E3 2014: Xbox One Indie Games

Posted: Jun 10 2014, 1:10am CDT | by , in News | E3

E3 2014: Xbox One Indie Games
Photo Credit: Forbes

The first day of E3 – the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the worlds largest video gaming conference – has wrapped. Fans of Xbox One have been particularly vocal online today, and most have had positive things to say. They’re overall impressed with the multiple announcements Microsoft made today, and especially for the confirmation of the Master Chief Collection, a single disk that includes Halos 1 through 4, and includes a re-mastered Anniversary Edition of the lauded Halo 2.

But aside from Halo and the other major franchises – such as Fable and Forza – Microsoft offered up an impressive array of games from indie developers as well. These independent games appear under the umbrella of its new ID@Xbox initiative, a program to encourage indie developers to create games for the Xbox even if they have never done so before.

Many of these games stand out as being not just interesting, but for eschewing the reality-mimicking gameplay that the Xbox One is known for in favor of more classic throwback-style graphics that are just as visually grand. Here are three that have turned this blogger’s head.


One at first wonders how a game called “Cuphead” could possibly be any good at all. And they would be right, because without context it’s not a great title. But then when the game is viewed, it seems to make perfect sense.

Cuphead is a quasi-traditional run-and-gun game that seems to feature a linear world, power-ups, and boss battles. What makes it stand apart, though, is the awesome old-timey graphics. The game itself appears as if Walt Disney or Max Fleischer designed it, with animation and artwork that’s an obvious nod towards the first generation of talking cartoons. If the whole game is as charming as the trailer below then the developer, Studio MDHR, just may have a hit on its hands.

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Lovers is a game that goes retro in a different way, giving us a new take on 8-bit-like puzzle/action games. In it, players take on the role of one half of a couple in a spaceship that is frantically running about to adjust turrets, steer the ship, and rescue adorable space bunnies from giant astro-bears, all (apparently) while falling in love with the other player.

It’s far more interesting that it sounds, though, when the gameplay is viewed. This type of “flip the switch, now shoot the gun” theme isn’t new, but this rendition does look like a lot of fun.

White Night

Possibly the most intriguing game in the collection shown off today is White Night, a third person game set in a world borrowed from the likes of Alfred Hitchcock with influences from German Expressionism of one hundred years ago – no, it really says that in the trailer below. The gameplay seems to walk the fine line of being simple yet maintaining a lot of depth, and the graphics are breathtaking.

The goal appears to be to use light – matches, candles, etc. – to keep some mysterious darkness at bay. What happens when the lights go out? This writer doesn’t know, but he’s also terrified and excited to find out.

The game, by Osome Studio, can be categorized as “survival horror”, and should appeal to fans of H.P. Lovecraft and other fantastic literature from the first half of the last century.

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