psx 2015

Our 10 Favorite Indies From The PlayStation Experience 2015

by Kimberley Wallace on Dec 06, 2015 at 08:16 PM

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]

Klaus
Developer: La Cosa Entertainment
Estimated Release: January 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4

Klaus may look like a less hardcore version of Super Meat Boy with the color scheme of a Kraftwerk concert, but its exploration in breaking the fourth wall is remarkable. The straightforward platforming is excellent, but the game truly shines when La Cosa introduces compelling twists into the formula. From having the titular character rebel against your controls to special "collectible" levels that allow La Cosa to experiment with supremely off-the-wall ideas, Klaus has quickly become a game to watch in 2016.–Brian Shea

Bound
Developer: Plastic
Estimated Release: 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4 

Bound was only announced a few days ago, so you might not even be aware of its existence. Still, it's one of the more unique and artistic games I've played to date. You're a princess who needs to defeat a monster destroying your world. As you look for ways to confront it, the world is falling apart. You do some small platforming, but the bulk of the movement has the main character performing ballet through its obstacles. The classical music paints the scene, but so do the princess's movements which can just feel as intense and deliberate.–Kimberley Wallace 

Stories: The Path of Destinies
Developer:
Spearhead Games
Estimated Release: Early 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

If you're looking for a Zelda-inspired adventure game with choices that impact how the game plays out, look no further than Stories: The Path of Destinies. Decisions players make greatly alter what they play. In one playthrough of the demo, I chose to pursue a weapon, which sent me through a dark dungeon, while my second playthrough had me exploring a bright and sunny town looking for a kidnapped friend. The impactful choices are just the start of why I'm excited to see how Stories turns out, as it also looks great, features fluid combat, and offers lots of cool character and weapon upgrades.–Brian Shea

Headlander
Developer:
Double Fine
Estimated Release: 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

Double Fine has a gift for bringing us quirky games, and Headlander is just that. This 2D sidescrolling darling takes place in a false utopia that was modeled after '70s sci-fi. That's not even the most outlandish part though. See in Headlander, you're merely a head (oh, and the last organic being in the universe). Your head can float and be transported onto robot bodies and can also vacuum up other heads and objects. Different bodies that you attach yourself on have unique weapons, like laser guns to shoot down other baddies in your way. You can bounce lasers off walls to get in a good position to injure enemies, but keep yourself safe in cover. Silly and strategic? Count us in.–Kimberley Wallace 

Fallen Legion
Developer:
YummyYummyTummy
Estimated Release: Summer 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4

The name of this beautiful game is "Keep your combos up." Using the four face buttons, you control when each of your four characters attack the enemies before you face foes of all shapes and sizes. Though you encounter new playable characters as you progress through the story, your party always consists of an all-around, a heavy, a ranged, and a mage class character. The awesome combat is added to by the customization that gives you several options on how you want to develop your characters as you continue your slaughter of the enemies before.–Brian Shea