Pffft. Who needs a big fancy publisher? Actually, it's really very helpful, otherwise sometimes your game might go completely unnoticed, even if it's the most innovative, amazing piece of work ever to grace a monitor. In any case, we've poked and prodded many dark corners of the internet in order to round up this list of upcoming releases. Here are ten of the most anticipated indie games of 2011!
This action RPG, developed by Sweden's Arrowhead Game Studios, appears to hold a lot of promise for fans of the likes of "Diablo" and "Torchlight", and is set in a world based on Norse mythology, but with an added element of self-referential humor. This is evidenced not just in the tagline, "Get your robes ready", but in the names of characters and levels (take, for example, "The Fancy Menace"), and also in some of the more ridiculous spells made available within the game's elemental combat system, in which various elements can be combined for new types of magic. However, this is not simply for laughs, but also a mechanism of gameplay. For instance, it appears that there are portions of each map blocked by water. To access them, players must be able to form (temporary) ice to walk across. Additionally, these elements must be used cleverly in combat, as some enemies may be too strong to simply best in a beat-down.
There is single/multiplayer adventure mode for up to 4 players, as well as Challenge mode, which subjects a team of players to waves upon waves of enemies, and Versus mode, which is akin to the storyline of "Battle Royale" in that the last player standing is the winner. "Magicka" will be out on PC, and we've been assured that it will soon be available for consoles, as well. Put on your robe and wizard hat.
Slated for release in the summer of 2011, "Bastion" looks to be as exciting to play as its environment is colorful. Artist Jen Zee has done a phenomenal job of creating a world that is both beautiful and broken at the same time. The world has suffered a disaster, referred to in-game as the Calamity, and it is up to the player to try to rebuild it, as the story and backstory unfolds via an unspecified narrator. "Bastion" is described as an action RPG, but also appears to feature elements of platformers, which seems to be in keeping with recent cross-genre trends. Additionally, "Bastion" has been nominated as a finalist in the categories of Visual Art and Audio for the 2011 Independent Games Festival, the winners of which will be announced at this year's Game Developers Conference.
Speaking of IGF winners, "Fez", an upcoming platformer from Polytron, was actually the recipient of the Visual Art award in 2008. The game was actually due out on Xbox Live Arcade last year, but was pushed back to 2011. Clearly the guys at Polytron want to give "Duke Nukem Forever" a run for its money, since "Fez" has actually been in development since 1996.
In addition to featuring some very unique settings, "Fez" is rumored to be heavy on perspective shifts and optical illusions. Join 2D man, Gomez, as he explores a strange new dimension: the 3rd.