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What are some of your favorite indie games?


Astro Bot

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Posted (edited)

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Mark of the Ninja is a 2d stealth game, that feels a bit like the Tenchu series in some ways. The great thing about this game is how many options you are given, allowing different players to find their own chosen methods for getting past enemies. There are even different outfits to facilitate different play styles and you can unlock new abilities and tools as you play through the game. Having so many options also helps to avoid the slow pacing that some stealth games have. Another fun element of the game is being able to use fear against your enemies. Terrorizing a guard will make him act erratically, and this can even lead to friendly fire situations where nervous, trigger happy enemies unintentionally kill each other. There are some particularly fun tools at your disposal too for dealing with enemies, like flesh eating insects if you're feeling particularly sadistic. You can play nice and sneak past every enemy, or go on a murder spree while terrorizing your enemies. It's all up to you.

The game gives excellent feedback to players. You always know where your enemies are and you always know whether or not they'll be able to see or detect you. 

Each level has optional challenges to complete, high scores to reach, hidden bonus areas that test your skills or puzzle solving abilities, and collectibles to find. There is also a new game plus mode featuring a higher difficulty level, and a second playable character with his own abilities, story, and levels to play through.

The game has a pretty good story and the art style is also gorgeous with beautifully animated characters

If I have two gripes about the game, it's the fact that the scoring system favors non-violent, pacifist players. Fortunately, there are ways to inflate your score to overcome the loss in points you'll get from killing everyone. Also, the game doesn't seem to have ever gotten a physical release. Otherwise, this game is as close to perfect as a stealth game can get and feels like a real work of passion from the developers. 

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Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle is a horror themed puzzle game. Don't get the wrong idea, it's not a scary game. It's more of a silly, fun celebration of the Friday the 13th franchise. Every stage is a puzzle revolving around figuring out how to move Jason around the stage and kill everyone in it. It plays very much like another excellent game called Slayaway Camp. The various, hilarious death scenes you will see are a big highlight of both games. The game has unfortunately been de-listed and I don't believe it ever got released physically. It's too bad, the game is very funny and enjoyable even for people who don't like puzzle games (which is who I think these games were designed for). Slayaway Camp is very much recommended from me as well.

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Smelter is a fun hybrid of Mega Man X inspired, 2d platformer action and Actraiser inspired real time strategy gameplay. Some might also call the RTS segments "city building" and "god game" elements, since that's how wikipedia seems to describe Actraiser. Anyway, it's a fun game with an interesting cast of characters, not least of which is the one you play as (Eve from a certain well known story revolving around a tree and an apple). You move around a map where the Actraiser elements come into play as you build various structures and defend against enemy attacks. Stopping the constant enemy attacks only happens when you go into various MM X style stages and complete them. You have different elemental abilities that make the platforming interesting, and each element has distinct combat abilities as well. Fun game for Mega Man X fans, particularly if you like playing as Zero. I've never actually played the original Actraiser, but I did play play Renaissance and there are definite similarities between this game and that one.    

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The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile

A violent, fast paced, 2d beat' em up/hack n' slash game. Combat is hard, but also exhilarating. The game has kind of a dark, edgy vibe to it and a strong rock influence, with you even doing some guitar playing mini-games at various points in the game. It has a crude, hand drawn, grungy, mostly black and white art style as well that is really interesting. You'll have a sense of the game's art style if you've played the Salt and Sanctuary games. This is a game where I think only a video does justice to its hyper kinetic action:

 

I have a lot of others too, but I want to see everyone else's choices before I post any more of mine.

 

Edited by Astro Bot
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I really like the Spelunky and Binding of Isaac games. Big Bang Mini for NDS is also pretty fun. Based on the examples you gave I'm guessing you were more of thinking of newer stuff. If you're down to count retro stuff though, then I'd argue Cocoron for Famicom is kinda indie, and that game is great

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2 minutes ago, Ankos said:

I really like the Spelunky and Binding of Isaac games. Big Bang Mini for NDS is also pretty fun. Based on the examples you gave I'm guessing you were more of thinking of newer stuff. If you're down to count retro stuff though, then I'd argue Cocoron for Famicom is kinda indie, and that game is great

I'm flexible, you guys can mention any games you want. 

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Well I doubt much of what I'd think fits would surprise perhaps but...

the Cat Tales games, Bloodstained series, QWAK for GBA, uCity for GBC and now GBA, KHAN's Leisure Suit Larry port to NES, Dead Cells especially w/Castlevania, Lodoss War Deedlit in Wonderland, Golf Story(switch), the first only w/Blaster Master Zero, Cave Story, Hyper FIghitng on Virtual Boy, Demon's Tilt, Everspace, Torchlight 1 & 2, Yooka Laylee, (back when it was indie not corporate)Minecraft, AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake), Cursed Castilla and Super Hydorah, and Terraria between PC/switch-console

On mobile some of those exist too, but I'd also add interesting stuff like Pocket City, Polytopia, A Dark Room, Seedship, F-Sim 1 and 2 (space shuttle simulator), Path of Adventure(closest to a D&D adventure youll find and free), Goblin Sword, and FallingLightBricks(has skins can make this a 1:1 for NES Tetris if you wish.)

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I could name a lot of stuff, but these are probably the cream of the crop. All absolute top-tier stuff!

Baba Is You
Tanuki Justice
Steel Assault
Aggelos
Bug Fables
The Witness
Sea of Stars
Freedom Planet
Crypt of the Necrodancer
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Shovel Knight
Tunic
Slay The Spire
Return of the Obra Dinn

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7 minutes ago, CT said:

Cuphead (does that count?)

Cuphead is what it is thanks to them getting massive support from Microsoft, so I didn't count it on my own list. It definitely has that indie spirit, though.

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Plenty of great games already mentioned. I have a hard time really knowing what classifies as "indie" these days. Huntdown was a recent game that blew my expectations away. Is that indie?

A few run-n-guns like Super Cyborg and Biolab Wars were quite good for how short and cheap they were. Xeno Crisis also.

Dusk. Holy hell...that was an experience. Absolutely worth your time and money.

I just found out about and picked up this game called Sonar Shock and it's really impressive. It just came out but it's on the Steam summer sale right now for like $6. It's a throwback to the original System Shock and early PC immersive sims of that style but it is quite a thing.

Invisible, Inc. is definitely up there with my favorites. Sort of like if XCOM were a cyberpunk stealth game. I loved it so much, I played the game back-to-back 3 times while increasing the difficulty each playthrough.
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Editorials Team · Posted

Screw it, here's my top 25 "modern" Indies, in order, completely made up off the top of my head:

  1. Darkest Dungeon
  2. Slay the Spire
  3. Hades
  4. Baba Is You
  5. Tunic
  6. The Witness
  7. Return of the Obra Dinn
  8. Hollow Knight
  9. Jamestown+
  10. Stardew Valley
  11. Inscryption
  12. Dead Cells
  13. Cadence of Hyrule
  14. Enter the Gungeon
  15. Thimbleweed Park
  16. Dusk
  17. Into the Breach
  18. Undertale
  19. The Binding of Isaac
  20. Celeste
  21. Inside
  22. Everspace
  23. Blasphemous
  24. Danmaku Unlimited 3
  25. Downwell

I assume things like Cuphead and Ori don't technically count.

edit:  oops, forgot Shovel Knight

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I love reading these! I've already seen some of my other favorites in your responses. Don't stress too much about what "indie" means. I don't want this to feel too restrictive. 

Super Daryl Deluxe is another fun one I don't see brought up much. It's got lots of fun, quirky characters, humor, and some pretty funny dialog. I definitely feel some Napoleon Dynamite vibes too. It's kind of a weird, surreal sort of game that feels like a unique expression of its creators with how unusual it is, which is one thing I like seeing in some indie games. That feeling that the developers made something that no one else but them could have made.

The gameplay is a little bit Metroid, a little bit beat 'em up, and a little bit RPG. The devs called it a "RPGvania".

The art style is interesting too, and there is some fun music like the theme in this trailer. . 

Narita Boy is sort of a 2d, hack and slash, platformer with a STRONG 80s aesthetic and soundtrack. Really interesting world and characters in this one too. You're essentially pulled from the real world into a video game, kind of like Tron (a movie that clearly has some influence on this game). I really enjoyed the combat and even did a playthrough once where I got through most of the game without taking a single hit. The bosses are really cool and memorable too (especially "Black Rainbow").

 

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Posted (edited)

I need to make another attempt to get into Hollow Knight. It is the critical and fan darling and has been since it released. For reasons that even I'm not clear about, my first time trying to play through it ended after just a couple hours of just feeling lukewarm about it. It's possible I had other things distracting me at the time or I just wasn't in the right headspace for another Metroidvania. Who knows but maybe it's about time to give it another chance.

Edited by Webhead123
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Editorials Team · Posted
3 minutes ago, Webhead123 said:

I need to make another attempt to get into Hollow Knight. It is the critical and fan darling and has been since it released. For reasons that even I'm not clear about, my first time trying to play through it ended after just a couple hours of just feeling lukewarm about it. It's possible I had other things distracting me at the time or I just wasn't in the right headspace for another Metroidvania. Who knows but maybe it's about time to give it another chance.

You gave on the Souls games too, right?  Because it's basically one of those.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Reed Rothchild said:

You gave on the Souls games too, right?  Because it's basically one of those.

I've tried multiple, to varying degrees of success and frustration. I've discerned that Dark Souls/Sekiro/Bloodborne/Elden and their clones are definitely not that enjoyable for me, at least at this point in my life. Darkest Dungeon and Blasphemous have been much, much better. In fact, I absolutely loved 95% of my experience with Darkest Dungeon right up until the moment that I hated it. I got caught up in all the atmosphere and lore and building a super-awesome, ass-kickin' team and made the mistake of thinking that the game existed for any other reason but to kick the player in the nuts, take away their toys, throw them in a woodchipper and laugh at their tears. I'll come back to it someday, once the scars have faded a bit. I'm not finished with Blasphemous yet but I think maybe it's the case that I like the Souls-like genre more in a 2D space, rather than 3D. Perhaps I feel more capable or adept in 2D, where I don't have to fight the fuggin' camera while also fighting the, you know, actual enemy.😉

As for Hollow Knight, I don't think I even got far enough to see the Souls-like elements. I was pretty early on and I think maybe I just wasn't in the mood for a game with a lot of backtracking. I unlocked the bug-rail system and I think that's when the sheer scope of what the game was going to ask of me suddenly became real and I kinda zoned out.

Edited by Webhead123
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Posted (edited)

I honestly don't really see anything particularly Souls'ish about Hollow Knight. Theres some superficial finish there, but it's vague. It's pretty by the numbers as far as indie metroidvanias go.

3 hours ago, Webhead123 said:

A few run-n-guns like Super Cyborg and Biolab Wars were quite good for how short and cheap they were. Xeno Crisis also.

Man, I can't believe I forgot about Xeno Crisis! I loved that so much I bought the MVS cartridge.

Super Cyborg started out great, but damn the last couple of stages really made it drop drastically in my ratings.

Edited by Sumez
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Editorials Team · Posted
35 minutes ago, Webhead123 said:

I need to make another attempt to get into Hollow Knight. It is the critical and fan darling and has been since it released. For reasons that even I'm not clear about, my first time trying to play through it ended after just a couple hours of just feeling lukewarm about it. It's possible I had other things distracting me at the time or I just wasn't in the right headspace for another Metroidvania. Who knows but maybe it's about time to give it another chance.

I wanted to give up on it after the first couple hours too. It wasn't fun to try and figure out where I needed to go next. I think I even said I wanted to quit in the Backlog thread of whatever year. But I gave it another couple hours and it ended up really pulling me in.

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Editorials Team · Posted

I really liked Enter the Gungeon, and I wish I had the time to really sink into it and learn it well enough to get through it. Maybe once I fix the drift on my joycons I'll give it another go. Right now I'm finishing up another obscure hidden indie called Tears of the Kingdom.

Minit was fun for a romp, but I haven't picked it up since beating it.

There are definitely games that I felt like I HAD to try like Celeste, Hollow Knight, Cuphead etc, and for the most part the hype is deserved. But I'm gonna stick it out there and say I don't get the hype behind Undertale. But I definitely went into it with astronomical expectations.

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There's a mountain of popular indie games I haven't played and a plethora of hidden gems of course, but anyway here's some kind of list of 50 indies I like from old DOS games to modern stuff:

1001 Spikes
A Dance of Fire and Ice
Action Henk
Antichamber
Aquaria
Baba Is You
Balatro
Castle in the Darkness
Celeste
Crimzon Clover
DEMON'S TILT
Doki Doki Literature Club!
Dungeons of Dredmor
Elasto Mania
eXceed 3rd - Jade Penetrate
Happenlance
HoloCure - Save the Fans!
HyperRogue
Hyperun
Into the Breach
Liero
LISA
N++
Offspring Fling!
Pool Panic
Post Void
Pro Pilkki
Pushcat
Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale
Redout: Enhanced Edition
Remnants of Naezith
Rifter
Room to Grow
Shatter
Shovel Knight
Slay the Spire
Snakebird
Soldat
Stephen's Sausage Roll
Syzygy
T.E.C. 3001
The Cat Lady
The Sun and Moon
The Ultimate Tapan Kaikki
Thumper
Tiny Bubbles
Umihara Kawase
Undertale
Wings of Vi
WORLD OF HORROR

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Some favorites that haven't been mentioned:

  • Cruelty Squad - Hitman Spider-man Deus Ex LSD Quake
  • Brigand: Oaxaca - Solo dev immersive sim made over a long period of time in an ancient engine. Oozing with the purest janky passion.
  • Getting Over It - Unique mouse-based platformer
  • Dwarf Fortress - The biggest game
  • Her Story - Interactive movie you uncover through non-linear video clips. I'm a sucker for non-linear stories you have to piece together. I didn't like his next game though (Telling Lies) so this one must have the juice.
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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, sp1nz said:

Crimzon Clover
Elasto Mania

🥰

Elasto Mania is really a desert island game for me. I've played and a mobile clone (Bike or Die) for untold hours. Both playing new level packs or grinding for better times I could never get bored. It has something in the floaty, bouncy physics that's perfect that makes me love it more than modern trial bike games. Even Elasto Mania 2 which just slightly tweaked it isn't as good.

Edited by DefaultGen
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