Summer is both a boring, and exciting time. People go on vacations, others stay and lounge around. It's an opportunity for a lot of us younger gamers to get out of school for a couple of months and catch up on our backlogs. Despite how massive mine is, I'm still looking forward to a large lineup of charming indie titles on both Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network.


As I'm sure a lot of you know, Microsoft has been slowly diverting their focus from major 1st party exclusives, and spreading their attention across the digital distribution landscape, in turn offering support for indie developers who have promising games set for the future. From XBLA alone, we've seen hits like Braid, LIMBO, and Super Meat Boy. Sony has been a little sluggish out of the gate with their heavier hitters on PSN, but have shown that there is a promising landscape for the artistic and small-time, with titles like Fat Princess, Pixeljunk, and Journey.


This year, both companies are showcasing what looks to be a promising year, more specifically summer, of indie and small-time titles. I'm not sure about some of you, but these games have already shown enough at their otherwise small periods of facetime at E3, to get me excited. Let's take a look:




The Unfinished Swan

Perhaps the definitive indie title at E3 this year, The Unfinished Swan mixes a familiar layer of gameplay with a completely original concept. The game is in first person, and starts off with a completely white screen. Before long, the player begins to mash buttons and learns that the triggers throw paintballs. With these paintballs you can paint the stark-white landscape to actually view your surroundings. In one interview, the creative director explains that players have described the feeling as "being blind". Kind of scary, when you think about it.



Despite that, they know to throw some variety in the game, as well. That means, after a while you can actually see your surroundings, and have access to more paintballs that have different effects on your surroundings. They showed a sort of water paintball, that when thrown, nearby plants will grow to the water source. This leads to interesting experimentation like growing plants on walls so that you may climb up them.


Everything seems great, and the game has an especially noticeable visual polish. Keep an eye out for this title's release.




Sound Shapes

Ever heard of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP? Furthermore, have you ever heard of a certain musician named Jim Guthrie? If you haven't, now is the time to find out. Superbrothers is an extremely charming and enjoyable indie game that released on iOS and PC, not to mention has grown considerable support by being in the Humble Indie Bundle V.



Anyways, while the ones developing Sound Shapes isn't the same as the team that did Sword & Sworcery, they are, in fact, working with Jim Guthrie on featuring a special Superbrothers soundtrack in the game. You see, Sound Shapes is a new 2D platformer to be featured on PSN, that utilizes layouts of sounds to create music. It's a little hard to explain on paper, but essentially the more spots you pass, the more sounds get played, thus creating music.


The concept is actually really neat, and while it will work for both Playstation 3 and PS Vita, it seems especially fit for the portable landscape. The game features a level and music editor, that you can then upload and share with thousands of other players. I'm especially interested in this.




Dust: An Elysian Tail

No, I did not make a typo when writing Dust's title. Yes, it is really supposed to be spelt with "tail". That's because, the characters in the game have a sort of 'furry' theme going on. While that is somewhat intriguing, that's not the only part that manages to gather attention. Essentially, only one person has really worked on the game, using Flash to animate and code everything.



Microsoft caught wind of the production after hearing about the several awards that Dust had been garnering at shows, and decided to help out. The result we end up with is a beautifully animated side-scrolling brawler in the same vein as Muramasa.





One could look at Deadlight, and d raw a lot of observations from similar looking games. In the foreground of the game, everything is a dark silhouette, which will remind many of Limbo in presentation. When looking at the detailed, 3D backgrounds and the type of side-scrolling gameplay, even more players will immediately draw memories of Chair Entertainment's very own Shadow Complex.



Seeing that the game draws comparisons from two very influential games in the downloadable space, you can't really think of anything to really go wrong with this title. Hopefully, that remains the case. Deadlight centers its focus after the zombie apocalypse, where the player takes control of a nimble everyday man who needs to find his family before they succumb to the mindless horde. The zombies are "grounded" in reality, meaning we'll see a lot of the George Romero zombie 'shufflers'.





Okay, I throw this one in for lawls. While it does look promising, any epileptics should definitely stay the heck away from this game. Seriously. This game is not for humans.



Dyad is a tunnel-speeding game that creates a sort of trippy experience through trance music and tons of blinding colors. Just by watching the off-screen gameplay, I was a little worried for my well-being. If you're into that kind of stuff, make sure to look out for this at release in the near future!





Normally around this time, players receive a gaming draught as we all wait for the inevitable holiday season. For those who pay attention and look for it, a lot of high-quality experiences can be found this summer, and for less than the normal triple-A price. There's no doubt about it, it's the summer of indie.




~ GoldvsSilver