One thing that makes the Game Developers Conference special is that it's a chance for the little guys to stand out. Even during an event in which you couldn't walk 2 feet without ending up in a VR headset, there were still a lot of gripping, charming and straight-up weird indie games that stole our hearts on the show floor. From charming platformers for the new Nintendo Switch to immersive first-person space adventures, here are 13 indie games we can't wait to play.
Shovel Knight was one of the most beloved indie games of 2014; is it any surprise that its latest downloadable adventure also looks great? In Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment, players take control of the dastardly Specter Knight, whose macabre move-set lets him cover ground and attack foes diagonally. This subtle difference creates a whole new set of challenges in Specter Knight's full-length adventure, which promises to be just as much fun as the core game.
From the creators of hit adventure game Gone Home, Tacoma casts you as an astronaut tasked with uncovering the mysteries behind an abandoned space station. But this seemingly lonely journey is teeming with life, thanks to augmented reality logs that connect you to former crewmembers and richly detailed, highly interactive environments that tell a story all their own.
Virtual reality is already full of games that let you drive cars, climb mountains and pilot spaceships, but pickings can be pretty slim for strategy fans. Enter Augmented Empire, a title that's part simulation, part turn-based strategy and part role-playing game. You play as an office worker who controls a party of cyberpunk heroes in a living diorama on your desk. Part of the game is directing these characters in turn-based battles; the other part is interacting with your environment to alter the course of the heroes' story.
Dandara is a deep and difficult Metroidvania title for the Nintendo Switch; that alone makes it worth a look. However, what really sets Dandara apart from the rest of the pack is its unconventional movement system. Gravity-defying heroine Dandara doesn't move and jump like a traditional side-scrolling protagonist. Instead, she can only jump from wall to wall, dodging and attacking diagonally as she goes. The game features a weird story and a charming retro art style to complement the difficult, idiosyncratic gameplay.
Path of Exile has been available on PCs since 2013, but now that it's coming to Xbox One, a whole new audience will understand the appeal of this Diablo-inspired dungeon crawler. In Path of Exile, you'll take control of a hero who must hack and slash his or her way through countless hordes of minions and bosses, collecting scads of loot along the way. With a full story campaign, a deep leveling system and a free-to-play model that asks you to pay only for cosmetic upgrades, Path of Exile is hard to resist.
Yooka-Laylee is a love letter to classic 3D platformers like Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country, which isn't a surprise, considering it's made by some of the folks behind those classics. But this charming adventure is more than just a throwback, sporting memorable characters, a variety of unlockable moves and a vibrant, colorful world that you can expand as you progress through the game. Between Yooka-Laylee's smattering of collectables and variety of multiplayer modes, you'll be hard-pressed to run out of fun things to do.
Imagine if the very first Legend of Zelda game featured a randomized world, and you can pretty much picture what Songbringer is. You play as an adventurer whose ship, the Songbringer, crashes on an uncharted world. But you can determine what the world will be like by entering six letters at the beginning of your adventure. The overworld, the dungeons and even the music are all procedurally generated, ensuring that no two players will have the same adventure — unless they want to, as they can simply share their letter combinations.