The [email protected] Indie Showcase, on the whole, was a pretty great show. The format certainly needed some tightening up and I would have preferred an evening to smack-dab in the middle of Friday. However, where it truly counts, the games are where the show shined, particularly as there was something for everyone. From point-and-click-adventures to life simulations. From roguelikes to isometric RPGs. From first person shooters to platformers. From… well, you get the picture. There truly was something for everyone, and for me, these were the top 10 standouts. I must remind you, this is just my personal opinion and more an insight into my tastes than anything else. They showed off 54 games at this event and it is more likely than not that we all have very different lists.
Voidtrain had me gripped from the start. A survival game taking place on and surrounding a train is a very novel concept. While the survival genre is a very competitive space these days, what with ARK: Survival Evolved, Grounded, Valheim and others, what is here still looks incredibly interesting and should help the game find an audience going forward.
Needless to say, I’ll be hopping aboard.
9. Moonglow Bay
Moonglow Bay deserves a spot on this list alone for being developed and set in Canada. As a Canadian myself, I have a strong sense of patriotism and I could not be more delighted to see more stories set locally.
However, there is far more to this game than merely its setting, and as someone who adores fishing in games like Animal Crossing and Rune Factory, this looks like a nice, relaxing time.
Oh, and it must be said, you can pet the dog and his name is Waffles. That is absolutely adorable.
8. 12 Minutes
I know, I know, this one is lower on the list than I think many are expecting.
12 Minutes dazzled gamers at the 2019 Xbox E3 briefing and has been a staple of these indie shows ever since. It has a star-studded cast including James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley and the incomparable Willem Dafoe.
The concept of a time loop is also a novel one for a point-and-click adventure title. However, I still have questions about how exactly the game plays and while the interview following the trailer did provide some insight, I think I need to get my hands on this one. Either way, I will definitely be jumping in.
7. Second Extinction
Second Extinction is actually already out on PC through Steam but is the type of game that is arguably made for the console audience.
A co-op futuristic shooter from one of the teams owned by Avalanche (the developers of Just Cause), Second Extinction looks incredibly fun, and early impressions of the PC version seem to be extremely positive.
It also just needs to be mentioned that games need dinos again. It’s been a hot minute since we got a traditional Turok game and Dino Crisis has been on ice for eons. Maybe Second Extinction can fill that void (alongside ARK of course)?
6. The Ascent
The Ascent made its debut at the May showcase last year and has dazzled players ever since.
Initially set for the launch of the Series X, it is now a “2021 title” and while details are still vague on its release, one thing is undeniable: it looks great.
The game in many ways modernizes the style of the top-down Action RPG found in the early 2000s with games like The Bard’s Tale ARPG (which you should definitely play on Game Pass), Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and, of course, Diablo. However, it appears to be more than just stuck in the past with gorgeous visuals, an intriguing story, co-op and twin-stick shooting mechanics.
This is definitely one to keep your eye on, but most reading this likely already are.
5. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 has been the source of a ton of hype ever since it was announced last July. The long-anticipated sequel to Shadows of Chernobyl, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 seems to have top-notch production values and an intriguing premise. Oh, and one of the more unique teeth generation systems in gaming.
There was not a ton shown at this recent event, but what was there again visually dazzled.
The game is supposedly set for a 2021 release, but given the scope, I must admit to having my doubts. We can expect more gameplay in the coming months which is definitely worth looking forward to.
4. Blaster Master Zero III
Blaster Master Zero is an absolute masterpiece. A lifeline in the early days of the Nintendo Switch, it really helped keep me entertained once I had seen all there was in Breath of the Wild. Now, the trilogy is coming to a close, and at a minimum, the third game is coming to Xbox where it absolutely deserves to be played.
Xbox players do not know what they have been missing here, and hopefully SUNSOFT and Inti Creates can bring the first two over to Xbox as well.
ExoMecha was easily the highlight of the pre-show before last year’s Summer Games Showcase, and it still looks absolutely stunning.
The game itself almost looks like a blend of Titanfall, Crysis and Halo with some really impressive visual flourishes. Better yet, the game will be free-to-play, meaning it should find a wide audience, especially now that the Xbox Live paywall is being taken down. In short, I know what I’m doing this August.
2. Last Stop
One of the best parts of this showcase was finding games that had been flying under the radar. Supposedly, Last Stop was announced at XO19, but I cannot say in all honesty that I remembered it. However, based on this showing, I feel I will have a hard time forgetting it.
I love body swaps as a narrative device, and actually playing through one is an incredibly intriguing concept. The voice acting seems great across the board, and the game looks incredibly funny, and a whole host of fun.
1. Lost Eidolons
I have been waiting for a game like Lost Eidolons for a good while.
SRPGs are one of my absolute favourite genres, but on the whole, they have been mainly defined by games building off of titles like XCOM and Tactics Ogre/Final Fantasy Tactics. While that style is great, the one that defines games like Fire Emblem, Langrisser and the Tear Ring Saga titles has been few and far between.
So, when a brand new team takes their own spin on this style, you know I’m interested.
What is here looks similar to Fire Emblem Three Houses or Radiant Dawn albeit with a next-gen coat of paint and a more realistic art style. I think there is a ton of promise in this title, and it seems to have somewhat slipped under the radar. One thing is for certain: 2022 cannot come sooner.
So, there we have my picks for the top ten games shown at the [email protected] Indie Showcase. What are your picks? Feel free to sound off on the usual socials or in the comments below.