It’s the 9th of January already? Bugger.
Alright, let’s keep introductions brief. Hello there! Welcome to the Indie Game Lookout of 2019! Here, we’ll be showcasing 10 of 20 games that we are excited for, for one reason or another. We have a lot to cover, from speedboat grinding to out-drinking Satan himself to PS1 memories, so without further ado, let’s get started!
Röki – Developers: Polygon Treehouse
First on the list is Röki, a cozy point-and-click adventure game from two-man team Polygon Treehouse. You’ll play as Tove, a young girl who is responsible for taking care of her younger brother Lars. With their father uninterested in their actions, the pair only have each others company to pass the time, as all three of you are quite isolated from the rest of the world.
Aside from making sure Lars is well looked after, you’ll also be defending yourselves from the likes of monsters based on Scandinavian folklore during the night. With a charming aesthetic, and an atmosphere reminiscent of films like Let The Right One In, Röki looks set to flip-flop between heart-warming adventure, and terrifying nightmares.
Röki is set to freeze your nuts off in late 2019.
Wave Break – Developers: Funktronic Labs
Alright, four-word elevator pitch: “Tony Hawk’s Pro Speedboating”. You heard that right, and that’s exactly what Californian developers Funktronic Labs are creating with Wave Break, a tribute to the aforementioned Pro Skater games. You’ll be grinding, flipping, and frolicking around a tropical “skate” park, all in the comfort of a powerful motorboat.
It has it all! Fast-paced and eccentric tricks! Relentlessly insane combos! Murder! Online multiplayer! The chance to create your very own Love Boat! It’s a true tribute to the Pro Skater-days of old, and all of it presented with the same warmth and aesthetic you’d get from an Animal Crossing game. Rated M for “Motorboating”, Wave Break will be hitting PCs in 2019.
Afterparty – Developers: Night School Studio
Next on the list is Afterparty, the latest game from Night School Studio, the developers of the sublime OXENFREE. Following the adventures of Milo and Lola, two dead best friends spending eternity in Hell, you slum it around “Nowhere” until they discover a loophole in the rules of Hell: If you can beat Satan in a drinking contest, you can return to Earth.
Afterparty very much looks like it’s going to continue the unique gameplay presentation that was present in OXENFREE, but upgraded to the point of becoming more of a playground for fun. For one small example, the various drinks Milo and Lola can knock back and consume over the course of their adventure can have adverse effects on them, leading to new ways to interact with NPCs and the world at large. Ideas like that are why you should keep this one on your radar.
Afterparty is hellbent on making you paralytic in 2019, with it also being available on Xbox Game Pass for free on the day it releases.
The Textorcist – Developers: MorbidWare
Chances are that if you think you can type really bloody fast on a keyboard, then you’ve given SEGA’s The Typing of The Dead a try at some point. If you’ve beaten all of the Typing… spin-offs flawlessly, and crave a bigger challenge, then The Texorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia may be more than up your alley. Play as a private exorcist who travels to the city of Rome in the wake of a demonic outbreak.
Don your keyboards and bibles as you dodge bullet-hell patterns and type out complex Latin scriptures in an attempt to send these horrific beasts back from whence they came! Featuring the Pope, pimps, puns, and an original soundtrack composed by Dark Synthwave artist GosT, The Textorcist is ready to bless your PCs at some point in Q1 2019.
Star Child PSVR – Developers: Game Trust
In the wake of titles like Astro Bot: Rescue Mission and Moss using PlayStation’s VR counterpart for ideas other than first-person exploration, all eyes have been on developers looking to make great games for it. Star Child is one such example of a game like Astro Bot immersing the player without using a first-person perspective to do so.
In what is described as “Super Metroid within a VR headset“, you’ll play as Spectra, a woman exploring a planet uncharted but teeming with alien wildlife. With puzzle-platforming elements put into play, along with a vibe and aesthetic reminiscent of The Swapper, Star Child looks set to be a slow-burn journey.
Previously thought to be released in December of 2018, the fear of cancellation came until publisher Playful came out and said that it was “definitely not canceled“. With that in mind, a 2019 release is looking certain.
Anodyne 2: Return to Dust – Developers: Analgesic Productions
The “Early 3-D PSX Demake” is a rarity. After scouring for quite a while, I could find only one developer trying to make that idea become a mainstream success: RNC, the one-man Spaniard behind FreezeME and Vaccine, titles that missed the mark by inches. However, in the wake of its console release, the developers of Zelda-lite Anodyne have recently announced the sequel, which has much more ambitious intentions, aside from evoking mid-90s low-polygon graphics.
You play as a “Nano Cleaner” by the name of Nova, who needs to keep the low-poly 3-D world of New Theland in tip-top shape by gathering Nano Dust for a mysterious presence known only as “The Center”. How do you get Nano Dust? Simply by transferring to a 2-D landscape with early Zelda-esque gameplay attached. Out of all the games on this list, Anodyne 2 is arguably the most ambitious with its flip-flopping of two different dimensions and contrasting gameplay styles, and we only have to wait until early 2019 to find out if the risk was worth it.
Ape Out! – Developer: Gabe Cuzzillo
Now it’s time for the inevitable double-bill of Devolver Digital titles, with both emphasizing glorious ultra-violence under different perspectives. The first title is Ape Out!, and no, you won’t be getting a fucking Harambe joke, because it’s been two years now. Anyway, you play as an ape locked in captivity, until one day he decides that maybe he wants to cause a little ruckus, and so you do.
It looks frenetic, it looks fast, it’s filled with vibrant color, and it’s all set to an infectious rhythm. Different music tracks and beats will play depending on how you approach the level, with cymbals clashing and clanging as you let the ape grab onto enemies and turn them into chunky salsa. It’s down-to-the-roots top down gameplay put down to its most basic and primal elements, and on the 7th of February 2019, you’ll have a chance to truly let it all out.
My Friend, Pedro – Developer: DeadToast Entertainment
Number two for the Devolver Digital Tango is My Friend, Pedro, a side-scrolling, bullet time-implementing shooter that has you killing everything alive on this planet because a banana told you to. One might look at both this and Ape Out!, and think that both are simply the same thing with different gameplay styles, but Pedro is aiming to be nuanced, graceful, and so goddamn cool. Whereas Ape Out! seeks to be more cathartic via thoughtless actions, Pedro looks to be more meticulous with how it presents its challenges to the player.
Pedro’s main style of takedowns seem to be from the well-animated gun-fu tactics the main character uses, and many trailers have shown off just how graceful he can be in mid-air. Using physics, timing, and some good-old-fashioned front-flips and somersaults to get rid of obstacles in his way, both this and Ape Out! are here to fit different niches. The most common traits they share, however, is that they both look exceptional, and both of these games should be on your list.
AWAY: Journey to the Unexpected – Developer: Aurelien Regard Games
Next on the menu is an FPS with a bit of zest: AWAY: Journey to the Unexpected, an anime-flavored first-person romp with rogue-lite elements. You’ll be playing as a kid who isn’t exactly going to go down in the archives of history as a hero; He might have the confidence, but he’s weak, small, and unable to handle any of the dangers he will be facing. However, he does know people.
If you manage to get on the right side of your new found friends, then you can take over their bodies in order to take care of the obstacles that lie in your path. Beyond that, the aesthetic of AWAY is just dripping in 90s anime influence, from the cutscenes to the visual design altogether, to the upbeat and energetic soundtrack.
Releasing in February 2019, AWAY is set to be a wholesome adventure all about friendship.
Degrees of Separation – Developer: Moondrop
To cap off Part 1 of this feature, we have Degrees of Separation, a puzzle-platformer from Norwegian developers Moondrop. Moondrop is a studio who have been toying around with how inventive they can be with a puzzle-platformer for quite a few years now. Their sophomore release Amphora revolved around physics, and free flash game Kesper’s Keep involving the use of lighting and color, with Kesper’s Keep available to play for free right now, if anyone wants proof. Degrees of Separation continues that trend of attempting to be inventive once more.
You play as both Ember and Rime, two lovebirds who represent fire and ice, respectively, and it’s because of said elements that they cannot fully be together. The game’s themes are one of temperature, and you must use Ember and Rime’s contrasting in order to navigate and complete sprawling maze-like levels that promise new mechanics with each new chapter. With a story written by the boss man Chris Avellone, you only have to wait until February of 2019 once again to get this couple together.
To Be Continued…
That’ll do for Part 1 of our Indie Game Lookout of 2019, and Part 2 will be with you soon. With these ten upcoming games, there will be hyperlinks to their store page (Or a link to their websites, should a store link not exist yet), and Part 2 promises just as much unique titles brimming with creativity, life, and love. We’re talking hot boyfriends! French noir! Cel-shaded adventure! Battle Roya–
No wait! Come back, I was joking!
Owner of the largest collection of indie games in the Western Hemisphere, and TimeSplitters’ biggest fanboy.