Better living through Indie: the most promising ID@Xbox games coming to Xbox One

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Microsoft's ID@Xbox program means that Xbox One isn't only going to host bombastic blockbusters: it's going to have a huge range of smaller, quirkier games, too. Hundreds of developers, from plucky student upstarts to battle-hardened veterans, are working on games in every conceivable genre, including several that we're reasonably sure have never existed before.

Want to get behind the wheel of an out-of-control limousine? No problem. Fancy directing your own version of a Power Rangers TV show? Well why the heck not. Here are just a few of the most promising ID@Xbox titles we've got our eye on. Any of your own to add? Shout them out in the comments below.

So you want to...

Punch a hole through the world with your body
Certain internet forums have taken a fairly robust dislike to Kinect. So when you get NeoGAF, 4Chan and Reddit giving enthusiastic props to a Kinect-powered title with a name like Fru, it's worth paying attention. As it stands, Fru is little more than a prototype, built in 48 hours at the Global Game Jam. But the original idea that fuels the game was enough to get the attention of the ID@Xbox team. Fru has a simple, instinctive, but ultimately strange concept at its core, based around creator Mattia Traverso's idea that "we don't see things as they are - we see things as we feel them".


To prove it, there are two levels on screen at once, and the game uses your Kinect silhouette to punch a hole through the first level, revealing the second. This level has platforms and hazards in different locations - so if you need to reach a platform in the second world, you'd better get a part of your body over there. And if there's something lethal in that world, jump out of the way. It's big and little movements, all working together. Traverso's aware that this silhouette idea won't carry a whole game, though: "That isn't a mechanic, it's a system. But it's a system on top of which we can build many more things. We're going to build a game that proves Kinect is a great tool, and it's up to the developer to use it in a way that makes sense."

So you want to...

Play a co-op Metroidvania
Hyper Light Drifter
We asked Alex Preston, creator of Hyper Light Drifter, whether he could tell us anything about the story of his game. The answer? An admirable 'no'. Preston feels that any information would be a spoiler, and this game's too precious to him to even think about spoiling it. His game was sold to Kickstarter backers not with story, but with otherworldly 8-bit terrains, beautiful chipmusic, and intelligent combat built around huge bosses and pattern observation over button-mashing. Secondary weapons give you bonus options in combat, and also boost your ability to explore the world - in other words, this is a true Metroidvania, in the graphical style of the era that birthed the genre.


Preston also namechecks Diablo as an inspiration. How? "It's in the co-op functions, the mobs of enemies, and the range of large bosses." A friend can drop in at any time, and the enemies will increase in aggression to match your force. "You'll find Diablo in the intense combat and tactics, but not the gear. Your equipment is curated, useful stuff, rather than random drops." Don't expect randomised dungeons, either - "the world is a crafted experience, with backstory told visually in it. Procedural generation wouldn't work well for us."

So you want to...

Run a Power Rangers TV show
Chroma Squad: Indie Sentai Studio
If you don't know your kawai from your gaijin, 'Super Sentai' refers to superheroic crime-fighting teams where the characters assemble into a massive fellowship. It's a rich vein of entertainment history in Japan, that can be lazily summarised as "you know, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Captain Planet, that sort of thing". With Chroma Squad, you get to... well, it's not the action romp you may have been expecting. You're the director of a TV company, trying to make a success of your show. So when your heroes are lined up in that classic pose, don't be surprised if the sound guy's in shot.

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