Movie trailers are my favorite part of going to the movies. It’s probably why I started making video game trailers. But I feel like game trailers have a long way to go. They mostly lack the emotional impact that you can transmit in just a few minutes with a film trailer. But this week’s roundup of game trailers prove that perhaps game trailers are catching up.

 

A lost puppy makes emotions ooze off the screen in this affecting trailer. Feelings of loss, joy, desperation, fun, and relief come almost all at once. I was so smitten, I insta-backed this dealio on Kickstarter.

Home Free is coming to PC, Mac and PS4 late 2016.

 

My emotions soared through this one too, engrossed in the beautiful everything. Then the erosion tool shows up and makes this look like a rich playground of hope and loss. I’m not into survival sandbox games, but this one seems to capture a nuanced melancholy that tugs at my heart strings. Plus the appearance of Journey-like co-op is a nice touch.

Astroneer is coming to PC/Steam.

 

Cloud Chasers is a “tale of family, survival, and harsh endings.” This iOS title captures themes of migration and the journey between a father and daughter and it mostly does a great job of communicating that in the trailer. But there’s points where there’s too much on-screen. Then it gets focused again by saying, “Manage health, water, and your trusty glider.”

Cloud Chasers is available now on iOS and Android for $3.99.

 

BROFORCE! OH YEAH! It’s finally here, and we get an 80s-style cartoons show off the spirit of ‘MERICA! I’d prefer to see some actual gameplay for the game if I came into this one cold, but as the flying bullet at the end of the trailer says, “YOU CAN’T ESCAPE FREEDOM!” Funny side note: this game was made by South Africans.

Broforce is available now on PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam or Humble.

 

This one looks neat. It’s all about leadership as a king, but in a chunky pixel base-defense kind of way. While I have a hard time with that base-building genre, this one seems to offer a unique  hands-on-money approach to economics. The developer says, “In Kingdom, each coin spent can tip the balance between prosperity and decay.” I’m following this one.

Kingdom is coming to PC, Mac and Linux October 21 on Steam, Humble, and Nuuvem.

 

Mobile games have to do a lot to stand out today. Even to get noticed by “famous and prestigious” people like me. Downwell does this by offering some extremely fresh and compelling action on iOS. It just touches on all of the things that I want in a mobile game: vertical gameplay, simple nuanced controls, short rounds, and a brilliant hook.

Downwell is out now on iOS and Steam. Android version coming soon.

 

Spoilers of the last four episodes abound in this one. But it does a great job of bringing players back up to speed on where the series left off. It also shows how emotionally-affecting music and choice dialogue is still the way to capture the hearts of your audience. I know for a lot of us Indie Haven contributors, this series is at the top of our list for the year.

Episode five of Life is Strange comes out on October 20 for PC (Steam), Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, and PS3.

 

Creepy gritty wild west feelings make me want to hunker-down with my six-shooter. An XCOM-like wild-west game doesn’t typically sound like the most affecting stuff. But makes sure you give this one a watch. Notice the emotive power of that soundtrack.

Hard West comes out on November 4 for PC, Mac, and Linux on Steam.

 

Shadow of the Colossus influenced this one more than a little bit. But the fine-tuned snowscape and tense terror of this trailer suggests that this one might have a shred of a chance of living up up to its mentor’s um, shadow. Sorry, I tried to dodge the pun. There was no escaping it.

Prey for the Gods is coming to PC and Mac.

[Full Disclosure: M. Joshua makes indie game trailers, but none of these are ones he worked on.]