Not-E3 Indie Games You Can Try TODAY

When I started out making this article, the goal was to provide a spotlight on the Indie games announced during the various Not-E3 showcases that haven’t got a lot of the attention they deserved.

Initially, I was only going to cover games that truly stood out to me, and thought I could make a manageably-sized list doing so.

By the end of the Future Games Showcase, the MIX Guerilla Collective Showcase, the Devolver Digital Direct, Wholesome Direct, PC Gaming Show, and Double Fine’s Day of the Devs, I came to a staggering 46 Indie Games I thought were worth your time.

That is too many games.

Luckily, I found an easy way to cull the list when noticing a pattern; a lot of these games released demos alongside their trailers, and a lot of them were releasing this year.

Combining those two together, I have brought this list down to 13 games that are fantastic, slated to come out this year, and have demos that you can try today.


Let’s get this out of the way; yes, this trailer is pretty transparently one-to-one with the Silent Hills TGS 2014 trailer.

Counterpoint; that trailer was very spooky, and it’s not a bad thing to try and emulate it.

The latest in a long line of PT successors, Luto’s sheeted ghost spin on the walk-through-a-long-hall-and-scary-shit-happens is honestly doing it for me. It’s a fairly fantastic looking game and unlike many of its contemporaries, it has a unique story with a little more on the mind than just jumpscares.

You can play Luto’s very scary demo (which, interesting note, serves as a companion piece to the main game), here.

En Garde!

It’s okay if the only reason you play this is because the Puss in Boots movie was really good. That’s definitely why I played it.

But that’s certainly not why I credit enjoying it. En Gardes environmental-based spectacle combat is brought into sharp focus with its bright and cheery cartoonish art style, and elevated further with some solid voice acting and tight controls.

You can jump, swing, slash, and flip into its demo here.

Fall of Porcupine

Would it surprise you to know, when looking at only the charming picturebook art style of Fall of Porcupine, that the game describes itself as, “The collision of work and daily life – an exciting reflection of an unhealthy healthcare-system.”?

If you’ve been playing Indies like Night in the Woods, probably not. But, at the same time, that means you know how powerful these games can be.

Fall of Porcupine might be coming exactly one season early, and it might hit you in a way that you’re not ready for emotionally. But encountering this game, much like the ailments that this town’s denizens are afflicted with, is something you know you have to engage with once you see it.

You can take the first step in this emotional journey here.

My Friendly Neighborhood

When thinking about the influences of My Friendly Neighborhood most people are going to primarily mention Five Nights at Freddy’s. And why wouldn’t they? Spooky-jump-in-your-face-mascot horror was basically invented by that one game

But having played the demo I found, in a delightful surprise that this game is most heavily inspired by Bioshock.

The abandoned 30 Rock stand-in feels far more akin to the festering madhouse of Rapture than it does the haunted linoleum cafeterias of Freddy Fazbears, marked with enemies and allies who are as afraid of you as you are of them.

And coupled with some great voice acting, excellent animations, and creative gunplay, the demo paints a picture of a far more interesting game than the latest let’s-play-bait plastering your YouTube homepage.

You can delve into the madness of My Friendly Neighborhood here.

Lil Guardsman

I’ve seen many people discount Lil Guardsmen, for being so bold about borrowing its entire core gameplay loop from Papers, Please, but I think a lot of those people are missing that this game fills in for a very different market.

Where Papers, Please has you carefully trying to determine immigration status for starving citizens and potential suicide bombers, Lil Guardsmen has you scanning Frankenstein’s monster for metal and making small talk with a foul-mouthed cyclops.

It’s the joy of talking to people and pushing buttons without the risks of your family freezing in the snows of Arstotzka, and I think that’s something we need.

You can choose to let Lil Guardsmen in or not here.

Battle Shapers

Whereas many others in Battle Shapers general arena are trying to emulate their influences to achieve basically the same thing those games did, I feel like Battle Shapers has picked and chosen the best elements from its influences and turned them into something new.

Overwatch style gunplay, Destiny style skills, Mega Man style progression, and Gunfire Reborn style rogue-lite elements all come together to make a wonderful FPS stew of other amazing games with almost none of the fat that comes with them.

You can play Battle Shapers’ very stylish demo here.

While the Irons Hot

Pulling back the curtain, I am aware that this article may come across as redundant owing to the fact that nearly every entry in this list is marked with some comparison to another game; “X game is like if you took Y and mixed it with Z”.

But I think these comparisons are almost always necessary as the Indie Game scene is largely comprised of love letters. Games trying to capture the essence of games the developers loved, or the underdeveloped ideas of games that fascinated them.

But if Bontemps Games is trying to write a love letter with While the Iron’s Hot, it is worth noting that few authors are as well read.

You can’t throw a stone in While the Iron’s Hot without hitting some reference or influence to another game, ranging from contemporary Indies to oft-forgotten retro games, and the medley of all of them never seems to fail in delighting me.

You can read While the Iron’s Hot’s love letter here.

Corponation: The Sorting Process

If Lil Guardsmen’s sorting seems a little too low stakes, and Papers, Please doesn’t hit close enough to home, Corponation might be the perfect balance.

Taking aim at the unfortunately universal experience of working as a cog in a soulless corporate machine, crushed under the boot of a nonsensically recursive economy, Corponation has you conspiring to sabotage the system as part of an underground alliance of rebels, all while decorating your apartment with Amazon buys.

You can experience the satisfaction of dismantling capatilism putting your money back into the economy here.

Fortunes Run

Fortunes Run offers something to the immersive sim genre that few games ever manage to; speed.

Whereas most immersive sims find themselves more on the side of stealth games, encouraging players to slowly and methodically plan out their next course of action while stalking from the shadows, Fortunes Run asks you to come up with those schemes and watch them fall apart in a matter of seconds.

Elevated with a sick sense of humor and a uniquely 90’s art style, Fortunes Run is looking to be an airtight entry into both immersive sims and boomer shooters.

You can make your way into the Fortunes Run demo here.

Punch Club 2

Punch Club 2 is certainly a sequel I didn’t think I needed, but having played its demo it certainly hits the mark.

Punch Club 2 expands its gameplay systems and its story in almost every way. From more robust rpg elements, to deeper and more strategic management elements, to so many branching paths it feels like no two storylines will be the same, this seems like a sequel with a great understanding of its predecessor and a great vision of its future.

You can beat the shit out of its demo (wow, sorry, too aggressive) here.

Wizard with a Gun

Wizard with a Gun didn’t fully hook me when it was revealed two years ago. Although its art style was already a knockout, it just felt like its early trailers were a bit shallow, a bit too far from finished.

Having watched the newest trailer and played the demo, I can confidently say that those feelings were correct, because the team has clearly spent the intervening time fleshing out and polishing this game on every front.

Wizard with a Gun now feels like a fully fleshed-out game, filled with enough scavenging, building, dungeon-delving, and crafting to comprise yet another multiplayer survival game that destroys my life for two weeks.

To get a taste of the next reason you stay up way too late with your friends on Discord, you can check out the demo here.


Whenever games do that Animal Crossing thing where the characters text bubble pops up and the characters all sound like beebuhduhbeebodoboo I’m always like fuck yeah.

Surmount is a cozy and silly rock climbing adventure that finds you and a friend swinging and leaping up the impossibly tall Mount Om, the tallest mountain on the planet.

It’s a refreshingly simple goal made joyously engaging owing to the humor found in its physics, characters, and co-op chaos.

You can begin your trek to Surmounts summit here.

The Bookwalker: Thief of Tales

The first time I saw The Bookwalker: Thief of Tales was actually watching the Future Games show trailer and it was definitely intriguing but given it was a cinematic trailer it just didn’t show me much. Had I not then seen its MIX trailer, I might’ve forgotten about it.

Thank God I didn’t.

The Bookwalker has a set-up, style, and character that is just absolutely bursting with potential for endless iteration. Diving your way into the worlds of various novels like a grimdark Magic Treehouse doesn’t seem like it could get old and I can tell you from playing its demo that it certainly does not.

You can dive into the world of Bookwalker here.

Also, for a tl;dr version of this article and a collection of all the titles readily available to play and wishlist, check out this list on my Steam Curator page here.