PlayStation's seven-game indie reveal has come to an end, and the final lineup is absolutely stunning. Every game shown today is either an indie darling finally coming to PS5 and PS4, the sequel to a beloved game, or a promising newcomer.
Here's everything that was announced.
Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals
Initially set for a 2021 release on Switch and PC, the surprise sequel to Oxenfree is now coming in 2022, and it's also coming to PS4 and PS5 at launch.
The story picks up five years after the end of the first game with protagonist Riley Poverly navigating the challenges of post-adolescence and the town of Camena grappling with electromagnetic phenomena, and it all gets progressively weirder and more ghostly from there. Lead writer and co-founder of developer Night School Studio described the sequel as another "narrative game revolving around a robust conversation system and a radio that tunes into supernatural signals," which is exactly what we wanted to hear.
Axiom Verge 2
Also previously announced for Switch and PC, Axiom Verge 2, the follow-up to one of the best modern Metroidvania games, is headed for PS4 and PS5.
Over on the PlayStation Blog, solo developer Tom Happ revealed the "biggest challenge and most distinctive feature" in the upcoming sequel: it's actually "two worlds in one."
"Behind the overworld map that I’ve been showing this entire time, there is another interconnected breach world in an alternate dimension," Happ says. "I’ve hinted about this in an early trailer, where the drone goes through some mysterious portal, but I’ve kept this secret for a while."
The relationship between these two worlds unlocks "a huge range of opportunities for non-linear exploration," Happ says, which is precisely what Metroidvanias thrive on. This alien dimension also gives Axiom Verge 2 another, much wonkier aesthetic to play with, and it's all done up in the same impeccable pixel art you'd expect.
For more on Happ's ambitions for Axiom Verge 2, check out our chat on why the sequel isn't really a sequel at all.
Wytchwood is a beautiful crafting game about a witch with a cauldron on her head, and it's coming to PS4 and PS5 this fall.
Artist Ariane Laurence of developer Alientrap Games says that while Wytchwood is "fundamentally a chill game where exploration and collecting spell ingredients" is the focus, it also hides a lot to uncover and experiment with, from characters to meet – all inspired by Grimm fairy tales – to bizarre creatures like a chicken-legged fish. It seems to have roughly a zillion crafting combinations, with potions and spells capable of everything from raising the dead to ensnaring sentient pumpkins, so put on your thinking cauldron and buckle up because it's about to get weird.
Platinum Games' actually-not-joking April Fool's joke Sol Cresta is back, and it's doubling down on the "free-form docking and shooting" gameplay of the 36-year-old Terra Cresta.
Sol Cresta is part of Platinum's push to be a studio that makes "all kinds of fun games, not just action games," according to chief game designer Hideki Kamiya, widely known as the director of Bayonetta. Sol Cresta is every bit as flashy as you'd expect from a Platinum game, but that energy is packed into a tightly designed vertical-scrolling shooter where you combine three fighter jets in different ways to change your plan of attack. The spiritual successor is something of a passion project for Kamiya, who discussed the lengths he went to in order to get it greenlit over on the PlayStation Blog, and you can find a detailed breakdown of its formation system on Platinum's website.
A Short Hike
Critically acclaimed mountainside life sim A Short Hike is coming to PlayStation this fall, and with a new 4K filter available on PS4 Pro and PS5.
A Short Hike is a cute, tranquil game about a bird named Claire exploring a mountain, ascending at their own pace and helping townsfolk along the way. It's basically the video game equivalent of a nice nap in the sun with a cool, gentle breeze for company – or as Adam Robinson-Yu of developer Whippoorwill says, "a love letter to those breezy summer days without anything to do and all the time in the world."
Self-described "reverse-horror" game Carrion is coming to PS4 this year after disgusting and delighting us in equal measure last year.
The premise for Carrion is weird but simple: you're a horrible flesh monster breaking out of an underground lab and throwing anyone you come across through the meaty, tentacle equivalent of a woodchipper. Our own Leon Hurley called the playable creature a tentacled mass of toothed anuses, which should give you some idea of what this bloody, puzzle-y, exploration-heavy action game is all about. Don't get grossed out or put off; it's super fun, and not just in a 'be the monster' kind of way (but also definitely in a 'be the monster' kind of way).
Hades, our best game of 2020 and the winner of the Critic's Choice award at the 2020 Golden Joysticks, is coming to PS4 and PS5 next week on August 13. We already knew that, but what better way to cap off this indie highlight reel than with another look at one of the highlights of the past year.
The latest from Bastion and Transistor creator Supergiant Games, Hades transforms Greek mythology into an engrossing third-person dungeon-crawler with the heart of a rogue-like and the soul of a true epic. Through masterfully layered exposition and upgrades, it turns every run and every death into an invigorating shot of progression and characterization. Just as it's deeply satisfying to master its many weapons and divine magics, it's a true treat to get to know its cast of loveable and irresponsibly beautiful characters.
I got most of the gushing praise out of my system last year, so I'll stop here. Forget god-like; Hades is godly. It's utterly unmissable, and soon it'll be on more platforms than ever, so you'll have absolutely no excuse not to play it.