Sunday Loot: A Roundup of Breakout Indie Games Featured at #PlayNYC

Happy Sunday, friends! This weekend marks the launch of Play NYC, the first-ever games convention to hit New York State. It’s a long-awaited event for all of us (myself included!) to finally see the games industry celebrated over in our neck of the woods. While I unfortunately couldn’t attend this year, I wanted to make sure I boosted all the games I was most excited about getting to play at the event!

For those of you who know the deal with this particular series of ours, you might have noticed that we updated the formatting just a bit. Every game listed here is unique, and we wanted to make sure to convey exactly what they all entail in the quickest way possible. Think of it like a drive-thru indie game store — you can scan the list, choose your favorites, and hit the gas!

As always, if you know of an inclusive gaming space or games project you’d love to see promoted on our Sunday Loot series, drop us a comment below or check out our contact list! We’d love to hear from you, especially about new and exciting spaces where all gamers can hang out. ❤

Cutthroat Gunboat

What is it? A local multiplayer party game (two to four players).

Where can I play it? PC.

Why is it so cool? Representation! It might seem like a minor thing, but Cutthroat Gunboat offers an actual diverse cast of characters unlike the vast majority of games out there. The controls are also racking up a lot of positive feedback — it’s a fast-paced free-for-all, and the graphics are so cute.

Anything else? Full disclosure: I fucking love pirates and historical accuracy, and this game has that in spades. The details in the design are really incredible for anyone into either.

The Low Road

What is it? A point-and-click graphic adventure game.

Where can I play it? PC and Mac.

Why is it so cool? This game was inspired by gouache paintings, rock n’ roll, and television from the ’70s. It’s utterly gorgeous, and since the narrative is being billed as a “dark spy comedy,” you know you’re in for something really fun. With over 15+ first-person puzzle sequences, The Low Road will be as much a test for your espionage skills as your detective work. Good luck!

Anything else? It was narratively designed by award-winning playwright Leif Oleson-Cormack (Dead Peasants) and composed by Eric Cheng (with vocals by Win Well). You can actually listen to the full soundtrack on Bandcamp right now.

Mama Hawk

What is it? A side-scrolling arcade game.

Where can I play it? It will be available for iOS, Android, PC, and Mac. There’s an open BETA for Android right now, though!

Why is it so cool? This takes single parenting to a whole new level (see what I did there?). You get to play as a solo metal-as-fuck mom body slamming her way through obstacles and feeding entire forests worth of wildlife to her children, all in the name of guardianship. It stands as a pretty accurate metaphor for the tough challenges single parents everywhere face. Also: it seems very satisfying for anyone with a tough day job and time to kill on the commute home.

Anything else? Kati Nawrocki developed Mama Hawk with the support of Computerlunch. You should check out her other work!

Neon Wasteland

What is it? A 3D action racer game.

Where can I play it? Just PC at the moment, but Mac and console releases are reported to be coming soon! It’s also Xbox 360 controller-supported.

Why is it so cool? The narrative is intricately tied to a comic book version of the same name, which includes all eight worlds you’ll be exploring within Neon Wasteland across 12 issues. (The comic book can act as a standalone, but it’s recommended for the full, immersive experience.) You also get the chance to play as a unique character in each world.

Anything else? A portion of all funds raised to crowdfund this game were donated to UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund). As per the developer: “The main characters in Neon Wasteland face challenges that effect millions of children around the world today. They are trying to escape a life where poverty and violence prevent them from reaching their full potential. UNICEF helps real kids everywhere in the same situation.”

Unavowed

What is it? A point-and-click adventure game.

Where can I play it? It’s currently still in development. Keep an eye on their social media!

Why is it so cool? You not only get to choose a playable man or woman, but you also determine their occupation and which characters will accompany them on their journey forward (the followers are diverse, which is heartening to see). Unavowed doesn’t offer combat typical for the genre, either — you’ll be expected to use your party’s skills to solve puzzles in order to succeed in battle.

Anything else? This game was inspired by a talk Jennifer Hepler gave at GDC about her work writing for Bioware’s Dragon Age. According to Dave Gilbert, founder of Wadjet Eye Games, this pushed him to build out a more role-playing-centric experience for Unavowed — to excellent results.

Vidar

What is it? An adventure/puzzle role-playing game.

Where can I play it? PC, Mac, and Linux.

Why is it so cool? Each time you start a new game, the story randomizes to provide a unique playing experience. This allows for a fresh take on the subject of grief and mourning, which is the main focus of Vidar: how will the villagers handle the deaths of fellow community members? Why is everyone dying in the first place?

Anything else? THERE ARE LESBIANS. I REPEAT: THIS GAME HAS LESBIANS. However, it’s important to note that, given the nature of the premise, this could unintentionally play into the Bury Your Gays trope (again: the story is randomized each time you play). Please proceed with caution! In addition, the development team includes women and queer folks, as well as the cast itself (yes, that means WOC) from all walks of life.

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