Everyone knows the AAA titles coming out of E3, but we got a chance to see three smaller titles that can play with the big boys.
The first indie title you should know about is Guacamelee! from Drinkbox Studios. The developer’s Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is one of my favorite games of this year and a must-own title for the Vita, so I was anticipating my hands-on with the new, Mexican-themed Metroidvania style title.
The first thing that jumps out at you about Guacamelee! is its over the top, humorous presentation. From the main character, a luchadore named Juan, to the sword-wielding skeleton enemies he fights, this game is not trying to blend in with the crowd. Environments are similarly unique and richly animated with lots of color. Oh, and did I mention you could turn into a chicken in order to get through small spaces?
This is all well and good, but it would be a waste if the game didn’t play well. Luckily, while combat doesn’t seem necessarily deep, there are enough special moves, like more powerful directional punches, that should be enough to keep you entertained. A world switching mechanic between the living and the dead adds another layer of complexity. Local co-op and cross compatibility with the Vita and PlayStation 3 versions are also worth mentioning.
This is a game to keep on your radar.
The next game I got to see was Skulls of the Shogun from 17 Bit. Partly inspired by Advance Wars, this arcade turn-based strategy title looks to simplify the classic genre to retain all of the fun without the mess.
In this sense, the developers seem to be on the right track as I had a blast with the game despite the fact I’ve never really been a huge fan of the genre.
Skulls of the Shogun is another indie title that looks fantastic. Featuring undead samurai warriors duking it out, the game has a look all its own.
The final indie I saw on the show floor was Klei Entertainment’s Mark of the Ninja. While the concept of a good 2D-stealth game may have you scratching your head, Mark of the Ninja looks like it could be just that.
True to the stealth genre, you’re better off trying to sneak your way around guards and avoiding fights entirely. If you do get into a tussle though, the best strategy is to pick each enemy off one by one by distracting them and going in for the brutal stealth kill.
You’ll get plenty of tools to aid you including a sword, hookshot and the ability to climb walls.
All of this comes neatly wrapped in a stylish art style with an emphasis on shadows. One great visual the game includes is a “fog of war” that clouds the areas not in your line of sight, making it a wise idea to look before you leap lest you end up surrounded by guards.
All of these titles are scheduled for some time later this year.
Honorable mentions you should look out for include the unique The Unfinished Swan, musical Sound Shapes and pure-fun Joe Danger: The Movie.