It’s just barely January and we already know that the coming 12 months are going to see some pretty exciting game releases: Zelda for Wii U, ReCore, The Last Guardian, Zelda for Wii U, Star Fox Zero, Zelda for Wii U…But don’t get too distracted by Zelda for Wii U: most of the games I’m excited for this year are of the indie variety.
All aboard the HYPE TRAIN, here are the 11 indie games that get me the most excited for 2016, complete with trailers. Enjoy.
This gorgeous murder-mystery game starring a girl detective has me super excited. Jenny’s mother has been accused of murder, and you must investigate the case to clear her name. Jenny LeClue features “choosiness on a massive scale.” The choices you make will affect the outcome of the game. If you haven’t yet, I strongly recommend checking out the playable trailer. It’s coming out for iOS, Android, PC, Mac, and Linux.
2. GNOG (KO-OP)
This was one of my favorite games from PAX Prime. GNOG has you manipulating floating monster heads (“gnoggins”) to reveal their secrets. It’s a strange and elegant puzzle game where you don’t always know what exactly you’re looking for. Coming to PS4, PC, Mac, Linux, and iOS sometime in 2016.
Night in the Woods tells the story of Mae, a college dropout who has returned home to find that nothing is quite the same as it was before. I’ve only played about 15 minutes of this game, but as a 20-something who left home for college, it spoke to me immediately. It’s unsettling, it’s strange, it’s familiar, it’s beautiful. Expect it on PS4, PC, Mac, and Linux sometime this year.
Unravel is unreasonably cute. You control a tiny creature named Yarny who is made out of—you guessed it—yarn. You guide Yarny across the wild countrysides of northern Scandinavia, and as you go you reveal what is sure to be some heart-wrenchingly gorgeous story about cute people doing cute things and oh gosh it’s so DARLING. Unravel is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC in February.
The company that brought us Gone Home is back, this time in outer space. In Tacoma, you are exploring an abandoned space station and trying to unravel the mystery of what happened there. It looks fantastic. It’s coming to PC, Mac, Linux, and Xbox One later this year.
Okay, so we don’t technically know if ABZÛ will be out in 2016, since it has no release date, but the game did present recently at the PlayStation Experience so I have hope that it’ll make it before next year. In ABZÛ, you roam around underwater doing…something. We don’t know much about it yet, except that it’s beautiful and it’s created by one of the people who made Journey. So I’m in.
Dim Bulb Games was founded by one of the devs from Gone Home. His new game is all about wandering through the backroads of America, telling stories and surviving manifest destiny. Its illustration-style artwork has done more than enough to earn my attention. Coming to PC and Mac.
Oxenfree is a supernatural thriller in which you play as a teenage girl exploring a creepy island with some classmates. As you go, you can choose between speech bubbles above her head to hear different dialogue options. Good news: this game is coming out extremely soon (January 15) for Xbox One and PC.
Perhaps the most widely anticipated game on this list, No Man’s Sky makes all other open world games look laughably small. It’s a space exploration game with so much space that you could never possibly explore it all even if you played it for the rest of your life. While No Man’s Sky is technically an MMO, the chances of you accidentally running into another player are remote. Coming to PS4 in June.
Severed stars a young woman who is in search of her family. As she progresses, her body blends with the monsters she defeats. The art is gorgeous and gruesome and gosh I love it. Severed has been delayed a whole bunch of times, but I have faith that 2016 is the year that it finally debuts. Expect it on PlayStation Vita.
You play as Henry, a park ranger who is spending a summer in the hot Wyoming wilderness. Your only point of contact with the outside world is Delilah, a woman you speak to via radio. Over time, you begin to discover that not all is what it seems, and you are awfully alone out there… Firewatch is coming to PS4, PC, Mac, and Linux on February 9.