Laura’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Indie Games of 2014 Laura Kate January 2, 2014 Features 2014 has just begun, we’re only a couple of days past our Game of the Year awards for 2013 being handed out and the year is incredibly young. Now seemed the perfect time to race ahead, look into the future and let you all know what I am most excited to see covered on the site in 2014. These are the games that I’ve got my eyes on and think that you should be looking out for too. Here we go, here’s my personal Top 10 Most Anticipated Indie Games that are expected to release in 2014. 10. Neverending Nightmares Neverending Nightmares is a game about mental illness from a developer battling mental illness, that alone is enough to pique my interest. With gameplay taking a psychological survival horror route, with multiple endings depending on how you play through the game, you’d be forgiven for drawing parallels to games like Jasper Byrne’s Lone Survivor. What seems to set Neverending Nightmares apart is both the fascinating black and white art style, laced with splashes or red to contrast at key moments, and the personal perspective brought to the game by the developer. Rather than a man fighting a generic mental illness or deterioration of the mind, NN will hopefully handle a real mental health issue with the respect it deserves. If it lives up to its promise, it could end up being a rather important game. 9. Don’t Kill Her Don’t Kill Her is a hand drawn platformer set in a rather bizarre and surreal world. The objective? Her. Find her, Find out who she is, understand why she’s so important. She’s a woman surrounded in mystery. She seems to know everything. She seems to control everything. She seems to be key to everything that’s going on in the game. Originally planned for a 2013 release (which is unfortunately still stated on the developer’s website with no update) the game will be available for free to play in browsers hopefully sooner than later. Don’t Kill Her is beautifully drawn with a world set up that I’m intrigued to dig into and teases just the right amount of information to leave me desperate to know more. The game has won some pretty impressive awards in it’s native Switzerland and I’m ready to see if it lives up to the intrigue and promise. 8. Cloudbuilt I played Cloudbuilt for the first time back at Eurogamer 2013′s Indie area and I was incredibly impressed by what I played. Set in a hyper colourful futuristic world in the sky, your aim is to sprint, jump, wall run, boost and fight your way across an abstract world. You see a surface? You can probably run along it if you just keep moving and never ever stop. Cloudbuilt is a game about maintaining fluidity of movement, thinking ahead and exploring a world in that classic Sonic style. The key, keep moving fast and stay alive. Cloudbuilt’s controls and movement through the world already felt incredibly polished back at Eurogamer and I cannot wait to see more of the interesting world and character that frames each of your jumps into the platforming gameplay. If you have any interest in jetpacking space parkour in the rainbow coloured future, this is the very specific game for you. 7. Transistor Coming from the highly acclaimed Supergiant Games, developers of the wonderful Action RPG Bastion, Transistor is a turn based action game that I fully expect will be well worth keeping an eye on. Playing as a young woman named Red you very quickly find yourself in possession of an intelligent glowing sword known as the Transistor, a weapon that a pursuing faction known as The Process is desperate to get it’s hands on. The gameplay revolves around a mix of real time and turn based combat. While you can fight in real time, the game is designed to encourage you to take your time blocking and avoiding attacks until you build up a meter which allows you to freeze time and plan out a set number of moves and attacks that will all occur at a super fast speed. Knowing the studio’s fantastic pedigree with telling a gripping story in Bastion and having really rewarding combat encounters, I can’t wait to see their next game. I’m also personally really excited to see them tackle a game with a kick ass female protagonist, I have high hopes that Red will be one of my new favourite female leads in gaming by the time the year is out is Supergiant play their cards right. 6. Octodad: Dadliest Catch Without a doubt the most absurd game on my list, Octodad: Dadliest Catch sees you play an Octopus living secretly as a human. He’s in a very convincing disguise, as you can in the above picture. I defy anyone to point out a single clue that might give away to his wife and children that he is infact not human. The gameplay revolves around trying to haphazardly maintain control our your multiple limbs and avoid knocking anything over or arousing anyone’s suspicions that you might infact be a secret 8 legged sea creature. Much like last year’s Surgeon Simulator 2013, much of the challenge and the fun of the game comes from trying to maintain control of a deliberately difficult set of controls. Master them and feel amazing. Fail and have a good laugh at the fact nobody worked your secret out sooner just by looking at your face. What I have played of the game was incredibly fun and I can’t wait to see what sort of scenarios the developers find to put our hero-pus into in the full game. 5. Tengami I first got to try out a build of Tengami back at EToo in London last year and my goodness it’s a beautifully made game. Set in a long ago version of Japan, the game has a beautiful crisp paper based pop up book style that drew me in incredibly quickly and worked very well with the touch screen interface it was using. The gameplay involves tapping to traverse the world and pulling tabs, flipping segments of the world over and generally traversing puzzles in an interactive pop up book. It works superbly and I really can’t wait to see if the full game finds enough interesting concepts to keep me hooked the whole way through like I was in the demo. 4. No Man’s Sky No Man’s Sky is possibly the most ambitious looking game on this list, from the team I never expected an ambitious huge scope adventure exploration game from. Developed by Hello Games, best known for the Joe Danger games, No Man’s Sky is a game about exploring procedurally generated worlds and universes that would appear to seamlessly allow players to traverse from planets to space, explore environments and pilot craft, basically just boldly go where nobody has gone before. The only reason the game isn’t currently higher on my hype-o-meter is how far away the game currently feels. It’s an incredibly ambitious concept that, if successful I’m going to be very pleased with I’m sure. However, until it’s in a state where we’re able to get our hands on it and see how much of the promise seems likely to turn into reality, I’m trying my best to keep my expectations from skyrocketing too high. 3. Volume I’m not usually a fan of stealth gaming, but I’m definitely going to be making an exception to play through Mike Bithell’s upcoming Robin Hood inspired futuristic stealth game, Volume. Featuring the voice over talents of Charlie McDonell of Youtube fame as Robert Locksley, an idealistic young man who stumbles across military training hardware and uses it to make Youtube videos for the poor, detailing how they can rob the rich and change the world around them. I’ve already fallen in love with the introductory trailer and cannot wait to see if the story and characters live up to their wonderfully large potential. Mike Bithell knows how to write endearing characters and I already know I’m a fan of the direction his hero is being placed. The gameplay also fixes my biggest issues with playing Stealth games, namely it makes non violence not only an option but necessary and is very forgiving with its checkpointing. The hero is deliberately anti violence, meaning that you get to use a variety of non violent distraction tools to progress around enemies, varying from a knockout projectile to ricocheting vocal projectiles and various other ways to catch enemy attention. The game also features a visibility cone to clearly mark out when you can and cannot be found, a great way to take the guesswork out of staying hidden. Mike Bithell’s TWA is one of my all time favourite games and I’m very excited to play what he has coming next. 2. A Bird Story Freebird Games’ last game, To The Moon, featured the best representations of women with Aspergers Syndrome that I have ever seen in any form of fiction bar none. It avoided every single stereotype that content creators usually fall into and created a story that was beautifully touching and extremely personally effective for me. Even better, they smuggled this incredible narrative into a game that on the surface appeared to be about a neurotypical man and his own personal goals. You bet I’m really rather excited for their next game. A Bird Story takes place in the same universe as To The Moon but is set to feature a few interesting differences. Exploring the life and memories of a man and a bird with a broken wing, the game will be unlike the text heavy To The Moon and feature little to no dialogue in its story. While we’ve been told to expect this to be a very different type of game, I have faith in the developers ability to make something intelligent, well researched and touching regardless of whether it fits the formula of the last game as I would probably have expected it. 1. That Dragon Cancer I played through a demo of That Dragon, Cancer on the show floor at Develop 2013 in a single sitting and I came out of it in floods of tears, completely oblivious to the swarms of people stood around me waiting to experience it themselves and nonplussed to what I had gone through. A true story about the developer struggling to keep it together during his young son’s battle with cancer, the game is dripping with raw emotion. This is clearly a game that has come from a very personal place and every line of dialogue feels so brutally honest that I couldn’t help but empathise, sympathise and eventually reach a point where all I could do was cry. It’s the most touching personal story I’ve ever experienced and I can’t wait for it to get a full release outside of the gaming convention circuit. There you have it, that’s my current Top 10 Most Anticipated Indie Games of 2014. What do you think? Are you excited for any of these games? Are there games missing that you’re excited for? Have I helped you find a new game to be excited for? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below.