February’s Indie Selects: Amazing and Delightful Indie Games Chosen by the ID@Xbox Team

Indie Selects February Hero

Last month, we announced the Indie Selects program, through which the ID@Xbox team highlights recent indie faves with our weekly “Featured Indies,” along with great older titles showcased via rotating themes.

The program culminates in our monthly “Indie Selects,” where we choose six games from the month’s featured indies to be the team’s picks for the month. We don’t like to say “best,” as there are undoubtedly going to be some amazing games that don’t end up getting chosen, but these are the ones that the whole team has voted on and that come out on top. With Indie Selects, we want to shine a spotlight on games you might not otherwise see – and you’ll get an incredible selection of new, revolutionary, or just downright strange games to play every month.

The criteria is relatively simple: we look at games we consider to be Indies that have recently launched on Xbox, and the whole team votes. The top six vote-winners are our Indie Selects for the month. (Note that we are not including Game Pass games in this program, as they get tons of exposure through the Game Pass channels).

With that explained, I’m incredibly excited to announce the Indie Selects for February, which include everything from a spirited lil gator, to an incredibly deep puzzle game, to a wizard whose chosen weapon is a firearm. These are all games that the team feels confident you’re going to love. Here they are, in our own words (and in no particular order):

Lil Guardsman

Lil Guardsman Art

Timbre says: The delightfully quirky Lil Guardsman had me equal parts giggling like a maniac and critically thinking about my choices. Playing as a 12 year old who’s taken over her dad’s shift at the guard house, you need to use your deduction and puzzle solving skills to decide the fates of elves, goblins and other fantasy creatures – and your choices determine the outcome for the whole Kingdom.  After getting killed by a singing princess and inadvertently inviting capitalism into the city, let’s just say I had a lot to consider. What I know for sure is I highly recommend this wonderful, funny and literal gatekeeping game.

Xbox Live

Lil' Guardsman

Versus Evil, LLC

16
$19.99
In this deduction adventure, you play as Lil – an unlikely 12-year-old hero – covering your dad's shift at the guard shed and are tasked with deciding the fate of over 100 unique characters. You will question humans, elves, goblins, cyclopses, and other fantasy creatures using your powers of deduction to determine who to admit or deny based on how they respond to your questions and your trusty tools. Sending visitors to jail, inadvertently zapping them to smithereens, or letting them go on their merry way are all part of the job. But be careful: who you let through the castle gates will determine the kingdom's fate. FEATURES: • Fantasy/Comedy Narrative: See the Sprawl and its fantastical & quirky citizens through a royal wedding to one of two kingdoms vying for an alliance, and a subsequent siege by whoever you've angered in the process. Your decisions can determine the fate of the city and its people! • Interrogation Puzzles: Interrogate 100+ fully voiced characters in just the right way to earn a perfect score. Tools of the trade: Spend your hard earned gold wisely on powering up your guardsman toolkit, and strategically deploy these to admit or deny the right people or…goblins? • Rewind Time: Use your trusty Chronometer3000 to go back and get a higher score… but be careful not to break space and time in the process.

Lil Gator Game

Lil Gator Game Art

Glenn says: From the moment you first meet Lil Gator, this cozy, narrative-based exploration adventure game oozes with charm. It feels playful and simple at first, as you complete tasks to draw your distracted older sister into the amazing game you’re creating, but beneath the surface there’s an incredible amount of heart to uncover. This would be a great game for kids, but you definitely don’t have to be a kid to fall in love with it.

Xbox Live
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Lil Gator Game

Playtonic Friends

221
$19.99 $15.99
PC Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass
The island is your playground There’s a buddy atop every hill in this open-world, movement-focused adventure and they all seem to need help! Bop cardboard baddies, brave serene hills and forests, and scale sheer rocks that only a kid would dare! Joyful Exploration Explore a lovingly crafted island full to the brim with areas to discover, friends to make and joy to be had. Each area of the island brings unique quests and characters to meet. Glide through the mountain tops and drop in on the Theatre Troupe kids, swing your stick sword through the forest with the Prep schoolers or find the ‘Cool Kids’ down in the Creaklands. With plenty more areas to discover, there's no knowing who you might run into! Make Friends The world is big when you’re a lil gator… Good thing it’s also full of friends! Make new friends and invite them to play in the islands playground. Each new friend you make will add to your adventure, but making new friends isn’t always easy, You might have to complete a quest or two! Crafty Customization Collect arts & crafts supplies all over the island! Use them to make yourself all kinds of goodies and bring the playground to life! Craft new abilities – use your ragdoll teddy to ragdoll lil Gator from mountain top to the valleys below! Skim pebbles into hard-to-reach cardboard baddies! Bop Baddies A no-pressure adventure game! Lil Gator game focuses on adventure and play, don't let a health bar hold you back from reaching your goal!

Laika: Aged Through Blood

Deron says: After dying… a lot, I found an experience that’s hard to put down. Laika: Aged Through Blood is an innovative twist on the metroidvania genre that’s bound to draw you in. Who would’ve known that combining shooting and motorbike riding in a 2D plane would work so well! On top of that, the immersive storytelling elevates the game to a whole new level. Coyote made me cry. 10/10.

Xbox Live

Laika: Aged Through Blood

Headup Publishing

22
$19.99
Laika: Aged Through Blood is a western-inspired motorvania set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It is the story about a tribe oppressed by occupant forces, and the personal story of a mother coyote warrior who descends on an endless path of vengeance to take back what her people lost. Drive, jump and fight your way through the huge hand-drawn world on your trustworthy motorbike. Race through the wasteland and perform dangerous jumps, shoot enemies in slowmo and reload your gun by performing a backflip! Use skill-based power-ups and persist challenging battles against big bosses! FEATURES – Vehicular combat on a fast and agile motorbike. – A beautiful, hand-painted and post-apocalyptic world. – A deep story about a mother-daughter relationship, vengeance and loss. – A varied world, epic boss battles and loads of missions. – The very first MOTORVANIA!

El Paso, Elsewhere

James says: El Paso, Elsewhere is described as a “third-person love letter to classic shooters,” but it’s much more than that, adding in slow-mo gunplay, the stylistic elements of classic Film Noir, and a heavy dose of the supernatural. You tell yourself that slaying vampires and werewolves in slow-mo is not the key to happiness. Then you play El Paso, Elsewhere, and now your every thought is a beautiful neo-noir internal monologue. In the words of James Savage “Here’s to believing.”

Xbox Live

El Paso, Elsewhere

Strange Scaffold

86
$19.99
El Paso, Elsewhere is a supernatural neo-noir third-person shooter. Hunt werewolves, fallen angels, and other damned creatures in a vivid slow motion love letter to action classics. Fight your way through a reality-shifting motel, floor by bloody floor. Save the victims of Draculae, lord of the vampires. Destroy the villain you loved–even if it means dying yourself. Somewhere in El Paso, Texas, a three-story motel gained another 46 stories… all below ground. So, yeah. This is going to get loud.

Wizard With a Gun

Tao says: You’ve got five minutes before the apocalypse. That’s it. Sounds stressful, right? But don’t worry. You’re a wizard. And you have a gun! Cool. The fun premise plays out as a roguelite with deep crafting mechanics that lets you evolve your gun in all kinds of magical ways, making each run to gather upgrade materials increasingly rewarding. And the best part? You can do it all with a friend in co-op.

Xbox Live

Wizard with a Gun

Devolver Digital

109
$24.99
Free Trial
*** Bounty of Guns Update *** New enemies invade the Shatter! Hunt down and dispatch these scoundrels with an expanded arsenal in Bounty of Guns, a free content expansion for Wizard with a Gun. As you scour through the increasingly dangerous Shatter, pick up lucrative Bounties to earn special rewards. But beware, they come with increasingly difficult challenges. Your new foes move faster, hit harder, and possess special attacks. Defeat them to fulfill the Bounties, then claim your reward from the Bounty Mechana and unlock extraordinary new weapons. An expanded arsenal of weapons awaits you in Bounty of Guns, with more than 50 new guns, including new weapon types such as a minigun, mortar, and a two-handed SMG, each with unique properties, powders, and uses. Store your newly acquired arms and show them off on Gun Mounts, a new piece of furniture for your Tower. The Bounty of Guns update also introduces four new mini-bosses, each unique to their own biome, while Ambush Events randomly trigger as you explore the Overworld. Good luck, gunslingers. You'll need it. *** Wizard with a Gun is an online sandbox survival game for 1 – 2 players set in a magical wilderness wrought with dangerous creatures and arcane mysteries. Embark on a journey alone or with a friend to collect, craft, and outfit your wizard however you see fit as you explore the unknown. Carefully design weapons, bullets, and furnishings for your tower home but try not to burn it all down as the magic you wield escalates beyond your control… Magical Weapon Customization Collect resources from the world and craft unique enchanted ammunition for your arsenal of guns. Combine elements for intended or suprising effects that alter the shot, blast radius, bullet trail, and even the status of the creature in your crosshairs. Customized Whimsical Wizards Create a dazzling wardrobe for your magic wielder from robes and hats to armor and accessories – functional and fashionable in a way that's sure to impress. Randomly Generated Biomes Explore and uncover new sections of the world filled with deserts, swamps, tundra, and prairies – all loosely floating together through space and time after the world was fractured. Unleash cosmic power from the safety of your tower to reset the world and emerge once again to find a new layout to once familiar lands. Cooperative Adventuring Survive alone or with a wizard friend in online cooperative play to combine resources, magic, and creativity in your tower building. Or just watch it all burn down together – the choice is yours. Systemic Gameplay Experiment with new spell combinations and find out how they affect enemies and the world around you the hard way. Creative arrangements can lead to powerful creations that overwhelm your foes while untethered amalgamations can be a recipe for disaster!

The Talos Principle II

Glenn says: The first Talos Principle really sucked me in with its deep, evolving puzzle system some ten years ago, so I was delighted when I learned a sequel was forthcoming. And I was not disappointed! The Talos Principle II takes the “puzzle on top of a puzzle on top of a puzzle” mechanism of the first game to an entirely new level. The challenge of creating any great puzzle game is making the player feel smart and accomplished when they solve things, without making them feel frustrated for very long, and the Talos Principle II is masterful at finding that balance.

Xbox Live

The Talos Principle 2

Devolver Digital

79
$29.99
Free Trial
The Talos Principle 2 is a thought-provoking first-person puzzle experience that greatly expands on the first game's philosophical themes and stunning environments with increasingly mind-bending challenges. Born into a new world where biological humanity is extinct but human culture lives on in a city of robots, you find yourself swept up in a mind-bending adventure involving a mysterious megastructure hiding enormous powers. The more you discover, the more you will be confronted with questions about the nature of the cosmos and the purpose of civilization. The broken promise of a better tomorrow, the fear of repeating humankind’s mistakes, faith in reason or renouncing humanity altogether – the choices you make and the sides you take will determine the course of events. A New Generation of Puzzles Solve a wide array of puzzles with varying difficulty levels, including clever metapuzzles and highly challenging Gold puzzles. Finish the game without solving every puzzle, or pursue the rewards of complete mastery. A variety of new abilities, such as gravity manipulation and mind transference, join the established mechanics of the original Talos Principle, creating a fresh but familiar experience. A Philosophical Odyssey Take the next step forward in the story of The Talos Principle in a thought-provoking, character-driven interactive story with multiple endings penned by returning writers Jonas Kyratzes (The Eternal Cylinder, Clash: Artifacts of Chaos) and Tom Jubert (The Swapper, Subnautica), joined by Verena Kyratzes (The Hand of Merlin, Serious Sam 4). Brave New World Explore more than a dozen all-new environments, from a city on the brink of a paradigm shift to the varied landscapes of a mysterious island that holds the keys to the future. Take a break from puzzle-solving to discover long-buried secrets and strands of forgotten history. The Melodies of Creation Immerse yourself in the rich, bittersweet world of The Talos Principle with a stunning soundtrack by master composer Damjan Mravunac (Serious Sam, The Talos Principle), with a guest appearance by Chris Christodoulou (Risk of Rain 1 and 2).