27 Sep 10 awesome indie games (part 1)
You might have guessed it, but we at Krillbite really value indie games. The amazing amount of high-quality projects released continue to astonish us, which is why we’ve decided to share with you some of our favourite titles! (please note, in no particular order).
Of course, the amount of games extends the scope of these articles, hence dozens of must-play titles have been left out. At the same time we want to cover the diversity in the indie game scene, hoping to contribute towards dismantling the myth about games having a particular target audience. We will however include some honourable mentions in the end.
For those of you who find an unfamiliar title in the list, we recommend you reschedule your evening! The last five games will be posted next week (go to part 2).
Limbo is a dark and solitary experience. With its unique monochrome art style and (rather macabre) beauty, it stands as a testimony to the endless potential in even traditional 2d platformers.
While the visuals and audio in Limbo will bend your soul, the game’s puzzles will bend your mind. With mechanics ranging from water and gravity to magnetism, puzzles are designed to punish your slightest missteps. Nevertheless, you will be so engulfed in its dark atmosphere that this feels appropriate, and not the slightest frustrating.
The game itself uses no words (written or spoken) to communicate any sort of story, with only a few clues to the plot given in its tagline “Uncertain of his Sister’s Fate, a Boy enters LIMBO”. Like all great stories, the details are left to interpretation.
Developer Playdead Studios even says the engine built specifically for Limbo does not support colors, which, despite being unintended, becomes quite poetic in the game’s hopeless context.
…and then there’s VVVVVV. You’ll die a lot in this game. But it’s ok. It’s worth it.
Designed by Terry Cavanagh and scored by Magnus Pålsson, the game is a well executed, terribly difficult game with one of the best ever game soundtracks.
You control Captain Viridian, stranded in a strange dimension, who must rescue her crew. They are, of course, lost inside mazes full of nasty puzzles, insta-death spikes and (thankfully) a lot of checkpoints. To top it off, you can’t jump, but you’re “limited” to flipping gravity. This mechanic is the core of the game and makes for some delightfully frustrating, alebeit finger breaking challenges.
Add plenty of exploration and hard-to-get optional puzzles, and you get this lovely, unique platformer. A must!
Machinarium, by Czech Amanita design, is an extraordinarily beautiful point and click puzzle adventure game.
While the gameplay offers great brain teasers, it is the visuals that really sets the game apart. As a result, Machinarium was granted the “Excellence in Visual Art award” at the 12th Annual Independent Games Festival (among many other awards).
Backgrounds and characters are carefully hand drawn, filling the environments and characters with personality, heart and soul. The game is so creative in its expression that whatever frostbite or crysis powered game seems cold and mechanical in comparison. You will travel through elaborate rooms bursting with intricate detail compelling you to continue exploring.
Supported by a magnificent soundscape, Machinarium in its whole quite simply offers a fabulous aesthetic experience.
And Yet It Moves
And Yet It Moves started as a student project at the Vienna University of Technology, and there was so much interest for the prototype at Independent Games festivals that they decided to make it a complete game.
This game is a physics based 2D platformer where you rotate the world around you to traverse otherwise inaccessible terrain, and at the same time manipulate the objects in the world to your advantage (or disadvantage). The creative leveldesign is what makes this game so brilliant and makes it flow really nicely once you master the timing.
Lacking a graphical artist, the team improvised by creating all the visuals from cut out pictures, giving the game a truly unique look.
In the pursuit of diversity, we had to highlight some exemplary shortform works as well.
In this genre, the work by Jason Rohrer is an essential recommendation.
The tagline “a video game about mania, melancholia, and the creative process” sets the premise for Gravitation. However, similar to Limbo, little instructions are provided and it’s up to the player to discover the game mechanics and symbolism. Through simple game play, Jason communicates a feeling most can relate to, while the sharp focus leaves space for thought.
Developer: Jason Rohrer
Platform: PC, MAC & Linux