Snark and sarcasm are the official languages of gamers the internet, but that’s not completely unwarranted. With conglomerate corporations trying to squeeze every last cent from their customers, most are constantly on high-alert.
That’s why it’s important to celebrate the game makers that are doing right by their fans. The amount of creative independent developers making high-quality games swells every day, disarming even the most cynical critics with relative ease.
In fact, let us tell you about five up-and-coming developers right damn now.
Let’s begin with DrinkBox Studios, a developer that has quickly become a favorite amongst PlayStation owners. Since opening in 2008, they built a solid foundation with Tales from Space: About a Blob in 2011, but they really hit their stride with Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack on Vita last year. As it stands, Mutant Blobs Attack — a launch Vita title that released for under $10 — remains the fifth-highest rated game in the Vita’s library according to Metacritic.
Their latest effort is Guacamelee!, a game that we really liked. Funnily enough, it’s the fourth-highest rated game on the Vita, and with good reason. The graphics are crisp and the controls are tight; body-slamming skeletons in a Metroidvania game will always be a blast.
There haven’t been any hints on what they’ll be working on next — they released Guacamelee! just two weeks ago, after all. Whatever’s on the horizon for DrinkBox, we’re definitely looking forward to it.
Papo & Yo on PSN, and now Steam, has plenty of technical flaws, but no one can deny its heart. Based on studio founder Vander Caballero’s experience of growing up with an abusive alcoholic father, the game pulled on plenty of heartstrings.
Caballero has since spoken to Game Informer about their next project, Silent Enemy. Minority once again seeks to tackle difficult subject matter; in this case, it’s design director Ruben Farrus’s struggle with bullying and isolation. As of now, the game is being developed for iOS, but the company is looking to bring it to other systems.
In just three years since their founding in 2010, Minority Media have proven that they’ve got what it takes to make games with substance, and we’re definitely looking forward to their future projects.
Bastion exploded onto the scene when it released on Xbox Live Arcade in 2011, and for good reason. The action-RPG was addictive to play, beautifully rendered, and was made all the sweeter with the dulcet tones of the game’s narrator and brilliant musical score.
Since then, developer Supergiant Games have revealed Transistor, another action-RPG. It’s not a sequel to Bastion, instead opting for a sci-fi setting. It was playable at PAX East last month, and it’s looking positively gorgeous. It’s slated for 2014, although no platforms have been specified.
Supergiant’s work is all the more impressive when you note that it’s a small team of nine. Between Bastion and Transistor, we see nothing but success in the indie developer’s future.