The Steam Game Festival has quickly become one of the biggest indie game celebration events. Thanks to a smorgasbord of demos that become available to the public, we get to dip our toes into a literal sea of gaming creativity. For the most part, it’s worth the while considering how many great ideas the indie space brings to the table.
Lost Words: Beyond the Page
As children, we all must have fantasized one way or another about writing our own stories. Lost Words: Beyond the Page is a reflection of that childlike desire. As a charming and lighthearted puzzle platformer, the game takes us on a journey through a young girl’s dream of writing.
The game plays out in two types of sequences. One is through the pages of the protagonist’s journal where we get to learn more about her and her life. The other is through her story-crafting process as she unfolds a tale of a girl who uses magical words to navigate the fantasy world she lives in. What makes Lost Words so brilliant is how the journaling and story-crafting segments intertwine, acting as a perfect reflection of an artist’s life influencing their work.
Slay the Spire’s melding of deckbuilding with roguelike gameplay took the gamingsphere by storm. Naturally, more studios are taking the concept and adding their own unique spin. Enter Roguebook, by Abrakam Studios of Faeria fame. In Roguebook, you’ll find a lot of the familiar trappings that made Slay the Spire great with a few unique twists.
For starters, you control two heroes instead of one, each with their own unique set of cards. This effectively means you can blend two strategies together. For instance, you can take a more defense-oriented set of cards and blend them with a set that is more offense-based. Roguebook’s maps are also more nebulous, requiring you to reveal them through a unique brush mechanic that forces you to make hard decisions that will impact the building of your deck.
Windjammers was that one sports game that stayed afloat during the 90’s arcade fighting game craze. Now, after nearly 30 years, Dotemu is crafting a modern sequel in the same way they did with Streets of Rage 4. All of the adrenaline-fueled frisbee action is still intact with brand new high definition hand-drawn art and new mechanics.
Your goal is to score with your frisbee by bamboozling your opponent with a variety of techniques and tricks. On top of that, the game features a state-of-the-art rollback netcode which the demo showcased to great effect. Feel free to take a look at it here.
A Long Journey to an Uncertain End
One of the most inclusive games of the Steam Game Festival, A Long Journey is definitely a title to look out for. It’s an FTL-style management game with a classic comic book aesthetic and a narrative reminiscent of the cult TV show Firefly.
By recruiting a diverse cast of characters, each with his or her own unique background, you explore the galaxy, take on missions and manage your ship all the while escaping from your ex (I can relate to that last part). It’s a space opera with all of the drama and you can back the project on the dev’s Kickstarter page.
If you love challenging platformers like Celeste then Aeon Drive is going to be an indie game to have on your radar. After crash landing into a cyberpunk version of Barcelona, the main character must use her unique time manipulation powers and teleportation dagger to make it back to her ship.
Any hazard you touch, you die. What sets this game apart from Celeste is that you also have a time limit in each segment. You can extend your time by collecting special items scattered around each level. This, coupled with breakneck difficulty should make Aeon Drive a speedrunner’s dream.
If you have a love of Pokémon, then you should be looking forward to Coromon. Not only does the game look like a classic Pokémon game from the Game Boy Advance days, but also has tons of cool customization options.
Your character has a special gauntlet that can be loaded with modules that give them more ways to explore and interact with the world. All the while, you’re collecting Coromon and learning more about their history. What’s even more impressive is that the game is being developed by only two people!
Keep in Mind
There are plenty of other indie games that caught our attention during the Steam Game Festival, a lot of them are releasing later this year. Needless to say, it’s going to be a good year for independent gaming.