2022 had a jam-packed first few months, although things have tapered off somewhat in the recent months with big AAA releases drying up. Not to worry though as the indie space has you covered, and today I want to check out five indie releases to get excited about over the next 12 months.
This is a selection of games recently featured during the Steam Next Fest ’22, which is an indie showcase on Steam just after E3. If you missed it, don’t worry, as today I’m going to cover five of the most exciting titles we’ve got coming up.
Cult of the Lamb
Cult of the Lamb is a rogue-lite action RPG cult sim where you have to fight through a series of rooms to reach a boss and complete missions. Between this rooms or missions, the game shows off it’s differentiator. You play as a lamb saved by the devil, although in return you have to create a cult. To do this you have to convert other animals like you to your cult. It’s a very stylish game, plus it’s cute crossed with Evil, making the game pretty unique. The voice acting is surprisingly good with babbling dialogue and egg you on to be nasty to your followers.
Combat is good fun, although when magic is introduced a few hours into the game, this is where things really ramp up and get entertaning. You have different weapons and Tarot cards with passive buffs that allow you to create interesting builds, and as you get deeper into the game you have to take a more strategic approach. Things start off simple enough, but quickly get more complex. Not to the point of frustration, the complexity makes it interesting and kept me coming back.
The game is developered by Massive Monster, published by Devolver Digital and releases on 11th August 2022 on PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch.
This is a rhythm game about dreams merging with reality. The music is fantastic and it’s super chilled out. Melatonin uses animations and sound cues to keep you on beat without any intimidating overlays or interfaces. It’s simple but very effective with its combination of art, music and satisfying gameplay.
Melatonin has a short but very effective tutorial. You have to match a beat with a single button press. Each level is designed to match something about everyday life, which is warped ever so slightly like real dreams. These are my type of dreams. I’ve got friends who have weird dreams about slightly touching shapes, but I do very mundane things like go to work or go shopping, albeit with a slightly surreal twist, which is the model melatonin emulates here.
The visuals are striking and addictive, so you have to make sure you are paying attention to the music throughout the game, as the visuals are good enough to keep you distracted. Each level has its own unique music and matching to the beat becomes semi-automatic. This is a relaxing variation of a rhythm game, rather than competitive and stressful like some can be.
Melatonin is aiming for a release in Autumn 2022.
Nine Sols is a 2D action platformer from the creator of Detention and Devotion. Inspired by the parrying-action in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, this is a tough little gem to crack, but ultimately very fun if you like Souls games. You play as Yi, who attacks enemies with his sword, plus there are deflection moves as well as charge-up attacks. You use a combination of these attacks to charge up Yi’s Chi, who can then unleash a large explosive attack to fend off multiple enemies at once.
Nine Sols is definitely one to stick on the radar and this one is currently due in early 2023.
Terra Nil is a reverse City Builder, where you have to restore wild areas after an ecological disaster. You have to place wind turbines to power up your structures that help purify the soil. Then place irrigation systems that help restore the lush green to the ground below. Once you have encouraged fields and flowers to grow once again you can lay riverbeds and also place dense forests. It’s similar to city-builders we’ve played in the past, it’s going to feel familiar, but you are not simply placing square objects on the ground. The irrigation system for example rushes out in multiple directions. There are many layered systems like power, soil, and irrigation all working together in harmony. It’s a unique game, one I haven’t played before, and certainly speaks to the eco-friendly feelings I have inside at the moment, especially considering the constant heatwaves and wildfires we’re seeing across Europe and the US this summer. This is due for release in 2022.
Midnight Fight Express
Midnight Fight Express comes from a former Destiny 2 developer, which had me pay attention. This isn’t anything like Destiny 2 though, it’s an isometric brawler with over-the-top violence similar to Hotline Miami. You play as a former criminal who is dragged back into their former lifestyle by some AI drone who claims they need help to prevent a city-wide takeover. You have until the sun comes up to stop underground criminal factions from gaining control of the city and you have to take on multiple enemies in this brawling beat ’em up. The gameplay is brawling but you do have a nice amount of moves to learn and skills to upgrade. This is much more Sifu than Final Fight. There’s a good selection of weapons, exploding barrels, trains and furniture to make your combat even more effective. This is due out in September 2022.
There are five indie games to get excited about. I’d love to hear from you about which indie games you are looking forward to in the coming months. Let me know @twivgpodcast on Twitter.