EGX 2019 – Our Indie Picks, Part One

EGX 2019 was another fantastic showcase for both AAA and independent games alike. In our first article covering the show, we are going to be picking out some of our highlights from amongst the indie games.

NB. as these games are still in development, platforms are subject to change.

Unto the End – Steam, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Inspired by Dark Souls, The Witness and Mike Tyson Punch Out, Unto the End is an upcoming game from husband and wife team 2 Ton Studios. Such diverse inspirations perhaps shouldn’t work together, but this game certainly does. Set in a Norse-esque world, Unto the End follows a father as he attempts to return to his family. On the surface a 2D hack and slash featuring a diverse array of combat options and requiring some Soulsborne level timing and reactions, where the game really shines is through its subtly branching narrative. Players will be able to make choices throughout, the consequences of which will be seen both in the real world of the game and through dream sequences that break up the action. Make a dubious moral decision and the father (and you) will have to deal with the repercussions of that decision.

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10 Miles to Safety – Steam, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

10 Miles to Safety could be described as a “mobile tower defense game”, and that’s a fair description, but it doesn’t do full justice to the different elements of this game. Part twin stick shooter, part puzzle, part strategy, the game sees you dropped into the middle of a zombie apocalypse, fending off hordes of the undead whilst foraging for supplies. As the name suggests, you are 10 miles from the safety of a nearby military base, and you’ll have to use all your skills to navigate the procedurally generated world and escape the zombie hordes. The further you get the tougher the challenge will be, but you can backtrack (or go sideways) to find better items and resources. Making things more complicated is the day/night cycle, and you’ll want to find a safe space to stay the night before the scary fast zombies arrive. Once you’ve found a defensible spot you’ll want to start building all manner of barricades, obstacles and weapons to slow down the zombie advance. Four player coop is also available, so you can team up with friends to make a journey to safety. Watch out for friendly fire though!

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Narcos: Rise of the Cartels – Steam, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

UK developer and publisher Curve Digital has grown so much in recent years that the term “indie” may not apply to them for much longer. At EGX they were showing Narcos: Rise of the Cartels, a licensed game based on the Netflix series. If you’re a fan of the TV series and/or X-COM style turn-based tactical combat, then this is the game for you. Set in 1980s Colombia, players can choose to side with the DEA or the cartel in a campaign featuring video footage and character likenesses from the show. Just like in X-COM you’ll recruit new members for your team, upgrading their skills and weapons as you go. The game also features some innovative elements, such as aiming reaction shots in a real-time third person view. You’ll have to be careful as you play through though, since the game promises that your choices will have “lasting consequences”.

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RAN: Lost Islands – Steam, PS4

It would take something different for a game to really stand out in the increasingly crowded Battle Royale genre, and RAN: Lost Islands is attempting to do just that by setting itself in the 16th century. Gone are shotguns and sniper rifles, in come katana and flintlock pistols. Up to 100 players find themselves shipwrecked on a series of deserted islands with only their wits and what they can scavenge for company. Choose from between 9 different classes and 3 different factions, then battle it out alone or in team play. Like all good Battle Royales the game needs a way to force players together, and RAN does that with tsunami that flood the game world. You do not want to get caught by one of those…

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And I’ll round off with two student projects from virtually solo developers:

Home Together – tbc

An impressive first effort from games design student Katy Morgan, Home Together is basically Homeward Bound: the game. Players take control of a dog and cat team, who escape captivity and resolve to work together in their search for a home, set against the backdrop of an erupting volcano. Switching between the two animals at the press of a button, you’ll need to use the skills of both to progress.

Follow Home Together on Twitter.

Percipient – tbc

Anyone who has listened to the podcast knows that I’m a fan of Greek mythology, so I was always going to be immediately drawn to this re-imagining of the Medusa myth, acted out by robots in a futuristic Greek temple setting. The game features engaging first person puzzle solving, but what really sets it apart is the extensive dialogue and deeper narrative, that goes beyond many other indie titles. It’s clear that lead designer Natalia Lada is just as passionate about the narrative as she is the gameplay.

Follow Percipient on Twitter.