E3 2014: The 7 Indie Games You Need To Know About

Published 11 months ago by , Updated June 19th, 2014 at 8:29 am,

Below Indie E3 2014

With indie projects becoming larger and more ambitious undertakings, the line between what is considered “indie” and what is not is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate. For some, the distinction stems from the absence of a major publisher while others view it as a representation of a project’s smaller scale. With the term becoming ever more prevalent in the mainstream, the latter is quickly becoming the more acceptable of the definitions.

No matter how you spin it, E3 2014 – while dominated by many high-profile releases – also played host to some wholly impressive indie offerings. With major players like Sony and Microsoft touting their support of the indie scene, it’s refreshing to see that support manifesting itself in some truly imaginative and fun titles. This, alongside the ever-present indie powerhouse that is Indiecade, show that the scene is continue to blossom and mature into something that has a real presence in the industry.

Rather than continuing to find the elusive modern definition of “indie” though, continue on to see the seven indie games that stole the show for us at E3 2014.


Below Cave Indie E3 2014

Without a doubt one of the most recognizable faces in indie gaming is Capybara Games. Coming off of their action-packed time-bending shooter Super Time Force, the indie juggernaut’s next title instead casts players in the role of a lone warrior entering the depths of a mysterious, randomly-generated island. While the focus here is on roguelike mechanics and a harrowing difficulty, the real show-stopper is the game’s visual style and sound design. This is no surprise coming off of visual masterclass Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP which also boasted the musical talent of Jim Guthrie.

Slowing players down with a much more methodical pacing, the act of exploration comes to the forefront here and relentlessly draws the player into a world where they truly feel small compared to the wonders of the subterranean environments surrounding them. This is not to say that the combat is an afterthought though, as fighting creatures in Below takes on an almost Dark Souls level of finesse and danger. Coupled with Capy’s expert grasp on evoking atmosphere, this is shaping up to be one of the most exciting indie titles on the horizon.

Below currently has no release date but is planned to have timed exclusivity on Xbox One before releasing on PC.

Citizens of Earth

Citizens of Earth Indie E3 2014

If there is one RPG series that gamers have been yearning to see return for years, it is the Mother or Earthbound series. Eden Industries’ upcoming title Citizens of Earth looks to fill that void. Set in a somewhat similar “reality” to the SNES classic, Citizens of Earth is an RPG that eschews fantasy tropes for a cartoony “real-world” aesthetic where players take control of the Vice President of the World as you – unsurprisingly – attempt to save the world and win over your constituents.

Where this game deviates from the RPG norm is in its handling of NPCs. Every character that you meet can either be recruited to your team or is an enemy of some sort. In this way, the Vice President never needs to get his hands dirty. Your party is comprised of three constituents like your own mother who can nag enemies into submission. With such a vast array of different characters with different skills to mix and match as well as turn-based combat that takes a page out of Earthbound‘s books with funky visuals and music, Citizens of Earth could be the refreshing RPG experience gamers have been waiting for.

Citizens of Earth is slated to release sometime in 2014 for PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Vita, Wii U and 3DS.

Close Castles

Close Castles Indie E3 2014

Close Castles by Sirvo is the kind of game that draws influence from the far reaches of the gaming industry. All at once, it manages to be a minimalist tower defense, city building, resource management, short-form fighting game. Developed by the team behind the mobile hit Threes!Close Castles places an emphasis less on the sheer speed of a player and more on their carefully executed plans for success, tasking players with placing buildings that will fund and protect their quickly growing – and falling – kingdom.

Players can place towers for protection, markets for added funds, homes for soldiers and roads to guide these troops on a small, white grid. All at once, up to four players are competing to grow their kingdoms in a way that will maximize their revenue and enable them to push forward and destroy their enemies. It’s incredibly fast-paced but rewards careful thought and placement of buildings. Just like previous effort Threes!Close Castles is a minimalist dream that breeds the kind of smart competitiveness that gaming needs more of.

Close Castles does not currently have a release date but is planned to release on PC and Mac.

Hyper Light Drifter

Hyper Light Drifter Indie E3 2014

Hyper Light Drifter is gorgeous. This was a common theme among this year’s indie offerings, but there’s something awe-inspiring about the fluidity of Hyper Light Drifter‘s movement and combat. Touted as the lovechild of A Link To The Past and Diablo, Heart Machine’s upcoming action RPG sports a combat system that feels skill-based in the way that Dark Souls manages to achieve, while remaining accessible and relatively easy to pick up and understand.

Armed with an energy sword and an assortment of other futuristic weaponry long-forgotten by the world around you, you play as the Drifter on a hunt for the cure to your own illness. While the demo on hand only highlighted the dash-heavy combat mechanics and furious dicing-up of hordes of enemies, it’s clear the a great amount of care has gone into realizing a truly inspired fantasy world with sci-fi tinges that will serve to enhance the already-strong gameplay.

Hyper Light Drifter is due out in late 2014 for Xbox One, PS4, Vita, Ouya, Wii U, PC, Mac and Linux.


Page 2: E3 2014’s Best Indie Games Continued


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TAGS: E3 2014, IndieCade, Linux, Mac, Ouya, PC, PS4, Vita, Wii U, Xbox One

  • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

    Soo… I want to play ALL of these…

  • ohjesus

    if anything, indies are fueling the gaming industry with new ideas that AAA developers are too scared to implement. the most creative mechanics i have seen are most often in indie games.

    • cidgrad

      SOME indie games have great ideas & inspiration that AAA studios are lacking. I’d put Bastion, Cave Story & Strike Suit Zero on that list. Others are overhyped and given a pass on their (sometimes awful) flaws simply b/c they are indie games. Also, the indie market is now flooded with genre clones just like the AAA market. Browse Steam sometime and see how often the terms “roguelike”, “lovecraftian” and “procedurally generated” are used in conjunction with indie games. Not to mention the ones with self-aware, generic titles like “Super Dungeon Crawler” or your complete wastes of time like DLC Quest. It’s gotten old.

      • ohjesus

        Yeah, i feel you. I just feel like indies get a lot of undeserved shit. I mean, there are a bunch of worthless indies, but there are a ton that really have a load of potential and its not fair to generalize all indie games as shit when there are a lot of indies that are very very promising.

  • jwalka

    what about that game that looked like dust elysian tale (forgot the name), the main character was a white little rabbit looking creature being taken care of by a fat purple thing… cant believe i forgot the name :(

    • dethfuse

      I think you are talking about Ori and the Blind Forest. If so then I completely agree that the game should be on this list.

      • http://gamerant.com Ryan Blanchard

        I’m pretty sure you’re right about that. I really wish I’d gotten a chance to get my hands on it. I’m a sucker for Metroidvania titles and that art style looks great! I definitely heard great things about it over the course of the event so while it didn’t make the list, it’s definitely something to keep your eyes on! Another one that sadly didn’t make the list but looks to be shaping up to be great is Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime.

  • Ken J

    Isn’t Project CARS an indie game??

    Oh, right, I forgot, the makers of Project CARS must have insulted the editor of this site’s mother or something because you guys always refuse to cover anything about that game. My mistake… Nothing to see here guys.

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      I don’t recall refusing anything.

      • Ken J

        Nah, you’re right, you never refused anything because you never mentioned the game ever on this site…

      • Ken J

        Which is a shame Rob, you guys cover Driveclub, Need for Speed, Forza, Gran Turismo, The Crew, and all of these other racing games, and frankly, some of those need to be ignored, lol. Project CARS is something pretty unique in that it is from an Indie developer (I think right?) and it will rival the big names in realism. Plus it’s going to be available on ALL platforms. Something most of these other games cannot claim… Pretty ambitious for a small developer don’t you think? Might benefit from some coverage from game websites like this, more so than those other big names that get enough exposure as it is…

        • http://gamerant.com Anthony Taormina

          Yeah, no refusing here. We simply can’t cover everything and while we’d love to give all the indie games out there some love a lot of games do end up slipping through the cracks. These games above are the ones that Ryan saw as part of Indiecade and most impressed him. He didn’t see Project Cars unfortunately.

          But, we will try to get our hands on the game in November and do up a video post to try and help spread the word. The game looks great, no question.

  • cidgrad

    Only one I’m really curious about is Rollers of the Realm. The others either didn’t interest me or I stopped reading when I saw “roguelike” or “procedurally generated”. Spelunky is the apotheosis of this fad, and it needs to go. Most roguelike indie games, like Spelunky, are only hard b/c of cheap deaths & bad controls. So you keep dying & starting over again from the very beginning. Wheeeee. Hopefully Below doesn’t have a scary ghost that appears & insta-kills you if you try to have fun exploring the levels.

  • Cal

    2 games I was really impressed by were:
    No Man’s Sky, and Project CARS.
    But I don’t know if either are actually indie.

    • Ken J

      I’m pretty sure both of them are indie.