This year, the Final Boss team hit up EGX: Rezzed for two days of indie-gaming gold. We roamed the floors, spoke to developers and got hands-on with countless indie games for one purpose and one purpose only:

To find the must play indie games of 2018.

Most casual fans of gaming will only ever play the triple-A titles like Halo, Call of Duty, Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed, and at Final Boss we think that’s a real shame. Independent developers have a huge amount to offer not only in the way of unique takes on mechanics and genre, but also fun gaming experiences in general.

So, let’s not waste anymore time. Here are at the best indie games of 2018 that we found while wondering the floors of EGX. Games everyone should try.

Windlands 2

The follow up to virtual reality game Windlands, Windlands 2 really stood out for all of us at EGX.

Think Spider-man VR, with bows and arrows, robot monsters, rich cartoonish graphics, and you’ll start to imagine what this game is all about. Swinging from scenery as you make your way towards objectives, this immersive VR experience is beautifully designed and leagues ahead of many major virtual reality titles.

A definite must play indie game of 2018, Windlands 2 comes complete with a uniquely designed control system and hits Oculus Rift, HTC Vive & Sony PlayStation®4 VR later this year.

Clusterpuck 99

Clusterpuck was a game we stumbled upon quite by accident. We had no idea of what it was, we simply saw an empty table and the chance to play a multiplayer title. It turned out to be one of the best experiences we had all weekend.

Clusterpuck 99 pits you against friends, AI or both, in a battle-royal of goal scoring insanity. You play as small pucks, pinging around a variety of maps, trying to score goals by passing, pushing and shooting an even smaller puck into your opponent’s goal.

The game is filled with obstacles from drops to spikes that pop your puck. It’s simple but fantastic fun. Available on the Switch, Xbox One, Steam and more, you’ve simply got to get some friends over and try this one.

Knights and Bikes

Knights and Bikes is exactly the kind of title you think of when you say ‘indie game’ for all the right reasons.

An artistic and creative take on the side-scrolling genre, Knights and Bikes follows the tale of two young girls as they explore a down-trodden British island ruined by economic boom-and-bust.

Featuring imaginative yet intuitive gameplay mechanics, a unique art style (from artist Rex Crowe, the genius behind Tearaway Unfolded) that captures the world brilliantly, and a narrative consumed with childlike wonder and inspiration, this indie title is definitely out there, but also hugely accessible to the wider gaming audience. What will really grab you, though, is the local/online co-op modes and the ‘LittleBigPlanet’ vibe you get from the problem-solving elements of the game.

Knights and Bikes has no scheduled release date, although developers Foam Sword Games, hope to see it released by the end of the year. A definite must play indie game of 2018, when you can finally get your hands on it!

Brawlout

Brawlout isn’t a title with a lot of depth, but it doesn’t need to be. Sometimes you just want a straight-forward experience that brings fun and laughs in equal measure. That is exactly what Brawlout delivers on.

This Super Smash Bros inspired title pits you against up to three other opponents, AI or other players, in a 2D deathmatch full of insane moves, manic jumping and constant button-bashing.

For those without a Switch, Brawlout is the perfect way to get your Smash Bros fix. It offers similar core mechanics and style, just with an indie take. Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch, any gamer who isn’t still stuck on the Gameboy Advance can grab this title and go to town on it.

Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn

1994’s side-scrolling fighter Shaq Fu may be a cult classic, but at the time it was not received well. While Shaq is an icon of pop-culture, the game certainly was not. Yet, this didn’t stop Wired Productions acquiring the rights to a new game and getting to work on it.

A risky move? Definitely.

Has it paid off? 100%.

Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn is a fantastically retro fighting game that brings in inspiration from all over the genre while utilising Shaq’s unique brand to bring in some dynamic and brilliantly creative gameplay elements. From attacks generated by the raw power of Shaq’s size 22s to the voice of the legend himself, Reborn has revitalised the Shaq Fu world and turned it from one of the worst games of all time to a must play Indie game of 2018.

Releasing this year, you don’t have long to wait until you can smash demons and take names as the one-of-a-kind Shaquille O’Neal.

MOTHERGUNSHIP

Welcome to an absolutely insane world. A world where you must fight legions of robots hellbent on destruction. MOTHERGUNSHIP does not look like an indie title, it’s too sleek and graphically advanced for that, but it is most definitely independently made. Fight endless waves of enemies in this mashup of modern-day DOOM and God knows what else.

What really makes MOTHERGUNSHIP stand out though, is not its design or inspiration, but its unique crafting mechanics. The game is all about making the most insane weapons possible. Take a pistol and throw on buzzsaws, rocket launchers, cannons, mini-guns, you name it.

MOTHERGUNSHIP lets you be the weapon designer, which can go very well or very badly. We accidentally fitted too many rockets to our gun and found every time we fired it, we were propelled about 50 foot backwards.

It’s fun; it’s hilarious, it’s manic, it releases this year. One of the best indie games of 2018, first-person shooter fans would be foolish not to give this one a go.

Dead End Job

Dead End Job is one of those wacky, bizarre titles you’ll only ever find indie developers working on. What a dull place the gaming world would be without them.

Dead End Job sees you attempt to take down ghostly office workers as you free staff members captured by these ghoulish fiends. Level up as you go, earning perks and bonuses, exploring new maps and taking on demonic bosses — such as Microsoft Word’s paperclip tool.

What really stands out about Dead End Job is their plans for live streaming gameplay. As you progress through levels, you are awarded power-ups that change the game’s mechanics. Developers Ant Workshop intends to include ways for viewers to vote on power-ups, either giving streamers bonuses or making things much harder. It’s an innovative take on the platform and one we look forward to seeing.

Dead End Job is slated for release this year, which means you won’t have to wait long to try this one out yourselves.

HyperBrawl

HyperBrawl is a 2v2 experience that brings together competitive sports gaming, NFL and beat-em-up combat.

The premise is inherently simple but endlessly fun. You and a team member take on two other players as you fight through rounds to score goals across a pitch full of obstacles. You grab the ball and throw it to each other until you reach their ‘net’.  

Obviously, it’s not that simple though.

The opposing team, unhindered by holding the ball can chase you down, jumping, kicking, smashing and swinging weapons. You’ve got to play tactically, you’ve got to use the space available and you’ve got to be prepared to get battered.

Scheduled for release later this year, HyperBrawl is one of the top indie games of 2018 and something sports gamers and fighting fans alike should keep an eye out for.

The Hatching

We played some great games at EGX: Rezzed, but The Hatching was one of our favourites.

Why?

It’s simple yet addictive as hell. The gameplay revolves around an alligator on the loose on the English countryside. A crazy big alligator that tears apart towns-folk to regain health and earn points. You have to use strategy, cunning and quick thinking to stay alive as people turn against you in this stealthy, hack-and-slash indie title.

The gameplay combined with the style of this title really made it stand out for us, making it a must play indie game of 2018. While there is no release date confirmed, The Hatching was looking very polished when we played it, so we expect to see it soon.

Looking for more indie gaming content? Keep an eye on Final Boss. We’ll have more EGX: Rezzed coverage soon.

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