Creating video games takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Any game developer would tell you that. At least, they should. But there“s a difference between working hard with a lot of professionals while big-name publishers dedicate a lot of money into a project and working hard with few to no other people besides yourself while being on an extremely limited budget. These types of games are known as independent games for those very reasons.
But out of all these indie games (not to be confused with Indiana Jones games), which ones actually shine? Which out of all the many low-budget games out there are the ones that are worth playing? Well, in the spirit of Independence Day, I thought we should look into that. Ranging from retro platformers to blocky builders, here is a selection of 10 indie games (in no particular order) that are worth your time.
Super Meat Boy
In an era where games are being dumbed down for children to play without raging uncontrollably like I did back in the day, it“s refreshing to get a game that challenges us like a true retro game. Paying homage to the difficulty of yore, Super Meat Boy takes you through vicious meat-grinding traps that you must complete by jumping through levels with extreme accuracy. This game started out as nothing but a Flash game, but is now readily available across various different platforms to those seeking a challenging platformer.
While we“re on the subject of retro indie games, Cave Story is about as retro as they come. With a style directly influenced by classic NES games, even going so far as to include a completely (and extremely catchy) 8-bit soundtrack, Cave Story is a fantastic example of a great platformer. And not only is the game very retro, but it is also very indie, created originally by only one man – Daisuke â€œPixelâ€ Amaya. And once the well-deserving game caught widespread gamer attention, it has since been remade in the forms of Cave Story + and Cave Story 3D. So if you“re one for NES-style games, you now have no excuse for not owning this game.
If you“re looking for a creepier, grittier platformer, Limbo is for you. And boy, I mean creepy (seriously, repeatedly running into a giant killer spider is no laughing matter!). Featuring an emotionless, glowy-eyed silhouette with no name, Limbo takes the player through color-rich levels (by which I mean white, grey, and black) of platforming and puzzles as he tries to get to his sister in the horrors of Purgatory. It“s a beautifully-made indie game, and if you have the opportunity, this game is worth a playthrough.
-Number None, Inc.-
Here“s a platformer that uses a rather unique element – time manipulation. In Braid, the hero must travel through several levels to save a princess. But rather than travelling through pipes, you must travel through time. Forwards, backwards, side-to-side; you“ll find yourself doing all sorts of crazy things in order to solve the platforming puzzles each level has to offer. It“s also a visually-striking game with a brilliant soundtrack to boot, so there“s absolutely no reason you shouldn“t try this game out.
Here“s a little puzzle/platformer that has given us something we all have been asking for: a game about a magical fez hat. The game has you playing as a little guy living happily in a 2D plane of existence until a strange artifact grants him his awesome fez, which allows him to see the world in the third-dimension. Players are given the ability to rotate the world as they solve puzzles and clear levels on their way to help the protagonist save the fez-granting artifact before his own world gets ripped apart. It“s fun, like all these other games, and like all these other ones, you should play it. Besides, fezzes are cool (Doctor Who reference right there).
World of Goo
Have you ever wondered the possibilities goo could bring to the world of gaming? 2D Boy certainly has, which is why they decided to create a game all about it. World of Goo is a curious little puzzle game that gives players several different species of goo scattered across various different worlds, and you must use each goo“s specific abilities to solve the puzzles to pass each level. It“s a unique concept that is also insanely fun once you do the smart thing and play it. By the way, that was your cue. Play it!
Bastion is an interesting indie game that does things most other games do not. One of these things is the dynamic voiceover the game has as the narrator tells the story of "the Kid," who sets off to collect special shards of rock needed to power a place called the Bastion after the apocalypse struck. It's an action RPG that takes you through fantastic-looking worlds while the narrator tells the player every little thing the Kid does. Sure, it could get annoying at times, but it's a cool little feature that makes the game unique. All in all, Bastion is a great indie game that's more than worth a look.
This game“s a recent one, but it“s already proven itself to be awesome. In a fighting game, you“re normally given a roster that“s at least 80% male, but Skullgirls tries a new approach by making its roster 100% female (hence the â€œgirlsâ€ part). Each kick-ass chick in this indie fighter has their own unique abilities that give you plenty of variety to decide which character is best for you. Just about anyone can pick up and play this game, but if you“d like to become a pro, there are several tutorials that cover concepts that“ll not only help you dominate Skullgirls, but just about any fighting game out there. So if you“re looking to become a great virtual fighter or just looking to participate in cartoony cat fights, get this game.
Here“s another game that“s pretty recent, but its developer certainly isn“t new. Known for such games as flOw and Flower, thatgamecompany“s newest game, Journey, is quite possibly their finest. Featuring a character in robes, your objective is to â€œjourneyâ€ through the vast desert to reach a mountain in the distance. You can journey through Journey alone or with online players, but the experience will always be deep and captivating in its own right. So if you“re into games that put you in a virtual nirvana like flOw and Flower, Journey is the game to play.
Minecraftâ€¦ Oh, Minecraftâ€¦ As far as indie games go, this one if probably one of the most popular. At first glance, this blocky builder seems simple and strange, but once you start playing it, you realize just how deep and addicting it can actually be. And any one of the bajillion Minecraft addicts out there can vouch for that. And the main reason it“s so addicting? Well, the game doesn“t actually end. It“s a sandbox game that allows you to create, destroy, and rebuild the world any way you please. That“s about the gist of it, but it“s all the reason gamers need to never stop playing. So maybe you should give it a go too, if you haven“t played it already. I warn you though; you may become infected by the addiction virus yourselfâ€¦