The 10 Best Indie Games You May Have Missed at E3 2019

Cris Tales protagonist fighting wolves

Most of E3 is dedicated to big publishers and developers showing off their most anticipated new games with lavish stage shows and blockbuster trailers, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for smaller games. If you make a point to look, you can find plenty of indie games make their way to the show floor and even in some of the biggest press conferences of the show. There are so many smaller games that you’re almost guaranteed only to see a tiny sliver of what was actually at E3. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are 10 of our favorite indie games that you might have missed at E3 2019.

Astalon

  • Release Date: 2019
  • Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One

Astalon: Tears of the Earth looks like a throwback to old-school action platformers, but with enough extra polish to keep it from feeling stale. You’ll follow three characters with distinct abilities. Through a trap-filled castle to face off against giant bosses and other threats. Astalon looks like the rare game pays homage to NES-era games without just being a nostalgia trip.

Cris Tales

  • Release Date: 2020
  • Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One

Described by its developer as “a love letter to classic RPGs,” Cris Tales was one of the gorgeous indie games at E3 — or maybe ever, for that matter. Behind its distinctive storybook design, Cris Tales is a turn-based RPG where players make decisions that ripple across the past, present, and future, which you can see all at once. If you act quickly (as in, before June 24), you can even check out a demo on Steam.

Fall Guys

  • Release Date: 2020
  • Platforms: PS4, PC

What do you get if you combine the Ninja Warrior TV show with a battle royale? Probably something a lot like Fall Guys. In Fall Guys, 100 players compete to make it through a physics-based obstacle course that whittles them down round by round until only one player remains.

Griftlands

  • Release Date: 2019
  • Platforms: PC

Card battling games are all the rage these days, but Griftlands stands out from the rest. It looks to be much more story-driven than most similar games, letting you schmooze with NPCs and choose how to make your way through the game rather than just fighting a series of opponents. The trailer shows off a card-based conversation system to go along with its battle system, and it’s all done in Klei’s signature comic book style.

Lost Ember

  • Release Date: July 19 (Switch TBD)
  • Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One

In Lost Ember, you play as a wolf with the power to transform into other animals as you explore a lush planet devoid of humans. Along with a spirit companion, you use the unique abilities granted by animals like birds and fish to discover what exactly led to the fall of civilization.

Lucifier Within Us

  • Release Date: TBD
  • Platforms: PC

A truly unique looking murder mystery game, Lucifer Within Us casts you as a paranormal detective solving crimes with both traditional evidence and information you gain by diving into their minds. We’re not even entirely sure how Lucifer Within Us will work in action, but its trailer and premise have us dying to know more.

Phantom Brigade

  • Release Date: 2020 (Early Access)
  • Platforms: PC

A game's UI is rarely the most exciting thing about it, but that’s the case for Phantom Brigade. In this game, you pilot a squad of mechs into turn-based combat, but in a way, you’ve never seen before. Rather than selecting one move at a time, you plan out a five-second sequence of moves on a timeline, and you can even see how enemies will react to your moves before you execute them. But once you shift into real-time, your plans can go awry in plenty of unexpected ways, leaving you with a bigger mess to clean up in the next five seconds.

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

  • Release Date: Winter 2019
  • Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch

There are plenty of options out there if you want to play a fast-paced hack-and-slash adventure or a chill farming simulator. And if you want to play both at the same time, there’s Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. In Sakuna, you play as the daughter of the god of war and the goddess of the harvest to fight your way through side-scrolling stages while collecting cooking ingredients, then plant and tend to rice crops to make the perfect meal for you and your friends.

Superliminal

  • Release Date: TBD
  • Platforms: PC

I can’t describe what’s going on in Superliminal, and to be honest; I’m not sure I even understand it. But that seems to be kind of the point. A first-person puzzle game where your point of view affects the fabric of reality, Superliminal looks like an absolute mind-bender, challenging your perceptions of scale and perspective to navigate its trippy environments.

Way to the Woods

  • Release Date: 2020
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One

Way to the Woods is a truly unique looking game, putting you in the shoes — well, hooves — of a deer guiding her fawn through an abandoned city to find their way back to the woods. Along the way, you’ll scrounge for food, meet giant cats, and find your way with your light-emitting antlers, and it looks like it only gets stranger from there. A solo developer created way to the Woods and features a soundtrack by composers for the Steven Universe TV series.

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