A look into upcoming Xbox One indie games (and why you should care about them)

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Among other things, the PlayStation 4 is known for its library of indie games. Indie titles on Xbox One, however, tend not to get much focus. From the looks of decisions made in recent years, Microsoft hopes to change that. In 2013, the company stated that developers can self publish indie titles on Xbox Live. In this slideshow, I'll be taking a look at some upcoming indie titles set for release on the Xbox One and why exactly you should care about them. 

1. Cuphead

Developed by: Studio MDHR

Release: 2016

What is it?

Cuphead is a run-and-gun platform game, in which players take control of the titular protagonist Cuphead. The story is thus: Cuphead loses a bet with the devil and spends the entirety of the game trying to repay that bet. 

Why should you care?

Cuphead has an incredibly unique art style. It reminds me of games like Dragon's Lair, which featured animation from Don Bluth. It's also reminiscent of cartoons from the 1930s era, from the likes of Walt Disney, Max Fleischer and Willard Bowsky. Players have infinite lives, and are able to keep weapons acquired between deaths, perhaps because the game is also incredibly difficult. The majority of the game is focused on boss fights which Cuphead's website describes as "giant, fully animated" constructs that will "push [the player's] dexterity to the limit." 

The game's developers, brothers Chad & Jared Moldenhauer, have not given any specific release date other than 2016. While it's unknown  when Cuphead will be released exactly, it'll be interesting to experience the game first hand once it is.

2. Manual Samuel

Developed by: Perfectly Paranormal

Release: Spring 2016

What is it?

You ever play QWOP? Because Manual Samuel reminds me a lot of that. The game follows a day in the life of a schmuck named Samuel, hence the game's title. Only, it just so happens to be what could be the worst day of his life. Circumstances have arisen in which all of Samuel's bodily functions (breathing, relieving one's self, blinking, brushing your teeth, all that good stuff), must be performed manually for 24 hours. Manually in this case meaning the player is the one who controls them. If Samuel is successful, he'll be able to live normally for the rest of his life. 

Why should you care?

The premise of this game, finding yourself responsible for all the functions of a human being, sounds like it could lead to hijinks of potential hilarity. Death could come upon you in many forms. Suffocation, self-harm, getting hit by a truck. Manual Samuel is a very involved game. You need to be breathing constantly, blinking constantly, I'd imagine you'd need to stop and squeeze the lemon every now and then. Failing to do these things brings with it consequences: failing to breathe results in suffocation; failing to blink results in the screen fading and blurring until you can hardly see a thing. So, it really is crucial that you stay on top of these things -- lest you meet with the business end of a truck (again.)

3. Coffin Dodgers

Developed by: Milky Tea

Release: Q2 2016

What is it?

The aptly named Coffin Dodgers is a comedic racing game in which seven residents of a retirement village called Sunny Pines take on the new resident in town in a racing championship. It's a racing championship to the death, because this new resident just so happens to be the Grim Reaper himself, looking to turn retirement on its head and harvest souls from the comfort of his rocking chair. The stately seven strike a deal with Grim -- if they can prove themselves fast and full of life; if they can survive and ultimately win the championship, then he'll allow them to live. Too slow, and he will claim their souls. What they don't know is that he can bring them back as part of his scooter-wielding army of the living dead, intent on using any means necessary to ensure that no one survives long enough to win.

Why should you care?

If you're a fan of fantasy racing titles like Mario Kart or Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing, you'll probably enjoy this game as well. The game includes many of the same concepts as those games. There's also a garage in which you can mod your mobility scooter by swapping out engine parts, giving it a new paint job, upgrading your weapons, and much more. Graphic and audio-wise, the game isn't really anything to write home about. The only multiplayer I've heard of as yet is local multiplayer. No word on online or anything like that.

So there you have it: Three upcoming Xbox One indie titles that might be worth keeping an eye on, and all three of them involve deals made with the devil or personifications of death. In the case of Samuel in Manual Samuel, or the residents of Sunny Pines in Coffin Dodgers, it would be justified. Cuphead, the protagonist of Cuphead, has no excuse. Just don't make a deal with the devil. Nothing good can come of it (unless you're the player, in which case you'll probably have fun). What are your opinions on these titles? Let me know down in the comments!

Published Apr. 25th 2016

Featured Contributor

  • Pierre Fouquet
    Featured Correspondent
    All of these should bask in the godhood that is Aaero.

    AAERO!!

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