Indie Games Spotlight is Goomba Stomp’s bi-weekly column where we highlight some of the most exciting new and upcoming indies. We’re in the midst of a wave of news this week as the E3 season is already well underway, but even as the major players in the industry start releasing major news left and right, there is still plenty of news. independent news to follow in the middle of it all. the big budget buzz. Whether you want to dig a mystery or scratch your head at a devious puzzle, there’s a lot to love, as always, in this week’s spotlight. Let’s go!
Have some Spine
Which member of the animal kingdom would be the best fit for a detective? Yes Spine is to believe, it may be the humble raccoon. Spine comes across as a “post-noir role-play crime adventure,” following a raccoon private investigator named Howard who just wants to solve enough mysteries to pay the rent and get by. It’s a trivial start, but it grounds the story in harsh realities and sets the stage for an elaborate conspiracy to unfold.
Backbone Gameplay represents a refinement of the classic point-and-click formula, with stunningly realized pixelated environments teeming with secrets to uncover as Howard explores another version of Vancouver, BC. The writing also promises to bring the world to life, allowing players to interact with characters from all walks of life (and all kinds of species, too) in candid conversations and subplots. Anticipation has been high for this mystery for quite some time now, so luckily there isn’t long to wait as Spine will debut on PC on June 8.
It’s time to go Berserk (Boy)
Games don’t always have to revolutionize the conventions of their genre just to grab attention. There is perhaps no better example than the recently announced Berserk boy, a platform game by the aptly named BerserkBoy Games that seems to adhere to many genre archetypes on the surface, but nonetheless generates buzz as a mix of several popular platform franchises.
Inspired by series of platforms as diverse as Sonic, Gunvolt and Mega Man, Berserk boy positions itself as a unique full retro platformer that prioritizes action combos and quick moves. It promises to give players plenty of ways, and rightly so, to go crazy over their surroundings by taking advantage of “berserk force orbs” to learn new abilities and progress through dynamic levels. With nostalgic graphics and a soundtrack composed by none other than Sonic mania Tee Lopes, there seems to be a lot of promise for Berserk boy ahead of its planned launch on all major platforms next year.
Find your way Labyrinth City
It’s not uncommon for games to blur the line between interactive media and the visual arts, but Labyrinth City takes this concept even further. As an adaptation of the popular children’s picture book series Detective Peter the Maze, Labyrinth City takes the boredom inherent in getting lost in mazes and turns it into a beautiful new kind of puzzle game focused on exploration and discovery in an artisan world. After an evil being called Mr. X turns the entire world into one vast maze, it’s up to the players to guide the intrepid Detective Peter through the newly labyrinthine landscape to turn things around.
Visually, Labyrinth City immediately looks stunning. It reflects the artistic design of the large, colorful pages of its physical source material, but it brings these illustrations to life with hundreds of unique interactions between characters and objects hidden in its many levels. Labyrinth City looks set to offer a wonderful change of pace to slow down, relax, and explore all that its beautiful world has to offer in its warm colors and dense designs. It won’t be long before gamers delve into this fairytale on their own with its release on June 22 for PC, with Switch and mobile versions to follow later this summer.
Enjoy a perfect day by Sumire
Sumire It’s about making the most of the time you have. Located in an idyllic Japanese town, Sumire gives players a day to help a young girl make her deepest wish come true: to see her late grandmother once again. To this end, players will have to guide her through a series of races and quests through the village, interacting with bizarre human and spiritual neighbors.
Sumire Strongly emphasizes player choice, as the individual decisions you make throughout the day can have a major impact on how the story unfolds. You may experience different narrative outcomes depending on which quests you accept or decline, leading to multiple endings for you to discover at the end of the day. Featured with a striking hand-painted aesthetic, Sumire offers a poignant storyline with a welcoming atmosphere that encourages multiple parties. You don’t have to wait long for the perfect day because Sumire is already available on Switch and PC.
Take a trip to The incredible American circus
Is it getting more American than baseball, apple pie and of course the classic circus? The incredible American circus seeks to tap into this nostalgic legacy of wonderful performances, feats, and exotic shows in the form of a storytelling-driven card game. After exceeding its fundraising goals on Kickstarter, The incredible American circus is preparing to deliver a carefully crafted strategic experience over the next few months.
Located at the height of circus performances at the end of the 19th century, The incredible American circus will see players take over a dilapidated troupe and fix it up to attract audiences and challenge the day’s hottest performers, meeting historical figures like Nikola Tesla, Susan B. Anthony, PT Barnum himself along the way. Boasting a versatile leveling system, over a hundred hand-drawn maps and dozens of cities to visit, this latest title from developer Juggler Games (from My memory of us fame) also seeks to provide a robust gaming loop. We’ll have to see if this show proves to be a crowd-pleaser when it launches in August on PC and consoles.