2013/06/11

[10 Things I Love] Indie Games

I love lists. I love indie games. So here's a list of my ten favourite indie games.
Today Last week I talked to an online acquaintance of mine, who told me he's never played an indie game, becau the majority of them always looked so amateurish to him. A few years ago I probably would have agreed with him, but in the last 3 years I've found myself to have much more fun with indie games than most titles from big publishers.

Commercial indie games have made a big jump in quality and polish in the last few years and nowadays it's hard to see a difference in quality between a $60 big-name game and a less than $20 indie game. And while most of the big-name games are just more of the same old stuff we've already seen dozens of times, most indie games actually do something innovative that really makes them different. And usually also much more fun to play.

So without further ado, here are my ten favourite indie games in no particular order:


Don't Starve (website)



Platform: PC, Mac (PS4 version TBD)

Genre: RTS, survival-sim, dev-sim elements
Length (in hours): 20+
For: survivors, explorers
Stress: High


    I love this game for its wackiness, lovely art direction and wonderful ideas. At times I feel stressed out by all the dangerous stuff that can suddenly happen as you try to survive, but it helps a lot that you can fully customize the game's settings and therefore lower / raise the difficulty to your liking. Don't Starve uses simple point & click controls, but the game never feels boring with everything that's going on around you. This game is part relaxing, part super stressful, as you can stumble upon all kinds of scary things that will kill you if you don't kill them first (or run far, far away!)


    Reus (website)


    Platform: PC
    Genre: RTS, dev-sim, god-game
    Length (in hours): 20+
    For: explorers, strategists
    Stress: Medium

      Since I already wrote a review for Reus, I'll just direct you there for detailed info on this gem.
      Let me just add, that I've put more than 40 hours into this game now and I can still not see myself getting sick of it anytime soon. ;>


      Cherry Tree High Comedy Club (website)


      Platform: PC
      Genre: stat-raising, life-sim, visual novel
      Length (in hours): ~10
      For: readers, strategists
      Stress: Low

        Young high-school student Miley loves comedy. She even dreams of becoming a great comedian.. and the first step to reach that goal is, of course, to start a comedy club in school. But to start a club, you need at least 5 members, so you've got the summer holidays to raise Miley's conversation skills and find people from school to befriend and convince them to join her comedy club.

        CTHCC uses a pretty unique style for a visual novel type of game, as it's completely in side scrolling perspective. You can run around town to interact with ppl, pick up items, work to earn some money or raise Miley's various conversation stats. I also found the story and characters quite entertaining, so I'd recommend this to anyone who's curious about stat-raising sims... this is a pretty good representation of the genre and a perfect place to start. :)


        Magical Diary (website)


        Platform: PC, Mac
        Genre: stat-raising, magic school-sim, puzzle, visual novel
        Length (in hours): ~10
        For: readers, strategists, role-players
        Stress: Low
          You create your own avatar and start your first day as a magic student at some mysterious magic school. While you take magic lessons to prepare for the school exams (in form of puzzle dungeons with multiple solutions), you meet all kinds of people and make friends as well as enemies.

          There's magic, multiple endings, Girl x Boy & Girl x Girl relationships and so much content that it will take multiple playthroughs to see it all.


          Long Live The Queen (website)


          Platform: PC, Mac
          Genre: stat-raising, life-sim, visual novel
          Length (in hours): ~10
          For: masochists, readers, strategists
          Stress: Low

            Rule the world or die trying.

            You control the life of Elodie, the young queen to be and your goal is to help her survive until her coronation at the end of the year. That's easier said than done tho, as there is tons of evils lurking in the shadows, trying to kill our cute princess. Which makes this game pretty frustrating. And yet half the fun of the game is finding more ways for Elodie to die. 8) To have her survive til she becomes queen, you have to choose the right answers and have her learn the skills needed to survive all the dangerous situation she finds herself in.


            Botanicula (website)

            Platform: PC, Mac, iPad
            Genre: point & click adventure
            Length (in hours): ~5
            For: explorers
            Stress: Low

              The cutest point & click adventure in existence. Way too short, but absolutely adorable. Very beautiful and immersive, even tho there's not even single line of spoken dialogue. I'm pretty sure anyone, except for those that absolutely need thrilling action in their games, would enjoy this. :)

              Also: An awesome game to play with children (of any age, really).


              Bastion (website)


              Platform: PC, Mac, iOS, Xbox 360
              Genre: action RPG
              Length (in hours): ~10
              For: adventurers
              Stress: Medium

                While this is an action RPG, even people like me, who totally suck at action-y stuff can play this without frustration thanks to the option of unlimited lives. :D But there's enough of a challenge for action veterans as well! Bastion is a fun RPG gameplay-wise and a stunning experience storytelling-wise, thanks to the superb narration by Logan Cunningham. And it's also very pretty on top of that. :)


                Lone Survivor (website)


                Platform: PC, Mac (PS3/PS Vita Q3 2013)
                Genre: survival-horror
                Length (in hours): ~5
                For: zombie hunters, explorers
                Stress: High

                  Never have I feared a bunch of beige pixels more than in this game... Lone Survivor plays with atmosphere, sound-effects and the theme of loneliness in a way that really gets under your skin. Or at least mine. I screamed like a little girl the whole time.. ;>


                  Home (website)


                  Platform: PC (Mac & iOS planned)
                  Genre: horror-adventure, mystery
                  Length (in hours): ~3
                  For: explorers
                  Stress: Medium

                    Like Lone Survivor, Home is also a game that's playing a lot with atmosphere, sounds and the theme of lonliness, as you try to figure out what exactly happened to you and the people in your life and find your way back home...


                    FTL: Faster Than Light (website)


                    Platform: PC, Mac
                    Genreroguelike, RTS, sci-fi sim
                    Length (in hours): 20+
                    For: masochists, strategists, explorers
                    Stress: Medium

                      a.k.a. Frustration - The Game

                      Yes, this game can be insanely frustrating at times, thanks to random events that will lead to your untimely death. And dying means starting over from the beginning. But the same randomness makes each playthrough unique and fun. Being the captain of your own spaceship, managing your ship & crew while trying to get the extremely important cargo you're carrying on board of your ship through the dangerous parts of space, stumbling upon various events along your way... it always feels a bit like Firefly to me. So when I'm not naming the captain & crew after myself and my friends, I name them after the Serenity's crew. :>
                      And because it's so fun, here's a little extra:


                      Journey (website)



                      Platform: PS3
                      Genre: Adventure
                      Length (in hours): ~5
                      For: explorers
                      Stress: Low


                      By now I'm pretty sure almost everyone, even those without a PS3, have heard of Journey. Explaining the game is pretty hard for me, as there isn't really much you do, at least at first, besides wandering through this insanely beautiful desert and collecting paper thingies that will make the mysterious protagonist's cape grow, which in return will let him float in the air longer.

                      It's the game's atmosphere, its soundtrack and beautiful landscape that makes the game so very special. There is no voiced narration at all and even if you play online with a stranger, you'll never hear anyone's voice. You just walk around and explore the vast world in front of you, which is why this game is exactly what its name indicates: A journey.


                      ~~~

                      And that's all for today. But of course there are dozens of other great indie games out there and I hope this glimpse on what to expect from indie games got some of you curious enough to see what else indie devs have to offer... :)

                      I think I'll make this "10 Things I Love" thing a regular one... and not just because it's incredibly fun to do a mash-up image of so much stuff I love... XD I'll probably go with my 10 favourite DS games or anime series next. Which would you guys prefer to see first? ;P

                      1 comment:

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