By now it is well known: for some years, the development of video games is no longer reserved exclusively for major studios. Speaking of which, today we are here with our selection of the best indie video games on the market
For a few years now, the video game development business has been turned around like a sock from a huge amount of indie studios, created to compete with first-tier studios. Despite the technical limitations of the god of money, some of these studios have been able to pull titles out of their hat very respectable, capable of winning the favor of critics and videogame fandom. For this reason, today we are here to populate you with our selection of best indie video games on the market.
Disclaimer in 8-bit
Before starting our list, there would be a small clarification to make. The titles in our selection are the result of one weighted sorting, resulting from a rigid and selective analysis that not everybody they could share. Since indie development takes much less time than triple-A titles, “indie” games keep popping up like mushrooms while maintaining excellent quality. Including all the great indie titles that have come out over the years in a single list, therefore, is quite complicated. For this reason, without getting lost in further talk, let’s start with our selection of the best indies on the market. Let’s go!
The Binding of Isaac (and related expansions) – Best indie video games
Let’s start our list with a pillar of indie gaming history. The roguelike of Edmund McMillen, since its debut on Steam, has been very popular several consents from both critical reviews and indie game fandom. Born from the mod of one of the old titles of The Legend of Zelda, The Binding of Isaac (as the title suggests) is about little Isaac intent on escaping the clutches of his wicked mother, who tries to sacrifice him to Dio.
The biblical and esoteric context of the game was perfectly apt by McMillen and company, who thanks to a selection of bosses and enemies as curated as it is contextualized they made the game challenging, beautiful to look at and rewarding in progression. Furthermore, the high number of endings (well 20, all different from each other) makes it playable and replayable to exhaustion, leaving boredom and monotony outside the door. If you haven’t played it, close this article and go download it.
Cuphead – Best indie video games
You know the Disney cartoons of the years between 1935 and 1940, like Topolino o Silly Symphonies? Good because Cuphead, the masterpiece of StudioMDHR, it seems to have come out of exactly those years there. Between graphics that are more classic than vintage, ’30s music and a character design that is as particular as it is spot on, Cuphead sits on a special armchair in our selection. The plot tells of Cuphead and his brother Mugman, two milk cups with their feet, which they play their souls at the casino. The only way they have to save themselves is to obtain the contracts of the souls of other inhabitants of their world and bring them to the devil, who in exchange will spare theirs.
It is quite evident from the very first minutes, that the game is not based on the plot but on the gameplay. The game, in fact, although it has a simple and intuitive style, turns out to be a real challenge. Set up as a 2D soulslike, you will have to give your best to overcome the arude tests that the game offers you. The bosses in particular are difficult to face, but consequently satisfying to defeat. Between special skills, customization and much more, Cuphead turns out to be a title fresh, pleasant and decidedly innovative.
There is really so much more to say, so we limit ourselves to saying that, probably, never in the history of video games had such an interesting combination of vintage design, stylistic choices and gameplay been successful. Nice nice nice.
To The Moon – Best Indie Video Games
Now we start to cry. To The Moon, recently transposed also to Nintendo Switch, is a perfect mix of conflicting emotions and nostalgia for something that has never been experienced. Traditionally, stories within video games do not get the same recognition as other “visual” entertainment such as cinema and TV. Freebird Games, with To The Moon, he tries to overturn this canon by succeeding fully. In a decidedly meager gameplay and 16-bit graphics, the title is played all out with the storyline, making jackpot.
The story, whose concept travels halfway between Inception ed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, talks about two scientists from Sigmund Corp, a company specializing in giving people on the verge of death memories. Entering the minds of their patients, scientists graft a series of memories of events that never actually occurred, but thanks to which to grant a last wish before the departure.
Through the eyes of the two characters we control, we live the latest adventure of Johnny, an elderly widower now in his last moments of life eager to go to the moon. Thanks to the machinery in their equipment, the sceinziati begin a journey backwards within Johnny’s memories starting from the last one up to his youth, where to proceed with the graft of the last wish.
Between puzzles and mini-games, tear-jerking moments and emotions often highlighted by a respectable soundtrack, To The Moon offers an experience magical and wonderful, relentlessly playing with the player’s emotions as a child plays with a toy car. Deeply touching.
What Remains of Edith Finch – Best Indie Video Games
We started crying with To The Moon, we keep crying with Edith Finch. The title of Giant Sparrow, short as it may be, it is certainly one of the most empathic and moving headlines available on the market. Set up as a kind of walking simulator mixed with a puzzle game, the game is actually very simple in both gameplay and storyline.
The story is about Edith Finch, a girl who returns after years to the bizarre house that has belonged to her family for generations. Through Edith’s eyes, by solving the minigames that the game offers us, it will be possible to advance from one room to another in the house to rebuild the family tree of the family. The touch of genius of the studio actually lies in this game mechanics. Each room, belonging to a member of the almost extinct family, will make us relive the exact moment of his departure.
In a mixed bitter-sweet Between the entertainment created by the minigames and the dismay and anguish of what we are actually playing, What Remains of Edith Finch punches us in the stomach from start to finish, wetting the eyes of even the toughest players. The soundtrack is masterfully orchestrated as well as well integrated into the game, and the finale perfectly closes a “Giotto’s circle” of emotions. Never seen a title as short as it is well managed in terms of time and development. Absolutely from 10.
Limbo – Best indie video games
But now just cry and let’s go into the macabre and disturbing world of Limbo. First real title of the Danish software house Playdead, Limbo is one of the milestones (as well as source of inspiration) of the indie scene of all time. The story, with decidedly disturbing premises, speaks of our character intent on rediscovering his little sister to take her away from limbo. The latter, who committed suicide a short time before, for some reason finds herself in this Limbo as dark as it is menacing, populated by traps and creatures ready to party.
If in Limbo gameplay it is decidedly thin and in full line with the more traditional puzzle-platformers, in the technical sector a whole other music plays. The graphic style is single and innovative: the game is in fact completely in grayscale, with our character outlined only by the silhouette and by his small bright eyes. The audio sector, characterized by the almost absence of music but from excellent sound design, helps to create a constant atmosphere of tension and suspension. Without wandering too far, Limbo is a splendid dream journey in which all the pieces are in their distressing place. Technically excellent.
Hollow Knight – Best Indie Video Games
Finally we take action. The one with swords and knights, set in an enchanted world. Now imagine this context, but in a small way. Very very small, about the same as a beetle. Ladies and gentlemen this is it Hollow Knight, a fantasy-tinged metroidvania set in the domain of insects and beetles. The game, with a mysterious and fascinating atmosphere, narrates the exploits of “viandante”, a small hollow-eyed beetle armed with a stiletto trying to save the kingdom of Hallownest from the terrible plague that afflicts him.
The title of Team Cherry, winner of numerous titles including “Best Indie Game Debut”, manages to perfectly put together a vast game world as well cared as it is interesting, the interactivity and explorability of an open world, a simple but extremely functional gameplay (thanks to the special skills of the protagonist) and the sense of continuous challenge dictated the difficulty of the game itself. Hollow Knight is huge, the characters are deeply curated, and the graphics are wonderful.
Fun, long-lived and profound, thanks also to the numerous mysteries and collectibles scattered throughout the game world, we limit ourselves to defining Hollow Knight as an entertainment product.fresh, innovative and absolutely not to be missed. The additional DLCs also enrich the game with new very difficult bosses that will keep us busy for a few more hours. Finally, porting to Nintendo Switch gives added value to an already perfect title in itself. To play absolutely.
Outer Wilds – Best Indie Video Games
Outer Wilds is one of the newest games on our list, as well as the most unusual and experimental. The title, which had already started off on the right foot with its prototype in 2015, won (deservedly) the Seumas McNally Grand Prize all’Independent Games Festival of that year. The game is a real gem for science fiction lovers, giving players a respectable exploration factor. Although not procedural, the title still manages to be interesting due to the characteristics of its main planets: four rocky, a gas giant, several satellites, orbital stations and other stellar phenomena. Each planet has its own story to tell, all of which are interesting, mysterious and deeply fascinating.
The actual story is about a group of space colonists, all of whom start from Woody Heart discovering the meanders of space. Our hero is the last to leave home in search of his companions. It is a good idea for an explorer to bring a musical instrument with him, thanks to the Signaloscope (a sound amplifier) the hiding places of the other spacers will be locatable …