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Top Five Indie Games to Check Out This Weekend

Indie video game "Hollow Knight"

MoPOP has been featuring both well-known and quirky indie games in Indie Game Revolution for quite some time now. However, that isn’t to say that they’ve featured every game deserving of an audience (Editor’s Note: yet!).

Here are five games to check out this weekend if you’re a fan of Indie Game Revolution.

Cuphead

Indie video game "Cuphead"

This game is not for the faint of heart. The 1930s-esque, hand-drawn art style and classic "run ‘n’ gun" gameplay has proven to be a huge incentive for potential players, but its difficulty has come under scrutiny.

Simply put, this game is hard. Crushingly hard.

Fighting the bosses in this game is like patting your head, rubbing your stomach, sprinting a mile, and throwing a football back and forth simultaneously. Cuphead forces the player to adapt on a dime and ruthlessly punishes those who don’t. Get ready to play boss battles over and over and likely rage quit too. However, if you can persist and get over the initial difficulty hump, you will find an incredibly rewarding game.

P.S. There’s a co-op mode too for those who can’t brave the game alone!

Celeste

Celeste is another hard game, but it doesn’t feel unfair like Cuphead.

The challenges posed are very achievable, they just require some precise platforming. The gameplay starts off straightforward: you can either move or jump. Combine the two and you can wall jump. Celeste continues to build upon these two moves throughout the story, giving the player time to learn and enjoy each new mechanic before introducing a new one.

The best part of this game, surprisingly, is the story. Typically, 16-bit platformers don’t have much story at all, except maybe “beat this boss waiting for you at the end of the game.” Celeste, however, tells a poignant narrative about anxiety, depression, and confidence. It doesn’t shy away from the reality of self-doubt either, literally depicting the antagonist as the protagonist’s hatred-fueled doppelganger.

Come for the gameplay, stay for the story.

Ape Out

Shot from the indie video game "Ape Out"

Not much needs to be said here. You’re an ape trapped in a cell by your captors. What else do you need to do beside destroy everything in your path?

Ape Out plays a lot like Hotline Miami; they both share a top-down point of view and make hyper violence fun. The gorilla can’t wield guns, but he can wield the enforcers using them.

The game really distinguishes itself with its soundtrack. Each level is part of a “side” of a vinyl record, your movement and attacks are accompanied by the crashes of cymbals and booms of kick drums. In fact, the music is programmed to respond to the player’s movement and attacks, only crashing during action and simmering to a steady tap while you’re traversing the various environments.

Headphones recommended for this gem.

Stardew Valley

"Stardew Valley" indie video game

Stardew Valley shouldn’t exist.

It’s the product of one man’s insane idea and the torture he put himself through to complete it. Eric Barone, a self-employed game developer (who resides in Seattle!) spent four years making Stardew Valley, with no one else credited to the project. The time paid off in a major way. Picture Animal Crossing with RPG elements. You level up when you fish, mine, farm, or engage in combat. You can develop relationships with the townsfolk and even start a family once you know them well enough (props to Barone for including same sex relationships in his game).

You can start a farm, grow plants, use your profits to make a barn, buy a cow and pail, milk the cow, and then turn that cow’s milk into cheese, which can be used to sell or make your own stat-boosting dishes!

Stardew Valley is an amalgamation of your favorite life simulators (The Sims, Harvest Moon, Minecraft, Animal Crossing) and sends the player down a deep, deep rabbit hole in search of new items to craft, recipes to cook, people to meet, and weapons to equip. Invest in this if you’re looking for something to consume your free time.

P.S. The recent addition of multiplayer makes this a must-have!

Hollow Knight

"Hollow Knight" indie video game

This is another game developed by a small team of three people and their hard work shows.

Hollow Knight is an expansive platformer, with caverns, mazes, and entire worlds to explore. Not to mention the game is animated and drawn by hand! It’s a wonder to behold.

You’ll encounter numerous enemy types, each with their own difficult moveset to learn and adapt to. The protagonist can be upgraded to counteract this too, with abilities such as a wall jump, dash, and charged attack to help gain the upper hand. Don’t get discouraged if you get stuck either; there are always multiple routes to take to any area, and some can even reveal secrets or boss battles.

The sequel arrives later this year, so pick this one up if you’re a fan of inventive Castlevania-type games.


Coming to MoPOP? Make sure to check out Indie Game Revolution!

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