With so many great-looking indie games slated to release in 2018, it can be overwhelming to keep track of them all, especially with how many platforms there are to watch out for now. You've got Itch.io, Humble Bundle, Steam Direct -- even the Nintendo eShop is attracting droves of developers. Don't worry, though. This list is here to help make sure you don't miss out on this year's truly important titles: the most adorable ones.
Have you ever been playing Animal Crossing and thought, "You know what would make this better? Pokemon!"
"And what if they grew out of the ground? And after I farmed them, they waddled after me everywhere I went! And I could even dress them up in little outfits..."
Did I lose you there?
If not, then you might want to watch out for Ooblets, a monster tamer/farming simulator combo scheduled to release mid-2018 for PC and Xbox One. The first game by two-person developer team Glumberland, Ooblets' adorable aesthetic captured the heart of Double Fine Productions after a reveal trailer. And with the Psychonauts publisher's support behind them, the team received an invite from Microsoft to unveil its demo at last year's E3.
Only the minds behind Katamari Damacy could hatch up such a delightfully wacky concept for a game.
In Funomena's Wattam, players take on the role of a bowler hat-sporting green cube known only as the Mayor. Everything in the environment is sentient, and by extension, everything is capable of being controlled. The aim? Get everyone to hold hands together in a circle so the Mayor can set off the bomb under his hat.
Why? Who knows! Maybe we can all figure that out together when Wattam comes out later this year. In the meantime, players can look forward to the idea of playing as a giant mouth that poops ... and then getting to play as that poop.
If Tala looks like an art project that sprouted legs and ran off into the sunset, that's no coincidence. Matt Petrak, its sole developer, recounts on his game's website that it began as an art test combining traditional animation and nature photography. After he was exposed to the corrupting influence of Unity, however, it began to take root as a point-and-click puzzle adventure. Adding to its charm is a completely visual dialogue system and, from the looks of the trailer, plenty of quirky humor keeping those conversations interesting.
Tala's website states its release date as simply "when it's done," but PC Gamer's indie issue lists this PC title as a 2018 release So fingers crossed!
"Save the world with singing" goads the Wandersong Kickstarter page. This side-scrolling adventure encourages players to solve puzzles and build relationships through music by breaking into song at any time. Literally, any time. Even when some NPCs would really rather you shut up.
Last year, Wandersong exceeded its Kickstarter goal, earning $21,000, with plans for release on PC and Switch in 2018's first quarter. It draws inspiration from other quirky narratives like Earthbound and Over the Garden Wall, as well as some of the personal encounters creator Greg Lobanov experienced as he biked 5,000 miles across the United States.
Ok, so Moss may stretch the definition of "indie" just a bit -- its developer, Polyarc, was formed by three ex-Halo and Destiny developers and funded by over $3 million in seed money -- but it is firmly within the realm of adorable.
The PlayStation Virtual Reality exclusive brings players down to the perspective of its teeny protagonist, a young mouse named Quill, as you help her explore lush environments, solve puzzles, and fight a newly awakened evil that's taken root in her otherwise quiet home. All the while, your identity as the player, an "other" in her world, is apparent in your manifestation as a masked figure or floating orb.
You won't have to wait long to get your hands on this cute adventure -- it's slated to come out next month.
Are there any upcoming releases you think could thrash these titles in a cute-off? Post your picks below. Or if you're interested in other indie game suggestions (of all aesthetic varieties), you can check out more of our content here.