Over the years, the indie scene has been building and building, with developers becoming smarter and more creative, ready to push the boundaries within gaming. At a much lower price point, I often feel I get better value for money within indie gaming. So to celebrate indie gaming I have collaborated with Max from The Book Pyramid to highlight some of our favourite indies that we have played this year.
The first three choices are from myself:
Hades – SuperGiant Games
Hades for me, sits on the Mount Olympus of indie gaming – being the very best in both design and gameplay. The gameplay within Hades is fast paced, dynamic and satisfying. The developers at Supergiant games have fine tuned the combat, flowing so freely that you feel as if you are a god yourself. My favourite part of this game is the randomly generated choices, making each playthrough different, rewarding those who learn the variety of choices and are willing to try things out. Personally, my favourite is the ice powers, allowing you to slowly destroy your enemies with ice whilst you drop crystals to shoot ice beams to cause further damage. Combined with the six weapons, the choice within this game is enormous – some weapons that I thought I would hate, ended up becoming my most used and the first I completed the game with.
Dodgeball Academia – Pocket Trap
Throughout my childhood I have always been a fan of role playing games and more specifically the Pokemon franchise. So to find a game that is a RPG, is based around dodgeball and contains tons of nods to the classic Pokemon games; then it was an immediate success in my eyes. The game is filled with humour, colourful characters and fun dodgeball filled fun! Never before had I thought to play a game where I would pelt fire balls at a cardboard box headed boy with an arrogant attitude. Dodgeball Academia only lasts about 10-12 hours, which is a perfect size for an indie experience. I am hoping my developers find fun twists on the RPG genre in the future.
Monster Sanctuary – Moi Rai Games
Monster Sanctuary has been my monster collecting guilty pleasure this year and as soon as I heard about this title, it was a must play for myself. The game has a huge level of depth and strategy, rewarding the player for experimenting with the different monsters and skills, at times working almost like a puzzle game. Completing this game was a triumph, delivering a huge wave of endorphins and a few shrieks of happiness. The pixel art within Monster Sanctuary is amazing, with each creature holding its own charm, continuing the original charm from first Pokemon red and blue games.
The following four picks are from Max:
Steven Universe: Save the Light – Grumpyface Studios
For the uninitiated, Steven Universe is a popular tv show on Cartoon Network. It was the first animated series to be created solely by a woman (Rebecca Sugar), and it is awesome! Save The Light is the second game in trilogy of games set in the Steven Universe… universe. The thing that hooked me from the start other than the theme was that this game is a turned base RPG. It’s a very simple, yet addictively fun one. The story is light but interesting, the puzzles and collectibles kept me intrigued, but the meat and potatoes of this game is the combat system. Timed hits, dual attacks and new special powers, it has everything I like in turn based battle. If you are in the market for a fun little RPG, give this one a go. I Platinumed it in less than a week and had a great time doing it!
Battle Chaser Nightmare – Airship Syndicate
This game is based on the Battle Chaser graphic novel and is also a turn based RPG. This one however has a much more serious tone and has a lot more meat on the bones in terms of hours of content it offers. You have six different characters to build and used in combat (though only three are used at the same time) and the levelling up system as well as earning new abilities is done quite well. Each character also has a special ability they can use out of combat to interact with the environments and allows you to unlock hidden passages, secret rooms and solve puzzles. The story is robust enough to keep you invested and has some nice twists and turns you probably won’t see coming. I really liked this one and recommend it to anyone looking for a deeper, meatier RPG experience.
Iron Cryptical – TIKIPOD
This little arcade twin-sticks dungeon shooter has some cool retro graphics and some sweet RPG elements to it with tons of powerful pickups to unlock over the course of your many runs. There are many games that fall in this category but for the price you pay for this one (it’s quite on the cheap side), the experience it gives is very rewarding. This is one of my favourite couch coop game to play with my son as we both participate fully and work together to go as deep into the dungeon as we can. Super fun little game, especially when played with friends!
Greak: Memories of Azur – Navegante Entertainment
The newest Indie game I played and the most beautiful of the bunch by far! Greak: Memories of Azur is a single player puzzle platformer adventure where you play as a trio of siblings who each wield different weapons and special abilities. This one is for the Hollow Knight fans out there. The story, music and backdrops really create a gorgeous tapestry for you to play in. The combat is the good ol’ “easy to learn hard to master” adage. (But not too hard IMO) If you dig that kind of hauntingly beautiful game, give this one a go.