Hands-on with 8 new indie games coming soon for Xbox One and PC

Who needs AAA when you’ve got snakes, planes and murderous masquerades?

Time was, the humble indie game was a patchy, pretty piece of work cobbled together on a shoestring with little but the love of a developer to get it to market.

Things have changed. Nowadays, the head honchos over at Xbox dish out dev kits and store space to all comers willing to give it a good go - not to mention serving up the same submission process for every game, big or small.

All of which means indie gaming on Xbox and PC is experiencing a burgeoning resurgence - and, having been hands-on with 8 new titles at an ID@Xbox showcase in London, that only looks set to continue.

What have you got to look forward to? Read on for our first impressions of 8 of the coolest new indie games hitting Xbox One and PC in the very near future.

Snake Pass

Ever wondered what it would be like to travel around on your belly, weaving from side to side and slithering up walls? Just us? Well, you can find out exactly what that's like by playing Snake Pass.

In essence, it takes the simple collect-items-to-progress concept and turns it on its head by, well, making you a snake. And, despite initial apprehension, it's actually a very natural mechanic to master: slithering from side to side increases your speed, while holding the 'A' button allows you to climb up small walls and bamboo poles.

A combination of these movements, together with an extra grippy hold initiated with the left trigger, will see you sliding and climbing through colourful levels which are, more often than not, trickier than you'd expect. Aim for the main artefacts and you'll progress quickly; try to collect everything and you'll be slithering for hours.

Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Steam

Release date: March 29

Click here to find out more about Snake Pass

Path of Exile

Already a huge online action-RPG on PC, Path of Exile is a hugely detailed title with character customisation at its core. Kill enemies, collect items, upgrade yourself and switch out your gems: it's all possible and it all makes a difference.

Little wonder, then, that there's a heap of excitement surrounding its arrival on Xbox One. We got hands-on with a 15-minute demo and it certainly seemed to have retained the freedom and massive array of modifications open to players, even if the level rendering was a little glitchy in the pre-release build. Everything from the skill tree to the crate-smashing is there, and it's as addictive as ever.

When it hits Xbox One Path of Exile will include all of the existing PC expansions, alongside a huge, new 3.0 expansion, bringing its brand of unique character to development to a whole new platform of gamers.

Platforms: Xbox One, Steam

Release date: TBC

Click here to find out more about Path of Exile

Sexy Brutale

Wake up. Witness a murder. Find some clues. Repeat.

It might sound like a tiresome concept, but Sexy Brutale delivers Groundhog Day gaming in a beautiful, immersive package. Gameplay takes place in a repeating 9-minute time window, through which you explore a mansion-turned-casino and try to solve the killings happening all around you.

Using a combination of look-through-the-keyhole mechanics, hiding places, collectables and clues, this is a game that rewards intuition - and has several ways to solve it, whether that's saving each victim in turn or piecing together the whole puzzle as you go.

Admittedly, it felt a little like an upgraded smartphone game at first but, after 25 mintues of playing, I was properly engaged - not least thanks to the wonderful soundtrack that's been bespokely crafted for each room, event and happening. Lovely stuff.

Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, Steam

Release date: TBC

Click here to find out more about The Sexy Brutale

Aaero

Imagine Guitar Hero, but instead of nailing fretboard combos your task is to steer a spaceship through a giant worm, following the paths of light and shooting down enemies to score points and keep the song playing.

That's basically the whole idea of Aaero which, at first, feels like a fun but limited concept, before eventually becoming an addictive challenge of coordination and reaction time.

The soundtrack is a heady mix of EDM and dubstep - which won't be to every taste, but does suit the whole 'light beams' and 'blast the little critters that keep trying to attack you' vibe. It's all controlled with the analogue sticks and precision can be a little tricky, but that only makes success all the more rewarding.

Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, Steam

Release date: TBC

Click here to find out more about Aaero

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