More and more game developers are going the crowdfunding and/or indie route to pushing out their creations, and for gamers, this makes it a great time to get into indie games. Here are 3 upcoming Steam Games we're most excited about.
1. We Happy Few
Made by the same indie game development studio that brought us the stylish adventure game Contrast, We Happy Few tells the tale of a band of "moderately terrible people" who wake up from their hazy existence in 1960s England. Of course, this isn't the 1960s England of our time, but an alternate history where England is a dystopia desperately trying to rebuild from the ravages of a global war. Only, the people who are trying to rebuild it are delusional tyrants straight out of the pages of George Orwell. And what they're being delusional about is being happy. That's right, happiness.
Everything about the city of Wellington Wells is happy, down to the storefronts, the street signs, the local monuments, and especially the people and its omnipresent television personality Uncle Jack. Your character must survive in this world by blending in, while also working to escape it by finding the truth behind Wellington Well's history and enforced happy.
We Happy Few takes the popular survival game genre of needing to eat, drink, sleep and stay hidden to survive, and then turns it all on its head by making you also need to conform to a rigid, dystopian society where your every move is being watched. Did your neighbor think it was rude of you not to smile when he said good morning? Did you turn down the shopkeeper's very generous offer to sell you Joy (the local brand of 'happy pills') while you were just there to pick up some extra tea and crumpets? Uh oh, it looks like we might have a Downer situation! And the only response to that is for both the citizens and the local constabulary to turn your frown upside down! ...often with excessive force. As in, they'll beat you to a pulp and haul you in for 'reconditioning.'
We Happy Few is gloriously thematic and ambitious in scope, and it's also being developed by those who are quite possibly the most hard-working indie studio in recent memory. It's well-deserving of a spot on our wishlist.
Successfully Kickstarted in October 2013 and boasting a playerbase of over 120,000, Rimworld's another fully-fleshed, generally bug-free title that seems to still be bearing the label of 'Early Access' because the developers want to do more with the game.
Played from a top-down perspective, Rimworld has you overseeing the physical and mental well-being of a group of colonists desperately trying to eke out an existence on a procedurally-generated planet. Each of your colonists has a personality, and their own needs and skills. In addition to managing each colonist, you must ensure your settlement is fortified enough to withstand the constant threat of pirate raids, marauding indigenous tribes, stampeding wildlife, deadly inclement weather, and the occasional giant killing machine awoken from deep within the earth. To get the supplies you need, you can grow them, or trade with them from passing caravans.
Where Rimworld shines is the presence of its AI Storyteller, who do different things based on which AI you choose, and the psychology of your colonists. Relationships form and break, colonists risk their own lives by dragging wounded comrades from the battlefield, fall in love and start families, only to lie, cheat, steal, or degenerate into downright catatonia after losing loved ones to the harsh and unremitting life of the Rimworld. No one's a professional settler – they're a random selection of crash-landed survivors, each with different skills and weaknesses and psychological peculiarities.
Rimworld's one of those unremitting, gloriously heavy-duty and 'micromanagey' titles that's oddly riveting to play, and feels equally rewarding whether your colony succeeds or fails utterly.