It’s already March of 2023, which means we’ve had an entire month of Indies game that have released, which may have flown under your radar.
The fact that we’re only two months into the year, and the list of incredible indie games that have come out is growing at en exponential rate, feels me with a lot of undeniable fear, and slight worry knowing that somehow, I’ll have to try and narrow down on just 1 favourite by the end of the year.
If you’re at all unaware of some of the amazing Indies that have released throughout February fear not, as the team at Game on Aus are here to fill you in on all things Indie, and have expanded reviews for many of these titles either published or in the works.
As of late, I’ve been completely hooked to Rooftop Renegade which is all the more exciting considering it’s made by an Australian developer. The game’s premise is simple: navigate your way across the rooftops of a bustling city while avoiding obstacles and enemies. But don’t be fooled, this game is anything but easy. Each level presents new challenges and requires quick reflexes and smart decision-making to successfully reach the end.
As you navigate throughout the rooftops you’ll pick up power-ups and coins scattered throughout each level. The coins allowed you to upgrade your character’s abilities, making it easier to navigate through the increasingly difficult levels. The power-ups, such as speed boosts and invincibility, were a lifesaver in some of the more intense moments of the game.
Overall, Rooftop Renegade is an incredibly engaging indie game that kept me coming back for more. The colorful graphics and upbeat soundtrack added to the overall experience and the simple controls made it easy to pick up and play. If you’re a fan of fast-paced platformers, I highly recommend giving Rooftop Renegade a try. If you’d like to hear an exclusive chat with the developers, be sure to check out our exclusive interview here.
Sons of the Forest
The even creepier sequel of The Forest has only just released in Sons of the Forest, and for the 15 hours I’ve played thus far, its kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The game is a survival horror that puts you in the shoes of a lone survivor stranded on an island filled with dangerous and mutated creatures (which you can play co-op with your friends if the isolation gets a bit too much). The graphics are surprisingly high quality, and the sound design is incredibly immersive, making every encounter with the creatures feel all the more real (and terryfying).
One of the most impressive aspects of the game that has been significantly improved upon in the sequel is the crafting system. Alike a lot of other survival games, you’ll gather resources and create weapons, tools, and shelter to survive on the island, but with an added sense of realism and polish. The crafting system is easy to use, and it was satisfying to see my character progress and become better equipped in an attempt to fend off the monsters of the night has been an incredibly enjoyable experience.
From what I’ve experienced so far, the story is fairly compelling and kept me invested in the game’s world and characters throughout, but let’s face it – you’re probably not playing this game for a gripping story. You’re playing this because you want to grab a bunch of your friends, and cowardly shoot arrows at forest monsters in the safety of your wooden castle, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – another perfect example of why I love indie games.
I still to this day haven’t stopped playing Inkulinati since I reviewed it earlier in February. Inkulinati at its core is a turn based roguelike with a heavy emphasis on strategy. Every level takes place in a two-dimensional arena (which is the medieval parchment), with different randomly generated objects and layouts that can influence your strategy. In relation to the game-lore; you play as a master of the secret art of Inkulinati – the art of bringing ink to life which is used for battles in the pages of books.
Where the game really excels is in its emphasis on decision making. Rather than the linear approach of ‘kill before you get killed’ presented in most turn-based games, the game puts its primary focus on unit placement. Put a unit in the wrong place, and they can simply be pushed off of the edge of the arena. Seperate them too far from your and a snail might just jump the gap and eat them in one hit – and yes; that is an actual sentence that makes sense in relation to this game.
Inkulinati encapsulates everything I love about Indies – it’s a bold concept that you just wouldn’t normally find from a bigger studio, and can feel the love and effort put into every aspect of the game. If you like rogue-likes, strategy games or a good ol’ fashioned challenge – I implore you to give it a try – it’s the perfect example of why I love indie games.
The Pale Beyond
The Pale Beyond is a survival simulation game that challenges players to lead a crew stranded in the Arctic tundra after their ship is stuck in a sheet of thick ice. Its been my favourite release as of this month, and has had me absolutely obsessed from its onset. As the newly appointed captain of the crew, you must balance resources, keep the crew’s morale up, and find a way to survive until rescue arrives in approximately 35 weeks.
As with any survival game, careful resource management is essential to ensuring your safe return. Food and fuel are the two essential categories throughout your gameplay experience. Initially, you’ll have an ample supply of both, but when the ship becomes trapped, you’ll need to strategically scrounge for resources.
In addition to this, The game features a cast of underdog characters, each with their own unique personalities and flaws. As touched on earlier, the player’s interactions with them can impact the story, as well as the crew’s morale and loyalty to the player. These relationships are vital to the game’s success, as they can affect the outcome of difficult decisions that the player will face throughout the game.
Its unique blend of survival gameplay and moral decision-making made it stand out from other indie games in the genre, and I would definitely recommend it to fans of post-apocalyptic games.
My Dream Setup
Recently showcased in Steam’s Next-Fest, and now launched with a full release, My Dream Setup is a casual simulation game allows players to design their ideal room, giving them complete control over its size, window and door placement, and all the furniture within. Each of these rooms are presented in gorgeous, diorama-like visuals.
I’ll be up-front and say, this definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. There’s no winning, objectives or levels, it’s much more-so meditative and visually pleasing. It’s the kind of game you boot up after a long day’s work, with some calming Lo-Fi playing through your headphones, as you let your mind reset and design an aesthetically pleasing room at the same time, and if that’s not something that interests you, My Dream Setup probably isn’t for you.
There’s really not much more that can be said, but if you’re into cozy indie games that are incredibly relaxing and a sure-fire way to inspire you for some real life interior redecorating, My Dream Setup is absolutely worth your time.
Kerbal Space Program 2 (early access)
Kerbal Space Program 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to the popular space simulation game Kerbal Space Program, and it somewhat lives up to the hype, but with a lot, and I mean A LOT of bugs presented in its current state.
The first thing that struck me about the game was the improved graphics and overall presentation. The game’s visuals have received a major overhaul, and the attention to detail is truly impressive. The world of Kerbal Space Program 2 feels alive and immersive, with a real sense of depth and scale.
In terms of gameplay, it’s what you’d expect from Kerbal: the game offers a vast and complex simulation of space exploration. Players must manage every aspect of their space program, from designing and building spacecraft to launching and piloting them. This is where a lot of the issues currently lie in terms of bugs, as it really feels like there was a significant lack of testing with a lot of gameplay features, but I’ve almost come to expect this from Early Access games.
Overall, Kerbal Space Program 2 has the potential to be an incredible game but it might be worth waiting for its current bugs to be ironed out before investing. The improved graphics, complex gameplay, and proposed multiplayer features make it a must-play for anyone interested in space exploration or simulation games. I can’t wait to see what the full game has in store.