This year has been a fantastic year for gaming. I finally got my hands on great games such as The Last Of Us, Bioshock Infinite and Grand Theft Auto V. Although I loved playing these games, they weren’t the only reasons why this year has been extremely satisfying for me as a gamer. This year I made it my mission to play a ton of indie titles, and it may have been one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. My love for indies doesn’t end at games, I’m extremely passionate about independent film too. There’s nothing quite amazing as experiencing a creation that someone has put so much love and care into without having a Publisher alter their vision.
It’s now my pleasure to introduce you to my very own list of the best independent games of this generation, in no specific order:
Developer: Ed Key & David Kanaga
Platforms: PC, MAC OS, PS3, VITA
Not many games can blend music and visuals as spectacularly as Proteus manages to do. A game that has the player traverse a unique and beautiful island, accompanied by a fantastic pixel art style making Proteus not just a game, but an experience. I have a profound love for nature, I love the sound of rivers running in the distance as I walk around a forest, the sounds of birds chirping in the morning and the amazing sights that the world beholds. Proteus accomplishes to project everything that I love about nature and gives me a sense of wonder every time I play the game. I am so passionate about this game, in fact as soon as I first played Proteus for the first time I had to write about it. If there is one example of games being art, then Proteus is it.
Developer: Drinkbox Studios
Platforms: PC, PS3, VITA
I rarely have as much fun playing a game as I had playing Guacamelee!. I must admit, I bought Guacamelee! on a whim, I didn’t like the art style and I wasn’t too sure that the gameplay would do anything for me. However, upon playing Guacamelee! I shortly found that the game was both addictive and also extremely funny. Guacamelee! stars a Mexican farmer named Juan Aguacate, who becomes a luchadore and makes it his mission to save the world when El Presidente’s daughter is kidnapped by an evil skeleton named Carlos Calaca. Guacamelee! is in the style of a Metroidvania and is quite short, however that doesn’t impact the game at all. The fact that the game is cross-buy with the Vita doesn’t hurt it at all either. It’s not very often that a game will make me fall in love based on its mechanics alone but something about Guacamelee! sucked me in and never let me go. Throughout my playthrough, I slowly began learning new moves and abilities and before long I was stringing combos with ease. Guacamelee! is a must play for any PS3 or PC owner.
Like Proteus, Journey is a game that has players interact with the world through sight and sound. I must admit, I had initially downloaded a demo of Journey and after ten minutes with the game I decided it wasn’t for me. However, a year or so later I took the minor risk and bought the full game from the PSN store and decided to finish it. In Journey we have one simple task, make it to the mountain in the distance. Throughout the game we meet fellow players who join us on our Journey and through sight and sound travel through different beautiful environments. The feel of Journey is one I won’t forget, I spent two hours playing through the game with someone I never met and the experience was one that I have never imagined before. I won’t say anything more, just do yourself a favour and purchase Journey and take that journey for yourself.
Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons
Developer: Starbreeze Studios
Platforms: X360, PS3, PC
Playing through Brothers, I couldn’t stop making comparison to the visuals of a DreamWorks Animation film, and that’s not a bad thing. I thought the graphics in Brothers were stunning (especially on my PC), as if someone had opened up an old fairy tale book and made it come to life right on my 22-inch monitor. In Brothers, two siblings are tasked with retrieving water from The Tree Of Life to save their father who has fallen ill. While you travel the land you will see amazing landscapes and interact with interesting creatures. The gameplay of Brothers is unique by how the left and right analogue sticks control each sibling respectively and holding L2 and R2 will have each of the Brothers interact with various people and creatures throughout the game. Controlling the Brothers becomes easier after a short amount of time and it’s interesting to see how the older and younger brother interact differently to people and situations. Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons is a game not to be missed.
To The Moon
Developer: Freebird Games
Last but definitely not least, To The Moon is not only one of the best indie games I’ve ever played, but one of my favourite games of all time. Designed in the RPG Maker engine, To The Moon uses a 16 bit graphics style making it reminiscent to games from the Super Nintendo era. To The Moon revolves around Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts who works for Sigmund Corp, a company that uses technology that allows the construction of artificial permanent memories. They are tasked with the job to fulfill the lifelong dream of the dying Johnny Wyles. Johnny’s wish is simple: he wants to go to the moon, although he doesn’t know why. The doctors must then go into his memories and upon finding out that they are unable to grant his dying wish, they must go back throughout his life to find out why he wants to go To The Moon.