It started with Superhot and kicked up another notch with the stunning Inside. Yup, 2016 has been a sensational year for indie games so far. Trouble is, if you own a PlayStation 4 you won’t have been able play either of these two titles, and that’s because they’re both Xbox One console exclusives.
While Sony’s machine is hardly lacking for stellar titles, if you ache to play something more offbeat than the latest Call of Duty or FIFA then it’s arguably the Xbox One that’s got you best covered (although No Man's Sky might have something to say about that).
As if to hammer home the point, Microsoft invited us to play a whole load of games from its slate of upcoming indie titles - these are the five that got us most excited.
A culinary delight, Overcooked revives the timeless joy of local multiplayer games by planting you and your mates in an impossibly busy kitchen. It’s your job to serve up orders for soup, burgers, burritos and the like as their orders come in at a frenzied pace. Sounds easy enough, right? Not when you’re trying to make them on a pirate ship, arctic ice plain or on the back of a moving lorry.
Soon simple tasks are fraught with peril and you’ll find yourself desperately reaching for a fire extinguisher in no time at all. While most of your dishes will survive such a frantic panic, your friendships might not be so lucky.
Recalling the classic art style of 1930s Disney and Pop-Eye cartoons, Cuphead is one of the most striking games to be made in years. A run and gun affair, your goal is to shoot your way through an array of foes in recompense for the titular hero’s failed pact with the devil.
As you can imagine, plot is secondary to your ability to dodge a constant barrage of bullets and projectiles. The end result is a barrelful of frenetic fun and seems destined to be a cult hit when its released later this year.
The Turing Test
The Turing Test is a sci-fi-themed puzzle game in which you progress from one room to the next by shooting power sources into place. If you’ve ever played Portal this might sound a tad familiar, but a game that brings to mind Valve's classic has to be doing something right.
If you’ve been itching for a sequel to Valve’s fiendish brain-scratcher, then The Turing Test will sate your appetite and prove plenty challenging for your grey matter at the same time.
We Happy Few
Set in the dystopian British town of Wellington Wells, this survival-horror game kicked up quite the fuss at E3 this year thanks to its highly stylised visuals and decidedly creepy themes.
You play as Arthur Hastings, a government censor who decides to rebel against his country’s ruling totalitarian regime by refusing to take his daily dose of Joy. As well as making you feel all warm and fuzzy, these pills have the added side effect of disguising the true squalor of your retrofuturistic surroundings.
By refusing to accept any Joy in your life, you find on yourself on the run from Blighty’s devilish authorities with your survival in constant danger. Uncovering the full extent of Wellington Wells’ terrible secrets involves crafting, exploring, kicking up trouble and not getting caught while doing any of these things. Vive la revolution.
A full-throated throwback to the vintage era of N64 platformers made by the team of Rare staffers that created the legendary Banjo-Kazooie, Yooka-Laylee was first announced via KickStarter in 2015 and went on to raise £1 million in just 21 hours.
Naturally, anticipation is sky high for this platformer and the launch of a Toybox demo this month showing off the game’s core mechanics is sure only stoke such hype to fever pitch. Alas, due a delay the full game itself won’t be released until early 2017.