossing hordes of fleshy minions at your sword, instead letting you begin your conquest by pitting you against one of the Old Gods instantly. You’ll probably die a lot, and you’ll probably rage quit a lot too, but for those who relish the satisfaction of overcoming a brutal challenge, do persevere: a treasure trove of rewards and new combat abilities awaits you at the finale of every fight. For the rest of us, at least the pixel animations look very fluid and very, very beautiful.
Eldest Souls will be released on 29 July.
Cyberpunk games are, by now, a staple of both AAA and indie games today, but somehow the allure of neon billboards and the promise of a dystopian tale set amidst societal and moral decay will still draw crowds to them. There hasn’t been a game like The Ascent though, which is a cyberpunk twin-stick shooter that lets you take up arms against a shady megacorporation. Here you’ll pick up both guns and gadgets and mow down cybernetic foes, unearth loot and all sorts of resources from the back alley of slums and the rich abodes of luxury spheres, and customise characters with cyberware and accumulated skill points. While it’s probably not the most imaginative of worlds, it’s still a deeply enticing and flashy one.
The Ascent will see a release on 29 July.
Escape from Naraka
Escape from Naraka looks like hell, but a different sort of hell we usually see in games: one that’s based on Balinese legends and Indonesian mythologies. Buoyed by a enchanting soundtrack performed with Balinese instruments, you’ll be leaping across platforms, dodging all manners of deadly traps and combating demonic beings through a desecrated temple in this first-person action platformer, all to save a loved one, who has been wrestled away from your arms. As par for the genre, you’ll also get to unlock additional abilities, but more than just that, Escape From Naraka looks like an invigorating cultural adventure, set in a rarely depicted universe of mythology within contemporary games.
Escape from Naraka is seeing a release on 29th July.