Ten Great Indie Games To Look For In 2013

January 8th, 2013 1:00pm EST

Starbound A new year, and a new boatload of Indie Games to look forward to. So, no beating around the bush on this one - here's ten fantastic looking Indie titles to look for in 2013; some you might know, and some you might not!

Chucklefish Games

One of the few Indie Games that hasn't been found on Kickstarter is Starbound, an enterprising Terraria-in-Space style game. People inevitably draw that conclusion due to the lovely pixel-art charm of the game - and for good reason; Tiy, one of the developers behind the smash hit game 'Terraria' is the brains behind this title.

Sure, it has cool elements of mining and digging and resource collection, all of which we love and cherish; after all, those are practically the tenants of building a good indie survival game. But, it's so much more than just Terraria-in-Space. It's an adventure game, where you and your friends can journey to hundreds (infinite, really) of procedurally generated planets, filled with procedurally generated wildlife, and procedurally generated dungeons, ruins and towns which are also filled with Borderlands-style procedurally generated weaponry (and that's a lot of procedures.)

It's all looking VERY good, and very fun. I've been following this game for a while now, and believe me, I will continue to until, release. And Tiy himself has said he has intricate plans for free post-release content, so rest assured, this game will be very well supported.

Super Time Force
Capybara Games

So, I didn't know what this game even was until about a week ago. I watched the trailer, got a good chuckle and looked into the game.

It looks like Contra; like old school contra, with pixel art, on LSD and Cocaine. And also, it's hard.
"We really want to make it clear that the game does not in any way take itself seriously. It's a real reflection of people that work at Capy - we're not big fans of being super serious, [at least] in certain situations."
Those are words from the game's developer, Nathan Vella. Super Time Force is a game about shooting, jumping, dying and all sorts of other stuff that makes your brain do mental loops.

Basically it's Contra meets Braid meets Raiden. Every time you die, time rewinds, and you can see your previous life going through all the same motions up until the point it died. This will happen over and over, until you have a veritable army of previous lives running through the level with you. Every time you save a previous life, you gain that life back. Simple concept - ridiculous when applied. Just check out the trailer below to experience the mayhem. I cannot wait.

Project Zomboid
The IndieStone

Project Zomboid WAS the Zombie game to look forward to before the Walking Dead or DayZ. It's not a unique concept. You're a survivor of the zombie apocalypse, and with that career path comes only one responsibility; survive for as long as you can.

Basically that means you'll be hiding, collecting supplies, crafting weapons and gear, as well as nursing your wounds and keeping yourself well fed. The game has a robust inventory system, as well as a location-specific damage system, meaning you can break your legs, or arms, or bump your head and everything else.

For a simple looking game, it has a lot of elements; stealth, shooting, bashing, everything. How you survive is up to you. Will you abuse, murder and rob the NPC survivors of all their loot? Or will you team up with them? Will you use these abandoned houses for shelter? Or will you build a secure, isolated fort in the woods, using lumber you harvested. It really is a very ambitious, and very cool looking title, with an impressive lighting system, and a complex, realistic survival mechanic.

Perhaps the biggest and most anticipated element yet-to-be-added to the Alpha is the multiplayer functionality, turning Zomboid from a simple zombie game, to a social experiment, much like DayZ. Here's to hoping we see that soon.

Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine
Pocketwatch Games
PC, Possibly Consoles

Monaco is another one of those indie gems that has been in production for years; a lot of people are itching for it to be released, but the guys at Pocketwatch are taking their sweet time to perfect it and make sure it releases with no blemished or ugly bugs. While I respect their effort and quality assurance, I WANT to play this game.

The basic premise is this: you play as a thief who has to sneak (Metal Gear/Splinter Cell style) through a level, steal a whole bunch of loot, and get out. It's a top down pixel game, and the levels are only revealed as far as your character can see. So, planning a path, securing good positions for spotting, being aware of surrounding guards and decoys, as well as making strategic use of your tools, are all critical parts of the game.
It looks absolutely brilliant. I have mine preordered and I'm itching to play it. If you haven't, I urge you to preorder it too, because Monaco is going to be a masterpiece - I ASSURE you.

Star Citizen
Roberts Space Industries

To be completely honest, I'm not entirely certain we will see Star Citizen in 2013. If we see it in 2014 we will be lucky. What I know for certain, is that Star Citizen is the sexiest piece of eye candy I've seen in video gaming since nVidia showed off the Samaritan tech demo a couple years back.

Putting it simply, Star Citizen is the most ambitious space sim I think I've ever seen. I've played Evochron Mercenary, Freelancer and the X series and other expansive space games, but I've just never seen anything like this. Still heavily in development, Star Citizen puts you in control of a lone pilot. After a brief stint in the Space Corps (if you don't decide to go AWOL) you have the freedom to do just about whatever you'd like. Explore, pirate, fight for the navy, whore your services out as a mercenary - it's effectively your design. It's far too multifaceted and deep to explain in a couple paragraphs, so I'll just let the video do the talking.

Castle Story
Sauropod Studios

Castle Story takes great classic building sims like Stronghold, and makes it more accessible, simple and fun. The game appears to be a sandbox experience, where you can freely gather resources and build yourself a fort to defend from the crystalline invaders who attack under the guise of night.

It's a fairly simple and straightforward formula. Mine stone to make bricks. Chop trees to make wood. Mine metal to make swords. Build trebuchets and catapults to throw giant rocks at particularly big and mean baddies, use archers on high ground, and soldiers around gates. If it all goes to sh!t just blow it all up with dynamite and collapse a tower or two on top of them. That'll learn em'.

It's the presentation that makes this game really shine though. It has cute, bubbly characters, and the art style is bright and high contrast. The bad guys are vibrant purple on a granite color, while your little workers and knights are yellow men dressed up as soldiers and Robin Hood-esque archers.

I for one, am really looking forward to seeing what the game will offer in terms of game modes, multiplayer content and a campaign. I will be checking in on this one periodically.

Elliptic Games

Rodina is an interesting little game flying waaaaaaaaaay below our radar - or rather, way outside it. It's a game about building a custom spaceship and flying it anywhere you want. Unfortunately, that's about all we know right now, but I don't need to know a whole lot more to get excited about it.
The game is VERY early in development, but it looks very promising. The engine being used for the game is completely proprietary, and allows for planets to be randomly and persistently generated very quickly, meaning you can fly from the ground, into space, out of the solar system and to another galaxy even (and back), without ANY loading screens. Great googley moogley!

The developers hope to put in civilizations, ruins, NPCs and the whole nine yards before it's all said and done. Keep a look out for this one, because it's gonna' be good. Unfortunately, it's another one of those titles we will be LUCKY to see in 2013, but here's to optimism!

Legend of Dungeon
Robot Loves Kitty

Legend of Dungeon is a roguelike dungeon crawler that puts you in the shoes of an adventurer partied up with (up to) three other players. It's a lot like Dungeons and Dragons in that it has classes, but shares much in common with other dungeon crawlers like Hack, Slash & Loot.

Graphically, the game manages a really cool mix between modern lighting, shadows and 3D level design, and oldschool pixel art. It comes together to form this wierd, semi-voxel, 3D pixel environment with limited depth, particle physics, and a number of other modern amenities not found in most 2D pixel games.

As with all good roguelikes, you have an inventory which can fill up with loot, a whole load of items to earn, potions to drink, weapons to use, and skills to kill with. You're often time confronted with enemies that have a severe advantage, and as opposed to what mainstream AAA games might make you think, your best option is indeed, to run in the opposite direction.

Besides all the cool stuff you can actually do, the game just looks fun! Take a gander below.

Sui Generis
Bare Mettle Entertainment

Sui Generis is a successfully kickstarted RPG, that hearkens back to the good ol' days of role playing; Baulder's Gate, Icewind Dale and Neverwinter nights all seem to come to mind. Those games must have had a positive influence on Sui Generis, because it looks almost as if it could be a spiritual successor to all three.

The devs at Bare Mettle have worked hard to create an engine that's capable of doing everything - pretty much. Every movement in the game is simulated physically, from walking to swinging a sword or a maul or anything else. The result? Ragdoll bodies that get tossed around when a ten foot tall demonic knight smashes you with a spiked flail, bodies that writhe as they are being curb stomped into the ground over and over, and skeleton bones that shatter to all sides of the room when they are banished.

Besides the impressive physics, the game world is completely open, beautiful and well detailed. Cities sport an appropriate dark-medieval, low-fantasy sort of feel, where magic is powerful and rare, sort of combining Game of Thrones with Dark Souls in terms of aesthetic. Dynamic clouds, day and night, weather and seasons make the game world look and feel like it's alive.

Topia Online
Josh Griffith

Topia online is one of those very rare games you know is going to be loved by a niche group of die hard enthusiasts. It's a very expansive world, where the entire game universe is crafted by the players, from the biggest, baddest boss, to the tiniest little nut-gathering squirrels.

The logic is to let a world develop organically, reflecting the wants and needs of the players. You start by harvesting wood. Then building a little house. Then creating a little servant to chop trees and collect wood for your fire. Then guards to protect your house. Then walls to protect your guards. Then a smithy to make weapons and armor, and a general store to feed your NPCs. Soon enough, you have created your own little microcosm.

The game makes extensive use of scripting, so it will be particularly familiar and friendly to coders, though there is a script marketplace for those of us who aren't so good at scripting. The principle of the game is that you outfit all your creations with a script filled with orders - ranging from "Chop tree" to "Cast Fireballs when Enemy is at 50% health" and beyond. It's an entirely new concept and a new take on player driven economies, and player created content. Best of all, there will be no subscription. This may not dent WoW's user base, but it might be a rewarding endeavor for a community full of fans who want to truly create a world of their own.

Related: Starpulse Exclusives, Video Games

© 2013

Photo Credits:

Previous: Jonathan Pryce, Keisha Castle-Hughes Head Up 'Game Of Thrones' Season Five Cast Additions

Next: Are Zac Efron & Michelle Rodriguez Getting Serious?