I’m someone that has quite a varied taste when it comes to the video games I like to play. While my favourite type of game is often an expansive RPG to captivate me for many hours, I also like first-person shooters, third-person shooters and action-adventure games. I like games that have lots of puzzles in, like Professor Layton, or hack and slash games like Bayonetta. But sometimes, the sheer amount of huge games from AAA developers can be a bit overwhelming. This is why I love finding really interesting indie games, that try something unique or even simple, but leaves a big impression. In today’s post, I want to share some incredible indie games that I’ve played over the years that for me, are must play titles. Enjoy.
Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs
Developed by Pixelated Milk, it has a lot of similarities to the Fire Emblem series in many ways. While it uses a similar framework and gameplay style, it puts its own spin on the formula to great affect. It plays on the stereotypes of fictional and nonfictional worlds to provide a genuinely hilarious and charming adventure. The combat can be as easy and as challenging as you want it to be, with a very flexible set of difficulty sliders. There are so many different characters you’ll meet who are all very different to one another, which extends to combat and the abilities you have at your disposal. Building up your kingdom and the relationships with your allies is a fun and worthwhile experience. This is a must play for RPG and Fire Emblem fans alike, which hasn’t received the attention it deserves.
What Remains of Edith Finch
The term ‘walking simulator’ is often given to many indie games in recent years. While this is somewhat true, they can have incredibly interesting stories and be relaxing to play and explore. What Remains of Edith Finch however, does things to make it stand out from the others in its genre. The player, carrying the journal of Edith Finch, explores Edith’s family home and slowly uncovers the mysteries surrounding them and their lives. Scattered throughout the game, you will play through short sections that show the varying deaths of her husband and children. What makes these sections so great is that they all play much differently to one another, having unique gameplay that makes witnessing these events hauntingly beautiful. The ending is bittersweet and makes the game all the more special.
Ori and the Blind Forest
I was an emotional mess after the first 10 minutes of Ori and the Blind Forest. If you’ve played it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I’m not really a fan of 2D platformer’s or metroidvania style games, but Ori was something else. Its detailed and gorgeous art style is so full of life and character. The story is sweet and contains many emotional moments I wasn’t expecting. The game is very hard, owing to its genre. There is a very steep difficulty curve, particularly when ascending the tree to avoid the rising water. That was such a frustrating section that took forever to complete the first time I played it, but it was so satisfying when I eventually beat it. If you haven’t played yet, it’s also available on the Switch now, as well as Xbox and PC.
This is easily one of the most well known indie games of all time. Everything about Undertale is just so brilliant and memorable. The story is engaging, changing depending on how you play the game, whether that be by being a pacifist or completely genocidal. There are even slight differences if you’ve played multiple times. The gameplay and combat is so varied in its design, where every monster has their own unique attack pattern for you to learn. The humour is so smart yet silly at the same time. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much at a game in a long while as much as I did when playing this. Finally, the music is just so damn catchy and capture the emotions of the scenes so perfectly. If you haven’t played it yet, what are you doing?
While it has some frustrating design choices in terms of the dialogue system, I was hooked on this game’s story from start to finish. Its narrative is centred around time loops and supernatural aspects, where repeat playthroughs are a must to get the full story. There are some genuinely creepy moments, as well as some great character development, which was surprising given the shortish length. The graphics are also very appealing, having that hand painted look which really stands out. It’s on Xbox Gamepass if you have it.
Another ‘walking-simulator’ now but one with a more eerie atmosphere. When it was released, the ending divided its players. While I can understand the arguments from those who were dissatisfied, for me it made perfect sense for the setting and overall story. You play as Henry, who takes a job as a fire lookout. You keep in contact with Delilah, a fellow lookout from a nearby tower. Strange things start occurring as you progress and you later uncover some upsetting revelations. The two characters are very intriguing and we learn more about their backstories, including some more tragic aspects. Overall, a great atmospheric experience that will stick with you for years to come.
The Witness is a very unique experience. While its story is confusing and pretty pretentious, no one played this game for its narrative. What truly made this game so exceptional was its puzzles and beautiful world. At first glance, the puzzles seem very simple, taking place on a grid. However, you’ll soon realise how difficult they really are. There are quite a few different rules and variations you must learn and adapt to, there isn’t any explanation to how they work, you must figure it out on your own. There are quite often times when the answer is hidden in the environment, and even puzzles that are actually embedded in the world itself, requiring you to look at an area from a specific place and perspective. The world is another standout aspect where its very interlinked, you’ll find a number of shortcuts and hidden areas whilst also being able to do the puzzles and main areas in any order you wish.
Some honourable mentions:
- Unravel – A very charming and unique platformer with realistic graphics.
- A Night in the Woods – Very relatable for young adults and university/college students alike.
- Sagebrush – A recent gem that is oozing with atmosphere, and deals with some mature themes.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. What great indie games have you played? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. For all things gaming, stay tuned to Honest Gamer.
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