With plenty of recently released and upcoming games on display, Sony's PlayStation Experience expo is full of enthusiasm. It also is a great place to get a sense of the indie scene. This year's indie games were spread throughout different sections of two show floors, instead of just having a sweeping section like last year. From quirky premises to Metroidvania gameplay, these are the indie games that caught our eye.

 
Randall
Developer: We The Force Studios
Estimated Release: 2016
Platform: PlayStation 4, PC 

Randall is a 3D Metroidvania platformer that's adding its own spin by letting you take control of enemies (including bosses) and use their abilities to navigate the world. In Randall, your main character can't remember anything and is guided by a strange voice in his head, but can this unknown narrator be trusted? The platforming is tight and fast, reminding me of Super Meat Boy, but it also has a robust combat system and some cool puzzle elements like using enemies to get you around levels For instance, you can toss an enemy on spikes and then jump on him to the next platform. You also earn any extra skills the enemy has when you mount it, giving you everything from the ability to fly to deadly lasers.Kimberley Wallace

Manifold Garden
Developer:
William Chyr
Estimated Release: 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

This visually striking first-person puzzler from William Chyr puts you in control of one of the most absolute laws of the world: gravity. Using the right trigger, you can change which wall the gravity flows to, opening up new and mind-bending possibilities from a puzzle design perspective. The demo I played featured the moments of frustration followed by sudden and intense satisfaction that games like Portal have, while delivering a unique mechanic that adds freshness to the formula.–Brian Shea


Severed
Developer: Drinkbox Studios
Estimated Release: 2016
Platforms: Vita

Every time we see Severed it just keeps looking better. Drinkbox Studios, the team behind Guacamelee, may have you slicing up enemy limbs by using the Vita's touchscreen, but Severed also entails fun exploration, cool customization, and light RPG elements. We saw more of how you'll need to use your new-found abilities to make your way through levels, such as swapping between night and day to open and close certain doors. The combat also has new wrinkles, such as letting you learn skills like blind, a charge attack to break armor, and the ability to take enemy buffs for yourself. Expect some small puzzles throughout levels to keep you on your toes along with a slew of different enemy types.–Kimberley Wallace 

Chasm
Developer: Discord Games
Estimated Release: 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

Chasm was described to me as a "Metroidvania that relies more on the 'Vania' part of the equation." After playing through a short demo, I would have to agree with that assessment. Chasm's combat veers dangerously close to what is found in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, while the platforming is satisfying and just as solid. The game delivers a unique take on procedural generation, as it delivers hand-designed rooms in random order, meaning you avoid the soulless feeling that some procedurally generated levels have.Brian Shea

Cosmic Star Heroine
Developer:
Zeboyd Games
Estimated Release: 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Vita, PC

If you're a fan of old-school JRPGs, such as Phantasy Star and Grandia, pay attention to Cosmic Star Heroine. This is some of the most fun I've had with a turn-based battle system, as it allows you to tap into a number of strategies. Some attacks can only be used once, unless you take a turn to recharge them. This forces you to experiment a bit with buffing characters or making the most of their special skills. For instance, one character has a skill called "echo" and a highly powerful attack. Every time I used the potent skill, I used "echo" to use it next turn without having to recharge it. Exploiting little things like that just makes it so satisfying. Not to mention, Cosmic Star Heroine is inspired movies like Blade Runner and Alien, and I really dig the sci-fi meets horror setup. In addition, Zeboyd Games just nails it with the humor, making jokes about Chris' blood (Resident Evil) that will make you grin.–Kimberley Wallace 

[Up next: More Metroidvania love and how to manage being only a head]