Pictured above: Drawful 2
Last week was very light on new indie releases, which is probably a good thing considering that the Steam Summer Sale is well underway. The most noteworthy release was Mighty No. 9, which either turned out okay or was the rotten cherry on top of a poorly managed Kickstarter campaign, depending on who you ask. On a lighter note, Jackbox Games released a new version of Drawful as well.
As usual, I can't comment on how good any of these games are. I'm just here to share some promising new releases I found last week that you may not have heard of. Remember to tell your friends about any cool games you discover from this list; most of them haven't received any sort of mainstream coverage.
VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action
My personal pick for the most exciting indie release of the week is VA-11 Hall-A. Set in a bleak dystopian future, VA-11 Hall-A doesn't task you with being a corporate enforcer or elite hacker like in other cyberpunk games, but rather places you in the shoes of a humble bartender. This visual novel focuses on the daily lives of a diverse cast of quirky characters and your interactions with them at the titular bar. VA-11 Hall-A features a branching storyline with many potential outcomes based on the drinks you serve to your clients, and the ensuing drunken conversations.
Flying Helmet Games
Continuing the trend of unique games, Eon Altar is an episodic co-operative RPG that is controlled via smart devices. Designed purely with local multiplayer in mind, up to four players can sync their iOS or Android device to the game by downloading a free app. All the action takes place on the big screen, but players use their smart devices to keep track of stats and control their characters in turn-based battles. Eon Altar further utilizes the smart device control scheme by giving each player secret quests and information the other players don't know about. The second and third episodes are due in Fall and Winter 2016.
Into the Belly of the Beast
Into the Belly of the Beast is a colorful adventure game that reminds me a lot of the Sparkle series. You play as a sploosh, a type of sea worm that has been swallowed whole by a monster. Much like in Sparkle, the gameplay of Into the Belly of the Beast is based on eating other organisms to absorb their DNA and evolve your sploosh. Absorbing DNA gives you access to new abilities, and even alters how the environment and enemies react to your presence.
In prog.1, you play as a sentient computer virus that was accidently created by scientists attempting to build a digital universe. Now that you've been unleashed upon this artificial landscape, your virus seeks to explore it's new world while the scientists work frantically to delete it. The game offers 48 levels of platforming and puzzle solving at a fairly cheap price, so it may be worth checking out.
I'm not usually one for "walking sims," but the awesome visuals and interesting ideas in Breached caught my attention. This "walking sim" is actually about flying drones around a desolate landscape as you struggle to survive. You play as Corus Valott, who has just awakened from cryogenic slumber with no knowledge of what happened. With only 8 days of oxygen remaining, you'll need to send out drones to scavenge for resources, dig through corrupted computer files, and ultimately figure out what happened and how you can survive your impending suffocation.
That's all for this week. I'll be back soon with more indie release highlights.
Frank currently writes for Indie Game Source and Bell of Lost Souls. You can follow him on Twitter @Frank_Gaming for updates on future articles and general Twitter ramblings, though you probably shouldn't for your own sanity.