During the recently concluded E3 2021, which hosted some great shows from the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo, there were definitely some titles that may have been overlooked due to being sandwiched in between live service updates and the occasional musical performance, whichever comes first.
Personally, Indie games excite me and during E3, we’ve searched for these “E3 hidden gems” that look like future hits in the making. In the roundtable discussion about Indie Games preceding the E3 Indie Showcase, the group qualified what an indie game is as its classification is now starting to blur, as you have fantastic cult classics like Among Us and Hades redefining genres. Indie games as defined by one of the roundtable guests, Edmund McMillen, is a game taking “a big risk on themes and concepts not usually taken by a big company…to go against what is the current trend that big companies won’t invest millions in”.
Here are our five E3 hidden gems which definitely got us excited throughout E3 2021:
Salt and Sacrifice (Summer Games Fest Kickoff)
Ska Studios’ follow-up to the Souls-inspired 2D action platformer Salt and Sanctuary comes Salt and Sacrifice. Announced during the Summer Games Fest Kickoff, it was situated comfortably in the middle of the showcase alongside other PS Indies like Chicory. It is coming 2022 for the PC, PS4 and PS5 so if you want to take a dive into the game, its predecessor is currently $19.99 at regular price if you wanted to check yourself.
Signalis (Tribeca Games Showcase)
Introduced by Guillermo del Toro during the Tribeca Games Showcase and rightfully so, this retro-inspired cosmic horror really gives this Resident Evil meets The Thing vibe, which is definitely up del Toro’s alley. What drew me to its eerie trailer is the entire mystery of it all, which drew me to Returnal leading up to launch. I personally prefer classic Resident Evil to its action versions really highlighting the survival horror element over feeling invincible. Having this 16-bit vibe seriously hits home and while it’s only currently available on Steam, I’m looking forward to a Nintendo Switch release at the very least.
Trek to Yomi (Devolver Digital Presentation)
The Kurosawa mode in Ghost of Tsushima was a pretty cool addition for a new game plus experience. Now imagine if you can have Kurosawa mode in a 2D side scroller action where you play a wandering ronin vanquishing yokai. Imagine no more as Trek To Yomi is set to release in 2022, and it is quite baffling to see that it will only be available for current-gen consoles and PC.
REPLACED (Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase)
If there’s a game trailer that made me go “wow” and stopped everything that I was doing, it would be
Farcry6 REPLACED. The Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase was an impressive presentation with no downtime, and even though Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, and Starfield may have stolen the show, I’d say the real star of the show is this highly stylized retropunk side scroller REPLACED. I’m sure there’s so many retropunk games already saturating the market with Narita Boy and Foreclosed filling the gap left by Cyberpunk 2077, REPLACED stands out because it has that Blackthorne vibe with seriously impressive animation. Sign me up on 2022 when it drops on the Xbox Game Pass.
Dreamscaper (Freedom Games Showcase)
Out of our E3 hidden gems, this title really caught our attention because of its attention to detail. It follows a fabulist journey where you follow a young woman trapped in deep depression as she accesses her subconscious to see a new day. Using ARPG rogue-lite elements inspired by top-down shooters, brawlers, and dungeon crawlers, this game finally exits the Early Access and finally will release a 1.0 version on August 12 for the Nintendo Switch. It’s giving me Hades meets Life Is Strange vibes already and it’s exciting that it will be out soon.
What are your picks for the “E3 hidden gems”? Hit us up in the comments below!