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Best New Indie Games for May Week 1 2020

The next seven days are packed with some fantastic looking indie game releases and we can’t wait to get our hands on some of these games to explore their different worlds. Our list of curated indie games include many genres but this week looks particularly strong for strategy, RPG and adventure games. Without further ado, let’s dive into our list of the best new indie games for the first week of May 2020.

Before We Leave – May 8 Epic Games Store

New indie games May Before We Leave
[Image: Balancing Monkey Games]

We are very excited for the release of Before We Leave on the 8th of May as it just ticks so many boxes of what we enjoy in city building and strategy games. Technically speaking, the game can be classified in the post-apocalyptic genre, but it has nothing of the dread and depressing atmosphere that these games normally have. 

As a result of the apocalyptic event in question, your people have spent entire generations underground and can now finally emerge back to the surface world. You are tasked with rebuilding civilization and re-establishing a healthy and thriving society. Unlike many other games with this premise, Before We Leave takes a nonviolent approach to the process of establishing a new civilization. There are no guns and weapons and therefore the game has a strong focus on the economic aspect of the rebuilding process. 

The developer Balancing Monkey Games mentions that there are ancient challenges to overcome and even hungry space whales that threaten your society, but these challenges will be met without resorting to violence. Before We Leave promises to be a relaxing and easy-paced city building game.

The relaxed and management focussed gameplay is accompanied with superb looking graphics and interesting environments. As stated earlier, the game has very little of the dread and washed out colors you would generally associate with post-apocalyptic titles. The color palette is bright and uses lots of green and blue to make the different worlds feel inviting and relaxing. Using hexagonal tiles as the foundation of the worlds translate well to make the game feel fun. The use of the same hexagonal tiles to construct clouds only adds to the inviting character of the game and gives it something of a cartoonish feel. 

The graphics are accompanied by an interesting environment system. You are not confined to only one large planet or playing area. The planets you start on are rather small and have a few continents you can explore and use to rebuild your civilization. Each planet forms part of a larger solar system, which means you can visit other planets and eventually create an inter-galactic resource network. 

Before We Leave is a day 1 buy for us and we can’t wait to start rebuilding our civilizations and dodge massive space whales in this indie title.

Population Zero – May 5 Early Access

New indie games May Population Zero
[Image: Enplex Games LLC]

Our second entry on the list is an exciting new take on the survival and adventure genre in the form of Enplex Games’ Population Zero. Building on the foundation set by games such as Rust, ARK, Conan and The Forest, Population Zero looks to enhance the formula by adding a cyclical gameplay loop. 

Population Zero puts you in the shoes of an explorer stranded on a foreign planet with no chance of returning to Earth. You have 168 hours (7 days) to rebuild a reactor that powers your hibernation pod and save yourself. During the week-long cycle you will have different objectives to complete and these all earn you experience for your account. You use this experience to unlock different and more advanced game modes and mechanics.

Upon first sight you may think you are looking at No Man’s Sky, as Population Zero has a large variety of creative environments and creatures that inhabit the planet. The graphics look fantastic and help make the environments immersive and interesting to explore. The developers put a lot of care into the creation of each environment so they should feel fantastic when playing the game. 

The game is also built to cater for a wide variety of players. Everyone starts off with their initial cycle in the PvE mode of the game. This mode is built around mechanics that cater for players who dislike PvP gameplay and the associated risks that come with fighting other players. This mode allows you to play with your friends, working together against the environment and NPC threats to complete a cycle. 

For those that crave higher risk versus reward situations, there is the PvP focused game mode. This mode offers everything that you can find in the PvE experience with the added threat of other players. You can engage in combat, kill and loot other players and destroy their buildings and resources. You can probably expect a similar PvP experience to other games in the genre, although you have a bit less to lose due to the cyclical nature of the game. 

A third mode means that both the PvE and PvP modes can evolve into more advanced and difficult versions. For PvE players there will be unexpected twists in the game world adding additional challenge to the survival experience and for PvP players there will be an Ironman mode. The Ironman mode means that death is permanent and players that manage to survive a cycle will receive a massive amount of experience to their account. 

Population Zero looks like it can potentially be a breath of fresh air into the survival genre and we are excited to jump into Early Access on the 5th of May.

Arboria – May 7 Early Access

[Image: Dreamplant]

If you have been reading our articles for a while you know that we love rogue-lite games and therefore number 3 on our new indie games list is an upcoming rogue-lite from Dreamplant called Arboria. Arboria takes place in a dark fantasy setting with you playing as a member of the Yotun tribe.

Which member of the Yotun tribe doesn’t really matter as this is a rogue-lite. You will die many times during your time with Arboria but your skills, unlocks, and progress will carry over to the next member you get to play. 

The game makes use of a procedural generation system to keep the environments and enemies you encounter fresh for each run. This coupled with a 3rd person action combat style has all the ingredients for an exciting new entry into the genre. 

Progression is important in rogue-lite games, and the grinding quickly becomes meaningless if the rewards are sub-par. Arboria approaches this with a symbiotic and mutation mechanic. The right arm of the player is reserved for symbiotic infusion and this means that the right arm becomes the weapon. New and better symbiotes can be found by playing the game, resulting in what would hopefully be a satisfying experience.

Mutations are reserved for the left arm and results in the use of different magic spells. The game has a mana system and you use mana to cast the different spells. Similar to the symbiotes, you can gain access to better mutations as you play the game.

It remains to be seen how fleshed out the game will be on its Early Access release, but it certainly has all the ingredients to offer players a superb experience.

Celestian Tales: Realms Beyond – May 7

Celestian Tales Realm Beyond release
[Image: Ekuator Games]

The last few years have been fantastic for turn-based strategy and RPG games and more are added at a regular pace. Some also evolve into something completely new, as with the Final Fantasy 7 remake. Celestian Tales: Realm Beyond takes an old school approach to the genre and offers players something you can expect to find in games like Final Fantasy 1-6. 

In 2015 developer Ekuator Games released Celestian Tales: Old North, and it had a mixed reception with the Steam community. Players were positive about the gorgeous hand-drawn graphics and the story, but the game was held back by a lack of polish concerning character animations and certain UI and UX elements. 

In the almost six years that have passed the developers would have gained a lot of insight from their first game and therefore it is possible that Celestian Tales: Realm Beyond can realise the potential of the series. 

The game is based on the journey of six companions, all of them are knights who have sworn to serve and protect the heir of a noble house. It seems like a pretty generic fantasy setting, but the developer mentions that the game has no great evil that needs to be defeated. It also has no greater or final good for players to achieve. Instead, you are left to navigate the moral kaleidoscope of humanity itself. This has the potential for engaging and meaningful gameplay, but many have tried this mechanic and failed in the past. Hopefully Celestial Tales: Realms Beyond manages to give players a satisfying, morally driven experience.

JRPG’s and other turn-based games are frequently critiqued for having way too many random encounters, artificially extending the time players spend with the game. Ekuator Games made it clear that all encounters will be relevant in some way and they are trying to avoid filler content as far as they can. Another important detail means that the game will have the party healed up after every fight. This means that the game can potentially have a more fluid progression and more interesting battles as each encounter can be designed for a fully healed party.

Celestial Tales: Realms Beyond looks like an interesting game and if it manages to accurately portray the magic to be found in a hand-drawn adventure we are in for a great time!

Hydroneer – 8 May

New indie games May Hydroneer
[Image: Foulball Hangover]

Our final entry for this week has players dive, dig and fish for gold. Hydroneer is a mining simulation game and players assume the role of a miner working their way up to eventually have a massive mining operation. 

Initially, you start out as a good old-fashioned prospector, scouring the rivers in the area to find little nuggets of gold. As you find valuable minerals, you will eventually be able to scale your operations into bigger and better forms. This includes rigs and other machinery that you can use to churn a profit for your mine. 

The game uses a voxel-based world meaning the same satisfaction you experience by mining in Minecraft and Terraria is replicated here. The mining experience is enhanced by allowing the player to build complex networks of hydro pipes to drive the mining business. 

The developer Foulball Hangover mentions that the game has a tycoon-style progression system meaning that mining won’t be all you do. You will have to manage your entire operation and make some economic and financial choices to drive your business ever upwards. 

While Hydroneer won’t be revolutionizing the simulation genre, the game gives us a new setting to satisfy our craving for simulating the real world. With its voxel-based world and interesting looking environments, we are looking forward to determining who can dig the deepest mine!

It’s a big week so you better get gaming

Some of us want to relax when we game, some want hardcore survival experiences with other players constantly at your throat, and others just want to wreck a simulated world to see how deep of hole they can dig. If any of these things sound like fun, you have a week of new indie game goodness coming up.

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