Indie Update: Knuckle Sandwich, Darkest Dungeon, and Oxenfree

It's time once again for your weekly dose of indie right here on GameCrate. On this edition of Indie Update, we'll scope out a few cool-looking multiplatform downloadable games, as well as a smaller indie title on itch.io. But first, we're going to be delving into the world of EarthBound-inspired RPGs with Knuckle Sandwich, a game that wears its retro influence on its sleeve yet still manages to have its own unique level of endearing charm.

Let's talk indie games!

Feature Story: Knuckle Sandwich is reminiscent of EarthBound, but it still looks pretty original

The beloved SNES classic EarthBound has paved the way for a growing number of comedic RPGs, most of which come our way via indie developers who grew up with the Nintendo favorite themselves. Some games use it as a source of inspiration but still manage to provide original experiences. Knuckle Sandwich from developer Andrew Brophy appears to be one such game, and it looks absolutely delightful.

As explained on the game's website, Knuckle Sandwich follows the exploits of a diner employee. Things quickly get interesting around town as citizens turn up missing and groups of cultists show up. Given the description on the site, it would appear that our unlikely hero becomes exactly that, not because he's a “chosen one” or anything like that, but because he'd rather be doing anything else other than work at the diner. And so the legend of Knuckle Sandwich begins.

The game's recently released teaser trailer gives an idea of what to expect while remaining somewhat vague, as is customary with teasers. Everything looks fairly EarthBound-y, though you interact with different kinds of creatures aside from just humans. Battle sequences are turn-based, too, with quirky, psychedelic backdrops adding a sense of familiarity to the game.

Despite the obvious nods to what has become the standard for EarthBound-likes, the overall vibe of Knuckle Sandwich still feels unique. Perhaps it's the character interactions with non-humans or the script that boasts a very distinct personality, tone, and humor, but for as much as this upcoming RPG reminds me of EarthBound, I'm glad to see that Andrew Brophy has made this very much his own thing.

There's still no word on when exactly the game will launch, but it's been confirmed for the PC and Mac. Here's hoping we get to see more of Knuckle Sandwich sooner rather than later.

Downloadable Indies

Darkest Dungeon is a commentary on roguelike stress

Not only is Darkest Dungeon from Red Hook Studios a game with eye-catching art, fiendish gameplay, and cool gothic themes, it's also a very direct commentary on the stressful nature of the roguelike RPG genre. Featuring a mechanic dubbed the Affliction System, the game not only tasks you with the common game-y objectives of “winning” and “surviving,” but also dealing with your characters' stress, hunger, fear, and paranoia. It's a difficult game to say the least, but it's not without its sense of reward, that's for sure.

Darkest Dungeon is out now. You can download it on Steam and The Humble Store for $19.99, and PlayStation 4 and Vita versions are due out later this year.

Oxenfree puts you in the shoes of a teenager who's just helped open a ghost-filled portal

Night School Studio's Oxenfree looks to be as stylish as it is straight-up enticing to play. Featuring a rich art style and full voice acting, this adventure game about a group of friends who go on a trip only to discover the realities of the supernatural that await borders on eerie, yet has this artful charm to it. The game's main mechanic is a conversation system that allows you to select from different dialogue options, altering the story and interactions depending on your choices.

Oxenfree is available for $19.99 on the Xbox One, Steam, and The Humble Store. A PlayStation 4 version is also expected, though an exact release date has yet to be announced.

Parasite makes you the alien and has you trying to get rid of the human invaders

Have you ever wondered what all of those alien life forms have to deal with when a pesky human invades their land and starts destroying everything, stealing all of the things, and killing all of your pals? Parasite has you playing the role of the alien, solving puzzles, and traveling through non-linear Metroidvania-styled levels. It's us versus them, and by that I mean the aliens versus the annoying human invaders, which I guess makes the humans the aliens?

Parasite will run you $4.99 on Steam.

The Underground: Space Artist is a game about collection and just letting go

Developer Talha Kaya, whose games we've discussed before, has just launched yet another project on itch.io. The game is titled Space Artist and features item collection gameplay within a space environment. The whole thing has a subdued pink look to it, which fits right in with its description's request that players “have a peaceful time.”

Space Artist has that bite-sized game jam feel to it that many of Talha Kaya's previous projects have proudly boasted. That makes it both a curiosity piece that you can jump into if you're interested in something a little different from the norm and an experience you can play if you're looking to fill small bits of time.

As is commonplace on itch.io, Space Artist follows a pay-what-you-want model, so you can give the game a look at absolutely no cost or send a few bucks the dev's way.