Future Games Show Ones to Watch: 16 fantastic indie titles to keep your eye on in 2020

(Image credit: Future)

Looking for more info on all of the awesome indie games that featured as part of the Ones To Watch montage in the Future Games Show for Gamescom? Then you've come to the right place! Below you'll find more details on some of the most exciting indie games on the near horizon, running the gamut between adventure and roguelikes, and everything in between. 

If you'd like even more info on any of these titles or would like to keep up-to-date with future updates, be sure to click the game name or image and be transported to its official Steam pages where you'll be able to add them to your Wish List. You can also head to the Future Games Show Steam Store page to easily add all of your favourites from the Future Games Shows to your Wish List.  

(Image credit: Humble Games)

Developer: Sunhead Games
Publisher: Humble Games

Sometimes you see a game with such a fun and refreshing concept that it becomes all-encompassing. Carto is one of those games, a hyper chill adventure with a unique world-shifting puzzle mechanic. In Carto, you'll be able to pull out a magical map and rearrange pieces of it. In doing so, you'll be able to watch the world change around you. This hook is central to venturing out into the different biomes on the island, for meeting new friends and helping to solve their problems, and for overcoming the array of environmental puzzles littered all across the world. Carto is designed to be something you can sit down and relax with, a chill experience with hand-drawn visuals and relaxing tunes. Basically, it's exactly what we need right now. Carto is scheduled to launch on PC and PS4 on October 27. 

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

Chasing Rats
Publisher: Frontier Foundry

"Twisted" just about sums this one up. Struggling is a physics based co-op platformer where you and a friend are tasked with one arm of a mutated monstrosity. If you want to get through this deranged world alive, communication is key. Like, for real. Even walking will require a combined, coordinated effort – and don't even get us started on the effort it'll take to triumph over the array of physics-based challenges that populate the colourful spaces you'll be careening through. Struggling also features a progression system, with the mutation increasing as you push further through the game. Eventually, you'll be able to dodge fast moving hazards by slowing down time, graft your appendages onto the environment, and even solve puzzles using your disastrous DNA – but you'll need to, you know, get the hand of the communication and coordination basics before you get there. 

(Image credit: Humble Games)

Happy Ray Games
Publisher: Humble Games

Ikenfall is a turn-based tactical RPG, following the misadventures of a group of troublesome magic students. It's a game of love, loss, and friendship, with Ikenfall propelling you through the twisted halls of a vast magic academy to fight monsters, hunt for treasure, and uncover dark secrets of the academy. With hundreds of enemies to battle and over 20 bosses to take on, you'll want to spend some time getting to know each of the six available party members and experimenting with the 48 unique spells that you can cast in combat. If you're a fan of old-school RPGs, this is going to be a game you'll want on your radar. Ikenfell is scheduled to release on PC on October 8, 2020 from developer Happy Ray Games. 

(Image credit: Lozange Lab)

Rip Them Off
Developer: In-house
Publisher: Lozange Lab

The highstreet isn't what it used to be. With online shopping becoming more pervasive, the question of how a sales team can engineer economic growth in brick-and-mortar stores is more prevalent today than ever before. It's an impossible task, right? Perhaps that's what makes Rip Them Off so damned appealing. Coming from Lozange Lab, the studio responsible for the hyper-chill swimming-meets-strategic-puzzler Swim Out, comes another weird and wonderful puzzle game. This one sees economic management paired up with tower defense, as you attempt to line the streets with shops the people won't be able to resist spending their money in. Maximize profits, balance your budgets by buying the right stores in the right locations, balance your budgets by establishing an inescapable maze of retail opportunities, and work your way up the progression ladder. Rip Them Off is a cruel reflection of reality that we can't wait to get our hands on September 24.

(Image credit: Humble Games)

Ring of Pain
Developer: Twice Different 
Publisher: Humble Games

Ring of Pain blends elements of modern roguelikes, card games, and dungeon crawlers into one awesome package. It's a turn-based experience set in a cryptic world of fear and delusion, a challenging experience that will put your strategy skills to the test. Ring of Pain further separates itself from the field by ensuring that the dungeon itself dynamically reacts and adjusts based on what you're doing and how well you're doing it. That means that you'll need to pay close attention to your deck and inventory, mixing and matching items and equipment to get the best results. Ring of Pain is being developed by Twice Different and is scheduled for release on October 15 on PC. If you want to get a better sense of it, you can download and try a free demo on Steam right now!

(Image credit: Skeleton Crew)

Developer: Skeleton Crew Studio
Publisher: Devolver Digital

We were impressed when we got our hands-on this upcoming game from Skeleton Crew Studio earlier this year, noting that Olija is a wild island adventure about a castaway armed with a magic harpoon. You can now play that demo through Steam, but if you need more convincing, let us tell you that Olija (pronounced oh-lee-yuh) is a fast, ambitious, and exciting 2D action game where you're stuck in a dangerous world with little more than that aforementioned magic harpoon to help you through it. You can use it to assault enemies directly, sure, but it can also be utilised at range, thrown and used as an anchor point for teleportation. It's that mechanic that adds a wrinkle to play that is much appreciated, helping to set Olija apart from the raft of 2D adventure games currently vying for your attention. Olija is scheduled for release later this year for PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. 

(Image credit: Greenheart Games)

Game Dev Tycoon
Developer: Greenheart Games
Publisher: Headup Games

You know it, you love it, you've been frustrated by the realities of the video game development and publishing because of it – we speak, of course, of Game Dev Tycoon. If you aren't familiar with this game already, it's Greenheart Games' simulation of the industry you love so dearly. It lets you replay the history of the video game industry, starting your own development firm in the '80s before pushing further and further through the console generations. It's up to you to create best selling franchises, circumvent ailing brands, pursue new technological innovations, and spearhead the creation of new game genres. Listen, it's tougher than it sounds. Game Dev Tycoon has been available on Steam and mobile for a little while, but it's finally making its way to Nintendo Switch on October 8, 2020. 

(Image credit: Redlock Studio)

Shattered – Tale of the Forgotten King
Developer: In-house
Publisher: Redlock Studio

Are you ready to wander through a land of mystery and misery? Well you better be, because that's the vibe Shattered – Tale of the Forgotten King is arriving with. Redlock Studio's dark action-RPG has hit Steam Early Access, with the team eager to onboard prospective players into its bold semi-open world to get feedback ahead of its final release. Should you decide to dive in, you can expect to find a world filled with branching paths and mysterious secrets, monstrous enemies to defeat, and a seamless transition between 3D battles and 2.5D platforming. Shattered – Tale of the Forgotten King is for those of you looking for more than challenging combat, as it comes equipped with a complex branching narrative and a progression system that rewards bold exploration and experimentation. You can get your hands on Shattered –  Tale of the Forgotten King in Early Access now, although it's scheduled for a full release later this year. 

(Image credit: Dear Villagers)

Developer:  Flying Oak Games
Publisher: Dear Villagers

From the developers of NeuroVoider comes ScourgeBringer, a roguelite that seems destined to have you begging for more. Flying Oak Games' latest is currently moving through Steam Early Access, although you should expect to see more worlds, bosses, enemies, skills, events, and weapons arrive in the final release. Still, the version that you can get your hands-on today will give you a killer idea of what to expect; ScourgeBringer is a fast-paced roguelite with a focus on platforming. That means you'll need to be as focused on hacking and slashing at your enemies while avoiding incoming attacks as you are precise movements. With the action unfolding across an ever-changing dungeon of gorgeously rendered horrors, ScourgeBringer relishes every opportunity to push you onto the offensive, and to keep you focused with some deliriously challenging platforming. ScourgeBringer will be released when it's ready, but you can sample the Early Access version of the game for yourself right now. 

(Image credit: Devolver)

Disk Room
Developers: Terri, Dose, Kitty, and JW
Publisher: Devolver Digital

A giant disk has appeared in orbit of Jupiter? Sure, why not. That's the setup of Disk Room and it only gets weirder from there. That shouldn't come as any surprise given the talent involved. Disk Room is being developed by Doseone, Terri Vellmann, Kitty Calis, and Jan Willem Nijman – with the last two names in the list being part of the team behind Minit. Back to this game though, Disk Room is a hyper-challenging experience that pushes you through an intergalactic slaughterhouse. Expect to die, die, and die again as you attempt to navigate a little scientist through room after room of deadly disks. It's tough, but it's also a lot of fun. There's a demo for Disk Room up on Steam right now so you can dive in and try this nightmarish puzzle game for yourself.

(Image credit: The Irregular Corporation)

Going Medieval
Developer: Foxy Voxel
Publisher: The Irregular Corporation

Feeling like you've lost control of almost every aspect of your own life? Can we recommend controlling the lives of others in the meantime instead. Going Medieval is a colony building sim that wants you to try and survive the Medieval age. That means you're going to need to construct a towering fortress in a world wrought with wilderness, defend against raids from warring neighbours, and keep your villagers happy as they become shaped by the world and misadventures occurring around them. Going Medieval utilises simple 3D terrain tools to let you construct your dream stronghold, it lets you shape your own story with a branching narrative that shifts depending on the behaviours of your populace, and a malleable combat system that lets you outfit your soldiers with new weapons and gear.  Going Medieval doesn't have a release date just yet, but you can try the game for yourself in Steam Early Access right now. 

(Image credit: The Irregular Corporation)

Mars Horizon
Developer: Auroch Digital
Publisher: The Irregular Corporation

Our ascent to Mars seems inevitable at this stage, so you might as well get your practice in now. Mars Horizon has you take control of a major space agency with the goal to lead it from the dawn of the space age through to getting astronauts with the boots on the ground. The latest out of Auroch Digital tasks you with managing the numerous challenges associated with space travel, from building a base complete with launch pads, research labs, and training facilities, before trying to work out the particulars of travel through the stars. As head of mission control, you'll need to take on a variety of turn-based missions to earn public support and achieve scientific advancement, all the while managing extensive tech trees and competing with rival agencies.  Mars Horizon is planned for release later in 2020, which should give you plenty of time to prepare to take on every element of a journey into space. 

(Image credit: The Irregular Corporation)

Balsa Model Flight Simulator
Developer: Floating Origin Interactive
Publisher: The Irregular Corporation

From the creator Kerbal Space Program comes yet another virtual flight experience unlike any other. Rather than plot a journey into space, Balsa Model Flight Simulator has you engineering model aircrafts from scratch to soar through the skies. Using a powerful, simple to grasp model editor, you'll be able to tinker with every aspect of your miniature aircraft – the only limit is your imagination. The game is, of course, entirely physics-based, which means that your construction will behave realistically – so expect more than a few crashes along the way. Balsa Model Flight Simulator comes equipped with a single-player career mode full of challenges that will help you unlock more available pieces, a free flight sandbox mode where you can test your wildest ideas, and even a 16-player multiplayer mode so that you can race and battle your greatest creations. Balsa Model Flight Simulator is scheduled for release later this year, but you can try it for yourself right now in Steam Early Access. 

(Image credit: Akupara Games)

Gone Viral
Developer: Skullbot Games
Publisher: Akupara Games

Fighting for your life in a prison arena to entertain a blood-thirsty audience? Sounds like classic 2020 to me. Gone Viral is a hyperactive action game that utilises what it calls "pinball combat" – which is to say it wants you to weaponize enemies against one another by flinging them into other combatants and the deadly array of traps that seem to adorn every inch of these arenas. Massive combos, ridiculous weapons, weird gadgets, and an array of mutated powers help to ensure that every run through Gone Viral is never the same. This is a game designed to be played time and time again, with each of your inevitable near-death experiences creating unique moments of emergent chaos. Gone Viral doesn't yet have a release date, but you can head over to Steam and add it to your Wishlist right now. 

(Image credit: Lightning Games)

Developer: Blingame
Publisher: Lightning Games

Apocalyptic wasteland? Unique weapons? Gorgeous environments? Hyper-precise controls? Sounds like a killer Metroidvania-inspired action-platformer to me! HAAK hits Early Access on Steam with a lot of promise, particularly as its central hook is focused around that of a multifunction Energy Hook that can be used for both slaying a wide-array of enemies and traversing deadly environments. With it, you'll be able to hack your way to victory, exploring a desolate, immersive wasteland as you attempt to wrap your head around the eschatological world you find yourself lost in. HAAK is scheduled for release later this year for PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile, and it's destined to be one of those beautifully challenging experiences that'll keep you on your toes and coming back for more. 

(Image credit: Team17 Digital Ltd)

Crown Trick
Developer: NEXT Studios
Publisher: Team17 Digital Ltd

Looking for a rogue-like with a twist? Then you're going to want to look no further than Crown Trick, the latest game from developer NEXT Studios and publisher Team 17. This RPG adventure runs you through some truly beautiful procedurally-generated dungeons, using turn-based combat to help clear the mazes and push your progression forward. Crown Trick is a fluid experience, with the enemies standing stationary long enough for you to decide how you want to play your turn. It means you have the space to explore opportunities, circumvent traps, and use the elements to your advantage. With hundreds of different monsters trying to half your advance, you'll need to utilise a wide variety of active skills, passive abilities, usable items, and special relics to survive. Crown Trick is planned for release later this year, and you should expect its synchronous design to present quite the challenge. 

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