A lot has changed in the gaming scene over the years. Something that the Indie games scene can bear witness to. These are no longer second-class games that people only remember after they are done playing triple-A games.
They have managed to carve out a niche for themselves that has millions of loyal followers.
It’s also getting harder to define what an indie game is by the day. As such, people will have different views of what they consider an indie game. But the word is still largely used to refer to games that are developed without huge financial back up by publishers.
The developers are independent and with no limitations on how to proceed with the game development, they can be as creative and innovative as their minds will. Here is a list of 5 of the best indie games that you can play in 2019.
1. Rocket League
Can you guess the number of players Rocket league has managed to garner in the three years it’s been around? More than 50 million. And 10 million of them joined in the last year. Quite impressive for an indie game. Am pretty sure not even the game developers would have anticipated that.
The game takes two unexpected game concepts and fuses them into one epic game. Soccer and racing. Rocket league is a soccer game that instead of humans, uses rocket-fueled cars as players.
It provides you with numerous ways to customize your car appearance including the body, paint job, vinyl, and the wheels. However, no customization gives your vehicle an unfair edge over others and thus your success in the game is determined purely on your skills.
Good thing is that there is not much movement of your car that is needed. You just need to know how to accelerate, reverse, jump, and perform boosts and powerslides. Easy enough yet performing these actions at just the right moment is what makes all the difference.
The game comes with a single player mode and a multiplayer mode that can be played both locally and online. Various releases of DLC content has been key in ensuring that this game remains relevant. One notable addition is the Chaos Run DLC that introduces a new field of play.
Instead of the usual Rocket League map, it brings a Mad-Max inspired map with a desert style ground and other post-apocalyptic design elements. Some other mods also have been released to introduce Ice hockey and Basketball gameplay. This is a game that will be perfect regardless of whether you are seeking a short term thrill or want to dive in entirely and build your way up the scoreboard.
Release Date: July 2015
One look at this game and you may be tempted to brush it off. Cup-shaped characters with names like Cup man and Mug head may not be very inviting. That is until you decide to give it a try only to realize moments later that you are hooked.
CupHEAD is a classic run and gun action platformer in which you control Cupman and his brother Mughead through various levels with each level culminating into a boss fight. As you progress through the game you will learn new skill moves and gain new weapons that you can use in your fights.
If you are one who likes a challenge, then you will find it in this game. Get ready to end up with a few sore fingers for pressing the buttons too hard. Every boss in this game is different and requires a different approach to beat. But If you are finding the levels too difficult then you can tune down the difficulty. Although I doubt that will be nearly as satisfying.
You may also engage in the two-player mode which gives you an edge over the enemies. It enables you to exert more damage to the enemies and you can resuscitate each other when you die.
The art design applied in this game is beautiful and accompanying soundtrack and sound effects make CupHEAD one of the best 2D platformers of its time.
For those that like playing to a plot, the game is about the two brothers trying to save their souls. They lost a bet with the devil and are now tasked with running an errand for the devil in exchange for them keeping their souls.
But all that said, I have just one issue with the game. The run and gun scenes that precede the bosses feel underdeveloped. They lack the same kind of detail you will find in the boss fights. But that is also the reason I choose to overlook this fact. The boss fights are so well thought and executed that you will end up forgetting the events leading up to them.
Release Date: September 2017
3. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
I said it, the line between indie games and AAA games is being eroded as time goes on and Hellblade is one such proof. No wonder, the game developers have branded themselves an independent AAA game developer.
The game casts you as Senua, a fearless warrior who fights her way into the depths of hell to recover the soul of her dead lover. It is inspired by the Norse mythology where the goddess Hela rules hell.
The story is an integral part of the game as it serves as a metaphor highlighting the troubles of a real person suffering from Psychosis. That is the inability to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not. Senua is suffering from the condition but believes it to be a curse.
The game combines puzzle solving with combat to complete a solid action-adventure video game. The hellish looking Norsemen serve as formidable foes for Senua.
There are no tutorials in this game. Instead, the player will have to rely on Senua’s inner voices referred to as Furies for guidance. They provide important tips like how to avoid enemies and will also warn you of impending attacks.
The voices are also constantly taunting Senua while also encouraging her at the same time creating a lot of turmoil in her already conflicted mind. The voices have different personalities and their excellent execution makes these moments as unsettling to the player as they are to Senua. For the best effects, I recommend that you use gaming headphones or a surround sound system.
The game does not also have health bars but rather relies on the furies. The inner voices get quiet frantic during these moments which gives more intensity to them. It is very much a representation of a real person’s state of mind when faced with death.
Developer: Ninja Theory
Publisher: Ninja Theory
Release Date: August 2017
RiME is one of those games you play when having a bad day and you are looking for blissful escapism. The game has no speech which means you will have to rely on visual cues to proceed with exploration and puzzle solving.
The game is an adventure puzzle video game set in a mysterious and beautiful island. You play as a little boy exploring the island with the help of a Fox spirit. The island has been divided into 5 large levels each with its own set of puzzles that you will have to overcome.
Since the puzzles have no time limit, you can just ignore them and focus on exploring the awe-inspiring island. You can also mess with the various animals like pigs that you find as you explore.
RiME’s game plot is one of my favourite aspects of the game. You play as a son who is on a recovery journey to heal the wounds left behind by his father’s death. But it is not as simple as that. The end brings another twist that is even more heartfelt. But I wouldn’t want to spoil that for you now Would I?
Developer: Tequila Works
Publisher: Grey Box
Release Date: May 2017
5. Outlast 2: Trinity
The indie game is not lacking in terms of horror games too. The first Outlast was an instant hit and can easily be considered as one of the best scary games on Xbox in the year that it was released. That was in 2013. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the developers, Red Barrels announced that they would begin making a second installment immediately.
Four years later and they gave us Outlast 2. A game where they employ the same effective scare tactics that gave us chills in the first release. A creepy environment, a tense atmosphere, and tormenting soundtracks and effects
The game casts you as Blake Langerman, a cameraman who together with his journalist wife decide to investigate the murder of a pregnant woman. However, things turn for the worst when their chopper crashes and they become separated. Now to find his wife, Blake will have to traverse through a village inhabited by cultic members who believe they are living at the end of times.
What is interesting is that this game has no combat. Not surprising since we are dealing with journalists. Blake is a bespectacled nerd who has no fighting skills and thus his only defense is to hide. This is also how the previous game worked but now you will have many more places to hide. These include under the bed, in corn fields, tall grasses and also pools of water.
The camcorder Blake carries will act as an important accessory as it comes with night vision and has a microphone that can be used to detect footsteps from a distance. However, the batteries are limited and you will have to use them wisely. Player movement involves running, jumping, vaulting, sliding, and climbing.
Developer: Red Barrels
Publisher: Red Barrels
Release Date: April 2017