It’s always great when we come across a new indie game, and Nintendo’s latest Indie World Showcase last week gave us a veritable feast. With our lists that little bit bigger, we’re hoping that we can add to yours as well. This week, we have another diverse spread of indie video games, from the imminent releases of Goat Simulator 3 and Dysterra, to the expected 2023 launches of Old Skies, Cocoon, and Miasma Chronicles.
Indie Games Coming Soon
Goat Simulator 3
PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X | S – November 17, 2022
From Just Die Already to Octodad to Untitled Goose Game (and a positive plethora besides), meme games have exploded in recent years, but Goat Simulator was one of the OGs. Now, eight years on, Coffee Stain Studios is gearing up to see if lightning can strike again with the misleadingly titled Goat Simulator 3.
This time around, the developers are ratcheting the potential for hircine mayhem up to 11, starting with a massive open world. With that come all the bells and whistles of the format. The map is dotted with collectibles, power-ups, mini-games, and side activities — all of it tailored to pushing the boundaries of goofiness. Being able to join up with four other people in local or online play only ramps that up further.
However, for those of us who like a little more than utter chaos to sink our teeth into, Goat Simulator 3 introduces something like a story mode. There’s something about the Goat Illuminati and TARDIS-like towers dotted around the map, so you can forget about seriousness. At the same time, you can play as a rhino with a jetpack that uses its tongue to stick to things… You know what you’re getting into.
PC – November 23, 2022 (Early Access)
Dysterra is trying to break into the crowded survival genre, and it may have a bit of a leg up thanks to the inclusion of slick FPS combat. The team at Reality MagiQ is mashing together a broad spectrum of influences for a game that might just wind up as a sleeper hit.
You’ll be managing hunger, thirst, and temperature in typical survival game fashion. You’ll also be able to gather resources and build bases of operations with a group of co-op partners, or amp up the heat considerably against other players in PvP servers. One big wrinkle, though, is a looming apocalyptic threat that you can only stave off by capturing and shutting down facilities dotted around the map.
I’m not sure how present the lore and world-building is, but it takes place in a future version of Earth that humanity’s meddling has done a number on. So, if you like a bit of high-concept sci-fi that’s also mixing the interesting bits from other games, Dysterra could be worth a look. Reality MagiQ has been getting players involved regularly since it hit alpha early last year, so hopefully that’s helped to ensure that the bones of the project are as solid as they seem.
Indie Games Coming Later
PC – TBA
Wadjet Eye Games has been on a mission in recent years to solidify itself as the premier developer and publisher of point-and-click games. The team’s previous efforts, like Unavowed, have attracted considerable acclaim, and Old Skies looks to be more ambitious in all the ways that matter. The Escapist’s Jesse Galena dived into a demo earlier this year, coming out with a broadly positive impression.
You play as time-traveling tour guide Fia Quinn as she chaperones seven members of the ultra-rich on forays into the past. Her biggest challenge is making sure the tourists behave to avoid putting the timeline in jeopardy because every one of them has a personal reason for their journey. It’s set to be a sprawling adventure that explores various eras of New York’s history from the 1800s to September 11, 2001.
While the quality of the story is always important in point-and-click games, they can live or die based on how well the simple mechanics are deployed. Old Skies is leaning into the time-travel conceit for that. Players will have to make use of time loops to solve the puzzles Fia is presented with, which sounds like it should lead to some intricate problems. So, if you liked Return to Monkey Island when it hit a couple of months ago, you should definitely make a note of Old Skies.
PC, Switch, Xbox – TBA 2023
Playdead sure has had some creative team members over the years. Following on from the Somerville highlight last week, this time Cocoon gets to shine. The Playdead connection for this game is that Inside’s audio designer and lead gameplay designer are both on board, and they’ve concocted a truly dazzling inventive puzzle adventure.
Do you remember the MacGuffin in Men in Black where a galaxy is contained in a marble? The central idea of Cocoon reminds me of that. Here, worlds are contained within orbs that you can carry on your back. So far, so simple, right? What makes the game so intriguing is that you can dive into those worlds to explore them at will, while also making use of the orbs as you explore. Each one seems to interact with the puzzles of other worlds in various ways, from opening up new pathways to activating strange mechanisms.
On top of that, there’s apparently a vast cosmic mystery looming in the background for you to unravel. My guess is that it’s somehow connected to that nightmarish bug that appears at the end of the trailer up above, but don’t quote me on that.
PC, PS5, Xbox Series X | S – TBA 2023
Coming from The Bearded Ladies, Miasma Chronicles is being billed as a spiritual successor to the development studio’s previous game, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden. As such, it’s another post-apocalyptic tactical RPG, and the team is using the opportunity of a new IP to make a few tweaks to the formula.
The end of the world this time has come about through the incursion of something called Miasma. Our hero, Elvis, has a curious relationship with the Miasma thanks to a glove left behind by his mother, which has the power to control it — if only to a certain degree. The game has you setting out from the city of Sedentary to uncover the hows and whys of the Miasma and exactly what Elvis’s connection to it is.
You’ll do that with the same combination of real-time exploration and turn-based combat that was so well executed in Road to Eden. However, the development team has reworked the stealth system to make it more useful, in addition to expanding on the RPG elements to give you more control over the way you play and a deeper, more involved narrative experience. It sounds like the team has dug into why people loved their previous game and are using that to make Miasma Chronicles a bonafide crowd-pleaser.
Let us know what you think of the selection of indie games this week and what you’re most interested in among Goat Simulator 3, Dysterra, Old Skies, Cocoon, and Miasma Chronicles.