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, October 8th, if you missed it!
As with last week, these games are picked from the most recent roundup on the #ScreenshotSaturday tag, but if there's a better trailer available than the latest animated GIF shown, we'll probably use that.
Any or all of these games could be the next big thing. Here's some of the best indie hits of recent years.
By Joymasher, no due date
Not gonna lie - I've been hyped for Blazing Chrome since the moment it was first announced. Joymasher have done some great late-NES-era styled games before in Oniken and Odallus, and Blazing Chrome takes them up to 16-bit stylings with their own take on the run 'n gun shooter gameplay of Contra. This shiny new video is of online co-op gameplay, too, a rare feature for the genre. As lovely as Cuphead may be, there's something about Blazing Chrome's speed and impact that makes me sit up and pay attention.
Plus, I have a huge soft-spot for levels taking place on fast moving vehicles with dramatic parallax-scrolling backgrounds. All aboard the robosplosion train!
By Long Hat House, no due date
Another two things I have soft spots for are gravity manipulation and fun, non-standard movement mechanics. Dandara combines both of those with a strange setting and some very slick pixel art. Billed as a Metroidvania, this one looks to bring an interesting spin of its own (in the most literal sense) to the table. Also, good to see another Brazilian studio (Joymasher above hail from there too) doing impressive stuff. Dandara has no release date, but has a Steam store page already.
As for that weird purple boss guy in the trailer... I guess that'd make him the head of the military, huh?
By Twin Otter Studios, no due date
You might look at Arcadian Atlas' trailer above and think 'That looks more than a little like Final Fantasy Tactics'. And you'd be right. And I'd then tell you that there's nothing wrong with that, because FFT was flupping brilliant and we've not had a strategy RPG quite like it since its original release in 1997. Rather than grumble about similarities, let's just wallow in the nostalgia and hope it's as mechanically and narratively exciting as its inspiration. This one has a Steam page too, by the by.
This one had better not surrender or die in obscurity.
By Wreckr Industries, no due date
If I had to pick one word to describe Violet Cycle, it would be 'kinetic'. Chunky, blocky robots dash and slide around, the ground rippling in their wake. They shake and wobble and bounce when punching and when punched, and the level itself recoils under them. It's not all raw satisfaction, though - the above clip shows a sassy robot enemy carrying a block around, defending it from attacks until the player flanks round, forcing the droid to jet away.
Plus, it looks like angry Rubiks Cubes having a fight. The most puzzling kind of violence.
By AK Games, no due date
Another one I've been following for years. Megasphere is a procedurally-generated metroidvania set in a post-human sci-fi world inspired by Tsutomu Nihei's cyberpunk manga Blame!. Everything moves and shakes and can be destroyed, and the enemy robots fall apart so satisfyingly. The trailer has some of the most perfect space-adventure music I've heard, too.
This trailer is a year old now, and gorgeous as the lighting was back then, the developer has some even more amazing things with Unity's 2D lighting systems since. Check out his development Twitter feed to see some real technological magic happen. Megasphere is available on Steam now via Early Access, although the current public build is some ways behind the developer's own.
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 #ScreenshoSaturday.