Jan 122012

Eh… that title doesn’t work so well, but I’m sure you get the idea. For obvious reasons, the “2012” for this list is even more conjectural than for the AAA games, as irregular funding, unexpected roadblocks, and publisher troubles can often delay the release of independent games. That said, these are the indie games I’m most wanting to see in 2012.

Fez – Making yet another appearance on my “Most Anticipated Of…” list is Fez, which I think I have been anticipating since 1993. Maybe this will be the year!

Grapple Buggy – On a related note… This is coming out this year, right Nathan? Right?

Grim Dawn – An ARPG with an interesting premise, from some of the same people who made Titan Quest. A post-apocalyptic world inspired by the Victorian era, this seems like the perfect game to scratch my loot-whoring itch this year.

Gunpoint – This looks like it could be the best stealth-platforming-puzzler of the year. What’s that you say? SPP isn’t a real genre? Well, that just means you need to get to work making some more games.

Hawken – A mech-based FPS that looks absolutely glorious. It’s been a long time since I’ve played a good mech game, and this looks like it could be a great one.

Journey – I always enjoy thatgamecompany’s stuff, although it doesn’t always inspire me to the raptures experienced by others. Journey looks like a very interesting take on cooperative play, one that will be well worth experiencing.

Miegakure – I played a bit of this when it was in the PAX East indie showcase two years ago. It was a little rough then, but very intriguing. Time has hopefully provided polish without diminishing the weirdness.

Monaco – I’ve written before that I want a crime game that isn’t a murder game. Monaco, a game about planning and executing a heist, looks like it will fit the bill exactly.

Papo & Yo – An exploration of alcoholism through the metaphor of a cute brain/brawn team-up puzzler. This looks like it could be fun and powerful.

Project Zomboid – A game that seems to really capture the essence of the siege-style zombocalypse story. Their take on the fast vs. slow zombies debate warmed the cockles of my cold, undead heart. A 2012 release date is probably just some wishful thinking on my part, but a man can dream. Hopefully they’ve learned a valuable lesson about backups and will be on track this year.

Skulls of the Shogun – A streamlined RTS for consoles that was a blast when I played it at PAX East last year. I actually thought it would hit during the last quarter of 2011, but given the tremendous glut then, it’s probably for the best that it’s coming in 2012.

Spy Party – All the things I have enjoyed about Assassin’s Creed multiplayer, with none of the roof-running bullshit I loathe. That sounds like a wicked good time.

Warco – An FPS where the only shooting you’ll do is with a camera. I have no idea if it’s coming in 2012 or not, but I really hope so.

The Witness – An open-world puzzle game by Braid creator Jonathan Blow. Coincidentally, my GameCritics compatriot Brandon just interviewed Jon recently.

Honorable Mention:

Some games look interesting, but aren’t coming out for a platform I own. Others are not quite my cup of tea, but have neat-looking mechanics or an interesting art style. These include Botanicula, Deepworld, Dustforce, Lone Survivor, Owlboy, Pid, Prison Architect, and The Splatters.

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