The game in general continues to evolve over time, and our standards for the best independent games evolve with it. One of the most interesting things about the best independent games is that, unlike the AAA game publishers, who feel the need to monetize every inch of their games, the best independent games cost what they cost and are completely free of tactics malevolent Free of corporate influence, the best independent games will give you an idea of the pure artistic vision of the developers, especially if you have one of the best PCs for games.
That does not mean that the best independent games can not keep up, however, with the latest Assassin's Creed or Call of Duty. In fact, the best indie games regularly outperform the latest AAA games in both quality and range, thanks to their less repetitive nature: they do not need to rely on clichés and tired tropes to sell across millions of units.
guide to the best indie games, we went through the hundreds of indie games we played and ranked the best 30 here. We mix in classics like Braid and Dwarf Fortress, with modern indie cartoons like Hollow Knight and Dead Cells. To discover all the best indie games that made our list, read on.
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Bill Thomas, Joe Osborne, Kane Fulton and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article
Described as a kind of combination of Pokémon, Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, we could not help it I recommend Watch Ooblets until it is released sometime in 2018. This indie game is being developed by the first Glumberland studio with the backing of the beloved Double Fine studios. The art style here reminds us curiously of Adventure Time. However, the game itself revolves around collecting creatures called ooblets in a city called, well, Oob.
By doing so, you can train and fight your problems against other Ooblet coaches. At the same time, you will have to balance your training with the real-world responsibilities of being a farmer. That's right, taking advantage of the influence of people like Stardew Valley, you can also grow products and decorate your home with various ornaments. You can also join an Ooblet Club made up of friends (NPC) that you will meet on the way.
If you do not know what to do in Ooblets, simply walk around and discover new stores and buildings that suit your interest. While doing so, he can open his own store and sell the products he grew on the farm, in addition to the items he has stolen all over the world. Otherwise, you can feed the surplus crops with your savings to see how they level up and learn new techniques to use in roll-based turn-based battles.
Jonathan Blow & apos; the masterpiece seems to be a simple pastiche of Super Mario Bros, with a middle-aged curmudgeon who replaces the head plumber but still seeks to rescue a princess.
But the more time you spend in the game, the more it reveals itself to you, moving from a series of riddles that change time to silent reflective texts, which does not stop you from being the smartest puzzle game until SpaceChem. Blow has subtly hinted that the latest story can revolve around the atomic bomb.
First released as PC freeware by Japanese designer Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya in 2004 after five years of solo development, Cave Story predates the recent indie renaissance for a few years. Because of when and how it was first released, it is often forgotten in discussions about independent play.
But this classic deserves to be on the best list for its loving tribute to the classic action platformers of the Super Nintendo era, its incredible music and its incredibly vibrant world. Oh, and do not forget the hugely intuitive controls, lots of secrets and weapons that are too fun to use. If you have not yet enjoyed it, simply place it on your waiting list.
From Studio MDHR, owned by a family, Cuphead has connected with millions of people around the world, many of whom would not normally play a game of running and shooting platforms with a ten foot stick.
Although its gameplay was inspired by classic games such as Mega Man and Contra, most players would probably compare it to a cartoon from Fleischer Studios, like Betty Boop. Because Cpuhead uses a hand-drawn style of art as a 1930s animation, it has been universally praised for its magnificent visual effects.
Its beauty is more than superficial, however, Cuphead is a challenging and interesting series of 19 boss fights, with real levels taking place between them. And, if that is not enough, Studio MDHR has announced the coupon for Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course, with a new island to explore, new bosses to conquer and, most importantly, a new playable character.
Many AAA games serve as escapist power fantasies, where the player can finally master the universe of the game, until the game ends. However, many independent games serve as the opposite, such as the IGF award winner and the Cart Life misery simulator.
Papers Please is similar to Cart Life – it is also an IGF winner with elements of misery about it – but it is & nbsp; It's better to be an intelligent and strange ape about the committed life of a border guard under a totalitarian regime. It is ugly and desperate, but also innovative, tremendously funny and terribly intelligent.
Among hardcore players in my relationship, Spelunky is the drug to go to. Even today, several years after its release, some of them still play it every day, despite having finished it many times. That's because Spelunky, an ostensibly rogue platform game with a definite ending, is hard, varied and highly random.
It also has more dark secrets than a presidential candidate, which means that there are many, many ways to end it, and daily challenges are a sure path to public humiliation.
Unfortunately, humor is often lacking between games, mostly restricted to the comedy of antics or crude phrases. The Stanley Parable, however, is hilarious without being stultified. Players follow (or not) a very British narrator who changes the world around you, depending on your decisions.
No decision is punished, each move throws new humor and rarity. Being stuck in the closet at Stanley Parable is more poignant and fun than 9/10 of other games.
- Additional reading: Retro-me-do! Mr. Biffo from the digitalist in his best PC games of all time
It took him over nine years, but Owlboy was definitely worth the wait. Originally designed for PC and released in late 20166, the ingenious masterpiece of an indie game is now available to experiment on Mac and Linux, and there is even a version of Nintendo Switch! Owlboy focuses on a race of hybrid owl-human characters called, well, owls. Of them, you control Otis, an owl who is censored by his mentor for his inept flying skills.
The story shows the town of Otis dismantled by pirates who clearly have conflicts with the Owls. As a result, Otis has to work with a variety of villagers in the game to eliminate enemies. Of course, when battles occur between bosses, you will have to manage allies accordingly, since each character comes with its own set of unique skill sets to use together. If you have ever played and enjoyed a Kid Icarus game, this is one for books. Otherwise, play it anyway.
Similar to The Stanley Parable, Gone Home enters the genre of & # 39; walking simulator & # 39; unofficially labeled Where it deviates from the intelligent and philosophical Stanley Parable, however it focuses on the difficult realities of life, rather than light humor.
After arriving at your childhood home after a visit abroad, you play Kaitlin Greenbriar, 21 years old is greeted by a vacant house. While the game is essentially limited to rummaging through the notes to discover where the protagonist's family has ventured, the exciting story shows a roller coaster of emotions, if you keep your mind open.
Only SpaceChem has mixed education and entertainment with such success The Kerbal space program. The game is simple: design and build spaceships to take the cute Kerbals to the Mun and beyond.
However, its focused use of real physics means that you will find yourself following NASA in the construction of multistage rockets, space stations and exploring the strange universe of Kerbal in EVA, before bringing your discoveries to research in the Kerbal planet, that is if you can detach yourself completely. It is a huge, complex, challenging and fun game, it is intelligent without being prodigal.
The exact opposite of the Kerbal Space Program, The Binding of Isaac is a roguelike action par excellence. Only equaled by the Nuclear Throne, equally visceral, for replayability, you play like a child who tries to kill his damned brothers, his mother and possibly the Devil, using only his tears. That shoots from his eyes, of course.
With hundreds of rare modifiers to discover, endlessly touching the levels generated by procedures and secrets in abundance, Isaac is a very obscure vision of the exploratory model established by Spelunky.
Although you may be intimidated by pixel art graphics, Undertale is not a game that would fit in Super Nintendo. That's because, in Undertale, decisions make a big difference in how the game ends and, more importantly, how it continues in New Game Plus.
While you play Undertale, one of the first things you will notice is the great freedom the game offers you. Despite his genius boss skills, you can surpass nine hours of Undertale without killing a soul. Also, when you go through the game for the second time, you will bear the weight of the consequences of your previous career. Also, now that Undertale will be coming to Nintendo Switch later this year, you can take this great piece of game design to wherever you go.
From developer Playdead, Inside is comparable to its predecessor, Limbo, in some ways but with an additional layer of depth that inspires a frequent wonder. This is mainly the result of the unspoken narrative, which revolves around another unnamed child. In Inside, however, the boy in the story is running away from a group of men who, if you do not keep out of sight, will try to kill you mercilessly.
Although it is not entirely clear why the child is running away from these men or why it should matter to you since you do not know who he is, Inside will leave you asking for answers. Inside's somber and lifeless environment is worth more than the price of admission. His minimalist art style alone is cutting edge enough to feel at home in a museum. Add a game that is fun to play and that drips with curiosity, however, Inside is one of the best independent games that money can buy.
Developed by Eric Barone, Stardew Valley is undoubtedly a technical feat for that little facet alone. If you have ever played a game of Harvest Moon, you are already familiar with the premise of Stardew Valley; You may not know it yet. Stardew Valley is an addictive agriculture simulator that allows you to interact with the townees to the point of literally marrying them.
Stardew Valley is not just a farm, it's a lot of things at the same time. You can go fishing, you can cook, you can make things, you can even go explore caves generated by procedures to extract objects and even attack monsters limo. However, you should keep in mind that your health and energy are finite, so you'll want to keep your character rested and fed to avoid exhaustion. Deal and you will lose a considerable amount of money and items that you have worked hard to achieve. Stardew Valley will have you addicted for hours and hours, for better or for worse. (Definitely better)
From Canadian game developer Alec Holowka, the creator of the award-winning Aquaria (he also appears on this list) and independent artist / animator Scott Benson, Night in the Woods is a side-scrolling little adventure game conventional focus on a 20-year-old protagonist named Mae who leaves the university to return to live with her parents.
Presents a story largely based on dialogue options and mini-games that give a twist to mundane tasks, such as taking boxes to stairs and dining attractions, Night in the Woods is a timeless tale of coming of age. Not only will you experience middle-class America through the eyes of a personified cat, but practically all the interactions in the game will make you laugh out loud. And now that he's coming to the Nintendo Switch on February 1, you can take him wherever he goes.
If you're a fan of the recent wave of games inspired by Dark Souls, you'll love it. Hollow Knight You take control of the Hollow Knight and guide them through the deceptively adorable landscape to face the bosses and other difficult challenges. Like Dark Souls, it is not immediately clear what you are supposed to do, since the narration is intentionally obtuse.
The inspirations of Dark Souls do not end there, however. It also adopts the "hard but fair" philosophy of Dark Souls, where the game is as difficult as you do it: you can overcome anything as long as you have patience and learn from your mistakes. Hollow Knight takes these lessons from Dark Souls and injects them into MetroidVania, with all the side scrolling and updates you can wish for. You can even play it on the Nintendo Switch now.
If you are looking for a game that is as relentless as it is fun, look no further: Dead Cells. Game inspiration is needed from so many places, from roguelikes, MetroidVania to a touch of Dark Souls, to create a unique action game that will test your limits.
Every time you play, it will be different. And, although you will lose some progress each time you die, and trust us, you will die a lot, the game will be more and more rewarding as the complex and fluid combat becomes second nature. In the final version of the game, you will gain access to 90 weapons, skills and abilities that will allow you to adapt your game the way you prefer.
Whatever you do, do not be discouraged when you fail. Get up and try again, Dead Cells will only reward you at the end, and that's why it's one of the best indie games that 2018 has to offer.
Introversions was one of the first 'independent' companies, releasing games such as Uplink, Defcon and Darwinia while Vlambeer were still in shorts. After years of difficulties, they finally achieved great success with Prison Architect, a game in which you build, staff, team and administer a maximum security prison.
With intelligent prisoners who are willing to do anything to escape, you "I will endeavor to keep them all inside or to avoid riots and profit." It is still in alpha, but it is eminently playable at this time.
that something like the Kerbal Space Program can take you to the moon, To The Moon is a game about the realization of desires and nourishes itself with narrative beauty.If we had to make comparisons with movies, Kerbal Space Program is Gravity, The Binding of Isaac is Saw and To the Moon is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
You control two doctors who are exploring the memories of a dying man to implant a false memory so that he can die in peace, which is represented in a classic style 16-bit Zelda is a weird, emotional, adult game.
Dwarf Fortress is its own genre, its own industry.This is a game that, even before setting foot in it, it has to generate all the geography, mythology and history of its massive world. Then he traces every one of the dwarves that manages to the hairs on their legs and the horrible murder of elephants in particular that they witnessed and are now carving in an ornamental chair.
Your task is to keep the dwarves alive while creating their underground kingdom, since madness, monsters and the plague of hunger are thrown at each stage that is not easy. And dwarves, always, always mine too deep.
Execute. Skip. Die. Repeat. That's essentially the Super Meat Boy game circuit, a diabolically addictive 2D platformer that is also very difficult, with an emphasis on bloody. Gallons of blood are spilled as the fleshy hero of the game jumps over deadly falls, rotating saws and chainsaws that walk in an attempt to rescue his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from the evil Dr. Fetus. Obviously. With tight controls, lots of humor and colorful graphics, Super Meat Boy jumped to PS4 and Vita last year in style, with a Nintendo Switch release also available soon.
It may not be the latest Playdead game, but Limbo is timeless. Even five years after its release, the disturbing history of the game still affects us. You play the Child, a boy with bright eyes who is lying in Limbo to find his sister. Make your way in a dark and dangerous world full of hostile silhouettes, giant spiders and deadly gravitational fields, you will have to think quickly and perfectly about your movements if you want to survive.
But Limbo is much more than a simple platform game: it's an experience, and one that makes you reflect on the very essence of life when it's over. Deep, deep and absorbing, it is an indie game in which everyone should take time to play.
If you crave a retro-style multiplayer arcade combat game (is not it?), TowerFall: Ascension is the batch choice. Fast, frantic and extremely hard in hardcore mode, the mechanics of the game are simple: shoot arrows at enemies or jump over their heads to stay alive until the round ends.
Arrows that do not hit are embedded in the walls, making for tense scenarios when you have to traverse the map while dodging enemies to recover them. As such, it is recommended to practice until achieving the Robin Hood's accuracy levels. Ascension is best experienced with friends in the local multiplayer mode, which recalls the most manic moments of Super Smash Bros.
It is not often that a platform game manages to balance the challenging and attractive game with an emotional and stimulating narrative, but Celeste he throws it off. From the developers of Towerfall, Celeste follows the story of Madeline, a young woman who decides to face her mental health problems by climbing to the top of the mysterious Celestial Mountain. In doing so, he learns more not only about the mountain, but about himself in the midst of the comforting process.
An inevitable classic, Celeste integrates the obvious jump, air attack and climb controls in a brutal series of platform challenges in more than 700 unique screens. And, if that's too easy, you'll unlock chapters from the B side along the way, designed only for the bravest hardcore players. Better yet, you do not have to worry about waiting forever between each reappearance. Instead, Celeste brings you back from the grave instantaneously, a welcome diversion from the typically extensive loading screens.
It is true that exclusive indie games always end with the short end of the suit. That remains true for Golf Story, a tribute to Mario Golf in Game Boy Color developed by Sidebar Games. As it is a debut title for Nintendo Switch, you may have overlooked Golf Story considering that it came out the same day as Stardew Valley, but this is what you need to know.
You do not have to be obsessed with the PGA Tour to get into Golf Story, since it's better to be appreciated for your role-playing elements. Substituting combat for an athletic sport, you begin your adventure as a child who is instructed by his father before realizing that it is not very good in golf, something that you will have to overcome while pursuing professional golf .
After the furious success that was the original Nidhogg, it is a shame to see that the top sequel is thrown under the bus. However, despite its controversial artistic style, Nidhogg 2 has an elegant and refined look that the first version, a cult classic, could not even compete with. In frames, we can see how it can be misinterpreted, but, fortunately, it's the fun and addictive local multiplayer gameplay that makes Nidhogg, well, Nidhogg. And everything is there in Nidhogg 2. Also, every time you reappear, you get one of the four unique weapons that only reinforce the challenge.
The follow-up of the esteemed independent designer Jon Blow to Braid may seem like a completely different adventure, being 3D and all, but the two are more thematically similar than you think. The Witness, at its core, is another riddle game that tells an interesting story through such puzzles.
This puzzle takes place in an almost equally impressionistic world, although strongly inspired by Myst, but its history is much more nuanced and mysterious. than the previous Blow. In almost every corner of this island that you just woke up (or under), there is a clue about how you came to this island and why you are here.
Do not get us wrong, he liked Bastion, but we will not deny that Transistor was the best work of SuperGiant Games to date. Much of that has to do with the convergence of role-based and turn-based role-based elements within their cyberpunk future. In the same way, in classic SuperGiant fashion, these mechanics are complemented by a magnificent artistic style and an unforgettable musical score that will make you want to buy the soundtrack.
Leaving the key game beats for the player, the story is not so variable. The main character of Transistor, Red, is a renowned singer in the city of Cloudbank. However, it has been attacked by a group of vicious robots that call themselves the Process, operated by another group called Camerata. On her journey, she finds the Transistor, a mysterious sword with the voice of a man. Very soon, she will learn more about him and how he will shake his world.
It's strange to think that Oxenfree came out before the first season of Stranger Things, and yet, both properties happen to have a lot in common. . The heavy synthesizer music inspired by the 80s, composed by scntfc, for example, accentuates a really exciting sci-fi horror that centers around you, you guessed it, a group of teenagers trapped on an island.
The story includes a handful of unique characters, namely, the main character Alex, along with his enmity friend Ren, his newly released stepbrother Jonas, the ex-girlfriend of his dead brother Michael, Clarissa, and his best friend Nona ( of which Ren is in love).
The plot is explained through the dialogue of branched speech, similar to Life is Strange or modern Telltale games, and has five different endings according to your choices.
Exploring a surreal desert seems to be a trend these days in games, and developer Campo Santo's debut serves to keep it strong. Nestled in the 1989 Wyoming Wilderness, you're Henry, a fire watchman who is alone in the woods after exploring something strange in the distance.
That is, except for your partner on the other line of a walkie-talkie: Delilah. She is your only point of contact as you explore the desert. Will you come back alive? Do the decisions you make help or harm the relationship with your only lifeguard for the outside world, your boss? Do not worry about those questions at the moment, just look at those forests!
Rust is one of the most successful independent titles of recent times. By the end of 2015, it had sold more than 3 million copies, which is not bad considering that it is not even finished: the game has been in Steam's early access scheme since its launch in December 2013.  Still, it seems people can not get enough of the survival simulation inspired by the Z-Day. You see yourself using your ingenuity and your bearings to survive in your harsh open world, starting with nothing more than a rock. After gathering the resources needed to build a house and weapons to defend against the attackers (other players online, in other words), Rust gradually becomes more intense as you defend your growing base or try to infringe on others.
Fans of the original Overcooked will not be disappointed with the second installment of the chaotic sofa cooperative series from British indie game developer Team17.
This time your task is to beat & nbsp; Un-Bread & apos; (Baked zombie products) that have taken over the Onion Kingdom, struggling with new recipes that include sushi, pizza and hamburgers in increasingly chaotic kitchens with up to three more people.
To increase frenetic fun, you must fight obstacles that include random fires, collapsing floors, and interfering bystanders, as your orders arrive on time.
Things get complicated incredibly fast, and relationships, friendships and family ties will be put to the test as you work to complete your recipes on time, which makes for a fun and challenging cooperative sofa game that will make you understand the meaning of "too many cooks spoil the broth".
The natural progression of survival games, SCUM takes what both predecessors, as the battlefields of Rust and PlayerUnknown were successful and iterated in impressive ways. And, although it is still in early access, it offers a unique twist: it combines the frantic game of battle royale games with the slow and reflective gameplay of a survival simulator.
SCUM, unlike other similar games, is extremely heavy on the simulation side of things, however. You should not expect to run with burning guns, as it will quickly get tired (just as you would if you tried to run away with a lot of things in your backpack). But, if you are interested in heavy statistical systems, here you will find much to love. It's like spreadsheets with a physics engine.
Just do not expect a polished experience for the time being. However, the developer Croteam promises to add more features over time, and as they are backed by Devolver, you can trust that the game will become something great.