This is a golden age of videogames. More than ever before, people from all backgrounds are making games using freely accessible tools that industry pioneers of the '80s and '90s could only dream of. The only problem now is information overload; with more games than anyone could ever process, what are you to do?
It's that time of the week again, and PCGamesN returns to help you cut through the noise, and tune your signal into some of the most intriguing experiments in the indie scene this week, one enticing image at a time. Check out the latest crop below, and check back next week for more. Plus check our our lineup from last week, December 17th, if you missed it!
Any or all of these games could be the next big thing. Here's some of the best indie hits of recent years.
By Keith Scolaro, no due date
The moment I set eyes upon Arthurian Legends, I was filled with pangs of nostalgia for a game I know I shouldn't be nostalgic about. I was immediately reminded of Witchaven, a mediocre Build engine FPS with impressively unfair level design, but somehow, it has held a strange place in the back of mind mind for decades.
It's a good thing that Arthurian Legends looks a rather more solid game than Witchaven in the end, albeit just as gratuitously violent, with enemies exploding into a swirling cloud of gibs at seemingly the slightest impact. Honestly, there's so much blood flying around that I'm surprised that the skeleton enemies aren't just exploding into a fountain of meat just so they don't feel left out.
While the game has missed its originally planned 2017 release date, when it does land, it'll be structured in classic Shareware style, split into three distinct episodes, each bringing new environment types, enemies and weapons. Development updates on the official Twitter feed for the game have been slow but consistent. And yes, most of them feature messily exploding enemies, too.
By an unnamed team, no due date
DangerSpace presses a lot of buttons for me. For starters, we're looking at a space combat game with a deliciously heavyweight physics-driven flight engine, where your ship angles itself with visible thrusters located across its hull. That would be enticing enough by itself, but this game goes one further by blending all of this with Battlezone - the late FPS/RTS hybrid series, not the arcade original or VR reboot.
DangerSpace has apparently been making waves around the Russian indie dev scene, and it's easy to see why. It's already impressively polished looking, and seems to be borrowing all the right elements from Battlezone, including the simple and intuitive squad command interface. As chunky as the flight model may be, making an RTS hybrid is pointless if it's no fun commanding your minions.
The full game will apparently boast a non-linear story campaign mode, in addition to your usual range of skirmish Vs AI options. Multiplayer sadly will not be a launch feature, but the devs plan on introducing it further down the line. You can keep up with development on both the official site, and the official dev twitter feed.
By Glass Bottom Games, due 2018
Well, that's a bit different. For starters, there aren't too many first-person brawlers around. Secondly, none that I can think of boasts a lurid pseudo-80s bubblegum pop-punk aesthetic. Third, adorable, tiny kitties tend to be absent from the genre, broadly speaking. Lastly, very few games in general have sing-along musical trailers.
Spartan Fist, then, does a lot to stand out from the crowd. With tongue firmly in cheek, pick fights, punch blocky faces, and collect new and powerful fists and/or fight money to upgrade yourself in-between bouts, as you seek fame and glory in the arena.
Warning: Some enemies may be tiny kitties piloting human-sized robots. As with all others, you can get a deeper look at the game over on the lead dev's official Twitter feed. You can also wishlist it on Steam in case you want to be informed on exactly when you can start exploding fools with your bare low-fi hands.
By Pelikan13, available in early access now
Twice the punching, twice the fun. The old scrolling brawler genre has seen a quiet indie resurgence in recent years, and with good reason; It's a thoroughly underappreciated genre full of hidden depths for those willing to put in the time, learn the quirks of each character's move-list and crank up the difficulty to keep things exciting.
The TakeOver is a bit more straightforward than some other recent entries in the genre. Essentially, it's Sega's classic Streets of Rage with a fresh lick of paint, but for many of us, that's all we could really ask for. While I'm still not entirely sold on the pre-rendered 3D art style used in-game, I can't deny that it moves well, and that the combat has a nice sense of weight and power to it, and the comic-book style cutscenes work perfect.
While still in development, the game is quite close to completion (the latest update added the final boss stage) and can be picked up via Steam Early Access right now, priced at a reasonable enough £10.29/$13. I think it's safe to say that it hasn't quite hit the developer's original Early 2017 release date target, though. You can see some more development updates on the dev's Twitter feed too, including a peek at some of the excellent Continue countdown screens.
By Monothetic, no due date
And sending us off with a dose of festive silliness (albeit from a year-old trailer) is super stylish roguelike shooter Beacon. I'm not entirely sure how this one has flown under our radar for so long, especially given the obvious polish on display.
The concept is simple enough. While off wandering the galaxy, your ship has crashed on an incredibly hostile alien world. Worse still, there's very little left of the ship other than the automated cloning facility, which means that at least you won't be staying dead for any length of time, but it'll still be an uphill struggle surviving long enough to build a distress beacon and get back into space.
The exciting twist is that you get to collect DNA fragments from all the enemies you kill along the way, up to and including robots. After dying, you can then cash in this genetic material to modify your next clone in fun and exciting ways, changing your body wildly to fit the task at hand better. By the time you leave, you may end up more alien than human, but that's half the fun, isn't it? Plus, reminds me a little of Risk of Rain. You can keep up with development both on the very stylish official site, or the more frequently updated twitter feed.
That's it for this week. Got any favourites you want to share? Post them in the comments below, and if you're a developer and want to see your game here? Tweet about it on #ScreenshotSaturday.