Making a memorable game doesn’t require an astronomical budget nor an army of artists, coders, and marketing executives. The equation is far less rigorous and success rest solely on finding an original concept and translating it into an enjoyable interactive experience. Indie developers excel in this arena with a number of the last ten year’s best released games nestling comfortably inside the indie game category. Here are five indie games that are captivating, original, and simply enjoyable to play.
with navigating a young man through the pitfalls of a somber world of forests, factories, and submerged worlds, the player embarks on an unforgettable journey ending with one of the most weird conclusions to a game ever. Not to give too much away, though weird the ending is poetic as well, an apt conclusion to a stunning game.
2. The Stanley Parable
More a narrative adventure than a game per se, The Stanley Parable has won over gamers’ hearts for the unique game play loop, which involves following the instructions of an ever present British-accented narrator. Stray from his carefully enunciated instructions and you’re sure to encounter a few surprises and annoy him in the process. The Stanley Parable is hard to quantify and is best experienced first hand. It does however explore interesting themes such as the undercurrent of complexity that exists in everyone’s life and the drudgery of post capitalist office employment.
Fez, for a long time the apple of the industry eye and the subject of the excellent Video Games: The Movie, is a complex, heart warming platformer that relies on a nifty mechanic whereby players can shift between the four facets of a 3D world, yet only view each in 2D. This power is imbued by the titular Fez and forms a central part of puzzle solving and movement between levels within the game. The mechanic alone is enough to warrant hours of compelling game play, yet Fez goes further with an utterly stunning soundtrack, a rich world, meaningful collectibles, challenging puzzles, and to avoid any spoilers, a kind of end beyond the end of the game.
Harking back to the glory days of point and click adventure games in the 1990s, Paradigm is the eponymous story of pink-skinned, genetically modified, bulbous experiment-gone-wrong who has dreams of becoming a successful electronic musician. To make things more interesting, the game is set in a heavily post-soviet/post apocalyptic-inspired universe with a diverse set of locations stacked with characters so peculiar and enthralling they will continue to shock you as the game progresses. Guide Paradigm to uncover the mystery of his bizarre past and face off with a rather articulate sloth. The game is also very funny with on off-beat sense of humor throughout, engaging, and offers a selection of enjoyable puzzles to solve.
5. Kentucky Route Zero
The atmospheric entry in our list, Kentucky Route Zero is a point and click adventure that rewards patience and restraint, walking the thin line between an interactive narrative and a revealing introspective trip. Packed with intelligent content, a compelling mystery, and truly breathtaking broody settings and graphics, Kentucky Route Zero needs to be experienced. It’s also a nice break from overused tropes and saturated genres. Fresh, though-provoking and enchanting.