I have never really been one for video games made by independent studios. I’ve never played Inside, Limbo or Braid and, to be honest, I can’t see the appeal. I’ve long held the belief that there is a causal relationship between the amount of money spent on a game and its quality. My average white male brain likes high stakes, insane visuals and preferably Nolan North in there somewhere.
And yet everyone I speak to tells me I’m missing out. So I’ve decided that 2017 will be the year I finally embrace small studio efforts. If you’re with me in that endeavour, we’ll have to start somewhere. With that in mind, here are five indie games for people that don’t like indie games.
1. All Walls Must Fall
This one intrigued me straight away. The art design is gorgeously understated, conveying a real sense of a dingy yet tech-noir Berlin where the cold war never ended. It’s an isometric (fancy way of saying ‘top down’) action and tactics game and despite being procedurally generated, the maps look full of character and possibilities.
In terms of core mechanics, inbetweengames’ website drops the line ‘love, kill and remix reality’ and if that doesn’t sound worth your time then nothing will. This works for the indie-uninitiated because of its accessible setting and familiar concepts. If it delivers on these with strong game design, this could be very popular with a broad audience.
2. A House of Many Doors
An odd looking little game this one. I initially thought you took control of a millipede skirting around the floorboards of someone’s poorly lit home. On closer inspection, it appears you are the conductor of a train. With feet.
Scurrying about in a place called the ‘House’ (so I wasn’t too far off), the emphasis is on exploration, rather than combat. It looks undeniably cool and the games website promises ‘procedurally generated poetry’. Come on, you know that sounds good.
Developer: Pixel Trickery
3. Super Rude Bear Resurrection
The first game on this list to be available on the consoles as well as PC. The reason this one jumped out at me is particularly obvious; the game promises to get easier the more you die. This appeals to me on a fundamental level.
It fulfils this mechanic in a delightfully macabre way; when you die, your corpse remains on the level to prevent you meeting the same fate again. So theoretically, if you were really struggling with a section it could end up littered with the remains of your less fortunate self.
I am terrible at 2D platformers so this feature sounds like a life saver (somewhat counter-intuitively). Perhaps if The Lion King on the Mega Drive had this, I wouldn’t still be stuck on that bit where you must jump across the logs on the waterfall!
Developer: Alex Rose
Platforms: PC/PS4/Xbox One
This one grabbed my attention with one of the most ludicrous trailers I’ve seen for a while.
Watch. Enjoy. Keep an eye out for this Doom clone with silly turned up to 11.
Developer: Pixel Titans
5. Party Pugs
Look at that little pug policeman! I really shouldn’t need to sell this any further, quite frankly.
Okay, this adorable mobile game is about leading a bus full of pugs to a party via a series of puzzles without being stopped by the chasing feds. Quite what the police could want with these cute carnival conscious canines is beyond me, but something tells me the adorable art design, charming premise and ease of access could make this the most popular game on this list, when all is told.
Developer: Steely Glint Games
So, there’s five indie games that grabbed the attention of a complete novice.
If you need me, I’ll be having pretentious conversations about how they represent the true soul of video games.