This is part of our ongoing series about games and trends of the upcoming next generation.

While bombastic, triple-A titles like Ryse, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and Killzone: Shadow Fall get ready to wage the next great console war, independent games are getting ready to launch their own sneak attack against people’s wallets.

Indie games have gained a lot more press and popularity in recent years thanks to titles like the critically acclaimed Journey or the mega-selling blockbuster Minecraft. They shared space on the show floor at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo with their big-budget brethren, and publishers Microsoft and Sony are actively courting them.

With that in mind, here, in alphabetical order, are 10 indie games confirmed for next-gen consoles worth keeping an eye on.


Below

Below

Platforms: Xbox One
Release Date: TBD

A timed Xbox One exclusive, Below is a top-down adventure game from the co-creators of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Capybara Games, who are once again teaming up with award-winning composer Jim Guthrie. During its E3 reveal, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer called Below a “creative take on roguelike game play,” which means players can expect plenty of challenge, permadeath, and randomly generated levels. Capy itself, however, tells Polygon the game is really about exploration and survival. Below will feature some sort of multiplayer, though how it’ll work remains a mystery.


Contrast

Contrast

Platforms: PlayStation 4 (also on PC, PS 3, Xbox 360)
Release Date: Nov. 15, 2013

A puzzle/platformer developed by Compulsion Games, Contrast tells the tale of a girl named Didi and her imaginary friend, Dawn. The player, as Dawn, navigates a surreal, vaudevillian world of cabaret singers, circus performers, and illusionists by becoming a shadow on the wall. Through a mix of light manipulation, platforming, and puzzle solving in this 3D/2D landscape, players will help Didi uncover the dark secrets of her troubled family and help reunite her parents.


Cosmic Star Heroine

Cosmic Star Heroine

Platforms: PlayStation 4 (also on Mac, PC, PS Vita)
Release Date: 2014

Cosmic Star Heroine is a new turn-based role-playing game from Zeboyd Games, the creator of retro-inspired RPG Cthulhu Saves the World. Featuring a 2D visual style and animated cutscenes reminiscent of 16-bit era titles like Chrono Trigger, Phantasy Star, and Suikoden, Cosmic Star Heroine tells the tale of a galactic government agent who uncovers a dark conspiracy. Zeboyd is promising classic turn-based game play with minimal grinding and the ability to build and maintain your own spy headquarters.


Mercenary Kings

Mercenary Kings

Platforms: PlayStation 4 (also on PC)
Release Date: Q4 2013

The team that created Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is back with an all-new project. Mercenary Kings is a 2D action game that combines platforming with crafting. Players can use loot they collect from fallen enemies to customize any part of their weapons, altering effects to create the pixelated arsenal of their dreams. The game will also have a strong focus on cooperative play; up to four players can play locally via splitscreen.


Nuclear Throne

Nuclear Throne

Platforms: PlayStation 4 (also on PC, PS Vita)
Release Date: TBD (PS4 and Vita)

Formerly known as Wasteland Kings, Nuclear Throne is the latest project from Ridiculous Fishing developer Vlambeer. Described as an action “roguelike-like,” it takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where adorable, yet deadly mutants fight among themselves to reach the aforementioned throne and rule the Wasteland. Right now, the game can be downloaded through Steam Greenlight’s Early Access program and includes four playable worlds, seven playable characters, and a large assortment of weapons and skills. Vlambeer says it is planning even more content for the game’s official launch.


Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Platforms: PlayStation 4 (also on Linux, Mac, PC)
Release Date: 2014

The original Octodad was a free game created by a group of students at DePaul University. Eight of those students went on to form Young Horses, Inc., and they’re now working on a sequel called Octodad: Dadliest Catch. As the game’s tentacled protagonist, the player must help an undercover cephalopod solve a bunch of physics puzzles while keeping his aquatic nature a secret from his human family. Comedic hijinks ensue as he tries to put on a suit, cook, or mow the lawn with charmingly disastrous results.


OddWorld: New 'N' Tasty

OddWorld: New ‘N’ Tasty

Platforms: PlayStation 4 (also on Linux, Mac, PC, PS3, PS Vita, Wii U)
Release Date: Q4 2013, TBA 2014 (PS4)

OddWorld: New ‘N’ Tasty is a remake of the 1997 platformer OddWorld: Abe’s Oddysee. Rather than remastering the PS One classic, developer Just Add Water is rebuilding the game from the ground up using a 3D engine, yet it’s keeping the original’s 2D sidescrolling game play. Although there have been Oddworld games on the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advanced, this is the first time Abe and his friends will be available on a Nintendo console (Wii U) as a downloadable eShop title.


Ray's the Dead

Ray’s the Dead

Platforms: PlayStation 4 (also on Linux, Mac, PC)
Release Date: 2014

As freshly resurrected zombie Ray, players can amass an undead army and terrorize a small 1980s town as they seek answers about Ray’s demise. Why was he killed? Why was he brought back? And what’s with that giant lightbulb on his head? Described as “Pikmin meets Stubbs the Zombie,” Ray’s the Dead combines tactical game play with stealth, puzzle solving, and even some adventure game elements. Plus, its retro soundtrack and cartoony art style are adorable.


Transistor

Transistor

Platforms: PlayStation 4 (also on Linux, Mac, PC)
Release Date: 2014

Bastion developer Supergiant Games’ latest project is an action/strategy hybrid about a voiceless woman named Red and the sentient sword (voiced by Bastion’s Logan Cunningham) she possesses. Together, they fight against the robotic enemies, called The Process, that relentlessly pursue them. Gameplay is a mix of real-time combat and tactical planning. With the press of a button, players can pause the action and issue a series of commands to Red, then watch her carry them out with super speed.


The Witness

The Witness

Platforms: PlayStation 4 (also on iOS, PC)
Release Date: Early 2014

The Witness is the latest project from Jonathan Blow, creator of the critically acclaimed Braid. Older gamers might compare it to Myst; it takes place on an uninhabited, mysterious island where there’s no combat, no people, and no sense of urgency. The player is free to explore the island’s colorful locales at his or her own pace, solving an intricate network of puzzles that Blow says will take up to 25 hours to complete.