Boy, has it been a crazy year for gaming! Well, perhaps I should say that March was a crazy year for gaming. Of course, there were the unfortunate cancellations of major events like the annual Game Developers Conference, and many games had their release dates pushed back in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these disruptions to the gaming industry, however, March obliterated the dry release schedule and brought some amazing games to Xbox One: Call of Duty: Warzone, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and Doom Eternal. All of these are great games in their own right even though each one of them is a sequel or follow-up to an existing game. But, if you are anything like me, you might be craving something new. Luckily for us, [email protected] recently showcased an enormous lineup of upcoming and exciting indie games that I think you are going to want to see.
Let us whet our appetites for indie game delights with a game to play long into the night(s). Bird Bath Games’ Atomicrops takes a look at cute farming games like Stardew Valley and says, “I like what I am seeing, but what if you had to cultivate and defend a farm while in a nuclear post-apocalyptic wasteland?”.
The game offers a large variety of crops to produce, and NPCs to marry and recruit for your radioactive farm work. The combat looks like a delightful bullet-hell romp with plenty of weapons to keep mutated enemies at bay.
If all of that sounds good to you, then you will not have long to wait; Atomicrops comes to Xbox One on May 28th.
2. Edge of Eternity
If you find that nuclear wastelands are not really your thing, perhaps you would prefer the beautiful landscapes in Edge of Eternity. Well, ok, I guess there is an all-consuming force of evil called the Corrosion that you must set out to stop and destroy, but it all looks great!
Midgar Studio is creating this JRPG adventure with only nine developers. That fact alone makes the visuals even more impressive. As you seek to end the Corrosion, you will join Daryon and Selene in an epic quest with some tactical turn-based combat and a brilliant musical score.
Edge of Eternity is in Early Access now, but it will also be available on Xbox Game Pass when it has a full release later this year.
3. Unto the End
Raise your hand if you like revenge stories. That should be all of you, because they are amazing. Unto the End by 2 Ton Studios is ready to prove me right due to the game looking awesome.
In this 2D cinematic adventure, you take the role of a vengeful father who must traverse an untamed wilderness and overcome gruelling obstacles. The game has no HUD of any kind and dying can happen in a single hit. As difficult as that may sound, the combat looks like it is tuned to perfection. Your attacks and that of your enemies carry a great weight to them that make encounters look and feel intense.
Unto the End will come to Xbox Game Pass later this year, so make sure you have your best pillow on hand to suppress any screams of frustration.
4. Moving Out
Though some games make us scream because of difficulty, others make us scream because we play them with our lovable yet frustrating friends. SMG’s Moving Out takes all of the anger-inducing joy of moving and brings it to your living room.
Immediately, you can see the game has a lot in common with the Overcooked series. Not only in the cute, cartoony style, but you will only reach the end of each objective-based level if you are able to cooperate and coordinate with your multiplayer partners. Of course you can play the game by yourself, but where is the fun in that? If you play with others, you have someone else to practice your Ross Geller impersonation on.
You will be able to yell “Pivot!” at all your loved ones when you start Moving Out on April 28th.
However, if you want to get a taste of our initial thoughts on the game, our preview piece can be found here.
5. The Red Lantern
Once you have had all that you can of other humans, you might find yourself wanting to get away from it all. Maybe, like the protagonist of The Red Lantern, you will find that the best way to do that is to head up to Alaska and rough it in the woods with some sled dogs.
As you seek to compete in the Iditarod race, you may find that the woods can be a bit harsh. You will have to hunt and scrounge for food, keep yourself warm, keep your pups healthy, and fight off the occasional bear.
You know, on second thoughts, maybe you should just play Timberline Studio’s The Red Lantern when it comes to Xbox Game Pass this year. It would be a lot more affordable, and you might not lose a limb.
You would not want to lose your own limb, but it can be great fun to make others lose theirs. The studio One More Level understands this, and that is why they are working on Ghostrunner.
In a way that reminds me of Mirror’s Edge and Titanfall, your goal is to first-person parkour your way through a series of levels and slice up baddies with a futuristic sword. Even the slightest mistake means starting over, but the developers understand how frustrating that can be so there is hardly any waiting time in between your attempts.
All of this frenetic, fast-paced action is nicely wrapped in some cyberpunk aesthetics that succeed in standing out against others of the genre. You may begin your robotic-ninja rampage later this year when Ghostrunner launches on Xbox One.
7. Drake Hollow
Hold on, because we are doing a huge genre jump from a single-player, sci-fi game, to a cooperative, multiplayer, fantasy one. Drake Hollow comes to us from the team at Molasses Flood.
In their own words, Drake Hollow is an “action village building” game. Shortly after you are transported to a mysterious world called the Hollow, you find yourself tasked with helping the locals known as Drakes (wonder where they got the name of the game?). Either by yourself or with friends, you will gather resources to build homes and provide other essentials for your little vegetable friends until they can help you find your way back home.
Oh, and occasionally you will have to fight off fiendish monsters that are hellbent on eating your plant-like buddies. Drake Hollow will launch on Xbox Game Pass, and I personally cannot wait to try it.
8. Bartlow’s Dread Machine
What if a video game was created 100 years ago? That is the driving idea behind Bartlow’s Dread Machine. Blessed be the wonderful mind of Clayton Kauzleric, this game’s creator and creative director.
This literal rail shooter brings the early 1900s to life in a way that only video games can. You, and a friend if you have one to hand, must journey through a world of tin and copper to save United States President Teddy Roosevelt. Along the way, you will marvel at the game’s clockwork aesthetics, snappy controls, and crazy weapons in one of the most refreshingly original game ideas I have ever seen.
The game is set to release at some point this year, but it cannot be soon enough.
Every game that has been on this list so far has had some form of epic, crazy, or intense action. Let us now slow things down with Spiritfarer by Thunder Lotus Games.
In this cosy management game, you play as Stella: the ferrymaster to the deceased. Morbid as that may sound, the game offers relaxing and accessible gameplay as you ferry souls to their final destination. Along the way, you will learn more about each charming character you encounter and explore a world that is dripping with imagination and wonder. Add to that unique premise the jaw-droppingly beautiful animation of the game, and you have something that looks truly special.
Spiritfarer launches on Xbox Game Pass this year but, tragically, it does not do so tomorrow.
10. West of Dead
I cannot say anything about this next game that will be more effective in communicating how wonderful it looks than the game itself. With West of Dead, Upstream Arcade has made something that really stands out.
As a cowboy without a name, (but with a flaming skull for a head) you must vanquish evil spirits that linger in Purgatory while piecing together the mystery of your past.
After playing the game’s demo, I can assure you that the combat has a wonderful flow to it. Weapons deliver a satisfying punch, while the clever combination of twin-stick and third-person shooters makes it feel familiar and brand new at the same time. Add the game’s Western stylized visuals and the exceptional voicework of Ron Perlman, and you have a formula for one of the best looking games of 2020.
When it launches on Xbox Game Pass, you will probably not hear from me for a while.
So there we go, 10 of the most exciting upcoming Xbox One indie games – games that you will not want to miss. But what is your most hyped indie experience? What are you seriously looking forward to playing? The comments section is down below.