Once the sole property of PC gamers, indie games have quickly become more mainstream, helping current-gen consoles boost their available games and introducing console gamers to the joy of non-AAA-games. For the uninitiated, “indie game” is slang for independent video game, meaning a game created by an individual or a small team without relying on a video game publisher for financial support.
If you own a current-gen console, chances are you’ve played an indie game (if you really haven’t, please stop reading and go play Minecraft, Super Meat Boy, Don’t Starve, Fez, Towerfall: Ascension, Guacamelee and Rogue Legacy. I’ll wait).
We are in an unprecedented time for indie games, as Nintendo and PlayStation have both realized the value of having more content for gamers. I’ve been especially pleased by this turn of events, as I’ve long fought a war within myself over my love of indie games and my hatred for gaming on my PC. Yes, I know that makes me a monster. I’ve made my peace with it.
I’ve already mentioned some of the great indie games already available on consoles, but a brand new influx is coming our way.
So how is the next generation of console-bound indie games looking? Pretty darn sweet.
Here are six must-try indie games coming soon to PlayStation 4:
Developer: Kitfox Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS Vita
Release Date: early 2016
Moon Hunters is a beautiful 1-to-4 player co-op action RPG. The levels and maps are procedurally generated, and the game focuses on choice, allowing for different enemies and opportunities as you (and possibly your friends) build your legend together.
The art is gorgeous, the controls were easy to understand and the old-school RPG feel mixed with couch co-op made this a stand-out for me at IndieCade.
Developer: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Platforms: Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, Vita, Xbox 360, iOS, Android, Ouya, Facebook
Release Date: TBD 2016
Tumblestone is a casual puzzle and competitive multiplayer game. The gameplay is an addicting and fast paced Match-3 puzzle, but with enough additions and complications to force players to think about their next move instead of randomly shooting for speed.
I’m a sucker for multiplayer “party” games because they seem to be a dying breed on any console other than Nintendo consoles. Tumblestone is a great game for tricking your friends into gaming with you, or for whiling away hours of your time just doing “one more round.”
Platforms: PS4, PS Vita, iOS, Android, Mac & PC
Release Date: Late 2016
EarthNight is a runner, though not an endless one. There are eight layers of the atmosphere to traverse, alternating between a skydive and running along the backs of dragons to reach the end stage: EarthNight. Though there are technically only two controls, the game is fairly difficult and the procedurally generated levels make for a challenging run every time.
What makes EarthNight so unique, besides the difficulty level, is that it is gorgeously hand painted. Paul Davey, better known on the internet as Mattahan, handpaints every frame of every character and element of the game, lending it a lush, unique look.
Salt and Sanctuary
Developer: Ska Studios
Platforms: PS4, PS Vita, PC
Release Date: Early 2016
Salt and Sanctuary is a 2D hardcore action platformer RPG. The game features difficult boss battles that remind me of old-school action platformers, and a deep character build system. Players can switch between different characters, leveling them up and equipping them with the best gear for particular bosses.
Salt and Sanctuary has awesome looking bosses, a great, dark atmosphere and just enough mystery to keep me pushing past increasingly difficult enemies.
Shantae Half Genie Hero
Platforms: Xbox One, Wii U, PS4, PC, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360
Release Date: Holiday 2015
Shantae: Half Genie Hero is a platformer and the fourth in a series of Shantae games from WayForward. Players control Shantae, a half-genie, half-human hero with awesome hair. This installment marks the first high-definition look for the character, as she has been visually upgraded from her previous sprite-appearance.
Shantae : Half Genie Hero is reminiscent of games like Metroid and Aladdin, but with a nice visual upgrade and smooth controls. Plus, she’s just so cute.
Developer: Noel Berry and IndieHouse
Platforms: PS4, PC
Release Date: Early 2016
Skytorn is a procedurally generated action-adventure game. Created with many of the same team members who worked on the hit Towerfall: Ascension, the game has a retro feel and intuitive controls. Players control Névoa, an explorer armed only with a shovel. A rad shovel.
The game has that addicting quality I enjoyed in older side-scrolling adventure games, causing me to constantly wonder what would appear in the next room (and making it hard for me to put the controller down to let someone else have a turn at IndieCade).