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, when 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, November 19th, 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.
— Fimbul (@FimbulTheGame) November 25, 2017
By Zaxis, no due date
Fimbul is a comic book-styled action adventure set in a world of gritty Norse myth and magic. Nicely stylish, this one, and by a studio with some pedigree. Zaxis are also working on the well-regarded hex-based strategy game Wartile, seemingly set in the same world. The studio itself has a surprising amount of higher-budget industry experience, with developers previously working on Hitman and the Kane & Lynch series, now fully independent.
The combat footage above has a few moments of stiff movement or snapping between animations, but generally reminds me positively of the Batman: Arkham trilogy's intuitive approach. You can see a bunch more gameplay in action over on the official Twitter feed for the game. The clip of the player getting wrecked by a frost-giant's club made me smirk, although I must admit I was hoping the player character would launch into low earth orbit, ala Skyrim.
I guess Bob didn't want to be our friend after all... . Fine by me! Adding some improvements to our first mid boss! #screenshotsaturday #indiedev #gamedev #indiegames @madewithunity #unity3d #Trifox pic.twitter.com/yqgleomtQg
— Glowfish Interactive (@GlowfishInt) November 25, 2017
By Glowfish Interactive, no due date
Another shiny 3D action-adventure, although this one is significantly less grim and frostbitten. Trifox is more of a twin-stick shooter, but with an interesting gimmick. Your vulpine protagonist can switch between three forms, hence the title - a gadgeteering engineer that can deploy turrets and structures to fight for him, an up-close and aggressive warrior, armed with a huge hammer, and a mage, capable of controlling the battlefield with space-warping magic.
What makes the game so instantly appelaing is the graphics, really. There's a real eye for design here, with interesting yet cartoony architecture, clear enemy and character design, and a nicely assembled engine holding it all together. Recent development updates have been talking about the shader effects required to seamlessly 'dissolve' foreground objects that might obscure the action. It's good reading, if you want to see how the sausage is made, so to speak.
Beyond its obvious visual chops, there's not a huge amount of information on the game at present, although you can read a little more on its official site, as well as check out some more animated screenshots over on the developers Twitter feed.
— Michael Higgs (@MadeOfDinosaurs) November 25, 2017
By MadeOfDinosaurs, no due date
Only early days for development on this one, but the footage above already has my interest. Despite never really getting to play them as a kid, early 3D vector-graphics arcade games were fascinating to me all the way through my teenage years. Even when it was long-past its sell-by date, the Star Wars arcade game still held my attention, and Tunnel Storm looks to be recapturing that oddly nostalgic feel, while adding much-improved freedom of player movement.
Maybe I'm just a sucker for on-rails shooters. To this day, I still hold out a faint hope that someone at Microsoft will add Panzer Dragoon Orta to the list of backwards-compatible Xbox games. Either way, there's a nice mixture of environments on show in the little clip above, including the expected tunnel-diving, but also a very Death Star Trench-esque environment, and a field of floating blocks that reminds me of that one secret level from Star Fox 64.
Now all it needs are for the sounds and music to match up to the 80s-tinged visuals. While development has only just kicked off on Tunnel Storm, you can see a little bit more of it in motion over on the developer's Twitter feed.
Note: If the video doesn't take you to the right point automatically, skip to 1:58
By Red Triangle Games, no due date
If you've never experienced the joy that is Axe Cop, go rectify that immediately and start reading the comic. This is what happens when odd family dynamics and wild creativity collide, with story outlines drawn up by an excitable five-year-old, and illustrated by a professional cartoonist. The result is an utterly absurd world, with a doubly absurd cast going on the most nonsensical adventures possible, but held together with heart, soul and great art.
It's been a while since the heyday of Axe Cop, with an animated series already having come, been and gone. In fact, the series will be coming up on 10 years old before long. The official Axe Cop RPG is due for release on that anniversary, and will let you join Axe Cop and his partner Flute Cop on some their most formative cases, through the medium of NES-style RPG gameplay.
While a PC release of Axe Cop isn't 100% assured, it seems likely, considering that most (if not all) of Red Triangle's previous RPGs have made it to our platform of choice. You can see a little bit more about the game, plus Red Triangle's other games on their twitter feed here.
Dino Run 2
By Pixeljam, currenty crowdfunding
The original Dino Run DX was a lovely, simple little thing. Run from left to right, evading an all-consuming wall of doom while rescuing dinosaur eggs from the apocalypse. If you've got $2 to spare, it's heavily discounted on Steam right now. Pixeljam have a good track record all round, with Pototoman Seeks The Troof and Glorkian Warrior being especially good, focused arcadey little things.
For the sequel, Pixeljam are trying something a little different. Funded by a mixture of direct donations and Patreon, production will continue as long as people keep wanting them to work on the game. It's a risky proposition, but I wish them every bit of luck. $5 will get you a peek into the development process of the game, but it won't be considered a full purchase of the final product until you put $10 down. For those who go higher, you get the usual perks expected of a Kickstarter-like operation, including access to the official development Discord channel.
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.