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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Move or Die

Move or Die gets a festive update on Steam

PC game Move or Die, from indie developer Those Awesome Guys, has received a sizable amount of new content through its “Green & Gold Update”.

Move or Die – The Aim Of The Game

The free update, available for download on Steam as of now, adds the following to Move or Die:

  • “Not-A-Store” Item System: Completely redesigned system to unlock everything in the game, where players now earn points they can use towards any specific unlockable content
  • Seven New Characters: A Coin, a Top Hat, Old Concerned Joe, Taco Man, a Trash Panda, a Present, and a Penguin round out the new mix of zany additions to over 40 characters
  • Four New Game Modes: Tetrominos, Explosive Barrels, Boomerangs, Crowd Stomp
  • Seven New Mutators: Moooove, Staller, Deaths’plosions, Flutter, Sneak, Ghostly Jumps, Lethal Leaps
  • Customizable Trails: Customize the trails characters leave behind as they move through each game
  • Ability to Re-Roll Mutators
  • Ability to Re-Play Daily Challenge

The bonus content is accompanied by a clever, and rather humorous trailer. Brace yourself for some game industry-fuelled satire, based on recent events, of course:

In case you didn’t know, in Move or Die gamers who fail to move will see their health bar deplete as punishment. What’s more, players will battle each other in an ever-growing list of mini-game modes that change every 20-30 seconds. Each challenge has its own wacky level design and rules ensuring your friendships are ruined. Just in time for Christmas.

Tiny Metal

Tiny Metal out today on Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC

Tiny Metal is out today on Switch, PS4 and PC. Yep, it’s the one that looks like Advance Wars. Maybe “like” is an understatement.

Tiny Metal: Advance Wars Returns!

To celebrate the release the developers, Area 35, have released a new trailer for us which you can find below:

The Sony-published game runs at 4K, 60fps on PS4 Pro and 1080p, 30fps on the Switch in docked mode. In the Switch’s portable mode we see 720p, 30fps.

Taro Yoko, of Nier: Automata fame, said very simply:

“This is good…”

Maybe that’s all you need to here. Maybe it’s not. But with any luck, we’ll let you know our thoughts soon to help you decide.

Hello Neighbor Review [PC] – It Might Be Best Just To Say Goodbye

Hello Neighbor, developed by Dynamic Pixels, has a rather intriguing premise. You witness your neighbor seemingly locking someone in his basement and, like any curious youth might, decide it would be a grand idea to sneak in and investigate. But, what begins as a decidedly simple cat and mouse escapade quickly devolves into a major test of patience and endurance.

There are a few things that Hello Neighbor gets right. The look and feel of the game accomplishes a fine amalgamation of the cartoony and sinister. Even though I was able to quickly get past fears of getting caught (more on that later), the basement sections, in particular, felt appropriately eerie. The bizarre nature of the world itself from the odd puzzles to your neighbor’s increasingly labyrinthine homestead adds to the underlying feeling that something is terribly off about this whole thing.

Also, despite the bright colours and Pixar feel, Hello Neighbor tells a decidedly dark story. The strange nightmare sequences that intermittently crop up, the unnerving atmosphere, and the outlandish, sometimes even supernatural, elements make up a poignant story aptly told through inference and artistic representation. That is not to say that every little thing will make complete sense in the end, but Hello Neighbor is an interesting foray into the human psyche. It is all the more unfortunate, then, that this foray comes with such a high level of frustration and lack of polish when it comes to gameplay that many will find the journey too much of a burden to complete.

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The game takes place in three acts, with the player beginning as a young kid and ending with you as an adult. The first act is fairly straightforward. You need to find the key to the basement without the neighbor catching you. It is during this period that you can say goodbye to any tension the neighbor snatching you up might have initially caused – the reason is because it will happen so often. Fortunately for you, even when you do get caught, the game does little more than set you back across the street with all the items you were carrying still in your possession. Since the house is so small at this stage, it will only take you a few moments to get back where you were, so gathering the nerve to simply charge right back over the fence won’t be the source of anxiety it arguably should be for a horror title.

Unfortunately, the AI is rather spotty. So, sometimes your neighbor will hound you like a dog, and other times you will wonder what is taking him so long and why he is repeatedly wondering about a room you almost never go in. In the case of the latter, just be glad you got lucky. In case he starts hounding you, get caught a few times in an area away from where you need to be and he will eventually start looking for you there.

In the later acts, particularly act 3, you can go for long spans of time without running into your neighbor due to the colossal size of his increasingly fort-like home. But, you will have new frustrations in the form of puzzles that, for lack of a better term, just make absolutely no sense. Well, that is not entirely true. Some make sense. But, all too often you will find yourself wondering where to go and what to do.

The main issue with many of the puzzles in Hello Neighbor is that the game does a poor job of implementing a consistent logic. There are times when I made something happen and had no idea what I did or how I did it. Often, it is a game of trial and error. Worse still, the game will sometimes require you to grab items from far corners of the expansive labyrinth without making it clear not only what items you need, but where these items are located. It is like playing a guessing game where you aren’t given any parameters concerning what exactly you are attempting to guess. I eventually had to crack open a walkthrough in order to continue with the game for review, and also to save my sanity.

There is no doubt that Hello Neighbor has found an audience, particularly with streamers who have the patience to plough through the game for views. But, ultimately, there are likely few people who can make it through without seeking outside assistance. Hello Neighbor seems to be designed to be played in a community rather than by oneself. This is not necessarily a negative thing. I see no problem with designing a game that is meant to be solved through communal trial and error. However, that does not make it a particularly well-designed game. If you want a puzzle game that you can solve by yourself without the need for a walkthrough or an unnecessary time investment, Hello Neighbor is not the game for you.

The other issue is the game still lacks polish even after going through several Alpha and Beta stages. During my playthrough, the game crashed on me multiple times. Items and your neighbor can get stuck in walls and doorways. I had a platform I was standing on phase through me somehow, requiring me to stand in a certain corner, cross my fingers, and just hope it would work until it finally did.

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Last but not least, the game’s physics could use a bit of a touchup. Stacking boxes in order to climb into otherwise unreachable areas becomes a precarious venture as one misstep and the whole thing goes crashing down. They can be used to break windows, but somehow do not weigh enough to stay put without a delicate and practiced hand.

Despite all the negative aspects, I can see why some people enjoy Hello Neighbor. It plays on our more fantastical curiosities about what sort of sinister deeds our otherwise seemingly mundane neighbors might be hiding behind locked doors. Everyone loves a good mystery, and some people are willing to put in the hours and work needed to solve it, even if that means a great deal of frustration along the way. For them, the difficulty the puzzles offer due to the lack of consistent logic only makes the reward of solving them that much greater.

For me, however, the reward was not worth the traipsing about without a clear goal, and often without any direction. Along with the lack of polish, Hello Neighbor might best be greeted with a passing curiosity, but ultimately a mystery that is left unsolved.

Hello Neighbor is currently available on Steam and Xbox One.