Don’t Sleep on the Indie World: 20 of the Best Indie Games Ever

Best Indie Games

It’s a new decade, but let us not forget the gems of indie games that were released over the last ten years. Digital marketplaces like Steam played a defining role in this, and we’re glad it did: indie games take more risks than mainstream video games, and though they may flop sometimes, they can help move the industry forward when done well.

Coming up are 20 of the best indie games ever. At least, in our opinion. 

20. Best Indie Games Ever: Firewatch

Source: YouTube/Markiplier

Released in February 2016, Firewatch is a simple game with a story that focuses on two different fire lookouts. To pass the long days, the two lookouts speak to each other through walky-talkies. Individuals playing the game can select different dialogue choices, which determines how close the characters grow to each other. The visuals are stunning, it’s an exciting concept, and while it’s not the most action-based video game, it is one that you won’t see anywhere else.

Users can play Firewatch on Switch, Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

19. Best Indie Games Ever: Inside

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The graphics in this game are dreary and miserable, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Released in June 2016, Inside is a game developed by Playdead. The story takes place in a dystopian world, and players must make their way through the city as they try to escape authorities. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Players will run into several enemies, puzzles, and environmental hazards throughout their journey, which means you never have a minute of feeling hopeful. Sometimes it feels like everything is going wrong. And while that may not be the most fun, it is incredibly captivating.

18. Best Indie Games Ever: Papers, Please

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When I was in college, I took a video games class, and Papers, Please was one of the many indie games we analyzed. I haven’t forgotten about it since. It may lack action, and the graphics may be very minimal, but it’s intense, and the story addresses important topics like immigration.

Released in 2013, players take on the role of an immigration officer in Papers, Please. The story is located in a fictional nation called Arstotzka, and individuals must process a stream of immigrants, deciding whether or not to let them into the country. It’s a simple idea, but it doesn’t stay that way for long. As the game progresses, the rules for entry change, and players must make moral choices.

The game is available on the following platforms: PlayStation, PS Vita, and PC.

17. Best Indie Games: Undertale

Source: YouTube/PewDiePie

Just as Pulp Fiction became a cult-hit with movie buffs, Undertale had a similar impact on gamers across the world. Even though the game, which was released in September 2015, came out of the left-field, we don’t think it’s going to exit the indie gaming world anytime soon. It’s the story and dialogue that make this game stand out from the crowd. It may be an action-based game, but that doesn’t mean you have to involve yourself in action. Select the right dialogue options, and you may go through the entire game without killing someone. If that’s what you want.

16. Best Indie Games: The Binding of Isaac

Source: YouTube/PewDiePie

Released in September 2011, The Binding of Isaac is a roguelike game on a time limit. Players crawl through a dungeon, try to avoid the bad guys, and if you die, that’s all progress gone. With that, a sense of urgency is born. Think you have nerves of steel to beat the game? Check it out: the game is available on PC. 

15. Best Indie Games: Eliza

Source: YouTube/wolftooth

A game probably does not get more indie than Eliza. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely accurate, but there is some truth to it. When puzzle-game developer Zachtronics released Eliza on PC, the gaming world was shaken. This visual novel is one of the best-written games out there, as the story follows an AI counseling service called Eliza. Individuals take on the role of Evelyn, who is the human proxy, and you read out the AI’s answers to patients. As you play the game, you realize Eliza’s story is about something entirely different. And to find that out, you’re just going to have to play it. 

14. Best Indie Games: Guildings

Source: YouTube/App Unwrapper

Indie games can be many things, but if you are looking for zippy writing and jokes coming at you from all angles, then we suggest Guildings. Players take on the role of Coda, an adorable character who uses an enchanted smartphone to save the world. Of course, you’re not doing this alone; you do this with the help of your friends. And the support that you get from them depends on the friend. Some might charge your phone for you. Others, however, might just hit you with some sarcastic comments. All part of the game.

We want to note, however, that players should not get distracted by the witty writing. In this game, it’s all about the decisions you make, and strategizing is going to be the difference between winners and losers.

13. Best Indie Games: Minecraft

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You knew it was coming, didn’t you? Released in November 2011, Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the world, and for a good reason. Yes, the graphics may be simple. They might even be laughable at times, but don’t let that fool you. No game will ever give you as much freedom to build what you want as Minecraft does.

12. Best Indie Games: Gone Home

Source: YouTube/theRadBrad

Available on Switch, Xbox One, and PS4, Gone Home is the original “walking simulator,” and while appearing like a horror game, it’s not. It’s so much more than that, and it looks at important issues within the family dynamic. Yet, if you let yourself believe you’re playing a horror game, it’s not challenging to get that vibe out of Gone Home. Players spend most of the game walking around an eerie, empty house, searching for clues. Between the flickering lights and the overall dim lighting, Gone Home still gives shivers up the spine.

11. Best Indie Games: A Short Hike

Source: YouTube/Koubitz

Okay, we have another adorable indie game with A Short Hike. Cute graphics, lovable characters, a heartfelt narrative focus. Players, who take on the role of Claire, begin their journey to find cellphone reception on a mountain, and they must make critical decisions as they come face to face with sidequests and characters along the way. Everywhere you look in this game, there is a new adventure, and that’s the point.

10. Best Indie Games: Detention

Source: YouTube/Father

Overlooked, underrated, and perhaps the closest video game to the original Silent Hill. What more could an indie horror fan want? As one, I will answer the question: there isn’t anything. Detention is an atmospheric game that combines survival horror and point-and-click adventure. The story takes place in a school in the 1960s (it looks exactly like the house in the Grudge, people), and two students find themselves trapped inside. Creatures chase after them as they look for a way out of the school. Do you think you’re up for the challenge?

9. Best Indie Games: SCP-087 (Stairwell)

Source: YouTube/Gamer Max Channel

Okay, this one is cool. Scary, but cool. And it’s simple too. Here us out: players walk down a dark staircase for several floors, with weird and creepy stuff popping out as you make your way further down the spiral. That’s it. It’s not much, but it’s disturbing and compelling.

You’re welcome.

8. Best Indie Games: Disco Elysium

Source: YouTube/IGN

This indie game gets major points for creativity and originality. If you ever wanted to play an RPG game that focuses heavily on the “roleplaying” part, Disco Elysium is the game for you. Seriously. In this game, players are tasked with solving an evil murder. There are things in the game you are supposed to do, but what’s unique is that you can make a choice not to do these things. If you want to fail skill checks so you can pressure witnesses for information, that’s up to you. Remember, however, that all of your actions influence the game. Good luck.

7. Best Indie Games: Anatomy

Source: YouTube/Errant Signal

No one likes spoilers. For that, we won’t say too much about Anatomy, other than that players explore a house looking for VHS tapes. It’s eerie on all levels, but perhaps what scared me the most is that The Things That Go Bump in the Night aren’t hiding in the classic places. Instead of fearing to look under the bed, you should be afraid of the house and the geometry.

Okay, we’ve said too much already. Just play the game.

6. Best Indie Games: Grindstone

Source: YouTube/App Unwrapper

Combing bright colors with murder sprees—that’s an indie video game for you. Grindstone does this well, as the graphics are vibrant, and players make nail-biting decisions while trying to kill ten enemies in a row. Sounds simple, but as the game progresses, your enemies become more dangerous. The upside is that even if you’re struggling to make your kills, the graphics in the game are adorable. You win some, you lose some.

5. Best Indie Games: IMSCARED

Source: YouTube/Markiplier

A low-fi first-person horror indie game, IMSCARED, is a game that messes with your mind. I know we could say that about most horror video games, but this one rings truer than most. Nothing is what you expect it to be, and the game will try to trick you as many times as possible. I don’t want to spoil anything, either, but let’s just say this game’s power goes beyond the game (hint: watch out for files on your desktop).

4. Best Indie Games: The Last Stand 2

Source: YouTube/DickyButt

Simple, but effective. The Last Stand 2 is a Flash game, and players click on zombies until they die. The sequel adds in new features, like allowing players to do something during daylight hours. Instead of just killing zombies in the dark now, players can go searching for other survivors and supplies before the zombies come out for a feast. 

3. Best Indie Games: Super Meat Boy

Source: YouTube/Denferok

Released in 2010 and available on PS4 and Xbox 360, Super Meat Boy is a great indie game for those looking for a challenge. With 300 levels, players have to endure grueling obstacles to get to the other side. If you quit easily, this is not the game for you. Super Meat Boy requires tough skin to get through 300 expertly designed levels. If you can do it, though, you should consider putting that as a skill on your CV. (Kidding. Sort of.)

2. Best Indie Games: You Are Jeff Bezos

Source: YouTube/DragoniteSpam

Random? Sure. Important? We would say so. This text-based parody adventure game lets players take on the role of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Essentially, players are handed over Bezos’ fortune, and they can decide what to do with it. It’s a funny game, but some find it terrifying as it shows what it’s like to have the finances of the powerful elite. 

1. Best Indie Games: Little Misfortune

Source: YouTube/RabidRetrospectGames

Little Misfortune is an interactive story, which focuses as much on exploration as it does on its characters, who are both dark and sweet. Players take on the role of Misfortune Ramirez Hernandez, an 8-year old girl, who follows her friend, Mr. Voice, into the woods to find the prize of Eternal Happiness. But don’t be fooled. There’s a lot of mystery out there waiting for you in the woods, and every choice you make can have consequences.

Don’t be fooled by the vibrancy of Misfortune. It’s a dangerous world out there—adorable, but very, very dangerous. Yikes forever. 

Featured image: PixaBay

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