Even though AAA games are fantastic, immersive gaming experiences that provide us countless hours of fun, the video game industry is not just about multi-million-dollar franchises and large studios. Most of us gamers have been enjoying indie games for a long time, and the joy of finding some hidden gems in game catalogs is almost indescribable. Until recently, most indie games had basic graphics and simple gameplays, but in the past few years, developers began pushing for gameplay improvements, and today, indie titles are much more complex and detailed.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and all the lockdowns and health protocols enforced all over the world in 2020, several studios and developers had to shut down physical operations, resulting in the delay of numerous anticipated titles – especially independent developers who work on a limited budget. As a result, 2021 was projected to be a year full of releases and amazing games hitting the stores, including exciting indie games centered on survival and exploration.
Although the past few months were great for gamers, with many highly-anticipated games coming out, such as Call of Duty: Vanguard and Deathloop, outside the AAA circuit there are some incredible titles that turned out to be pleasant surprises among all the recent and upcoming releases. If you’re a fan of survival and exploration games, the following titles will certainly keep you entertained for quite some time.
Scheduled to be released on November 26 for Windows and macOS, Len’s Island is a beautiful adventure game centered on exploring, scavenging, farming, and building. Developed by a tiny team of only two developers at Flow Studio, the game has players carving out a new life on a remote island, while exploring the island’s mysteries, scavenging for items and resources, and constructing homes and farms.
With a streamlined, modular building system, and a straightforward gameplay, Len’s Island also combines intense combat as you explore the island’s dungeons and engage in a wide range of combat types and loadout combinations. The game appeals to both casual gamers, who just want a peaceful exploring and building game, and hardcore gamers, who enjoy fast-paced dungeon-crawlers and rewarding item farming.
After the release of their first survival game, Stationeers, in 2017, RocketWerkz is back at it again with an outstanding title set to be released on December 4 for Microsoft Windows. Icarus is a survival crafting game, with session-based PvE, for up to eight co-op players or solo, in which players explore an alien world in timed sessions to complete missions, gather resources, and defend themselves from wild animals.
At the end of each session, players return to their ships with the collected materials, to craft new gear and even perform research to upgrade weapons and equipment. But if you fail to return to your dropship in time, your character’s progression and items are lost.
Recently released on the Ethereum blockchain by independent studio Animoca Brands, The Sandbox is an open-world adventure game that features a revolving metaverse and a gaming platform similar to Roblox. Regarded as one of the most innovative blockchain gaming experiences, the game has players building virtual worlds, applying gameplay mechanics to design interactive adventures, and joining each other’s creations in a fully decentralized environment.
The Sandbox even has its own cryptocurrency called SAND, with which players can visit other players’ adventures, buy and sell items and equipment in the game’s decentralized marketplace, and purchase LANDs, the game’s virtual building lots. Recently, developers even announced a partnership with legendary rapper and entrepreneur Snoop Dogg to bring the Doggfather into the metaverse.
Released in September for Windows and Xbox consoles, Sable is an open-world exploration game with one of the most beautiful minimalist art styles you’ll ever see in a video game. Developed by Shedworks and released by Swedish publisher Raw Fury, the game puts players in control of a young girl named Sable, as she endeavors in a rite of passage to return to her nomadic clan.
Players must explore vast deserts and ruins, solve puzzles, and uncover several secrets, with gameplay inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Even though the game doesn’t feature combat or a set storyline, Sable emphasizes puzzle-solving and exploring in an eye-catching open-world.