One of the main selling points of the PlayStation 4 (for a lot of independent and emerging game creators) is that Sony has made it patently clear that they aim to support the indie game market. Aside from designing their console to make game development easier for everyone, they’ve also gone out of their way in many instances to provide dev kits to select groups entirely free of charge. If this doesn’t speak volumes about their commitment to the gaming community, we don’t know what does.
Regardless, their efforts are definitely starting to pay off in dividends at least in terms of interesting releases headed our way. 2014 is going to see an incredible number of amazing indie titles released for the PS4, some of which are so cool-looking and polished that you’d swear they were created by some multi-million dollar studio. Here are some upcoming PS4 indie titles to be excited about…
Taking a quick look at Tequila Works’ “Rime” you’d immediately think that it was the project of a much bigger more well-funded organization. In essence you assume the role of a young boy who must escape from an island. Presented without any narration or story cues, you only go on the sounds of the environment and other cues. What makes it infinitely interesting of course is that you’re largely going to be solving puzzles and get to explore a large open world map in the process. Moreover, it will make use of more standardized day / night RPG mechanics as well, cementing itself as a new type of third person adventure game.
Spelunky is definitely a game that’s mostly informed by 2D platforming traditions and as such, incorporates many of the expected tropes into the mix like saving damsels, stomping baddies, gathering treasures and of course, successfully executing tricky jumps. What makes it so interesting of course, aside from its general appeal, is the fact that levels are procedurally generated. In other words, you can’t simply memorize the layout of the game and expect it to be the same way on subsequent playthroughs. Needless to say, this type of mechanic offers incredible replay value as well as delivers that necessary bit of “randomness” which makes the title seem that much more alive.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
There are lots of reasons why “Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture” should be on your list of indie games to get. First off, we’re talking about first-person open world exploration in a creepy, somewhat isolated setting (which should certainly pique the interests of lots of RPG addicts out there). Secondly, this is to be a largely story driven title, with no less than 6 characters filling in the void to explain the chain of events that led to the point in time where the game takes place. Thirdly, it actually details the event of the apocalypse, so those who bask in a constant sense of doom will undoubtedly dig this. Oh yeah, and did we mention that the world was quite large and imbued with great-looking graphics?
Yet another incredible-looking open world title, only quite a bit more colorful and inviting than your typical offerings, Thekla Inc.’s “The Witness” is pretty much all about exploration and solving puzzles. While the entire island is open to explore, it is divided into 10 pieces where the eventual goal is to get to the center mountainous area. In this sense it draws inspiration from many conventional RPG’s but presents a fun experience that’s steeped in exploration without having to resort to integrating violence or combat to keep you intrigued.
No Man’s Sky
It’s incredibly tough to pigeonhole “No Man’s Sky” because it could theoretically encapsulate nearly anything or everything. It features a procedurally-generated universe (that’s right, we said “universe”) where you can essentially explore planets, oceans, and even engage in space-based battles. Needless to say, as a science fiction game, if developer / publisher Hello Games is able to pull this off as described it will no doubt be one of those titles you could endlessly explore for hours, days, months, even years on end.
Yet another title offering procedurally-generated exploration, “Chasm” is a 2D side-scroller with obvious inspiration stemming from a number of landmark titles of the past. Part RPG, part platformer, many die-hard retro fans have actually been waiting for a game like this to drop for quite some time on the PS4. Aside from the standard hack and slash action you’ll face enormous enemies and of course, search for treasure and secrets along the way.
Road Not Taken
Lastly, completing our list we have yet another title which utilizes procedural generation, only this time with more modern isometric / side-scrolling graphics, Spry Fox’ “Road Not Taken”. You’re a ranger, exploring a large and dangerous forest in search of children who’ve lost their way. Naturally, along the way you’ll discover lots of secrets, dangerous foes and other surprises to pique your interests. For the player who enjoys exploration in a charming, animated setting, this game will certainly delight.