In this age of video games, AAA titles from major developers are around every corner. Games like The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, Call of Duty and many others overshadow the tiny little gems of the gaming industry that are indie games.
What makes indie games so special is that they’re simple. There isn’t any need to perform complex combos, grind for loot or attempt kill streaks. Sometimes, it’s simplicity and basic fun that a gamer craves for, and that’s why Indie games are there. Furthermore, independent developers aren’t crushed by the heavy burden called ‘expectation’. Sure, their fans sometimes expect them to deliver a good game, but no one expects them to deliver mind-blowing graphics and an experience that will challenge the best games of the generation. Nope, not at all. All their fans want is a good game, nothing more and nothing less.
The best thing about indie games is that the developers can work at their own pace. They can go slow, trying to expand the horizons of their creativity and exploring new ideas without the fear of a deadline approaching. Due to this, indie games are often very innovative and ‘fresh’. Sure, they don’t have graphics that are at par with the Last of Us, but even without that, they bring us a lot of fun and a wonderful experience.
I have played a fair amount of Indie games over the years. I won’t go as far as to say that I’ve played every single Indie game there is, and that I’m a hardcore Indie player, but my dictionary of Indie games sure is thick. Here are my top 5 Indie Games of all time.
5. To The Moon
To the Moon is a very simple, yet emotionally captivating game. It consists of sprites and very retro graphics along with a simple point and click mechanic to move characters around and select objects. At first sight, the game seems boring, but combined with it’s story, it is one of the best experiences I’ve had with Indie games. The story is just… wow. It basically revolves around two characters who belong to a company that fulfills your wish when you’re dying. They go inside your head and change your memories in such a way that you believe that you have lived your life to the fullest, so you can die happily.
The two characters enter the mind of an old man who is on his deathbed, and explore his past memories in order to find out what his ‘wish’ is. What follows is a mystery about his wife and childhood that keeps you hooked until the end. The game is accompanied by some wonderful music, such as the track, “For River”, which contributes to the game’s great atmosphere. The game is short too and the story moves pretty fast too, so you never feel like the game is dragging.
When I first played Limbo, I got bored. The game is a black and white platformer where you guide a child as he makes his way through an eerie world. There was hardly any story and no music at all. But as I kept playing, I began loving the game. The fact that it was colorless and without music was intriguing. It made the game look enigmatic and almost scary. You never knew what awaited you at the next corner. Soon enough, the game got clever as well, bringing in new things that enhanced the gameplay in a simple, yet fun way.
I was hooked to it. I wanted to see what came next, what monster showed up, what kind of gruesome deaths the character would have to face. I must admit that the deaths were funny. Had there been color, we would have seen some blood and guts, but the black and white did not make that possible. Despite this, it was fun to see the child’s head being ripped off and thrown away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be sadistic, I had just never seen such violence in a platformer that starred a child as the protagonist. I soon came to love every aspect of Limbo’s twisted, creepy world and then the game itself.
Bastion was a little different from regular Indie games. It was more polished, a little more complicated and longer than your average Indie games, in my opinion. Combining great visuals, a nice soundtrack and fun, diversive gameplay, Bastion was a real treat to play. Bashing my way through enemies using different weapons, I felt immortal especially after various upgrades. I also liked the environments in the game, each area created with an interesting color palette and crawling with monsters, giving a good feel to the game. The inclusion of arenas to practice and get used to new weapons was nice as well as it gave me something to do when I didn’t feel like following the story.
The game also had a pretty solid narrative and offered an interesting story. All of this combined together makes Bastion an incredible game.
It’s funny how a game with insanely weak graphics can be so entertaining. What Minecraft does is, it gives you utter freedom. There is no story, no set path to follow. All you have to do is create whatever you want using blocks. Harvest wood, gather other items and create whatever you desire. The only catch is that you have to build a shelter to hide from the monsters that show up at night. Pretty basic, and a lot of fun. I have spent hundreds of hours on this game. Granted, I haven’t created something extraordinary, but I don’t regret playing it. It’s just so much fun.
Crafting is fun too, along with adventuring in player-made maps. If neither of those interest you, perhaps multiplayer will. Every game is better when you have friends to play with. As long as you don’t mind the game’s very basic and pixelated graphics, you’ll love Minecraft.
As the name indicates, Journey is about the journey of a red-robed traveller towards the peak of a mountain. And what a fantastic journey it is.
First off, the game was incredibly beautiful. The fluid animations, the environments – everything was very artistic. I have always believed video games to be moving closer to art and literature day by day, and Journey is the prime example of that. Though there is no proper narration, the story of the game is left to the player’s interpretation and can be pretty self-explanatory if you think about it. From the hot desert sands to the cold mountain snow, Journey is a spectacular experience. Thatgamecompany has totally outdone itself. Although the game lasts for about 6 hours, it took me longer than that as I explored every inch of every level.
Multiplayer is a lot of fun too. Despite the fact that you cannot see your partner’s name or anything, both of you know what has to be done and so you co-operate and Journey together, which seems rather boring, but is pretty good. And then there is the music. Simply put, the music is blissful on many levels. It’s something you’d want to listen to again and again, especially when you’re going on a journey yourself. Words cannot describe Journey’s magic though. You’ll have to play it to understand it’s greatness.
What are your top 5 Indie games? Let us know in the comments below.