If I’m honest, it’s the indie gaming scene which is where my heart is at, and with that in mind it could be said I spent far too long hanging around the indie booths at EGX 2017. But by stationing myself in and amongst the smaller titles on show, it also gave me the perfect opportunity to get hands-on with many great games.
I’ve already told you about my favourite games from EGX 2017 – but that list included both Triple-A titles and those games that have come about by the smaller development teams. And now I wish to just focus on those indie games which stole the show!
Yoku’s Island Express
When you get yourself noticed by Team17, you know you are usually on to a bit of a winner. And Villa Gorilla are most definitely on to that with the delightful Yoku’s Island Express.
Taking home the crown of my overall Game of the Show, it is quite obvious that Yoku’s Island Express was going to appear on the list of my favourite indie titles on show at EGX 2017. After all, if you can beat the likes of Forza 7 and Assassin’s Creed Origins, you stand a pretty decent chance against the smaller games out there.
But what is Yoku’s Island Express? Well, simply put, it’s a delightful pinball themed adventure in which you need to help Yoku – a small dung beetle who has been tasked with delivering the post in a strange tropical island – make his way around the brilliantly bright and colourful world ahead. To do so, you’ll need to utilise multiple flippers and slammers, much like you would in a real world pinball title, to fling Yoku from pillar to post and back again.
It runs like a dream, is super smooth and has enough of a draw for both kids and adults alike to ensure it will be a bit of a hit when it releases on Xbox One, PS4, PC and Switch in 2018.
I was a huge fan of the Sniper Elite series and became even more obsessed with Zombie Army Trilogy. So when Rebellion decided to go down a new multiplayer shooting route, I was instantly attracted.
Set in the 1930s, Strange Brigade will take you on a rip-roaring exotic safari adventure like no other. You’ll get to play as one of four intrepid adventurers, as you attempt to fight back against an army of mythological menaces who have been thrown into action by a resurrected Egyptian queen.
Initial hands-on with Strange Brigade will allow you to see the Sniper/Zombie franchise roots, but from there on out things are a completely different kettle of fish. You see, Strange Brigade brings an adventure full of mystery and peril and, should past history prove to be anything, will no doubt be a stunning title to play through with online friends… if only so you can test out each others superpowers at every given opportunity.
Even if you only spent five minutes at EGX, you wouldn’t have been able to ignore the beautiful draw of the musical adventure that was Figment.
But unless you went properly hands-on with the game, you really would never have understood the massive draw it contained.
Released on PC as the show kicked over into its second day, Figment places the gamer into the deepest recesses of the human mind. With the help of some strange characters – both good and bad – you’ll need to navigate your way through a world filled with the strangest thoughts, urges and memories.
But whilst the puzzling aspects of Figment are more than appealing, it is within the musical accompaniment that the game really starts to shine. Melodies kick off with every step and should you consider exploring just a little, will find secrets galore, and further musical masterpieces which will get the feet moving.
Figment will release on consoles within the next few months and after my time spent with it at EGX, it’s now one of my most anticipated titles of 2017.
I’m not sure it’s a good thing that a sentient monolithic structure controls everything that happens in Q.U.B.E. 2, but that’s not to mean I wasn’t hugely interested in what was on offer
After loving the original Q.U.B.E., the sequel was in and amongst my most anticipated games for EGX and at no point through the 20 minutes or so that I had to spend with it was I left disappointed.
It was full of great puzzles, great ideas and absolutely stunning visuals. The hands-on also delivered enough of a background to the story to ensure that it is most definitely one to keep an eye on for when the game releases in full on Xbox One, PS4 and PC at some point in early 2018.
Raiders of the Broken Planet
Raiders of the Broken Planet released worldwide as the show kicked on, but that didn’t mean gamers weren’t still drawn to its glorious visuals and super addictive shooting mechanics.
As an initially free title that comes with Triple-A visuals, it is occasionally hard to remember that Raiders of the Broken Planet is in fact an indie title. But it is, and that confusion is testament to the hard work put in by MercurySteam.
But what is it? Well, it’s a bit of a cross between Gears of War, old school Metal Gear and Overwatch. You’ll find yourself utilising numerous characters and their special moves, harnessing their shooting, melee and stealth skills as you do so, all as you take the fight to those who come between you and glory.
With the prologue delivered for free alongside the first campaign mission, and then numerous paid DLC campaigns dropping at regular intervals throughout the months ahead, Raiders will look to appeal to gamers who wish to play alone, or with others. All campaigns will be playable independently of one another, so the way you go about getting involved is pretty much up to you. But with MercurySteam seeing Raiders of the Broken Planet as a long term assignment, hoping that gamers will help them shape the game as it moves forward, the future is very very bright for shooting fans.
Guns, Gore, Cannoli 2
It was a couple of years back when we first had the chance to go hands-on with Vinnie Cannoli in the original Guns, Gore and Cannoli. Now though Vinnie is back – and he’s been spruced up massively.
The original game was a more than worthy addition to the Xbox Games Store and I remember laughing out loud at the adventures Vinnie found himself in. All I really want from a sequel therefore is that it delivers more of the same, with a few needed refinements ensuring that things are a bit smoother than previous.
And after spending time with Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 I can ensure you that those refinements are already in place. A weapon radial wheel sees smoother integration between weapons, whilst 360 degree aiming is a much needed improvement over the previously limited weapon range. There is also full online and local multiplayer support too and that should be a huge deal to those gamers who struggle to find local friends, but can happily sit down for hours on end with online strangers.
The same visual look – albeit one that seems a bit crisper, sharper and sees the game shown with a more zoomed out style – is still glorious and I don’t remember spotting too much in the way of slowdown, even when a whole ton of enemies were coming the way of Vinnie and his friends.
If there was one game from the show that really showed how a sequel can be done properly, Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 is it.
I can’t let this article go without placing a special mention to the gorgeous looking Forgotten Anne. It’s a game that I had played previously, but with a constantly busy stand integrated into the Square Enix Collective’s overall space, it is one that just seems to get better year on year. Make sure you keep an eye out for it.
But otherwise, that’s it for my top 6 indie games of EGX 2017. Did you play any of the games? Do you agree with these thoughts? Let us know what you think by posting in the comments below.