We’re all about supporting the little guy around here, as you’ll have spotted from a few of our reviews, so when Nintendo puts together its Indie World Showcase, it’s time to take a look at the best of all the indie games coming to the Switch.
What was your highlight? Let us know in our Discord.
Oxenfree II and Cult of the Lamb | Chris Brand
Despite reading positive reviews and seeing nothing but praise for Oxenfree, it took me some time to get around to playing it, as I don't often have the patience for slower-paced adventure games.
When I finally did dive in, purely to sate my curiosity, I was pleasantly surprised. The puzzling components are engaging without being too challenging, the story is compelling and the choices you make going through will determine how it all plays out.
Though Oxenfree offered multiple endings, it's not the sort of game I could replay. For me, the fun is in uncovering the mystery and enjoying the journey to get there. Once I've experienced it and that crucial element is missing, I can't go back.
A sequel that promises more of the same (with some new features, as is the fashion when it comes to sequels), however, is just the thing to get me excited. Or, at least, it would be, if not for the fact that Oxenfree II will be releasing on every platform but Xbox. It's cool though, I'm writing a TV show about a guy who invents super-bacon and I'm pitching it to everyone, aside from Netflix. Screw you guys.
The trailer for Cult of the Lamb DLC, Relics of the Old Faith, also caught my attention. As an added bonus, I may one day get to play it because Devolver Digital is an inclusive company that cares about people, unlike stupid Netflix which only cares about getting your hard-earned cash so they can buy fancy rugs. The kind of rugs that are too good to walk on, they're just for show and a complete waste of money.
As I've not yet played Cult of the Lamb (but, once again, heard nary a bad thing about it), everything is new to me and the free update not only adds more content but also improves the base game.
Mineko’s Night Market, Rift of the Necrodancer and Quilts and Cats of Calico | James Parry
While the true highlight was seeing two chaps standing by a duck pond (thanks Animal Well), and, like Chris, the Cult of the Lamb trailer definitely stood out, it was Rift of the Necrodancer which hit the sport for me straight away.
Any sort of rhythm game is automatically worth a look for me, and the art style is a bit of fun as well. It’ll be interesting to see if the core gameplay loop can evolve and sustain interest or if it feels a little…one note.
Perhaps it’s nostalgia for Animal Crossing New Horizons, or the fact that I’ve visited Japan recently, but the overall vibe, visual style and the prospect of minigames like cat racing in Mineko’s Night Market seems like a lot of fun. Though whether it’s a game for me remains to be seen.
Finally, there was Quilts and Cats of Calico, featuring a real cat – they know their audience. I’ve never played the original board game, but it certainly seems like there could be a market for this one, particularly those in withdrawal from Stray.
Cosy games are definitely a theme at the moment, both in the showcase and in general, and it will be interesting to see where the subgenre goes next. So far we’ve seen plenty with a great vibe to them but gameplay can feel a bit restrictive or minimal at times.
We've been out of the loop for a few weeks, but in our absence we were handed another nail in the coffin of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, as the show was cancelled once again this year.
The show was an online-only shindig last year and was caught up in the wave of event cancellations due to COVID the year before, but there has been big promises of springing back bigger and better than ever this year as recently as a few months ago.
In case this does end up being the end for E3, we thought it was time to shout out some of our favourite moments from years gone by and celebrate everything the show represented in the gaming landscape.
Xbox always leant into the drama of its announcements with a booming voiceover accompaniment of "World Premiere", and no year was more of a premiere than 2018, where Microsoft rallied after a few years of criticism from the Xbox One's launch, to bring 15 world premieres and 50 games in its showcase overall.
Finally, and many exciting moments through the years, my personal highlight has to be all of you banding together in our online chatroom to talk about the shows as they happened for several years.
The build up would involve awkward time difference calculations and pngs of various stage times, but you would all show up every time to really get into the spirit, like a sort of Eurovision Song Contest experience which saw each publisher trying to out-perform the other.
Truthfully, that is what I will miss the most, and while Gamescom and The Game Awards both offer glimmers of similar moments, the way news is shared by gaming companies now seems like it's changed forever. Pour one out.
Star Wars Battlefront II | Liam Andrews
I never used to pay much attention to E3 when I was younger, as I got all my information from gaming magazines in the early 2000s rather than watching events. I’m sure there was plenty of E3 coverage in them at the time, but I was only interested in the games themselves and wasn’t particularly fussed about where or how they were revealed.
It wasn’t until I joined PTC that I started consistently watching E3 presentations. While my preferred method is still to catch up on all the reveals after an E3 type event so I can focus on the stuff that interests me, I can definitely see the appeal of watching such things live, especially with a few friends.
Probably my most memorable picks from the E3 live events was the Star Wars Battlefront 2 reveal during EA Play (any show that opens with Star Wars’ Imperial March is off to a winner). I loved the 2015 Battlefront reboot, but the expensive season pass and lack of variety brought the experience down somewhat.
The 2017 reveal promised to fix all that, showing off multiple locations, weapons, vehicles, and characters from all Star Wars eras and also introduced the game’s new class system. Although the BF2 would go on to be panned at launch thanks to its loot box heavy progression system (which was thankfully fixed later on) the reveal itself was very impressive.
The Artful Escape | Chris Brand
My favourite E3 memory is from many moons ago. As the showcase takes place (or used to) around my birthday, I've always had cause to celebrate and my preferred method of celebrating back then was to get unbelievably hammered.
It all started off so well; I was watching E3, I was drinking, I was taking notes and I didn't have a care in the world. Until, that is, I awoke the next morning and attempted to make sense of the notes I'd jotted down whilst heavily birthday'd. Though the notes were littered with creative language and very short, I'd been descriptive enough for sober me to understand everything. Everything, apart from "Guitar Bastards." Not wanting to watch the events again in their entirety, I forgot all about Guitar Bastards and moved on with my life.
Years passed, before a little indie game called The Artful Escape hit Gamepass. From the screenshots, I immediately recognised it as Guitar Bastards but with a different, far less appealing, name. I downloaded it, to serve as a digital monument, reminding me that patience is often rewarded. And because it has guitars and I'm a nerd.
The Artful Escape is a colourful and charming adventure (and a fairly easy 100% completion) that I could have easily missed, just a quick trailer, nestled in amongst a handful of other long-forgotten titles, competing with the likes of Extreme Snow Bullshit (A.K.A Steep) and Moose-Pricks (I think that turned out to be The Deer God).