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12 Terrific Indie Games From E3 2019 (That You Might’ve Missed)

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12 Terrific Indie Games From E3 2019 (That You Might’ve Missed)

Every year, E3 is dominated by the biggest games with the biggest budgets from the biggest publishers. And that's fine, it's familiar - it's the status quo. But there's so much more. Across GAMINGbible and UNILAD Gaming, we try to highlight these other experiences where we can - and we do as often as time allows, because we love games that do something different. But, there's only so much we can do when our readerships would much prefer to read about battle royale modes they claim to hate than new, innovative, independently made titles that might become their next favourite game.

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So with that in mind, here's a list of just 12 indie games that stood out to us during E3 2019. Some we played, some we only saw. Some we already knew about, others were all-new to us. You don't need to think too much, or even read the words; just click a trailer that you think looks interesting, and drink that goodness in. Mmm, tastes like a fresh spin, a novel twist, an unexpected turn.

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Twelve Minutes

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Is it 12 Minutes? Is it Twelve Minutes? Does it matter? Yes, because this is the kind of thing that drives an editor mad, and the game doesn't make itself clear across its official channels. But, name kerfuffle aside, this fascinating and mature puzzler from solo developer Luis Antonio - he provided art for The Witness - has our attentions ensnared. Each playthrough lasts real-time 12 minutes, maximum - but you could die, or fall asleep, as you're attempting to solve the game's central mystery of how your wife did or didn't murder her father. Do so, or reach the end of those 12 minutes, and the game 'resets' - you're trapped in a time loop, carrying your discoveries from one brief window of existence to the next, using one set of clues to unlock the next. We can't wait for this one, and it's due out in 2020.

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Fall Guys

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Mediatonic's Fall Guys is, says our preview, Gang Beasts meets Takeshi's Castle, with just a dash of Mario Party. It's the most colourful battle royale-y game yet. And if that sounds good to you, you can read more about this multiplayer mini-game 'em up right here.

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Afterparty

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We got a few glimpses of Afterparty during the various E3 showcases, and while there's no definitive release date set for this yet, we're hoping it creeps out in 2019. Made by Night School Studio, the team behind the excellently spooky narrative adventure Oxenfree (I'm overdue another playthrough), Afterparty stars Milo and Lola as a pair of pals who die and end up in Hell. Sounds good already. What's better: they decide to (try to) win their way out of Hell by out-drinking the Devil himself. Into it.

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Sayonara Wild Hearts

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From Swedish studio Simogo - whose past credits include the brilliant mobile games Year Walk and Device 6 - this is something very, very different from, well, both anything its makers have done before and anything else that was on show at E3. Described by Simogo as "a euphoric music video dream about being awesome, riding motorcycles, skateboarding, dance battling, shooting lasers, wielding swords, and breaking hearts at 200 miles per hour," Sayonara Wild Hearts is head-turning of sights and sounds alike. With every level a new song, a new experience, a new style, it's going to be fascinating to see how this collection of incredibly varied approaches comes together as a whole. It comes out for Switch later in 2019.

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Maneater

This might look like a pretty rudimentary eat-everything affair, in which you play as a jaws-gnashing bull shark, but there's surprising depth to Maneater, which is due out for PC in 2020. Game designer Bill Munk has said that it's a little like Grand Theft Auto, but with sharks, and from what we've seen and read there's definitely some comparable elements - kill too many humans and hunters will come for you, just like the police in GTA; there's a healthy does of black comedy to everything; and NPCs act differently depending on the time of day (so, there'll be more swimmers to chew on in daylight hours). Maneater's story is framed as a reality show called Man Eaters Versus Shark Hunters, which is why the trailer has the kind of commentary that it does.

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Telling Lies

Sam Barlow's Her Story was one of the most celebrated indie releases of 2015, and his return with Telling Lies could not have us more primed to be parked on the edge of our seats. Like Her Story, Telling Lies uses real video footage, and real actors, and the player must study these recordings to piece together a story where all the bits of evidence add up. Our tip, having played Her Story a few times: keep a pen and paper handy (although Telling Lies does have an in-game notepad, it's nice to have your own system, too). Telling Lies should be coming out sometime in 2019.

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Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy

Receiving its world premiere during The PC Gaming Show at E3 2019, this roguelite sequel looks absolutely gorgeous, and is set for a 2020 release on PC. Its makers at Ludomotion want the player to feel as if they're interacting with hand-drawn illustrations, letting their imaginations run wild; and they're promising that The Wayfarer's Legacy will be delivering surprises even hundreds of hours deep, thanks to its procedurally generated environments and dungeons. With permadeath a feature and each character's successes and failures having an effect on the game world, for the following explorer to discover, this looks to be a perfect successor to the quiet hit that was 2017's original Unexplored.

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Way to the Woods

We've had our eye on this one for a while, since it came onto our radar back in early 2018. Its then-stated release date of early 2019 has passed, but we don't mind waiting a little longer for Anthony Tan's survival adventure, now set for 2020 on PC and consoles. The Australian solo dev says of Way to the Woods: "Two deer in a strange, abandoned world without humans must find their way home. Find food, shelter, safety and answers on your way to the woods." It looks stunning, no doubt about that, with Tan drawing on influences like the movie Spirited Away and the game The Last of Us. Ticking our boxes, that, and some.

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Felix the Reaper

A romantic comedy in which you play as a dance-loving employee of the Ministry of Death, Felix the Reaper is perhaps the greatest interactive marriage of love and death we saw over E3. Its titular hero, Felix, is smitten with Betty the Maiden, who works at the Ministry of Life. His shadowy moves are all in order to attract her attention, as he goes about his business of, well, collecting the dead from the Earthly realm. It's original, it's funny, and we are a little bit in love ourselves.

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Carrion

We've got a comprehensive preview of this super-gory "reverse horror game" right here, so do click to that, right after you check out the trailer above. Carrion comes out in 2020, and we're so ready to control its freakish alien biomass in full.

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Killer Queen Black

As the comments on our coverage of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order tells us, you guys love to whine about how bad you think a game looks. As in: how poor you feel its visuals are. So, so many comments about how the next Star Wars game is, apparently, something you'd get running on a PS3. Do you even hear yourselves? Did you own a PS3? Do you have eyes? Anyway, my point: Killer Queen Black doesn't look like much compared to a lot of shiner, sharper titles, but get into this four-on-four bug hunt in which every character class matters, and can impact the game's outcome, and it immediately shows its quality. There are three ways to win: Workers can collect berries to achieve victory, while Soldiers can attack and kill the enemy queen. Or: you can ride a snail to success. Seriously. Hop on, sit back, and if you get that slimy sucker over the line, the game is yours.

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John Wick Hex

With the real Keanu Reeves showing up at E3 2019, there was a risk that this indie strategy game based on one of his most popular roles would get rather eclipsed. That it didn't, winning a bevy of conference awards, goes to show just how outstanding Hex is shaping up to be. It's a timeline-based game, where John's actions are mapped on a tiled grid and then allowed to play out, with the player taking immediate action at set points, and has attracted comparisons to the X-COM series, as well as the you-move-we-move dynamics of Superhot. John Wick Hex is currently only destined for PC, but we'd be well up for orchestrating its slick brand of stylised murder on our Switches.

What new indies stood out to you during E3 2019? Let us know - we're on Twitter and Facebook, and we're now live on Snapchat Discover, too.


Featured Image Credit: LADbible / Relevant Publishers

Topics: e3 2019, Fall Guys, Indie Games

Mike Diver
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