A couple weeks back, a group of independent developers behind Dead Cells, Slay the Spire, and Terraria, announced that they were going to do a little game showcase of their own. The idea was basically that they (as independent developers) could do the type of advertising and “hype-building” that bigger shows like a Nintendo Direct or Summer Games Fest pull off, without being attached to any specific platform.

While I myself may take umbrage with the titling and concepts around the event itself (I don’t think wearing the skin of a AAA game is something to aspire to at any stage), they did still go and do it! So let’s go over what they went and did!

Slay the Spire 2

Nothing really beyond a cinematic for this one, but I think you can use your own imagination to conceive of what a second Slay the Spire might be. The developers were very vocal during the Unity hub-bub last year about how they were switching off Unity, so that might help explain its vague early access release date of 2025.

Risk of Rain 2

Risk of Rain 2 is getting a free update that adds two new artifacts (gameplay changing modifiers that adjust various aspects of the game) as well as an alternative skin for The Prisoner that turns them into the Dead Cells guy. I don’t actually know what the development situation on this one is anymore, but I’m fairly certain that this is just being done by Gearbox themselves, since original creators Hopoo Games gave the rights over to them semi-recently, and aren’t named at any point in the trailer.

Kill Knight

Kill Knight is a cool arcade-y isometric shooter that really reminds me of the game Ruiner. You seem to play as some sort of knight what kills, and maybe you turn into a demon? Seems pretty good to me. The trailer above really only shows off some of the gameplay, but looking on developer PlaySide’s website, you can learn more about the various aspects of what they’re going for.

Shadows of Doubt

Spencer loves this game, you can go read all about him discussing it (and playing it with Scott), but it’s way too scary for a Plain Jane like me. This announcement is just saying that it will be out on the non-Switch consoles later this year. but there’s also a Sharpshooter Assassin update that added new stuff like new killers, new buildings, more weapon-types, and a thing I really like from more recent games: Auto-travel.

That’s basically a feature where you set a path for your character to go to, and they follow it quickly like they’re Traveling Quickly, but it affords you downtime to sort through menus, or provides the potential for things like the Dragon’s Dogma griffin attacks. It seems especially good for this game where you’re a detective trying to connect all the dots and jot in your notepad, but don’t trust my word on it, trust Spencer’s (when he finishes writing a fifty page thesis about it next year)

My Time at Sandrock

Was not a fan of the first entry by this developer (My Time at Portia) but I’ve heard much more positive things about this follow-up. The big announcement here is that they’re just about done working on their co-op multiplayer mode, which will be arriving with full cross-play compatibility between all platforms this summer.

Dino Lords

This one threw me for a loop, but it’s basically just an RTS about fighting off the invading Danes as an English Lord, except there’s dinosaurs in there too. I have to kind of respect it, there’s very little in the RTS genre these days, and while one might roll their eyes at the “Random XD” nature of this concept, it genuinely looked like they had thought about and integrated the concept in an engaging way. Like, if you’re not just firing off the insane world you want to make real, why else would you be making video games?

Gestalt: Steam & Cinder

Metroidvania with a red-hair woman, I’m on board, even if I don’t like steampunk very much. This actually already has a demo up on Steam, so I think I will check that out later.

Vampire Survivors

It’s coming out on PlayStation, continuing its never ending conquest of the world.

Also they did one of the most perverse things ever, where they pretended they were doing a Castlevania cross-over twice, but they’re actually doing a Contra collab, that includes Brad Fang from Contra Hard Corps. Yeah sure. Sickos.

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn

This was just a behind-the-scenes look at the game talking about world-design and soundtrack composition. If you didn’t know what Flintlock is, it’s another Action RPG from the people behind Ashen (a Soulslike from several years back).

Never Alone 2

Never Alone was a cute little game, and I guess they’re making another one! If you like little stories where you wander about with an animal, then maybe you should check that out!

Cataclismo

This is an RTS and Tower Defense hybrid from Digital Sun, the folks behind Moonlighter (an older roguelike in the vein of a Zelda or what have you). I’ll say what I said earlier about Dino Lords, I think the RTS genre could use some more injections, and this seems like a pretty cool one.

Death Must Die

This is a Vampire Survivors-like that I’ve actually played a significant amount of! It’s like a blend between the Survivors genre, and very specifically Hades, and I’d recommend it if you like those games! The developers have been documenting their various changes to the game on their Steam community page, so this new update (arriving on April 20th), seems pretty great.

Endzone 2

Endzone 2 is a “Post-Apocalyptic Colony Builder” that seems akin to a game like RimWorld in the pastiche of a Wasteland. I do not have a very positive opinion on any post-apocalyptic fiction these days.

Dyson Sphere Program

Dyson Spheres are very scary to me, but if you like making those things, there’s that whole dang game about it (which is still in early access). I think they’re adding more space combat? Very unclear.

UnderMine 2

One of those there roguelikes in the Binding of Isaac style, but the second in a series.

Norland

This is another town management game in a Nordic styling. I know they have to do it to generate traffic on Steam, but I really hate the “Wishlist Now!” thing that has been imposed on every developer. It’s just hellish, really just does not feel good.

What The Car?

The people who made What The Golf? have taken things to the logical next step, by letting you play as a car with legs. Sure. There’s a demo on Steam.

Darkest Dungeon 2

I haven’t played much of Darkest Dungeon 2 since it came out, but I really like the implications of this “Kingdoms” update. It seems like Red Hook is remixing aspects of Darkest Dungeon 2 and the original Darkest Dungeon into a neat new mode where you have a top-down map to manage things…just like the old days. There’s apparently also another set of more traditional DLC in the works, but I really like this concept. More developers should conceive of insane ROM-hacking variants of their work.

RKGK/Rakugaki

RKGK means a rough sketch! I know this one! Good name!

This game, from developer Wabisabi Games, looks like a blend of a Hi-Fi Rush and Jet Set Radio. You play as a street artist named Valah, and skate around a Cyberpunk-inspired city to take down an evil corporation. Looks pretty cool!

Broken Roads

A CRPG set in Australia! It’s out now! Go check it out if you like such things!

Ravenswatch

This came out in Early Access a while ago (I watched Northernlion play it). It’s from the creators of Curse of the Dead Gods, so if you’ve ever seen what that Action Roguelike looks like, you probably have a good idea of what to expect here. I found the multiple playable characters angle at least reasonably interesting, so I am curious about what this will look like when all is said and done. The trailer specifically showcases their big “Fall of Avalon” update (launching on April 22nd), which adds a new chapter, more levels, and the other various things one might expect from a big Early Access update.

Cat Quest III

Never played these games, but I’ve only heard pleasant things. They’re little Action RPGs where you play as a cat going around mischeifing, this time as a pirate. It’s sad that they have pivoted from the original title of Pirates of the Purribean, but I’m sure it’s probably the best move.

Hyper Light Breaker

I am a huge fan of Hyper Light Drifter, like it is one of my favorite indie games, period. I do not know why they have pivoted so hard into genericizing the series with this entry, but hopefully the co-op angle will make things work out. I just don’t get why everyone jumps to “I want to make an open-world game” and especially “I want to make a procedural open-world game”. Like how many times will it fail before people get the picture? I don’t want to tell people not to dream but, man.

The Last Spell

This is a fun little tactical roguelike that I know a few people enjoy where you defend a city against waves of monsters. Their first major DLC is coming out on April 24th, and is called Dwarves of Runenberg.

Laysara: Summit Kingdom

Another city builder, but focused around the idea of building your city high up in the mountains. I’m not a city builder person but I really like the implications of what you would have to deal with in this game; things like avalanches and maintaining forests to create natural barriers against them. I’m always happy to see innovations in a genre, and if you also do, you can check it out on Steam Early Access today.

Wizard of Legend 2

I had never heard of Wizard of Legend before, so I had to check like five times to make sure this wasn’t an obscure Magicka spin-off. Wizard of Legend 2 is a four player roguelike where you play as, a wizard. If you have been pining for a game all about magic, perhaps you should check it out.

Let’s School

Let’s School is a management sim where you act as the headmaster of a school. This is also from the same developers as My Time at Sandrock, and is already available on Steam, with console releases coming this summer.

Brotato

Brotato is apparently one of the most played games on the Steam Deck. I mean no ill will to Brotato, but I have a severe allergy to the Newgrounds aesthetic (please don’t look at my Binding of Isaac playtime). If you enjoy the Vampire Survivors genre, then you might get a kick out of it, and its new Abyssal Terrors DLC which also adds Couch Co-Op.

Tchia

I watched my friend play a lot of Tchia! It’s really cool! If you like third person exploration games where you do a lot of silly stuff, I highly recommend it. This announcement is just that it’s coming out on the Nintendo Switch on June 27th, but it’s already out on Steam and PlayStation.

Streets of Rogue 2

I thought this was like Streets of Rage, but I genuinely don’t even know how I would describe this. It seems like a scary isometric immersive sim. I am very tired of hearing the words open-world, and procedural, even if it seems it would benefit this type of game specifically.

Old World

Another game I’ve watched my friend play (the same friend even!). Old World is a 4X game, and it has its newest DLC Behind the Throne launching May 28th. This DLC seems focused on bringing a more Crusader Kings style approach to the game, with hundreds of new events focused on court politics, and new modifiers for individual characters to add a little spice.

33 Immortals

After taking a break for Spiritfarer, Thunder Lotus has gone back to making the type of game I had come to know them for with 33 Immortals. That said, 33 Immortals is a very ambitious game, promising 33 player co-op raids as its main focus. I would love for something like this to exist, and MMOs are able to pull this off pretty consistently, but the world of multiplayer for indie titles is always a struggle. Smartly though, they will be running a closed beta near the end of May, which you can sign up for here.

Mouse

Okay I know anyone can use Steamboat Willy now but, we don’t have to. I’m not going to stop you but I’m just saying, we have a lot of options as a society.

The Rogue Prince of Persia

Okay this is the one where I do step back and say: Yes, I know that this is still technically indie, but like, it’s Ubisoft backed man. I…I feel like that sort of defines the differential from “Independent”. I don’t know. If you liked Dead Cells but thought “hey I prefer Prince of Persia” then here is the game for you. I’m sure it will probably be pretty decent, I just, I dunno man. It’s coming out in Early Access on May 14th.

About Rose

Rose is the one who gets way too caught up in the sociological ramifications of all those Video Games. She will play literally anything, and especially wants you to play The House in Fata Morgana.

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