woensdag 24 augustus 2011

My favourite indie games

In the last couple of years, indie games have grown up. They can now stand tall and proud next to the products of the AAA studios, and often boast better, more innovative gameplay and more imaginative visuals. A lot of my favourite games from the last couple of years are indie games, as I almost completely stopped enjoying (and thus playing) most AAA efforts. The following list contains some of my favourite indie games of the last couple of years. I consider all of them absolute must-plays for any serious gamer.

  1. Aquaria (2007)
    Imaginative visuals, interesting gameplay and a compelling story make up this underwater adventure. One of the first indie games that truly showed me how awesome they could be. This game is LONG, but never gets boring or repetitive; you get some serious bang for your buck in this one.

  2. World of Goo (2008)
    An innovative puzzle game that grew out of a game jam prototype. One of the most original puzzlers I'd seen in years, and some great visuals as well. Where have we heard this as well?

  3. Braid (2008)
    Right! In the same year, Braid was released, another puzzle game with excellent visuals and atmosphere. Braid has one of the most jaw-dropping endings I've seen in recent years. One of the absolute best of the best among indie games.

  4. Amnesia: the dark descent (2010)
    Fucking scary. That's a nice summary for this first person horror game. It's truly one if the scariest games I've ever played. One of the reasons it is so scary is that there's no combat; your only option is to run from your opponents, and hide in the dark until they give up their search.

  5. Minecraft (2010)
    Well this game needs no introduction. It's a virtual lego box with unlimited bricks, water physics and zombies.

  6. VVVVVV (2010)
    Retro puzzle platformer with an interesting gameplay mechanic: you can't jump, but instead you can change the direction of gravity at will by pressing space. Short, but excellent and highly creative.

  7. Super Meat Boy (2010)
    My personal favourite indie game of recent years, Super Meat Boy is pretty much the best platform game ever made. It's Mario taken to minimalistic perfection, with only a run button, a jump button and wall jumps as your arsenal to get through the increasingly challenging (and awesome) levels. I love the style of this game, I love the attitude, and I love the design. If you like platform games, this is the one you should be playing.

  8. Limbo (2011)
    This small little black-and-white jewel does so much with so little: a puzzle here, some smart platforming there and some really atmospheric visuals serve to create this gem that is definitely one of the most coherent gaming experiences I've played.

  9. Terraria (2011)
    2D minecraft ripoff? That's definitely what it looks like. But underneath the surface, it's more a side-scrolling Zelda-like adventure game, in which your goal is not to build awesome stuff (even though you can) but to get the best gear by exploring the underworld, fighting bosses and collecting loot. This game suffers a bit from a bad first impression, but once you get past it, you're in for a treat.

  10. Bastion (2011)
    Even though its gameplay mechanics are quite simple and unoriginal, this game has some of the best visuals I have ever seen in any game, easily surpassing modern AAA titles in atmosphere, style and narrative. It has several interesting gimmicks that make it stand out (dynamic voice-over narrater and levels that build up in front of your feet), but the game is much more than that. It's an extremely well crafted fantasy world that is just a complete pleasure to discover.
As can be seen from the list, the number of classics is growing each year. We're only halfway 2011 and there's already three games that I consider an absolute must-play. What more will the future bring? Things have never looked brighter for the game industry...

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