Top 5 indie games you need to see from E3 2021

Posted on June 20, 2021

A bombardment of E3 news from major, blockbuster franchises and publishers has got everyone excited. Arguably though, the real surprises of this year’s conference were the astounding quality and quantity of indie game announcements.

Enough of that mainstream, big-budget stuff. Give us the cute, humble, and meaningful experiences that don’t often get the attention they deserve. There’s no secret we love our indie games at Checkpoint Gaming. Here are our favourite indie games from E3 2021.

Planet of Lana

Release Date: 2022
Platform: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Genre: Adventure platformer
Developer: Wishfully
Publisher: Thunderful Publishing

“A young girl and her loyal friend embark on a rescue mission through a colourful world full of cold machines and unfamiliar creatures. Planet of Lana is a cinematic puzzle adventure framed by an epic sci-fi saga that stretches across centuries and galaxies.”

One indie game that staggered me with its beauty at this year’s E3 was Planet of Lana. This hand-painted game looks like a piece of art in motion and the captivating world being pictured has undeniably piqued my interest. The trailer shows off a young girl and an adorable little creature who seem to be companions. The gorgeous yet scary world being depicted is at war, but the tale being told is much more innocent, natural and beautiful. To say I’m intrigued is an understatement and I can’t wait to see more from Planet of Lana.  Elliot Attard

We Are OFK

Release Date: 2021
Platform: PC
Genre: Interactive narrative
Developer: Team OFK
Publisher: Team OFK

“From indie-pop band OFK, We Are OFK is the story of how four friends came together to release their debut music without throwing their phones at walls in frustration. A making-of-the-band series & Interactive EP about dreaming, dating, and paying rent in Los Angeles.”

For me, it’s gotta be We Are OFK. I’m really into the vibe of this game. It feels very true to the experience of being young, queer, and trying to get anyone to take notice of your art. The way it incorporates the music video into the trailer is amazing! I feel like this game is something I’ll love because of the emphasis on social media and texting. As a young LGBT+ person, so many of my relationships are maintained online, even before COVID-19 hit, so I look forward to seeing how this indie game explores that. – Alex Beaty

Book of Travels

Release Date: 9 August 2021 (Early Access)
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux
Genre: Multiplayer RPG
Developer: Might and Delight
Publisher: Might and Delight

“Ready your pack, grab your walking stick and step into a world of mystery and legend. Craft a unique character and immerse yourself in the enchanted lands of Braided Shore. Set your own goals and adventure alone or together with Travellers you meet on the road in this serene Tiny Multiplayer Online RPG (TMORPG).”

This “TMORPG” feels like the wistful fairy tale antithesis to queuing for dungeons and grinding raid bosses. More like a pen-and-paper RPG adventure than an MMO, Book of Travels has an absolutely stunning storybook art style and looks as though it will allow for tonnes of player freedom. The trailer gives me vibes of wholesome tabletop games like Wanderhome or Root, and I love the idea of a character builder based more on personality than stats (which worked so incredibly well for Disco Elysium). I can’t wait to get stuck into this when it hits Early Access in August 2021! – David McNamara


Release Date: 2022
Platform: PC, Xbox One Xbox X|S
Genre: 2.5D action platformer
Developer: Sad Cat Studios
Publisher: Coatsink

“REPLACED is a 2.5D sci-fi retro-futuristic action platformer where you play as R.E.A.C.H. – an artificial intelligence trapped in a human body against its own will. REPLACED combines cinematic platforming, pixel art and free-flow action combat set in an alternative 1980s.”

Set in an alternative 80s America, Replaced mixes sci-fi retro-futurism with Cyberpunk and dystopian themes. This action/adventure platformer sees you play as a R.E.A.C.H. – an AI trapped in a human’s body trying to survive in a dystopian world. Seriously, the trailer is so intense and action-packed you’ll have to watch it a couple of times to take it all in! It looks gorgeous with its pixel art, and its fluid free-flow combat style looks like a lot of gun-wielding fun! I am so here for this wild, wild ride. Lisa Pollifroni

Atomic Heart

Release Date: TBA
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Genre: Horror shooter RPG
Developer: Mundfish
Publisher: Mundfish

Atomic Heart is an Open World Action/RPG, events of which unfolds in an alternate universe during the high noon of the Soviet Union. You are P-3, a special KGB agent, who is investigating the catastrophic event at Facility №3826.”

All I can say about this indie game is “WOW”. Atomic Heart looks like an immersive sim along the lines of Bioshock or Dishonored, all by a small indie development team. I’m a sucker for horror sci-fi and these sorts of narrative-driven shooters. The game visually is so impressive and can easily be mistaken for a game with a large budget… although, rumours about who is actually behind this game are still circulating and its confusing development timeframe is concerning. Either way, I’m optimistic for another thrilling FPS to play. – Omi Koulas