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Ones To Watch 2014 Recap: Indies Part One

The one with the completely ordinary man.

The indie moniker is one that is used as an umbrella term for games that are made by small teams, and ones that just often don’t really fit into a predetermined genre. You get all sorts of games like ones that give you a world to explore, or ones where you’re definitely a completely regular dad, doing completely regular things with your family, and there isn’t an octopus in sight.

1TW-OCTODAD

Young Horses’ Octodad is a game the features an octopus masquerading as man, and he somehow has managed to keep this going for so long that he has got married and produced children somehow. The game released first on PC in January with Stefan giving his views on the game in our review, scoring it a 7/10. The game then released on PS4 in April, featuring some level alterations and tweaks that might have nudged its score a little higher than the original review.

When it did come to PS4, the EU version was embroiled in a controversial moment as the game didn’t get a day one PS Plus discount, unlike the North American release. This was down to issues with the approval process at Sony Europe, and led to Young Horses apologising to prospective customers. Recently some new DLC titled Octodad Shorts were announced for the game, looking set to bring free new levels that would fill in more of the main character’s life as an ordinary man.

1TW-Below

Since the original reveal back at Microsoft’s E3 2013 conference Capybara Games has been rather quiet about Below. What we do know is that the game is a timed exclusive for the Xbox One, and it could come to other platforms though there is still no news on that front. Another detail hinted at is that Below will have some form of multiplayer, though again there isn’t much detail.

The game will be very difficult and will punish players’ mistakes, with the gameplay itself being inspired by classic roguelikes. As such, the world will be procedurally generated so that no play through will be exactly the same. Hopefully we’ll hear something soon about a release date.

1TW-Witness

The Witness was first revealed five years ago by Jonathan Blow, and in the time since then, he and the rest of Thekla Inc have been steadily working on the exploration title. The main campaign is said to have between 25 to 40 hours worth of content, which means there will be a ton of puzzles to solve to unlock the mystery of the island. The Witness is also a timed exclusive for PS4.

Thekla Inc is aiming to get the game running at 1080p and in 60fps, and while the majority of the content is done some work is needed to touch it all up a bit. The game size is said to clock in at 2.7GB, with the audio taking up almost half at 1.2GB.

1TW-Rime

Another game that seems to have gone quiet is Tequila Works’ Rime, an open world title about a boy who is trying to escape an island. Originally pitched to Microsoft, Rime fell afoul of some of the publisher’s policies, which led to Sony picking up the game and securing the game as a PS4 exclusive. The game was then unveiled at Sony’s 2013 Gamescom conference, with a trailer that looked very colourful and hinted at the adventure within.

The game has hints of inspiration from Team Ico’s offerings, and it could be one to really keep an eye on. As Gamescom is coming up maybe we’ll get see more of Rime and maybe hear of a release date too.

1TW-Transistor

The second and only other game that has been released at the time of writing is Supergiant’s Transistor, the studio’s second major release after Bastion, which itself released three years ago this week. Transistor’s story follows Red, and the sword the game is named after. Red is the target of powerful forces in the city of Cloudbank, and must do everything to escape them.

Stefan reviewed the game and gave it a solid 9/10 saying that the story was very engaging, that the isometric design led to some “visually arresting” graphics, and falling for the music of the game. One criticism was that for an action RPG it Transistor could be considered short at its 9 hour play time. I’m still to download Transistor and play through it, but it is certainly on my list.

1TW-Volume

Volume is the second game from the prominent indie developer Mike Bithell, and is a modern day take on the Robin Hood story. In this stealth title, Locksley will not be able to kill, so avoiding the guards across the hundred environments will be key.

The cast sees Danny Wallace returning to lend his voice to the character of Al, Charlie McDonnell bringing to life the main character of Locksley, and The Escapist’s reviews editor Jim Sterling voicing the character Tuck. That casting decision could be seen as a controversial one, and this fact was acknowledged by Jim who said he won’t personally have anything to do with his site’s review of Volume, so that it can remain impartial.

It has been confirmed as a timed exclusive for PS4 and Vita, though will be coming to PC and other platforms afterwards. However, a release date for Volume has yet to be confirmed and Bithell has previously stated a willingness to delay the game to 2015 if he sees the need.


That’s it for this first week of recapping the Ones To Watch in 2015 feature. We’ll be back next week, picking up with Indies Part Two.

9 Comments
  1. R1MJAW
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    Really looking forward to The Witness and possibly Rime too.

    Comment posted on 25/07/2014 at 13:10.
  2. bunimomike
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Below fascinates me but only because they’ve revealed so little. However, what we get to see in the teaser is still lovely in its own right.

    Rime has me quietly excited for it. Looks tremendous. Hope there’s a beautifully fleshed-out game in there for us to embrace.

    Comment posted on 25/07/2014 at 13:32.
  3. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    I had decided Transistor wasn’t for me but after watching/listening to Peter & Stefan’s video chat i’m tempted to try it at some stage.

    Comment posted on 25/07/2014 at 13:36.
  4. kjkg
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    Witness is the one to watch for me. Something about it just looks so appealing. Not sure if I am way off but it is reminding me a bit of Myst, which is certainly no bad thing.

    Comment posted on 25/07/2014 at 13:43.
  5. LegendishThingy
    Member
    Since: Jun 2011

    Really looking forward to seeing what Volume has to offer, loved Thomas Was Alone and Danny Wallace’s voice work was great for that so I can only imagine it will be for this too.

    Another indie title not mentioned here is Inside, the follow up to Limbo, which looks like it could be an interesting one to watch.

    Otherwise, I still want to pick up Octodad at some point and probably have a look at The Witness when it’s released.

    Comment posted on 25/07/2014 at 13:52.
  6. beeje13
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    Transistor is on my list but at £15 its a too much for me to buy, althouh I’m just waiting for a sale to jump in, like I did with Octodad.

    And ‘visually arresting’ is high praise indeed!

    Love these little roundup articles.

    Comment posted on 25/07/2014 at 13:53.
  7. ron_mcphatty
    Member
    Since: Sep 2008

    I hadn’t seen anything about Below before, but that trailer is very enticing. Rime and Volume hold the most excitement for me, at least in today’s list, no doubt No Man’s Sky will feature tomorrow (it is an indie, right?) and that has me positively gushing with excitement dribble!

    Comment posted on 25/07/2014 at 14:19.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      No Man’s Sky isn’t in the list because it was only announced very late last year and without any indication that it might be heading to release in 2014. There’s still no indication that it’s set to come out this year, so it’s not even on our list of newcomers, that we’ll be adding once we’ve gone through the Ones To Watch recap.

      They’re taking their time with it, it seems, and the game’s going to be all the better for it.

      Comment posted on 26/07/2014 at 15:48.
      • ron_mcphatty
        Member
        Since: Sep 2008

        Oops, sorry Tef, I forgot it was only 2014 games. No wonder nobody else mentioned it :P

        Comment posted on 27/07/2014 at 09:00.

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