Spotlight on indie games

Danial Norjidi

The spotlight was on a selection of new indie games making their way to the Nintendo Switch system as the latest Indie World Showcase streamed online on April 14.

The showcase kicked off with Road 96, a game coming to Switch later this year that sees the player go on a procedurally generated roadtrip and discover an ever-evolving story-driven adventure.

Alicia Magistrello and Tristan Hilaire from developer DigixArt spoke during the presentation, saying, “Road 96 is a procedural narrative game, inspired by the road movies of the 90s.

“We put everything we love in road trips: strong emotions, surprises at every turn.This game, it’s travel memories that we’ve made just for you.

“But where we’ll take you, no one knows, because your road is your own.”

Next up was Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield, a 3D runner set in a futuristic Tokyo-style Detroit that tells the story of a character named Wally who has uncovered evidence that can change his city forever.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. PHOTO: DOTEMU

Set for release on May 19, the game’s Creator and Developer Neil ‘Aerial_Knight’ Jones described it as “a narrative runner that captures the spirit of classic games in the genre with a few new features and a lot of style”.

This was followed by trailers for two of publisher Annapurna Interactive’s latest games – Last Stop by Variable State and Hindsight by Joel McDonald.

Launching in July 2021,Last Stop is a single-player third-person adventure set in present day London, where you play as three separate characters whose worlds collide in the midst of a supernatural crisis.

Meanwhile, Hindsight which releases later this year is a narrative exploration game spanning the entirety of a woman’s life, from birth to present day, as she tries to make sense of it all, revisiting her childhood home, sorting through personal belongings and stepping through windows to memories frozen in time.

The showcase continued with a look at skateboarding action-platforming title OlliOlli World, which will be available in winter 2021.

John Ribbins from developer Roll7 spoke on the title by saying, “Skateboarding is a sport and an art form with so much space for creativity and expression, and that’s something we really wanted to capture in our new game.

“We’re embracing the weird, wonderful and diverse sides of skateboarding in a game that’s all about going on a road trip with your friends, finding crazy spots, and of course skating everything in sight.”

Also announced was the immediate availability of Studio Seufz’s The Longing, which is described as “an unusual mix of adventure and idle game”.

“Play as a lonely Shade, the last servant of a king who once ruled an underground kingdom. The king’s powers have faded and he falls asleep for 400 days to regain his might. It is your duty to stay in the earthen palace until he awakens.

“As soon as you start, the game inevitably counts down the 400 days – even when you stop playing and exit the game. It is now up to you to decide what to do with your solitary existence beneath the soil. Don’t stress yourself, you have plenty of time.”

Another immediate release is There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension, a point and click comedy adventure developed by Draw Me A Pixel, in which the player goes on a journey through silly and unexpected video game universes.

As was stated in the showcase, “if you’re looking for something different, something experimental, that’s full of surprises, then look no further”.

Jean-Francois Major from Tribute Games and CyrilleImber from Dotemu then introduced their upcoming title, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, which releases later this year.

“This game is a side-scrolling beat-em-up,” said Cyrille. “We took direct inspiration from the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle games like Turtles in Time. We’re using the classic and famous 87 design with colourful pixel art.”

Jean-Francois added, “We are really happy to have the game coming to Nintendo Switch, as the platform and features fit the project perfectly.”

As is described on the official game page, “bash your way through gorgeous pixel art environments and slay tonnes of hellacious enemies with your favourite Turtle, each with his own skills and moves – making each run unique.

“Choose a fighter, use radical combos to defeat your opponents and experience intense combats loaded with breathtaking action and outrageous ninja abilities.

“Stay sharp as you face off against Shredder and his faithful Foot Clan alone, or grab your best buds and play with up to four  players simultaneously”.

Shown next with a July 20 release date was role-playing game Cris Tales from Columbian developers Dreams Uncorporated.

“Discover a unique combination of branching stories, innovative combat, and classic RPG gameplay in Cris Tales’ exciting and unforgettable exploration of how our actions echo through time. Join the newly awakened Time Mage, Crisbell, and her fantastical companions in a fantasy world facing a grim future.”

To stop a powerful Time Empress and rewrite the future of the land, the player will embark on a harrowing journey across the kingdoms, meeting and recruiting powerful allies to aid in the fight.

“Master their abilities and Crisbell’s unique Time Magic to overcome mighty foes: send them into the past to face their weaker, younger selves; to the future where they’ve succumbed to all the damage of a poison applied in the present; or create your own strategies in this one-of-a-kind combat system.”

Coming to the Switch next year is roguelite action title GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon from developer GuruGuru.

“Showcasing a stylised Japanese aesthetic, GetsuFumaDen delivers a dynamic hack and slash roguelite experience filled with perilous dungeons, fierce boss battles and intense skill-based combat,” shared the presentation. “Delve into the depths of the underworld while mastering a diverse range of weapons and otherworldly powers to drive back the dark forces dwelling within.”

This was followed by Mexican studio Lienzo’s latest project, Aztech Forgotten Gods, which arrives in Fall 2021. This action-adventure game follows Achtli, a young woman who aims to uncover the truth behind her far-future Mesoamerican metropolis. Guillermo Vizcaino from Lienzo then spoke on the upcoming game, saying it was “inspired by one of the most beautiful cultures on the planet” and that it “combines a profound story with a fascinating, action-filled universe”.

Another upcoming title is Skul: The Hero Slayer, which is slated for release in Summer 2021. Developed by SouthPAW Games from South Korea, Skul: The Hero Slayer is a 2D fast action roguelite in which the player guides ‘Skul’ on his quest to single-handedly take on the Imperial Army and rescue his King from captivity. Skul can swap abilities by swapping heads, with a total of 90 available each with their own special abilities as well as numerous upgrades.

To conclude the showcase, a montage of games was then shown, beginning with art of rally, a racing game by Funselektor releasing this summer; co-op puzzle game KeyWe by Stonewheat & Sons, releasing in August 2021; Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective, an adventure puzzle game from Darjeeling launching this spring; adventure game Weaving Tides by Follow The Feathers, which launches this May; classic arcade rail-shooter House of the Dead: Remake by MegaPixel, releasing later this year; dark fantasy 2D action RPG Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights by AdglobeInc / Live Wire Inc, releasing on June 21; 3D adventure game Beast of Maravilla Island by Banana Bird Studios, launching this June; and puzzle platformer FEZ by Polytron, which is available now.