A new week brings us another batch of indie games we want to tell you all about. This week is a bit special, too, because I’ve been playing a preview build of Mortal Shell, the indie Souls-like from Cold Symmetry.
I don’t get into here, but you should definitely read my hands-on impressions. We captured plenty of gameplay, too, which you can watch at the link.
Hot indie games week of June 29
Developer Glumberland had the brilliant idea of turning crops into cute animals in Ooblets, the part-farming, and part-creature-collecting game. Ooblets has been kicking around for a while, and its unusual approach to the two genres it sits in always stuck with me.
Crops, called Ooblets, can be grown and traded like you would in Stardew Valley. Except, of course, Ooblets are also cute animal-like creatures that you can befriend, hang out with and level up like a Pokemon. Instead of pitting Ooblets against each other in fights, you level them up in dance battles. This unfolds over a game of cards where you get to dictate their moves, and it’s a brilliant way of avoiding having to force these little buggers to fight.
When you’re not caring for your Ooblet friends or doing farm work, you can go for a stroll around town, and meet the townsfolk. There’s a big customisation component in the game where everything from your outfit to your entire home can be personalised the more items you unlock over the course of the game. All presented through a lovely art style full of good vibes.
This week, the developer officially announced a July 15 release date. Ooblets’ Early Access build arrives on the Epic Games Store, and Xbox One’s Game Preview priced $25 by default, but you’ll get it for 20% off if you buy during the first week of release.
Tannenberg is the standalone expansion to WW1 multiplayer shooter Verdun. Like Verdun, Tannenberg is a game that depicts the ruthlessness and misery of the First World War by making you relive warfare tactics of the era. As the name suggests, the focus this time is on the Eastern Front where Russia and Germany fought.
The original game was more interested in trench warfare, whereas this one covers open combat. Manoeuvre is the main game mode here, designed to replicate encirclement battles of WW1. Tannenberg’s scale is comparable to Battlefield’s with 64-player games, though without vehicles. If you thought Battlefield 1 never captured the true horror of that war, both Verdun and Tannenberg do a fantastic job at it.
This is a realistic-leaning, squad-based shooter where you die very quickly, so it may take a little bit of getting used to. The experience, however, is not something you’re likely to get in any other historical shooter, and Tannenberg’s authentic approach to weapons, outfits and feel go a long way in selling that fantasy. The game supports AI bots that can fill in for missing players, which is great for a niche multiplayer game.
Tannenberg has been out on PC for over a year now, but it’s finally coming to PS4 and Xbox One. It arrives on July 24. If you prefer to play shooters on PC, the game is currently on sale for 60% off on Steam.
Few styles stand out like the work of Amanita Design. The developer of Machinarium, Botanicula and the Samorost series finally broke its silence on Creaks, its next project.
Creaks is a puzzle adventure. Like other Amanita games, it takes place in an eerie world that’s hard to describe because of how unusual it appears. The surreal world this time hiding behind the walls of a seemingly ordinary mansion. After hearing some strange noises, the game’s hero ventures beyond this world and into another of avian inhabitants, and one where pieces of furniture are deadly monsters. Creaks plays with the concept of pareidolia, which is the phenomenon of perceiving patterns in inanimate objects, like how we sometimes see faces in clouds.
This forms the main mechanic, where you’ll get to turn these seemingly hostile creatures into their actual, nonthreatening form by confronting them. Not quite a usual pitch for a game. I am not typically smart enough to appreciate the puzzles in Amanita’s games, but their sights and sounds keep me playing. Creaks, though, appears to be more of an adventure than an outright puzzler. The developer’s recommendation for playing it with a controller has me hopeful that it could be easier than Amanita’s earlier work.
Nonetheless, the developer shared two pieces of news this week. The PC version of Creaks releases on Steam this month. The game is also coming to PS4, Xbox One and Switch around the same time.
Games you can play this weekend
No Straight Roads
If you’re a regular reader of this feature, you may remember that we covered No Straight Roads back in May. It was initially set for release in June, but got pushed back a bit since.
No Straight Roads is a music-infused action game where you can turn props into weapons and fight an evil EDM empire. It has eight worlds, each taking inspiration from a genre of music. Everything is themed around music: enemies attack to the beat, and the protagonists use music as a weapon. There are two characters for you to pick from, with unique attacks for each.
Developer Metronomik returned this week with a new release date, and a free demo you can download right now on the Epic Games Store. The full game is coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch on August 25.