E3 2018 is finally here and developers from all around the globe have converged on Los Angeles to show off what they’ve been working on. From massive triple-A publishers to the smallest of development teams, games of all shapes and sizes are at the show. While those big-name games may garner the most excitement on press conference stages and the showfloor, it’s unwise to overlook the perpetually strong stable of independent games on show at E3.

Here are the best and most promising independent games the Game Informer staff saw at E3 2018.

Ashen
Platform: Xbox One, PC
Developer: Aurora44
Release: 2018

Ashen is a stamina-driven action-RPG that borrows liberally from Dark Souls but does so with flourish. The unique, painted aesthetic also makes this game, where you must build relationships with other players or NPCs to survive as you navigate a mysterious world, stand apart. Though the combat didn’t set our hearts on fire, the idea of forging relationships with other individuals stranded in this desolate (but beautiful) setting is intriguing enough to  make Ashen one to watch in the months to come.    – Javy Gwaltney

Children of Morta
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Dead Mage Inc
Release: 2018

Children of Morta takes a solid roguelite foundation and layers on just enough cool features to separate it from the increasingly crowded pack. As you traverse one of three procedurally generated dungeons (or one of a handful of “mini-dungeons”), you receive souls you can use to open chests, which drop healing items, gold you can spend on upgrades, and more. Combat relies on deftly managing a stamina gauge, and each character class has a number of abilities and permanent upgrade trees at their disposal to make combat more interesting. Between runs, you manage of your family’s side hustles, granting you access to better potions, permanently strengthening each class, and more. Add co-op on top and you have the makings of a great dungeon-crawling time. – Suriel Vazquez

Super Meat Boy Forever
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch PC, Linux, iOS, Android
Developer: Team Meat
Release: 2018

Team Meat have done an admirable job of translating the fast-paced, trial-and-error gameplay of Super Meat Boy into an auto-runner. While the levels we played don’t require the deft maneuvering airtime finagling of the original game (not yet, anyway), you have most of Meat Boy’s classic tools at your disposal, and then some. Along with the standard wall jumping (and sliding), you can now duck or dive downward, sliding under low-hanging saws or altering your jumping arc on the fly. You can also punch while airborne, knocking enemies (which now block your path) out of the way. The levels we played were short and likely not the meanest the final game will offer, but the new options should be able to offer the controller-throwing challenge we’ve come to expect from the masters of masocore. – Suriel Vazquez

Tunic
Platform: Xbox One, PC
Developer: Andrew Shouldice
Release: 2018

A cute Zelda-like with a fox as protagonist, Tunic is a fun time for anyone who likes slashing ghosts, breaking pots, and exploring cute environments. We enjoyed our brief stint with this colorful adventure and hope to play more soon. – Javy Gwaltney

Outer Wilds
Platform: Xbox One, PC
Developer: Mobius Digital
Release: 2018

A pleasing cross between intricate space exploration simulator and sci-fi fantasy, Outer Wilds impressed us with its beautiful visuals, acoustic soundtrack, and as well as the sheer joy of bouncing across the surface of moons. As a recruit of the Outer Wilds initiative, your job is to explore space and see what mysteries await in the solar systems. During our time with the demo, we flew into the heart of the sun, sent a satellite scuttling across space to take pictures of asteroids, and hung out with some rad looking aliens. We can’t wait to see what other adventures await us out there in the unknown. – Javy Gwaltney

Wargroove
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Developer: Chucklefish
Release: 2018

A tactical strategy game reminiscent of both Advance Wars and Fire Emblem, Wargroove is both fun as a 15 minute battle session and as a slow burn of a chess match, with you moving across lovely pixelated maps to battle opposing armies. Cute and challenging in equal measure, Wargroove is one to look out for if strategy games are your jam.  – Javy Gwaltney

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