- While the press conferences are always used to showoff the biggest guns in every publisher’s arsenal, it’s the E3 show floor where smaller and indie titles get their chance to shine. There will be no shortage of coverage on the likes of Uncharted 4 and Dark Souls 3 in the months to come, so it never hurts to see what’s going on outside the AAA tent.
These 7 games all caught our eye, and we hope they don’t get lost in the flurry of excite that has been E3 2015.
BedlamThe Banner Saga by way of Mad Max: Fury Road, developer Skyshine successfully crowd-funded their Borderlands-ish take on the turn-based rogue-like. The result, Bedlam, had a new trailer at E3 to show off the game’s cartoon-y art style and grid-based combat system, in which players have to manage their massive mobile fortress on the journey to Aztec City, crossing paths with marauders, cyborgs, and a variety of other wasteland baddies in the process.
No word yet on whether Bedlam will beat Fallout 4 to the post-apocalyptic punch when it releases on Steam in 2015, but it's definitely a game to keep an eye on.
Blues and BulletsWhat do you get when you mix third-person cover shooting and investigation gameplay with a setting and look as noir as cigarette tar? The answer lies in Blues and Bullets, the episodic action-adventure title that has you playing as retired Untouchable Eliot Ness, who’s been asked by old nemesis Al Capone to save his kidnapped granddaughter.
There’s something to be admired about the deadly seriousness Blues and Bullets adopts while combining gameplay elements and ridiculous historical fiction into something that could be a total snafu, or the first great pulp serial to come to Xbox One.
The Flame in the FloodIncluded in the ID@Xbox montage during the Microsoft press conference was another quick glimpse of The Flame in the Flood, the first game from the ex-Bioshock Infinite developers that makeup The Molasses Flood.
The survival game with rouge-lite elements has players navigating down the rivers of a post-apocalyptic America, battling the elements and their own physical limits on their way to some unknown destination. The colourful art style and acoustic soundtrack look promising as well, and should help take the edge off of a genre dominated by the stressful likes of Don’t Starve and Rust.
Mighty No. 9While the newly announced ReCore was more proudly wearing Keiji Inafune’s name on its sleeve, his legacy on the Megaman franchise was on more prominent display in the new trailer and demo for Mighty No. 9.
Asking players to “Beat Them at Their Own Game” (wink-wink, Capcom), the game incorporates classic Megaman level structure and boss-ability gameplay, just with a fresh 3D coat of paint. Another Kickstarter success story, Mighty No. 9 will have its chance to prove there’s still room in the world for battling blue robots come September 15th.
Phantasmal: City of DarknessThough it’s already been out on PC for a couple months, the Kickstarter-funded title Phantasmal: City of Darkness showed up at E3 to announce its eventual release on Xbox One. The PC horror renaissance of late could use more console crossovers, and the procedural story and level design of Phantasmal ensure you always have to stay on your toes.
The announcement trailer is great, too, and heavy with dread, focusing on how the player has to sneak around or battle all manner of eldritch beings, lest they die, and find themselves starting over in a whole new haunted labyrinth.
ThumperEasily taking the title of “Best Looking Note Highway” from the hands of Amplitude and Audiosurf, the stylish “rhythm violence” game Thumper made a stir by announcing it will be coming to Steam and PS4 in 2016. Elegant simplicity is Thumper’s stock and trade, as players use one-button inputs to guide a chrome space beetle down a note highway, all while electronic beats dictate the rhythm.
Boss battles should add gameplay depth, but it’s the trippy visuals that ensure you mistake Thumper for anything else.
Willy Chyr's RelativityIs it presumptuous to have a possessive in your game’s title when it’s your first one? Maybe a bit, but at least the added designer name will help distinguish
Relativity in the marketplace as much as its look does. Sony showed off a sizeable gameplay demo of the first-person puzzler, with Chyr narrating how he developed his “Escher-esque” world. Warm colors draw you in to the game’s Spartan aesthetic, but it’s the Euclidian architecture and mind-bending physics that make Willy Chyr’s Relativity look like an inviting head scratcher.