The gaming community has had plenty to keep busy this month. The new announcements surrounding Starfield and The Last of Us: Part I Remake gave birth to an abundance of opinions in early June, and it almost seemed that Triple-A games would monopolise the conversation once again this summer. So I was extremely happy when I saw dozens of headlines praising all the beautiful indie games that came out of Non-E3 in the first weeks of June.
The Summer Game Fest 2022 was a great chance for the whole of the gaming industry to come together and showcase the best it has to offer for the rest of the year. And while I personally found a couple of conferences to be a bit dull and poorly planned, there’s no denying that there’s a ridiculous amount of great indie games just waiting for us to add them to our shortlists and backlogs.
The best indie games to come out of Summer Game Fest 2022
I may be a bit late to the party, but I’ve seen a great deal of lists of the ‘best indie games’ from Non-E3, and every single one lacked one or two games which I thought were extremely important this year.
So without further ado, let’s get into it: here’s a list of the best indie games from Summer Game Fest 2022 that you should add to your wishlist right now.
The Plucky Squire
Let’s open this list with an absolute bomb: The Plucky Squire by All Possible Futures captured the hearts of many during the Devolver Digital showcase, and for good reason. It seems to be a delightful little game mixing an exaggeration of gameplay styles and approaches to game design, moving dynamically from 2D to 3D and experimenting with everything it can.
It looks absolutely bonkers – which only makes me want to buy it more. Unfortunately the release is planned for 2023, but I’m sure it will be 100% worth the wait. Check out the trailer below and add it to your Steam wishlist it here. It will also be released on PS5, Xbox X/S and Nintendo Switch, so plenty of ways to have fun with it!
Planet of Lana
This is the kind of stuff that makes me go absolutely crazy. If I had to describe it in one sentence, to me Planet of Lana seems to be an Ori meets Ico meets pretty much all the best metroidvanias out there. And it’s hand-painted too – which is definitely a selling point to a lover of traditional animation such as I.
From what I could gather from the trailer, Planet of Lana follows a young girl (Lana, indeed) who meets a strange little creature in a post-apocalyptic world. Presumably, the game will rotate heavily around the relationship between the two protagonists, and I have no doubt it will be a touching one as well. Tick, tick, tick. I don’t see one reason not to be excited about it. Plus, the developer Wishfully has announced it is scheduled for release this year on Xbox and PC! You can wishlist it here.
It took me a bit to understand how to pronounce this name (which is /sxɪm/, by the way), and it’s because Schim is the Dutch word for shadows and ghosts. Which befits this game exceptionally well.
In the world of Schim (by Ewoud van der Werf), every object, thing or living creature has a soul and spirit. We will play as one of these spirits – though, as it happens, we have been separated from our human being and will need to jump from shadow to shadow until we are finally reunited. Needless to say, I love the delightfully monochrome/abstract style of Schim, and I can’t wait to check it out when it comes out (release date TBA). Upon launch, it will be available on Nintendo Switch, Sony PS4/PS5, Xbox One and PC. And you can of course already wishlist it on Steam here.
How to Say Goodbye
I can imagine the developers Florian Veltman and Baptiste Portefaix coming up with the concept of How to Say Goodbye: “Check this out: what if, instead of having the player move a character, we have the player moving the entire level?”
I’m sure this concept must have already been explored in game design somewhere, but the way How to Say Goodbye presents it makes it interestingly fresh. It is, as you may imagine, a game about loss and learning to let go. Which means there will be many tears to shed in this little ghost-verse. The game will be released on PC only at first, and you can already add it to your wishlist here.
COCOON (& Somerville?)
Technically, only COCOON was officially showcased during the Not-E3 2022, and it made a lot of people gape in excitement – for damn good reasons. Let’s do one thing at a time: COCOON is a game from Jeppe Carlsen, the once lead gameplay designer behind LIMBO and INSIDE by Playdead Games (pretty much two of my favourite indie games EVER).
As one would expect from such a giant in the indie scene, COCOON already looks SPLENDID and it seems as if it will provide an incredibly artsy, unique and mindblowing experience to anyone willing to give it a chance. Below is the reveal trailer:
But COCOON and Somerville are so inextricably linked that it would be a shame to talk about them separately. After an internal clash at Playdead Games (presumably due to creative reasons), Jeppe and co-founder Dino Patti went on separate ways, and Dino is now at work on Somerville with his indie studio Jumpship. For those familiar with previous Playdead titles, Somerville will instantly look recognisable. Here’s a trailer from last year:
Hollow Knight: Silksong
Let’s wrap it up with an absolute beast, His Majesty in the flesh, Silksong. Yes, the meme is finally over and Silksong has effectively been showcased at the Xbox/Bethesda Showcase, with the relief and delight of many fans like me. And the best news is that it’s looking nothing short of BEAUTIFUL, with splendid animations and a gameplay system which seems to build upon the successes of the first Hollow Knight to deliver something even greater.
Needless to say, we’re all waiting for Silksong and you should absolutely play the first game if you haven’t done so already. According to Team Cherry, the team is pushing ahead for a release window located in the next 12 months, and the game will be available on Nintendo Switch, PC and Xbox One at launch. Check out the Silksong trailer below, then add it to your wishlist here.
BONUS – Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course
While not exactly a stand-alone indie game (nor a new announcement in the slightest – plus, it’s already available), we’ve all been waiting for the Cuphead DLC like our lives depended on it. With a brand new Inkwell Isle and a new playable character, this Delicious Last Course has all my attention now that it’s out, and I’m sure many feel exactly the same way.
If the beauty of the base game is anything to go by, you can expect this DLC to be better, faster and stronger, still beautifully animated, and with mind-blowing gameplay moments which will have us fling more than one controller at the wall. Do yourself a favour and follow Studio MDHR on Twitter, watch the trailer for The DLC below, then buy this proclaimed masterpiece right now.
That’s a wrap on my personal indie game picks from the Summer Game Fest 2022. I personally can’t wait for every single one of these to come out, so I can dive into even more fantastic worlds and experiences from the indie game development scene.
What’s the indie game you’re looking forward to the most this year? Let me know in the comments!