Recently, I started to list of the best indie games of the past few years. Since independent games have become extremely popular and since there are so many of them, I decided to work on a few lists that compile some of the best indie games out there. Of course, this is no easy task, so if some of your favorite indie games aren’t here, they will probably be included in future lists. By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to check out Part I, here’s a link to the article.
Limbo is a brutal platformer unlike any other. Not because it’s punishing, but because you’ll be so attached to the main character, that when the child perishes, you can’t help but feeling really, really sad. And every aspect (such as the minimalist visuals, the haunting setting and the simple puzzles) contributes to that sense of dread.
To the Moon
To the Moon sets out to do one thing and does it remarkably well: tell a heart wrenching story. The way in which that story is told is simple enough, after all, this game was created using RPG Maker, but that doesn’t make it less effective. Collecting mementos, exploring past events and getting to know all the characters is a hypnotic experience that will stay with you for years to come.
On the surface, Bastion seems like an entertaining, yet traditional dungeon crawler. But as you keep playing, you start discovering other aspects, such as the engaging combat, meticulously constructed world, unique visual style and the dynamic voice acting that reacts according to your actions. Bastion is fun, pretty to look at, immersive and memorable. And if you like indie games, you shouldn’t miss it for the world.
Thirty Flights of Loving
Thirty Flights of Loving manages to convey a gripping story in 15 minutes and that’s an achievement in itself. During the past few decade or so, video games in general started focusing on narrative and just when it seemed the medium was stuck, Thirty Flights of Loving comes along and makes something new and fresh.
In Proteus, there are no combos to pull off, no mechanics to learn, no enemies to fight and no HUDs to pay attention to. The game’s all about exploring a colorful island, its structures, vegetation and different seasons. Sounds simple enough and that’s because it is.
Kentucky Route Zero
Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t describe most of the events that take place during Kentucky Route Zero, but that’s fine. After all, this isn’t a game you explain or try to understand. This is a game you’re exposed to and the best thing you can do is embrace that and go along for the ride. But don’t get me wrong, there’s a story and I’m pretty sure when this episodic adventure is available in its entirety there will be multiple essays analyzing its unconventional narrative. But while all those people are doing that, I’ll be happy to have played such a unique and bizarre indie game.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Although I’m a huge fan of horror films, I don’t enjoy playing horror games that much. Maybe because games highlight the genre’s simplicity, since most horror games rely heavily on jump scares and other cheap tactics. Don’t get me wrong, Amnesia has that, but it does that in such a tasteful and remarkably interesting way that I couldn’t resist it.
Skulls of the Shogun
Skulls of the Shogun took one of the slowest genres and made it fast, really fast. But not only does the indie game make its core concepts fast-paced, Skulls of the Shogun makes the genre feel fresh and new again in a way that didn’t feel possible. The story is ridiculous, the gameplay is entertaining and the game is extremely strategic. What’s not to like?
FTL: Faster than Light
I get frustrated easily and that’s why I don’t enjoy most rogue-likes. At least that’s what I thought before playing Faster than Light. This game is extremely challenging, but the high difficulty feels an integral part of the experience, such as the randomness of the levels and the inclusion of permanent death.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
Superbrothers is a traditional point-and-click adventure, but everything that surrounds that adventure is unique. Its pixelated visuals, unconventional narrative, bizarre characters, Twitter integration and touch-based puzzles make Superbrothers a game that’s not only pretty to look at, but also, fun to play.