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Top 5 Indie games you have to play in 2018

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My game of the year for 2017 was an Indie game (Hellblade), and although I don't think we'll soon get something as exceptional, there are a few very promising Indies releasing this year. I love the creative freedom we see in these games, as well as the niche audience it mostly targets. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy big budget titles; I just tend to get bored with the same old thing just with better graphics. I want the bizarre, the controversial, and the unusual.

Over the past few years, we've seen a change in the quality of games from independent video game developers, and some of the best games I've ever played have been Indies. What I've enjoyed most about the Indies that I've played, is that there's always something that shines so brightly that it captures my attention in such a powerful way that the game leaves a permanent imprint on my soul. In To the Moon it was the music, in Dear Esther, it was the landscape, and in Hellblade it was everything.

Not every Indie game can deliver such a profound or enjoyable experience, and to that end, I've selected five titles that stand out for me. I am drawn to these games because of either its subject matter, or because its world carries the promise of something extraordinary.

Below is a bit more detail about each game. Do you have your eye on any Indies coming out this year?

1. The Occupation

If there's one thing I took from my interview with White Paper Games, it's that it is that The Occupation is the right game for the right time.

"A terrorist attack has left 23 dead & has become a catalyst for the creation of The Union Act. A controversial act which threatens the civil liberties of the British population. The day is October 24th 1987 and the next 4 hours will determine the outcome of the act and the future of the country. Events happen in real-time and you must make decisions based on the evidence surrounding you. Is the cost of an extreme action outweighed by the cause of the greater good? You are the reporter. You decide the narrative."

  • Multiple endings
  • Politics is the central theme with immigration at the heart of this debate
  • The world reacts to the player’s actions
  • Edward Snowden controversy was a big inspiration

You can read more about the game in my inter with WPG: Why you should take notice of The Occupation.

2. Jengo

  • Developer: Robot Wizard
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
  • Release date: 2018
  • Previous game: First title

Jengo is a point and click adventure game, and it sounds much like a digital self-portrait of the game industry, or a satirical reflection on all its taboos and holy cows. As I've said before, I think Jengo is going to be a game that will draw strong reactions from people, you will hate it or love it, and it will probably offend us all at some point, but that's exactly why I am so curious to play it. Also, Robot Wizard had me with their 60's art style and Black Cat Bones soundtrack.

"Elsewhere, beyond the realm of the real world, is a lonely place at the edge of the Pixelverse called ‘Old Meta’. A dumping ground for the Nobody-folk who were almost somebody - but have long lost their dreams at a drinking hole in the middle of the desert. Little did they know is that all they needed was a hero... Sadly, considering the nature of forgotten places, no such hero ever came by, so they’ll have to settle on a gamer instead.”

3. Past Cure

  • Developer: Phantom 8 Studio
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
  • Release date: 23 February 2018
  • Previous game: First title

According to Phantom 8, Past Cure is a stealth action game inspired by Inception, Silent Hill, and the Metal Gear series.  You play as Ian, a former elite soldier who is trying to escape the nightmares of his life as a soldier. He has been through a series of experiments that had the unexpected side effect of him acquiring a few unique talents. He can manipulate time and is telekinetic. These powers also have a side effect as it causes Ian's mind to shift between reality and a hallucinogenic state. With the help of his brother, Ian sets out on a journey to discover the truth behind his situation as well as seeking revenge. Past Cure seems to be a game for those who enjoy story-driven games with a psychological thriller twist.  

  • A story-driven supernatural thriller
  • Action vs. Stealth
  • Mind-bending abilities
  • Dreams vs reality 

The recommended PC requirements for Past Cure demands a GTX 1080 TI or AMD's Radeon RX-Vega 64, so I'm hoping for a gorgeous action-adventure with some unexpected plot twists.

4. The Sinking City

  • Developer: Frogwares
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
  • Release date: 2018
  • Previous game: Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter
Frogwares is known for their fantastic Sherlock Holmes series, so I have no doubt that The Sinking City is going to be exactly what they promise – a detective’s love letter to the H.P. Lovecraft universe.
 

"Taking place in the 1920s, The Sinking City is a game of adventure and investigation set in an open world inspired by the works of the famous American horror author H.P. Lovecraft. The player steps into the shoes of a private investigator who arrives in the city of Oakmont Massachusetts – a city suffering from unprecedented floods of supernatural origins. The player must uncover the source of whatever has taken possession of the city, and the minds of its inhabitants."

5. Q.U.B.E. 2

  • Developer: Toxic Games
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
  • Release date: 2018
  • Previous game: Q.U,B.E

If you enjoy games like the Portal series, then QUBE 2 is your game. The first game had stunning graphics, a fantastic score, and fascinating puzzles.  

“Q.U.B.E. 2 features a new cast of characters thrust into an unearthly situation that will delight both newcomers and fans of its predecessor alike. This sequel puts players in the role of archaeologist Amelia Cross as she awakens in an alien world with no memory of how she got there. Armed with a strange pair of gloves that let her manipulate the environment, Amelia must navigate a maze-like monolith full of puzzles in search of another survivor, Commander Emma Sutcliffe, whom she is connected to via radio communication. Together they must find a way home."

  • Master eleven puzzle areas and solve over 80 individual puzzles
  • Explore diverse environments that expand the Q.U.B.E. world
  • Experience an all-new adventure and brand new characters
  • Interact with new and improved game mechanics
  • Original musical score composed by BAFTA nominated composer, David Housden
  • Full colourblind support, using symbols as a colour aid

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"The Occupation is the right game for the right time"

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