With most gaming conventions just around the corner and expectant memories from last year’s announcements, 2017 is packed of jaw-dropping indie releases – see our top Nintendo Switch Indie games we’re looking forward to this year.. After a great 2016, with heavyweights like Stardew Valley, Inside and The Witness, it’s hard to imagine a game list that tops it off. Nonetheless, independent developers welcomed the trial with big guns at hand (and fresh ideas), making it hard to pick just five upcoming indie games.
Releases this year include known faces and newcomers; as well as original styles and classic spin-offs. Make space in your game library, let the underdogs rise, and check out the 5 games we’re waiting for this 2017.
Top 5 2017 Indie Games We Can’t Wait to Play
Night in the Woods
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC
Night in the Woods is coming on February the 21st with Mae Borowski as the protagonist. After dropping out of college, she comes back to the old mining town of Possum Springs. A cynical array of anthropomorphic citizens and friends welcome her with no so pleasant surprises, while she also discovers that something hides in the woods… Threatening the tumbling town.
The game by Infinite Fall exploits the cutout animation style with a beautiful palette that gives the city’s days a faded appearance, while the nights seem bright and magical. It will include crude sci-fi tunes by Alec Holowka setting the paranormal ambiance, also known for his work on other indie games (TowerFall and Aquaria).
As for the premise, you’ll explore a now strange town, filled with mysteries that Mae slowly tracks back to the outer woods. Gameplay will combine the main story with lots of exploration and interaction at this old home you come back to. Many activities and mini games fill the gaps in between, giving players a chance to dig up everyone’s stories.
Still, Mae has her own. She started to realize she’s been seeing stuff. Another face of the world she lives in. With that new ability and little knowledge, she intends to gather around her misfit friends and follow a somber trail of clues into the woods. Something lures Mae there, something dark, and it might be the very reason why the town’s so strange. All in all, Night in the Woods looks like a bright release. It shows a down to earth teen cast that’s discovering life in a no-good town, worried about their own demons. Can’t help but recall Oxenfree and have the same expectations: to watch the characters develop as their hometown surprises them with the unpredictable.
Release Date: TBA – Expected 2017
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC
Fan of Metroidvania style games? Have you been replaying Castlevania: Symphony of the Night way too many times? Is Guacamelee not your style? Then Chasm will probably catch your attention. Well… It probably would either way. Mines keep appearing in stories and in this 2d platform adventure Daltyn, the soldier protagonist, has to check on a strangely silent mining town. Upon arriving, he finds himself trapped in the same curse that struck the community. now he must hack n’ slash through enemies and search the deep mines to bring an end to this obscure magic that haunts Karthas.
Chasm works as a procedurally generated game, with six areas filled with retro pixel art to explore. Each one of them will hold a different atmosphere and, according to previous gameplay demos, lifeful levels which slowly turn into ancient hazards. What’s more, you’ll be able to come back on your steps, access new depths, and meet the trapped folk.
This roguelike title offers a classic RPG character system. Like the Dark Soul series, you can level up at a campfire; also as you progress, you’ll loot better armor, weapons and learn magic. Mechanics depend on few buttons. Main attack, spells or abilities and dashes. You’ll have to be careful with your grinding, mana is a thing here and items will play a crucial role in fights. But getting to that massive boss fight with a higher level will indeed give you that extra boost. You just need to avoid all traps, enemies and long falls. Could be worse, right?
However, there are two reasons why this game made the list. First, it’s a promising indie game with great gameplay possibilities. Secondly, the game has been delayed year after year. If this list had been made two years ago, Chasm would certainly be part of it. Bit Kid assures they are currently polishing the game, and it’s no news that independent companies can come across obstacles; even so, we hope to see its release on PC and PS4 in the following months.
Release Date: Mid-2017
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Cuphead in: Don’t Deal With the Devil has everything a game needs to be memorable indie pick. The hand drawn nostalgic graphics bring the old Steamboat Willie feeling back; the amusing heroes, Cuphead and Mugman; and incredibly intense, psychedelic bosses to suffer with friends. Studio MDHR stunned us back on 2015 with the announcement. Since then, they’ve done a great job at keeping everyone’s attentions by showing us lots of gameplay and many unique boss fights. Those encounters will be the core experience in Cuphead; from sky-high plane skirmishes to ground level ones, always filled with energetic jazzy tunes.
Make your way through levels, which you select in a world map like Super Mario, with nothing but your magic shooting gloves. The vintage sound effects you’d expect from radio drama take the experience to a special place, about 80 years back exactly. Race through scrolling hand inked landscapes with your partner in crime, shooting lasers from the tip of your fingers at hordes of bizarre creatures. Your health consists of poker cards that slowly recharge, which can also be expanded to launch special attacks and even an ultimate ability.
When in need of extra firepower, visit the curiously familiar pig shopkeeper. You’ll have new weapons and power-ups available in exchange for the coins you pick up. Pack a homing shot, or pick a charm that saves your mug hero from one point of damage, a little help won’t hurt.
For its special and original charm, Cuphead certainly sits on the spotlight among other indie titles coming up this year. The Moldenhauer brothers did an amazing job at reviving an old art style with its original craft; as well as Kris Maddigan’s live compositions. The best thing is that we won’t wait long: it will be available during mid-year on PC and Xbox One.
Release Date: 2017
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Shift into a bird and fly away in Aer, a game by the Swedish developer Forgotten Key. They describe it as an atmospheric adventure, and it’s a spot-on description when it comes to looking at this floating sandbox universe. You take control of a girl who lives in a much alive -and quite spiritual- world; she can turn into a bird and explore this visually pleasant scenery, solving puzzles and discovering secrets on her journey to the Gods themselves.
Her reality is being menaced by divine forces, with the end of the world being a possibility. To save it, she’ll need to transverse the skies and look for hidden ancient technologies that might help you defy the Gods. Swiftly solve puzzles; flap your wings to new destinations; recover ancient memories for your quest; and visit the God’s temples, with buried magic.
Smooth flying is rare, yet Aer has achieved a great combination between a simple system and a proper design. You’ll be able to glide, but not without flapping your wings from time to time. Be careful, high speed isn’t always necessary. What stood the most about Forgotten Key’s game is how alive its world looks, having an alternative graphic approach. It stands as an ethereal concept delivered in a soothing and immersive experience. Without a doubt Aer will be a break from the usual genres, carrying similar characteristics to other indie games like Abzû and Journey.
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Last but not least comes Playtonic Games’ surprise. Chris Sutherland and other Rare veterans joined forces and this year they’ll launch Yooka-Laylee, a much expected ‘successor’ of the platforming gem Banjo-Kazooie. A green chameleon (Yooka) and a big nosed bat (Laylee) share an unusual friendship, much alike Banjo and Kazooie; they need each other’s skills to take on huge platforming worlds that reminisce N64’s iconic levels. The development of this game was backed by over seventy-three thousand people, with more than two million pounds donated via Kickstarter.
Witty characters and levels with endless challenges make a comeback in the buddy duo genre. Coming from a team who was in charge of classics like Donkey Kong Country, there are many great things to talk about. First off, when it comes to design everything recalls the Banjo’s classic cosmetics with a modern twist. The huge playgrounds where Yooka and Laylee run around will be expandable. On their mission against the evil mind Capital B, the duo will need to complete challenges and solve puzzles across the different areas to obtain Pagies, a special bounty used to unlock progress.
Another attractive feature is the amount of content this game will include. DLCs have already been confirmed, together with local arcade multiplayer games and co-op mode. With this, you can add the huge amount of collectibles that directly affect gameplay and both gameplay and graphics modifiers like Nintendo 64 shaders! It seems to be the trait that slowly faded throughout the years, that little bit of extra effort gamers enjoy.
To crown Yooka-Laylee as one of the most anticipated indie games of 2017 we have to add one last thing. The whole soundtrack of the game is designed and composed by a legendary team. David Wise, who worked in Donkey Kong Country’s music; Grant Kirkhope, composer on Viva Piñata, Banjo-Kazooie and Goldeneye 007; and Steve Burke, in charge of Banjo-Kazooie’s sound effects.
That’s it for our list! Five upcoming indie games that we’d love to be playing right now, and while they won’t be out for a few months you can whet your appetite with some other titles which drop this month. We’ll have to buckle up and wait patiently for these and many more independent productions.