In Headlander, players take on the role of a disembodied...

In Headlander, players take on the role of a disembodied head encased in a high-tech helmet. Credit: Double Fine Productions

A decade ago, summer was a dead zone for video games. Publishers ignored the season while preparing to launch their big-budget fall releases.

But that’s changed. Now indie developers are capitalizing on the quiet period to spotlight their work. Here are three recent indie releases you should check out.


RATED T for Teen

DETAILS PlayStation 4, PC; $19.99

In this sci-fi game, players take on the role of a disembodied head encased in a high-tech helmet. Humans have uploaded their awareness and intellect to the cloud, and downloaded robot bodies.

Everything is hunky-dory until Methuselah, the artificial intelligence that powers the system’s space station, goes berserk.

Players step into the role of the last flesh-and-blood human, who must bring Methuselah under control.

Thankfully, being a disembodied head enables a player to access ventilation ducts and take over headless robots. As they open up new areas and venture deeper into the station, players feel a sense of accomplishment. Pervading the single-player adventure are a 1970s sci-fi vibe and quirky humor.

Road to Ballhalla


DETAILS PC; $14.99

Imagine “Marble Madness” but with a snarky, sadistic twist, and you get a feel for this puzzle game.

The premise is simple: Players control a ball that they must roll from point A to point B. Predictably, easier said than done as they encounter laser traps, obstacles and invisible paths.

Through each game stage, players are tempted with paths on which the ball will be destroyed. Once in a while, a hint on how to negotiate a puzzle proves useful, but most of the time players will feel as if the creative team is taunting them. It’s all challenge yet thoroughly enjoyable.

Strike Vector EX

RATED M for Mature

DETAILS PlayStation 4; $14.99

In this game that’s part Air Combat and part Virtua On, players pilot agile ships that can switch from high-speed flight to hovering attack mode with the press of a button. Adjusting to the unique control system may take a while.

The pace is fast as players switch from dogfights to mech combat and anything in between. They can get their feet wet with a campaign that teaches the basics of piloting ships, but the meat of Strike Vector EX is found in multiplayer mode.

Though more mech-to-mech combat refinement would be nice, the game pretty much nails what it’s like to pilot a flying robot.

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