TOP 20: INDIE GAMES 2021

 The Steam Game Festival recently showed again how diverse and good indie games can be. We are taking this as an opportunity to introduce you to 20 of the most promising projects that should appear this year. From the bizarre gameplay experiment to the wonderful action adventure, everything is included.


20: Lost Words: Beyond the Page

Go on an adventure with just words? That is basically the principle behind Lost Words: Beyond the Page. Because by using words as items, you are driving the story forward. Puzzles are also solved in this way: for example, the word "rise" causes a platform to rise. You can only use some terms once, while others are part of your inventory. The combination of creative process and picturesque presentation ensures a special gaming experience. The finished adventure, the warm-hearted story of which comes from Rhianna Pratchett, is due to appear for various platforms later this year.


Lost Words: Beyond the Page

19: Loop Hero

An evil wizard has thrown the world into chaos. As a loop hero, you have to collect resources to build a safe village for the people who are still alive. Your warrior always runs along the same route and automatically fights against the opponents. You collect various extras with which you can change your path. Then, among other things, spiders and vampires appear, which bring in better resources. You will also receive weapons and armor parts with which you can improve your warrior. So you try to survive as long as possible and at the same time collect a lot of resources for building the village. The big goal is to find a way out of the loop for you and the village. In keeping with the special process, a graphic was chosen that, with its reduced style, seems to come from the early days of adventure games.

Loop Hero

18: Minute of Islands

Minute of Islands puts you in the role of the young mechanic Mo. She lives with her family on a group of islands that used to be populated by giants. They installed powerful machines to keep the island alive. To keep it that way, Mo has to go and repair the mystical devices. So you explore the world and use a magic wand to interact with the environment and solve puzzles. The story should be a very important factor and be driven by your actions. You can expect loving, hand-drawn graphics, which with their strong contours and strong colors are reminiscent of a comic book and have meanwhile become something like the trademark of the German developer Fizbin, who also made the dearest adventures of the Inner World series.

Minute of Islands

17: Industria

Shortly before the end of the Cold War, Industria ends up in East Berlin, a parallel world. As a young woman you are looking for your missing work colleague there. You experience a surreal version of the GDR, which is guarded by bizarre robots. In a mixture of sneaking and fighting, you move through the world and look for clues to the whereabouts of your employee. But it quickly becomes clear that this parallel world hides a dark secret. In general, history should be the focus of the Industria, which is set up to last a few hours. The developers of the German-Scottish co-production even compare their game with David Lynch and Half-Life 2.

Industria

16: Tunche

Tunche leads you into the Amazon jungle with one of five warriors. There you have to take on all sorts of wacky enemies that have sprung from an old Peruvian legend. In terms of gameplay, Tunche is similar to a beat-'em-up with an RPG influence. The combat system based on combos should reward your offensive achievements: If you proceed aggressively and line up attack after attack, you will get better upgrades. The multiplayer mode is really good, because the four of you can swing your fists here. Tunche's graphics are hand-drawn and feature pretty animations and lots of details on characters and opponents. So there is not only a lot to beat up, but also a lot to see.

Tunche

15: Little Devil Inside

In Little Devil Inside you go on dangerous missions as an adventurer. You are supposed to get all kinds of information about rare lands, mysteries and special animals for a professor. In order for you to be able to do this, you have to plan a mission in advance and equip yourself properly. A lot of dangers await you, including brittle ice, deep abysses, wild animals and towering monsters. Your missions lead into forests and deserts, on the high seas and into winding caves. After your work is done, you return to your home to recharge your batteries and prepare for the next mission.

Little Devil Inside

14: SkateBIRD

Forget Tony Hawk, this is where birds come on skateboards! Behind SkateBIRD is a fun sport game that is not meant to be taken very seriously. Just like in the prototype, it's all about cool tricks and high scores. The flutter men throw themselves into halfpipes, jump over ramps and slide over every imaginable edge. However, this does not happen in large skate parks; rather, human living rooms are misused. From the desk to the television to the cardboard box, everything that the facility has to offer can be driven on. And as if the birds weren't looking cute enough during their stunts, you can still put scarves and hats on them!


SkateBIRD

13: Timberborn

Build-up strategy with beavers - this information is actually enough to make a note of Timberborn. In fact, you have to create a new civilization with a gang of rodents, because they were the only species to survive the apocalypse. With your troops you build houses and factories and divert the water so that the fields are irrigated. And because beavers love wood, practically everything is made from this material. Later, however, metal is also necessary so that the hard-working population can enjoy their free time with a ride on the beaver carousel.

Timberborn

12: Road 96

In Road 96 you try to escape from the authoritarian land of Petria. You have a long journey ahead of you, which leads along endless roads. On the way you will experience very different characters and moments that fluctuate between funny and highly dramatic. In all of this, however, you alone determine with your decisions how it goes on. Because the trip is also generated procedurally, you shouldn't experience a situation twice. Developer Digixart got the inspiration for Road 96 from Tarantino and Coen films, among others. And just like in the role models, Road 96 should be funny, crazy, thoughtful and action-packed.

Road 96

11: The Last Faith

Metroidvania couldn't look more beautiful! The Last Faith, financed by Kickstarter, relies on extremely detailed pixel graphics, the Gothic design of which clearly bows down on the great Castlevania series. With the main character Eric you explore a world that has been overrun by demons, zombies and other diabolical creatures. Sword, ax, spear, whip and other weapons are used against roaming cannon fodder and huge bosses. A large and coherent game world should not be missing either. The fact that the project is met with a lot of approval is evident in the financing: With around 210,000 pounds, enough money has already been raised to enable additional modes and English voice output.

The Last Faith

10: The Ascent

Cyberpunk is all the rage right now. The Ascent also takes you into a future of neon lights, robots and crazy technology. Nevertheless, the developer Neon Giant takes a slightly different path than the colleagues from CD Projekt RED. From the isometric perspective, you will experience a shooter, including role-playing, alone or in a cooperative manner. While you are shooting at your opponents with all kinds of weapons, some things are broken in the detailed surroundings. You can expect different urban areas, ranging from the slums to the luxury district. There is no shortage of loot on the way either, because you collect plenty of items with which you can continuously improve your character.

The Ascent

9: RetroMania Wrestling

Those who still know icons like Hulk Hogan and the Macho Man could find their luck with RetroMania Wrestling. The game is the official successor to the arcade title WrestleFest from 1991. And just like back then, it is fully based on pixel graphics. The 16 playable characters are a colorful mix of old warriors like the Road Warriors and current fighters à la Zack Saber Jr. and Colt Cabana. The game modes include Tag Team, Cage Match and the Retro Rumble. With all of this, fun and accessibility are the order of the day. From February 26th you can distribute loads of Bodyslams on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC.

RetroMania Wrestling

8: Hidden Deep

Carrion meets barotrauma meets The thing from another world: The 2D thriller Hidden Deep, which is brought out by Daedalic, takes you deep under the ocean. You and your team should explore an extensive cave system there. However, the research mission quickly develops into a struggle for survival, because you encounter alien creatures and deadly traps. Your team of four must work together to overcome abysses, activate switches and clear entrances. Special equipment is available for this, including winches, drills and scanners. So you try to get to the bottom of the terrible secrets in the deep. In addition to the story mode, Hidden Deep should also contain an endless version with randomly generated levels.

Hidden Deep

7: Goodbye Volcano High

This looks like a Netflix series! And the sequence of the adventure Goodbye Volcano High is very reminiscent of it. The story revolves around a group of dinosaur teenagers who are about to graduate from high school. They are looking for meaning in life and great love, without realizing that not only will their school days end soon. According to the developers of KO_OP, you want to create a feeling similar to what you get when you binge-watch your favorite series. In the game, however, you are not a spectator, but actively intervene in the action. Goodbye Volcano High will appear in the console area first for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. There will also be a PC version.

Goodbye Volcano High

6: Adios

Adios takes you to a pig farm. But it's not about life as a farmer. Instead, you and your animals dispose of the remains of people who were killed by the mafia. But now you've had enough of the dirty job and want to quit. But on the very day on which she makes this decision, the mafia assassin comes by with a new "delivery". From now on he tries to dissuade you from the planned exit - otherwise he would have to kill you. It is now up to your decisions and actions whether you survive the day or end up with the pigs yourself...

Adios

5: Season

In Season she accompanies a young woman on a special mission. With your bike you travel a world that is on the verge of destructive change. Before that happens, you have one last opportunity to collect as many impressions as possible. Equipped with a camera, audio recorder and notebook, you try to document people, animals, places and events for posterity. But because there is not much time left, you have to decide what to hold onto - and what will be lost forever. Season's design is as unusual as the plot. Scavenger's studio was influenced, among other things, by early Japanese woodcuts and poster artists from the mid-20th century. The result is a unique look, somewhere between cel shading, anime and paintings.

Season

4: 12 minutes

Actually, you just want to spend a cozy evening with your wife in 12 minutes. But it quickly turns into a nightmare: A police officer rings the doorbell, accuses your wife of murder and then kills you in a scuffle. As a result, you experience these twelve minutes over and over again. However, you can influence the repetitions by making other decisions. In this way, you gradually gain new insights that will help you break the terrible time warp. The speakers for the three main roles should also ensure a dense atmosphere, because they are top-notch cast with James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley and Willem Dafoe.

12 minutes

3: Axiom Verge 2

The predecessor is one of the best Metroidvanias in recent years. With Axiom Verge 2, developer Thomas Happ remains true to his line. 8-bit graphics, a coherent game world, crazy weapons and helpful items also form the basic structure of the sequel. However, the successor will not be a mere copy. This time it goes into a previously unknown part of the bizarre alien world from the previous one. With the new protagonist Indra you have to find your way through vast areas that are again paved with enemies, secrets and dexterity. Again you have access to various weapons and helpful items that are hidden all over the world. Axiom Verge 2 is available for Nintendo Switch and is exclusive to the Epic Game Store.

Axiom Verge 2

2: Kena: Bridge of Spirits

The pretty action-adventure was first introduced during the PlayStation 5 Showcase last June. Kena: Bridge of Spirits takes you with the eponymous heroine into a fantastic world. As a soul guide, you gather around you little spirits called rottenness. You form the cute comrades into a team to explore an abandoned village. You use the ghosts to solve puzzles and skill tasks. But your helpers also get involved in fights: for example, they hold down enemies so that you can attack them with Kena's bow or fighting staff. In the course of the game you increase the skills of the companions and thereby unlock new playful possibilities.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

1: Stray

Stray has had a permanent place in our hearts since it was announced. The adventure in which you steer a cat through a futuristic world looks just beautiful! In the first trailer, the sweet velvet paw wanders the alleys and streets of a city that is only populated by robots. According to developer Annapurna Interactive, Stray is supposed to be an action adventure in which you explore the metropolis and experience action passages. Together with the unusual design, this looks like a potential bang - not just for cat lovers!

Stray


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