With all the progress in graphical capabilities over the past decade, the pursuit of realism in video games is something that many developers are striving for. With the launch of new, more powerful consoles and the continued advancement of PC gaming, the opportunity to make realism a reality has never been closer.

While so many developers are looking to fill in the uncanny valley, I am thankful that there are still developers who cherish and honor the games that have brought us to this point. While I love to play games that push graphical limits, I will always have an everlasting and unconditional love for games that take me back to simpler times.

Here are 5 current and upcoming retro-style indie games for people who crave that old-school experience.

Shovel Knight [Available June 26, 2014 for 3DS, WiiU, and PC]

ShovelKnightShovel Knight is the first title to be developed by Yacht Club Games, but it has already made a huge splash in the gaming community. It is a 2D side-scrolling action-adventure platformer that takes inspiration from classic games of yore like Zelda II, DuckTales, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, and Mega Man as well as modern hits like Minecraft.

Story/Gameplay:

“You play as the eponymous Shovel Knight, a small knight with a huge quest. Shovel Knight has come to this valley with two goals: to defeat the evil Enchantress and save his lost beloved. He wields a ShovelBlade; a multipurpose weapon whose techniques have now been lost to the ages. Always honest and helpful, Shovel Knight is a shining example of the code of Shovelry: Slash Mercilessly and Dig Tirelessly! However, between Shovel Knight and his beloved stands a cadre of villainous knights. These terrible foes, known as The Order of No Quarter, have been dispatched to prevent Shovel Knight from reaching the Enchantress at any cost!” (YachtClubGames.com)

Jamestown Plus [Available NOW on PC and Q2 2014 for PS4]

JamesTownPlusJamestown Plus (Jamestown +) is an absolutely gorgeous shoot-em-up from Final Form Games. It features all the high-octane, explosive action gamers dream of and even 4-player co-op. If you love games like Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun, R-Type, or Gradius, then this is definitely one that you should pick up on PC now, or when it is released on the PlayStation 4 this summer.

Story/Gameplay:

“Jamestown Plus is a 4-player cooperative shoot-em-up that takes place on 17th-Century British Colonial Mars. It was created by three-person studio Final Form Games, and was designed from the ground up to combine the appeal of classic arcade action games with modern design innovations inspired by Left 4 Dead, Rock Band, and others.” (JamestownPlus.com)

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number [Q3 2014 for PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PC, Mac, Linux]

HotlineMiami2For those who played the original Hotline Miami, you know you can expect 3 things: blood, violence, and insanely addictive gameplay. Hotline Miami 2 takes players back for yet another blood bath wrapped in conspiracies and adorned with animal masks. This 2D top-down action game from Dennaton Games is an excessively violent, score-chasing escapade that is sure to keep you hooked long after you finish the game.

Story/Gameplay:

“A brutal conclusion to the gruesome saga, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number follows the escalating level of violence through multiple factions born from the events of the original game and driven by uncertain motivations. Step into the murderous mind of several distinct characters – each with their own motivations and methods of execution – as storylines intersect and reality slips away into a haze of neon and carnage. Blistering combat, an unmistakable visual style, and a powerfully intense soundtrack will once again push you to the limit and questioning your own thirst for blood.” (DevolverDigital.com)

Chasm [Q3 2014 for PS4 and PC]

ChasmChasm is a stylish, procedurally-generated RPG that takes the classic feel of Metroidvania-style games and tries to improve upon the formula. Where many games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night can lose their replayability because of the unchanging layout of the world, Discord Games wants to remedy this shortcoming by creating a world that will change with every playthough. This way, players can continue to enjoy the same game from a fresh gameplay perspective every time.

Story/Gameplay:

“Chasm is a procedurally-generated RPG Platformer currently in development for PC (Win, Mac, & Linux) and Playstation 4. Taking equal inspiration from hack ‘n slash dungeon crawlers and Metroidvania-style platformers, it will immerse you in a procedurally-generated fantasy world full of exciting treasure, deadly enemies, and abundant secrets.” (ChasmGame.com)

Axiom Verge [2015 – PS4]

AxiomVergeAxiom Verge is an absolutely fascinating action platformer designed by a single creator, Tom Happ. With a wonderful atmosphere driven by an intriguing sci-fi story, a superb soundtrack, and awesome aesthetics, Axiom Verge looks deliver a Metroid-style experience that gamers have long been hungry for.

Story/Gameplay:

“A failed scientist dies in an accident, only to awaken in a mysterious, alien world. Where is he? How did he get here? And why do the fundamental laws of reality appear broken? Life. Afterlife. Real. Virtual. Dream. Nightmare. It’s a thin line. It’s Axiom Verge.” (AxiomVerge.com)

About The Author

Derrick D
Editorial/Reviews Writer

Derrick has been an avid gamer since before he even started kindergarten. He is a video games enthusiast first and foremost and has a unconditional love for the gaming industry. His fun-loving personality, wide array of experiences, as well as his background in gaming and the film industry have helped him to develop a unique perspective that is always thoughtful and invariably entertaining.