An indie game (short for independent video game) is a video game that is often created without the financial support of a big publisher. They often focus on innovation and rely on the fan base for digital distribution and recognition. On the other hand, AAA video games have gotten remarkably very similar to each other over the last years, with publishers becoming less-willing to bet on unique ideas and focus on established franchises as a safe bet.
Nevertheless, independent creators and developers don’t face the same problem and often manage to surpass competition in terms of quality, adventure and know-how. Let’s jump right into our chosen top:
5. The Stanley Parable
Developer: Galactic Café, Davey Wreden
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linus
First Release: October 17, 2013
A lot of indie games try to be funny and they either fail or go for a basic repetitive joke. Unlike so, The Stanley Parable is a truly bizarre game experience. An interactive storytelling and walking simulator video game presented in first-person perspective. The worker, Stanley, must obey the narrator voiceover, or must he really? He portraits a illusion of choice and most of the environments are limited leading somehow to different outcomes. Your first experience with the game might feel like a nightmare, however, The Stanley Parable is an exploration Bandersnatch other than a regular game.
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, macOS, Nintendo Switch
First Release: September 29, 2017
A classic run and gun indie video game centered around continuous boss fights and various levels. Cuphead and his brother Mugman have gambled their souls to the Devil and lost and must collect the demanding “souls’ contracts”. The aesthetic stands out immediately and will certainly grind your gears during the game’s adventure. You might swear and laugh, hate it and love it, but having finished it you’ll realize there’s more to it. Cuphead really challenges your ability, and not only looks amazing as it plays amazingly too.
3. Inside / Limbo
Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS/ Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android
First Release: June 29, 2016/ July 21, 2010
We couldn’t review Inside without Limbo and vice-versa as the two have very similar appearance but are very different games created by the same developer. As prettier as Inside might look, Limbo’s simpler aesthetic is also just as appealing. Challenging puzzle games, both games go to dark places and present tense and unique environments along the journey. A simple mechanically 2D game that contemplates the most subtly details ever played. Its unimaginable twist may leave you speechless and will certainly heat discussion among your friends regarding the final message and intention. A sad short ride that can’t be spoiled and should start right after viewing one of the best indie game trailers.
2. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Platform: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, Wii U, New Nintendo 3DS, Xbox One
First Release: November 4, 2014
A weird game about a damned little boy shooting tears out of his eyes in order to defeat enemies just as random as you’d like. The trailer keeps the weirdness alive and does not give justice to this well executed adventure game. An indie game that has inspired creators over the past years. Once you play it, you’ll notice the time spent has been non-stop fun. Starting again is always a treat, even if you were on a good run because the controls are that amusing. You’re likely to discover something new and dark every time you start and that’s why you should stay motivated to keep on playing this historical video game.
Developer: Toby Fox
Platform: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch
First Release: September 15, 2015
Toby Fox, Toby Fox, Toby Fox. A genius delivers the most beloved game ever made. It personifies all that is great with indie game culture as it brought together gamers by capturing their hearts and minds for years. Undertale leaves everything up to the player. You might want to resort to violence or allow for a pacifist route instead. All choices have consequences creating a different narrative that has been praised since release. It’s hard to express how good Undertale really is without spoiling it. A masterfully crafted experiences that everyone shouldn’t forget.
Finishing this top 5 with Undertale was peak perfection, however we could not list only 5 indie games. Creators work very hard to fulfil users needs and if you somehow have already fully played every game on the list, here’s a bonus indie game selection just for our hardcore gamers: Superhot, Super Meat Boy, FEZ, Ori and the Blind Forest, Hollow Knight.