With average daytime temperatures relentlessly holding near to 110 degrees, most sane Las Vegans are huddling indoors with the A/C blaring instead of confronting the blistering summertime heat. You’d think this would create the perfect scenario to get in some quality gaming time. Unfortunately, summer is also when game publishers decide to take it easy, holding back their major releases to launch before E3, or waiting until the holiday season. Thankfully, I had a long list of indie titles in my backlog. Here are some of the best.
Double Fine’s criminally underrated puzzle game is an absolute joy to play. Each level features a intricately-designed box that you pull and prod at in an attempt to open. The art and music of each box are whimsically themed and the puzzles themselves, though easy on the whole, feel well thought-out and satisfying to complete.
PC, PS4 Xbox One
No other entry on this list is titled as appropriately as Tarsier Studios’Little Nightmares. Guiding a small child through a creaking barge filled with gluttonous cannibals and deranged cook is creepy enough; the addition of a haunting soundtrack and some seriously disturbing visuals is enough to give you little nightmares of your own.
What Remains of Edith Finch
Xbox One, PS4
Edith Finch’s dramatic return home plays more like an interactive story than actual game, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Each room in the house tells the tale of the person who lived there, utilizing interesting mechanics and intricate puzzles to set each story apart. Although the game is rather short, the sheer amount of detail in the bizarrely-constructed house shows developer Giant Sparrow put a lot of love into its creation.
Pixel Titans’ Kickstarter-funded love letter to ’90s shooters Quake and Doom features low poly graphics, a pumping synth soundtrack and brutal difficulty. Charging through the maps at breakneck speed, blasting aliens and desperately trying to stay alive (but mostly failing) is insanely fun.
Night in the Woods
This adorable drama about an anthropomorphic cat dropping out of college and returning home to her small town was far deeper and more adult than I had expected. Developer Infinite Fall keeps the tone light and humorous throughout, and manages to tell a compelling story about friendship, growing up and murder.