It’s a big week for games from independent developers on Xbox One, with five new titles coming from ID@Xbox. It’s a super-strong lineup that speaks to the creativity and diversity of independent developers.
Never Alone (Kisma Ingitchuna), by E-Line Media, is a hauntingly beautiful game developed in partnership with an Alaskan Native people, the Inupiat. Dozens of Alaskan Native storytellers and community members contributed to the game, which puts you in the role of a young Inupiat girl named Nuna, and her arctic fox companion (you can play solo, or with a friend controlling the fox). The game is narrated in the Inupiaq language, and features characters from classic Inupiaq stories. In addition to amazing art, Never Alone’s platform puzzler gameplay (developed just over the lake from Microsoft in Seattle’s University District) is really rewarding. It’s an amazing collaboration between top game designers and the elders and storytellers of an Alaska Native people, resulting in a really special game that you’ll want to show off as much as play – and you can use the breathtaking Achievement art for backgrounds on your Xbox One!
In a totally different direction is The Jackbox Party Pack. From the Chicago-based Jackbox Games, The Jackbox Party Pack delivers five crazy party games, from “You Don’t Know Jack 2015” to “Word Spud.” Our favorite might be “Lie Swatter,” which enables up to 100 players to get in on some wacky “fact”-filled action! Rounding out the pack are “Fibbage XL” (which we think should be everybody’s go-to game for family Thanksgiving gaming – trust us on this one), and “Drawful” – where you can draw… well, awful things (in our case) on your phone or tablet. All the games work with any Internet-enabled tablet, smartphone, or PC, so everyone can play. With the holidays fast approaching, The Jackbox Party Pack needs to be on your Xbox One.
And Friday, we’re delivering a triple threat.
First up is PC hit Thomas was Alone, Mike Bithell’s classic puzzle platformer, arriving on Xbox for the very first time from our pals at Curve Studios. The BAFTA-award-winning game is set inside a mainframe computer, and sees you working to help several emergent Artificial Intelligences – represented by simple geometric shapes, each with their own mechanics – achieve their goals (there’s a deeper plot, but we don’t want to spoil anything). Narrated by Danny Wallace, it’s an indie classic that we’re proud to have on Xbox One.
Piers Solar and the Great Architects from WaterMelon started life as a Sega Genesis homebrew project, and grew from there. It’s a classic throwback to the Japanese role-playing games of the 16-bit era, and a true love letter to the genre. With a dedicated retro aesthetic that befits its homebrew roots, Piers Solar really takes you back in time.
Last but not least is Pinball Arcade from Farsight Studios. Featuring faithful recreations of classic real-life pinball tables, the game features a free download of the core pinball emulator, and the option to purchase classic tables such as “Medieval Madness” (arguably the greatest table of all time!), “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” and “Twilight Zone.” More than 25 table will be available at launch, with many more to come in the future.
Wow! A week like this really helps to illustrate the breadth of games that independent teams continue to bring to Xbox One. So grab your favorite beverage (we lean toward iced coffee), pick your favorite genre, and get ready for an awesome week of gaming.