Five Anticipated Indie Titles From Kinda Funny Game’s 2019 Showcase

Alisa Hail takes a look at some intriguing indies showcased at E3 —

Indie games are becoming a more important part of the gaming industry, certainly, as AAA titles become ever more expensive to make, and as studios have had to trim down staff, and therefore, the number of top tier titles they produce in a given cycle.

E3 has always been a stronghold for the powerhouse players in the industry, with little room for independent developers simply due to the cost of a booth on the show floor.

However, thanks to content creators and presenters such as Kinda Funny Games, indie developers have started breaking into gaming’s biggest and most anticipated show over the past couple of years.

This year Kinda Funny showcased 60 games during their online showcase, with some selected for demonstration on the showroom floor.

You can watch the showcase in its entirety by clicking on the video at the bottom of this article. But here are five we personally anticipate.

UnderMine

Everyone knows the best parts of any action adventure, Zelda-like game is making your way through the dungeons. UnderMine is a roguelike that lets you delve deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the mines all while gathering gold, unlocking secrets, and maybe even meeting a few friends along the way.

You will discover potions, curses, and other relics to assist you in making the perfect run and finally defeating the boss. UnderMine is slated for release this summer on PC and is currently in Steam Early Access.

Stone Shard

Stone Shard is a procedurally-generated turn-based RPG with modern RPG elements. You can combine your hero’s skills to create your individual play style. Align yourself with powerful factions to decide the fate of the kingdom, or gain a god’s favour and with it some of their divine power. Of course, as a leader, you aren’t the only person for which you will be responsible.

Protect yourself and your selected caravan from disease and even the onset of insanity. In the medieval landscapes of Iron Shard, death comes easily. But, no matter. You simply build a new hero and carry on. Stone Shard is slated for release this year for Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and will arrive soon in Steam Early Access.

Lucifer Within Us

As humans spend more and more time in the digital world, one has to question what might happen if the human soul and technology were ever to actually become intertwined. Lucifer Within Us by Kitfox posits this very premise, presenting a tale of A.I. daemons and digital exorcism all housed within an alternative existence wherein the technological is smoothly incorporated into a religious worldview.

As a digital exorcist, it is your job to interview suspects and discover their past or psychological state. Only then can you uncover what form of malicious A.I. is currently sharing their body so it can be cast out. Lucifer Within Us is slated for release this year for PC. You can find out more on the official site.

Superliminal

Nothing is ever as it seems, or so the saying goes. While that certainly applies to many things it life, it is apt advice for playing though developer Pillow Castle’s puzzle game Superliminal. Each challenge will test your perception using optical illusions to create fascinating brainteasers. Check out the video to see exactly what we mean.

Superliminal is slated to launch soon. You can sign up for the mailing list for more info.

Lost Ember

Have you ever imaged finding yourself in a forgotten world wherein you have the freedom to wander as you please learning about its past and taking in all the beauty of its sights and sounds?

Lost Ember allows you to take the form of different animals as you embark on a journey guided by a former resident of the culture that inhabited a now fallen civilization. Uncover the mystery behind the downfall and how your guide played into that unhappy piece of history.

Lost Ember will release on July 19, 2019, on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One.

Kinda Funny Games shined the limelight on several exciting and unique titles making it difficult to pick only a few.

You can find everything from gravity-defying puzzle platformers like Etherborn to games like After Party wherein you must out drink the devil to escape from Hell. From Metroidvania types to multiplayer battles, you can find something in the showcase for you. This is why we love indie games and why we look forward to seeing more at E3 next year.

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the inner friend

The Inner Friend… Is Awakening – It’s Out This Year

Audio can sometimes distort the meaning, can change the perception of something. We can witness an event, but we hear someone else’s story or whilst we are witnessing the event the ambience can alter what we have clearly seen; we doubt ourselves.

Sometimes we just need to cut the talking and just watch, a picture can tell a thousand stories and gazing upon a canvass, silent movie or a photo is when we truly find something about ourselves; no external influence, only our internal thoughts to delight or dismay us, we, you, I…

The Inner Friend

The Inner Friend

The Inner Friend is a game developed by Montreal ‘s Playmind studio. Previously working on AR, VR and interactive installations, they have taken their experience on these projects onboard to develop The Inner Friend, a narrative told through the visual exposition of surreal landscapes – based on the psychology of a child and supported with an ambient/cinematic score.

As you go into the subconscious mind you need to restore memories but the further you drive the darker the world becomes – you must escape or fight horrid creatures.

The Inner Friend

Can The Inner Friend accomplish its goal? Will its minimalistic and surreal visuals draw us into the world? Will the puzzle and combat help to compliment its meaning or will it hinder it?

Like gazing upon the canvass… We will all walk away with our own thoughts and our own interpretations.

The Inner Friend

A picture can tell a thousand stories. The Inner Friend will release this year on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Tunic

Meet Tunic and its cute, sword-wielding furry fox

Tunic’s new gameplay trailer was showcased at Microsoft’s 2018 E3 conference. To sum it up: it’s a visually stunning, cute, isometric action-adventure game – strongly influenced by the early Zelda games. Just in case you hadn’t noticed…

Tunic And The Sword-Wielding Fox

Tunic was originally announced as Secret Legend in 2015 and was created by Andrew Shouldice, a Canadian solo developer.

The title will be an Xbox ‘launch exclusive’ but it’s coming to PC as well. The release date is unknown (as of yet).

Hopefully, we’ll see more of this furry fox soon…

Sony Defends Indie Absence at E3 2017 Showcase

For all their touting of Shadow of the Colossus remakes, exclusive Spider-Man open-world adventures and Kratos’ explosive return to PlayStation hardware at their latest E3 conference, Sony couldn’t escape the relentless wrath of social media critics entirely.

The company’s Interactive Entertainment division came under fire from fans for failing to include much in the way of indie content in its showcase on Monday June 5th, particularly when juxtaposed with the plentiful number of non-mainstream titles like The Artful Escape, Deep Rock Galactic and The Darwin Project unveiled by Microsoft at their Xbox One X E3 reveal conference

Enter Interactive Entertainment worldwide chairman Jim Ryan, who’s wasted no time in accepting an interview request from gamesindustry.biz to clarify why potent under-the-radar projects like Vampyr went unmentioned so as to let AAA franchises like God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn retain the limelight instead.

Referring back to the early days of the PS4 era when the console was first unveiled at the 2013-14 E3 events with accompanying indie reveals aplenty, Ryan says “it was just good to talk about [the indie scene]” at the time but calls this subject matter “less relevant now” in an age where new gaming experiences like VR are the talk of the town.

Seemingly so far down their agenda were such projects, in fact, that the global division’s commander-in-chief asserts how even providing them with brief cameos in the conference via small gameplay videos would have been “viewed as wasted time” by the publishers as they mapped out their showcase structure.

That said, Ryan appears equally keen to allay fears that this temporarily diminished role for the indie sector means a decline in its output on PlayStation consoles lies around the corner.

“You know,” he says, “right now, we have tonnes of indie content on the [PS4] platform. And the fact that we elected, along with many other things such as Gran Turismo and PlayLink, not to give it its own spot on the stage […] in no way means it is not important, or it is not there, or we don’t worry about it.”

Whatever lies in store for the PS4’s indie offerings going forward, though, rest assured we here at D-pad Joy don’t plan on forgetting the oft-unsung wonders of the gaming industry anytime soon. Stay tuned for plenty more coverage of titles both as iconic as Assassin’s Creed: Origins and as up-and-coming as Inside and 10 Second Ninja in the days ahead…

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Viewpoint: Why I’m worried about the Xbox One X

Now before I start, I want to make something very clear: I’m a huge Xbox supporter. I’ve followed them since the beginning, since the times when Halo was just becoming a thing. I have lost many, many hours to gaming on the Xbox family of consoles, sometimes almost religiously. I have a ridiculously large Gamerscore that is way too important to me. I live and breathe Xbox basically. However, I would be lying if I said that I was confident about the upcoming Xbox One X.

I’m worried for several reasons, but the biggest is the price of the machine. At $499, Microsoft will have to pray to the gods to get this console sold in any meaningful numbers. I understand that it will be ‘the most powerful console’ on the planet. I understand that it offers ‘true 4K’ – but that’s not enough. Very few people are going to be interested in a console launching at that price, no matter the power. Further to this, the original Xbox One launched at the same price, and look where that got Microsoft.

So what about the games? A new console launching at that price should have a few big hitters to convince people to jump in right? Nope. Sorry, but a shinier Forza 7 isn’t enough to make me want to spend $499. I love Forza, but it isn’t enough. I’ll get the regular version of the game on the Xbox One S, thanks. What about a new Halo game to really push the machine and entice gamers in? Nope. No sign of it. A huge mistake by Microsoft. As for third-party games like Assassin’s Creed Origins and Anthem, they look great, but they’re the same games on other platforms looking slightly better. It’s not enough to make me want to splash, like I did with the Nintendo Switch, because of the fact it offered something different. (My first Nintendo console by the way!).

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This is the console to beat

That brings me nicely to my next point. I possess a very powerful PC that can push almost all of the modern games to their limits. That’s the system I go to when I really want to see my games looking prettier than ever. And it’s glorious. The Xbox One X therefore, seems oddly placed to me. Why would I play games on there, when they would look better on my PC? That’s not to mention that almost all PC games are cheaper in the first place. So that leaves us with exclusives being the key reason why anyone would purchase the Xbox One X. Well, as we’ve already discussed, the exclusives don’t really exist. At least not yet. By the time they’re ready, surely we’ll be looking ahead to the next Xbox anyway?

There’s no doubt in my mind that Microsoft is proud of the Xbox One X. It’s a machine they’ve created for hardcore console gamers. But I can’t help but feel it’s more a response to Sony and their (largely pointless) PS4 Pro than anything else. It seems that the claim to have ‘the most powerful console’ on the planet was the goal, without much thought on how that was actually going to be sold. The Xbox 360 was a great console, but it had very little to do with its power. It was the amazing games and the great price that helped to make it such a beloved console. No killer exclusives and a very high price are major deal-breakers for any console, ‘midlife’ upgrades or not. The whole console is redundant before it’s even been released in my opinion, and I don’t like to say that at all. As someone who loves the Xbox family, I’m pretty worried that this is going to be a failed attempt, pushing Microsoft even further back in relevance.

What do you think?

Viewpoint: The Top 10 Trailers From Nintendo’s E3 This Year

It’s safe to say that Nintendo has put on a great E3 show this year. With a line-up of games from their top IPs, along with a nice sprinkling of third-party support from Skyrim, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, FIFA 18, and Rocket League – Nintendo is on the mend. To celebrate this rebirth of sorts, we’ve put together their best trailers from the show, the ones which filled us with giddy joy – something Nintendo is quite adept at.

Metroid Prime 4

It’s just over 40 seconds long, but that was enough to explode the internet. The confirmation that Nintendo is finally working on a new Prime game is what fans have been waiting for – 10 years and counting. This was their best kept secret.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was one of the biggest surprises (unless you read the web), first revealed at Ubisoft’s E3 conference. The idea of Mario and Rabbids coming together doesn’t instantly fill us with joy, however, once we saw some gameplay that showed remarkable similarities to the excellent XCOM games, we were sold.

Yoshi

A charming game for a charming character. Yoshi, that’s the name for now anyway, is coming to the Nintendo Switch next year. If the music in this trailer doesn’t make you smile, then surely the stylish, yet cutesy graphics will. Good to see you back old friend.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim on your Switch, with the Master Sword in tow. Think about that. ‘Take a Walk’ shows off the potential of having a huge fantasy adventure playable on a much smaller screen – wherever you want. Passion Pit’s vocals help highlight this glorious fact.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Epic sci-fi action on your Switch in time for Christmas. Nintendo not only showed the world and characters in Xenoblade 2 in much greater detail than we had seen before, but also proudly revealed that the game would in fact make 2017 – something we believed wouldn’t happen. Lovely.

Kirby

Much like Yoshi, Kirby returns with a new adventure literally titled ‘Kirby’. Whether this is the working title, or the game serves as a soft reboot of the series, we don’t know yet. What we do know is that the delightful game is hitting the Switch next year. Stay tuned Kirby fans.

Fire Emblem Warriors

An assortment of Fire Emblem characters, classic and new, meet in the hack and slash game Fire Emblem Warriors. Nintendo’s E3 trailer satisfyingly showed us these folks coming together to fight a powerful new evil. It’s hitting your Switch this fall, because you need more to play!

Rocket League

A short but sweet trailer that showed us Rocket League finally coming to the Switch. This writer has never played the game before, so it seems like a perfect chance to dive in. Exclusive cars, items and cross-network play were also confirmed. The holiday season is getting busy to say the least.

Metroid: Samus Returns

We’ve got to have a 3DS title in here somewhere, right? Nintendo slyly announced Metroid: Samus Returns to the screams of forgotten Metroid fans all around the world on their Treehouse stream. They presented us with a 2D side-scrolling, sci-fi action game that harkens back to the gaming days of yore.

Super Mario Odyssey

A Tyrannosaurus rex in a Mario game? Yep. A catchy new song called ‘Let’s Do The Odyssey’? Check. A Bullet Bill with a moustache? You got it. Super Mario Odyssey’s E3 trailer showed a more playful, wacky and confident Nintendo than we’ve seen for a long time. This one will certainly stay in the memory.

That about covers it. Did you enjoy Nintendo’s E3 this year? What was your favourite trailer? Let us know in the comments below!

Taster: Anthem – A Look at BioWare’s new IP

At this year’s E3, BioWare teased gamers on day one. It was during the EA Play conference that they showed us what they had been working on for five years. After the initial tease, a message stated that more would be revealed at Microsoft’s E3 Conference. So finally, at the end of the two-hour press event held by Microsoft, the last game featured was BioWare’s new online “Destiny-killer”: Anthem.

A full-out online adventure, pitting the human race at the bottom of the barrel, you explore the vast lands in your ‘Javelin’, an exosuit designed to keep you alive when leaving the safety of the settlement’s walls. The main settlement, which acts as a ‘hub’, allows the player to customize Javelin suits and take on more missions and quests.

Stunning graphics, visuals and lighting, the gameplay footage seen at E3 2017 looked as smooth as any game to date. Taking the role of a freelancer, you explore outside the barrier of the walls of Fort Tarsis, to protect humanity and make new discoveries to further aid the human race. The gorgeous, expandable, open world full of unknown mysteries and surprises, along with what the Lead Designer of the project, Corey Gaspur calls “an amazing BioWare story”, is enough to hype plenty of fans looking forward to expanding their online expeditions.

Though previewed with online play and a large focus surrounding online co-op quests, BioWare states that Anthem is completely playable as a solo campaign, reaching out to those not interested in sharing the experience with other players. With deadly threats and ambushes throughout the world of Anthem though, online co-op might be what saves your life in dicey situations.

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The upgradable Javelin suit gives your player personality in and out of battle. Different variations of the suits, like the quick and nimble Ranger, or the mega strength Colossus model – good for taking out dangerous enemies – as well as other models not yet mentioned, leave a strong sense of uniqueness to each exosuit. Said to be “heavily customizable”, these suits give you the creative controls to make your Javelin look and play as you wish. In the demo footage from E3, the Javelin is also shown submerging underwater with a continuous thrust from the jet-pack, making traversing the vast world as exciting as it is impressive.

The combat system in Anthem looks similar to BioWare’s Mass Effect, with cover and shoot gameplay, along with special abilities equipped on the Javelin – like the mortar bomb attached to the colossus or the missile barrage on the ranger displayed in the demo. With talk of various additions to add to the Javelin exosuits, you can expect more options and weapons to make their way into the world of Anthem.

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Dangerous foes and giant beasts are not the only threatening disturbance in the dynamic realm. Shaper Storms and other world events will see you fighting through furious winds and lightning, and upon completion of these, more events will be unlocked. At the end of the E3 demo footage, the player is shown, purposely, flying directly into the heart of the storm where other players wait.

Not many details were released about Anthem’s overall playability. The healthy dose of gameplay was more than enough to get fans excited for the new IP however. We also know that Anthem is set to release on the PlayStation 4/Pro, Xbox One/One X and PC, sometime in 2018. Be sure to check back with D-pad Joy for more updates on BioWare’s exciting new game.

Sony says “There are things” they haven’t shown, in response to a quiet E3

It’s been generally accepted that Sony’s E3 conference was a bit disappointing this year. It wasn’t terrible, but at times it was dull. Even though they had a strong line-up of games, people wanted the bombs to be dropped. They also wanted The Last of Us Part II to be shown off some more. Neither of these things happened.

Well fear not, President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, has now said there were things Sony were holding back on. Yoshida said:

We have no plans to talk about [Sic], but there are things we have held – we chose not to show during this E3 – of course there will be some more news coming out of our teams later this year. No question.

We’d be willing to bet that the PlayStation Experience 2017 is where some of this held back content is going to be. In a similar style to Nintendo, perhaps Sony wants to move away from E3 (just a little bit) to focus on their own events.

The PlayStation Experience 2017 takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California from December 9 – 10. Make sure to grab your tickets this year!

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Roundup: Here’s all of the E3 amiibo Nintendo has announced so far – your wallet weeps

If you’re, (like me), struggling to keep up to date with all the new amiibo Nintendo has announced at E3, then hopefully you’ll find this list we assembled useful.

We have new amiibo for Super Mario Odyssey, Metroid, Fire Emblem, Zelda and even the Mario & Luigi series. One thing’s for certain: you haven’t seen the last of these little figures. Take a gander below and get your wallet ready while you’re at it.

Super Mario Odyssey

Three new amiibo were announced for Super Mario Odyssey, with Mario, Peach and Bowser in wedding outfits… Yes, Bowser wants to marry Peach, presumably as the ultimate form of revenge against Mario. Looking dapper indeed Bowser.

Release date: Same day as the game – 27th October

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Four new amiibo for Breath of the Wild are coming, based on the champions in the game: Goron champion Daruk, the Rito champion Revali, the Zora champion Mipha and the Gerudo champion Urbosa. The level of detail on these guys is some of the best we’ve seen so far.

Release date: Holiday 2017

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Metroid: Samus Returns

Two amiibo were announced for the new 3DS Metroid game. We have Samus Aran herself, along with a Metroid perched atop a broken containment tube. The Metroid design in particular is fantastic – it’s also squishable.

Release date: Same day as the game – 15th September

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Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions

The surprise remake of the GBA game Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions, (Nintendo announced the game after their E3 conference in the Treehouse stream) will have two plain amiibo launch alongside it. We have Goomba and Koopa Troopa figures, but unfortunately no Cackletta or Fawful ones – what a shame.

Release date: Same day as the game – 6th October

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Fire Emblem Warriors

The hack and slash Fire Emblem Warriors gets two amiibo figures: Fire Emblem Awakening’s Chrom and the Manakete Tiki. Chrom just missed out on being included in Super Smash Bros. Wii U, so it’s good to see him get a dedicated figure at last.

Release date: Fall 2017

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That’s your lot for now. We’ll update this post if Nintendo decides to announce anymore. Is your wallet weeping, or are you not fussed by amiibo? Let us know below!

Viewpoint: Fire Emblem Fans Are Spoilt For Choice

‘An evil dragon appeared bringing chaos and destruction’, cue the Fire Emblem Warriors announcement trailer at Nintendo’s Spotlight E3 conference.

Let’s face it, Fire Emblem fans have been spoilt for choice this year with Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (on Nintendo 3DS), the mobile game Fire Emblem Heroes and now Warriors. I’m all for more Fire Emblem as a fan, but is it too much at once?

Back to Fire Emblem Warriors for a second. It’s being developed by Intelligent Systems, and Koei Tecmo and it’s an homage to fans of the franchise, chock-full of easter eggs and characters (Marth and the lovely Chrom to name but a few) from different worlds and time periods. It’s a hack and slash action game much like Hyrule Warriors in terms of gameplay and the fact you’ll be taking on hordes of enemies.

The weapon triangle, leveling up, special moves/critical hits and the pairing of characters, which are famous in the series, are back in Warriors. Aesthetically, the special moves look glorious as you slaughter enemies with sword strokes (obviously this will depend on your character!).

The story follows two twin siblings, embarking on a journey to kill an evil dragon in order to protect their people. Standard stuff, but it’ll work. Here’s Nintendo’s short synopsis on the E3 Trailer:

Clash with legions of soldiers and fierce monsters as Marth, Xander, Corrin, and other Fire Emblem heroes unleash over-the-top-powerful Dynasty Warriors-style moves.

I’m happy to see Warriors shaping up so nicely and I think it will be great fun to play, although, again, I’m surprised at how quickly they got this game out (granted that it’s not your average FE). Hopefully, the Fire Emblem series won’t be churned out every year like some franchises though…

I understand that Fire Emblem is a big IP for Nintendo (now it is, thanks to Awakening), but what about other grid-based games and IPs? A new Advance Wars game would be welcomed and I’d like to see Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. on the Switch too. Can you imagine how good that would look? Drools. (Maybe that’s just me?) I think it’s time to take a few more risks again basically – the biggest strength the company has is their creativity and innovation after all.

Overall, I was very pleased with Nintendo’s E3 Spotlight, it must be said. I just want to see Nintendo go full-out with their creativity, and hopefully that’s the path they’re going down. Maybe less Fire Emblem in the future and more Advance Wars (something, please!) would scratch my itch.

What do you think? Am I right to worry about the Fire Emblem IP being used to much? Let me know in the comments below.

Fire Emblem Warriors will be released on Nintendo Switch in Fall 2017.

E3 2017: My Spidey senses are tingling for the new game on PS4

Marvel’s Spider-Man, by Insomniac Games, closed Sony’s E3 conference and it looks stunning – the most lifelike version to date. It was an unexpected ending as most people (myself included) were expecting Last of Us 2 to be shown, but you can’t rush art, and gamers are insatiable (we always want more).

Let’s get back to Spider-Man. I have to say I am happy to see the new game somersaulting and diving through the E3 conference. We saw Spider-Man in the air brandishing his web shooters, saving people from helicopters, scaffolding and all sorts of debris falling from the sky. Beautiful chaos. It looked very polished with slick fighting mechanics to boot.

And then there were the wisecracks we all know and love:

Saving bad guys from other bad guys – not how I thought my day would go.

With an original story as well, not taken from the films or comics, I eagerly await a fresh take on Peter Parker’s antics.

The PS4 exclusive is due to be released in 2018 on PS4 and PS4 Pro. As you can tell, I’m pretty stoked about the game. What about you?

Super Mario Odyssey hits the Switch on October 27th

Mamma mia indeed! The bizarre, (yet probably brilliant) Super Mario Odyssey is coming to the Nintendo Switch on October 27th – much earlier than anyone expected.

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Nintendo announced the final release date for the game at their E3 Spotlight presentation today. We also saw Bowser and his plans to marry Peach – surely the ultimate insult to Mario – along with the Italian plumber exploring many new beautiful worlds in search for the all-powerful ‘Moons’.

You can catch the delightful trailer below: