Crossposted from the Play-This-Indie-Thread:
I just tried the new game from Sokpop, called helionaut, and I think it’s pretty remarkable.
If you haven’t heard of Sokpop, they’re a Dutch “video game collective” that has a unique development model: They release a new game every two weeks. They’re all sold for $3 each on itch.io (and I think now all or most are on Steam?), but you can also subscribe to them on Patreon for $3 a month–thereby getting them all half price.
As you can imagine, the games are often pretty light and lack the amenities of more fleshed out projects such as tutorials and slick UI and tons of content. But they’re almost always creative and interesting for at least half an hour, and a few are true gems.
Anyway, helionaut is definitely in the latter category, and much more involved than many of their offerings. It’s an explore-the-galaxy game–kind of a slap-dash No Man’s Sky–where you fly your ship to other planets to get resources that let you build tools and upgrade your ship. I’m not sure how deep it goes yet, but it’s obviously goes deeper than you’d expect for a game made in mere weeks. I kept being surprised at the breadth of interaction that opened up to me, and the evident (if at first mysterious) set of gameplay systems for tracking down ship parts scattered across the galaxy. There’s even an intro cinematic, which I can’t remember any Sokpop game having.
The Sokpop “house style” can take some getting used to and I’m sure is not going to be beloved by all. But don’t be fooled by the 3D pixellated sketchiness into thinking this is amateur game dev night. I predict that with their quick-churn model, Sokpop is going to hit upon more than a couple quirky masterpieces in the future. And maybe helionaut is the seed of one of them!