Life can be tough for the indie developer. While many noteworthy, deserving studios go on to overwhelming success and accolades, player attention is not distributed on an even, merit-based spread. There’s a great many fantastic titles that, for whatever reason, have probably passed under your radar. Many of these are likely to be a familiar name for those who’ve perused the landscape. Perhaps you should take a second look?
In hopes of shining a light on some of the unquestionably deserving titles, here’s a few of the best Indie PC games you’ve probably never played.
Dustforce - $10.99CAD
Here’s one from the school of superlative platformers with absurd premises (see: Super Meat Boy). You are a part of the most elite sanitation crew the world has has ever known. With a side view of some abominably filthy yet still eye-pleasing locales, sweeping and thwacking the detritus away forms into a slick rhythm of running up walls, sliding across ceilings, and refreshing mid-air double jumps. Smooth runs nail a satisfying groove you just don’t find in many other places, and a kicking soundtrack that is simultaneously laid-back and exciting perfectly accents the action.
Door Kickers - $21.99CAD
Assemble a team of specialists, modify their kit for the task at hand, and set to cracking a hefty bag of criminal-infested nuts. This top-down game of strategic shooting shares the DNA of the older, carefully paced Rainbow 6 games, asking you to proceed with utmost caution as you assess and enact your plan of action. The meat of this package lies in a wealth of pre-made boards chock full of explosives to disarm, people to rescue, and VIP targets to eliminate. Your degree of success in each feeds into a stream of equipment and character class unlocks, encouraging you to replay missions for better performances and more rewards.
Infested Planet - $16.99CAD
This world is overrun with huge swarms of aliens. Naturally, it’s up to intergalactic pest control to wade shoulder-deep through the waves of mandibles and exoskeletons. Stem the tide in this arcadey looking strategy title by taking control of five veterans and their suite of tantalizing military hardware. Pull field artillery and bipedal tanks to bear, tangle with unpredictable new mutations, and enjoy the long-term replayability baked into the experience.
Crawl - $10.99CAD
Dungeon diving is typically a solo or cooperative affair. Perhaps, though, it is at its best when it’s turning friends against each other? Crawl is a wonderfully animated competitive action brawl where friends race to earn enough loot and experience to lay the death blow upon the final boss. The trick is that the monsters you’re reaping rewards from are your buddies, and whoever claims your head gets the chance to usurp your position of progress. Do note that this title is currently in Early Access, but early adopters sound smitten.
Infinifactory - $27.99CAD
“Sandbox puzzle game” is an unusual concept, but one you should be excited by. Most of these sorts of brain scratchers have a pre-formed set of solutions you need to discover. Infinifactory, on the other hand, is built in a manner that allows an effectively infinite number of meaningfully different solutions. You have the tools to engineer an alien malefactor-pleasing machine, but its design is an exercise in pure freeform problem solving. Think computer programming meets Minecraft with a dash of dark comedy and you’re on the right track.
The Room - $5.49CAD
This mobile port pulls its weight well enough to impress a discerning PC crowd. With almost every asset recreated for its large-screen release, this tale of curious curios and bizarre machines collecting dust in the attic of a derelict home is looking sharper than ever. Mysterious words found on top of the cast-iron safe dominating the room tease of something fantastic held within. Solve your way through the intricate pieces and elements, and whatever is inside is yours to capture.
World of Goo - $10.99CAD
With whimsy and a manically mischievous sense of humour comes one of the original indie darlings. Wibbly-wobbly globs of viscous obsidian goo shriek in delight as you form them into gelatinous constructions in search of the stage’s exit pipeline. Enjoy a staggeringly impressive torrent of creative ideas and drastic changes to basic methods of play as the game progresses, as well as some genuinely memorable moments of humour and wit. Goo a relative classic, as quickly as things move in this industry, and a personal favorite.
Invisible, Inc. - $21.99CAD
As you undoubtedly know, the future holds a world of corporate espionage and surreptitious data acquisition amped up by the progression of cool AI. Your agents are the men and women on the frontline, gliding past or incapacitating the security forces they encounter with the help of their own fancy digital help. While there’s plenty of great stuff to swipe in each stage, thanks to the ever-progressing level of alert your incursion has wrought, you’ll never get your hands on it all. Worrying about precisely when to pull your team out of the fire is a persistently interesting decision to make.
Lone Survivor - $16.99CAD
In this strange mix of genres and concerns, you’re asked to survive a city’s descent into disease by whatever means you deem fit. Dashing through with weapons ablaze and performance enhancing drugs coursing may provide swift salvation from this horror nightmare, but role-playing a man in the protagonist’s position is heavily advised. This story will reshape itself according to your behavior, meaning these choices carry consequence.
Year Walk - $6.49CAD
If I understand correctly, around the end of the year, some faithful would dissolve their Christianity with a puff of breath blown through the keyhole of a snowswept church. Defying the creature who then appeared could offer glimpses of the future—a phenomenon central to the endeavours of this game’s acting personality. Awards have been lavished upon its strikingly beautiful artistic design and its deft hand in storytelling, rendering this haunting journey of Swedish folklore and cryptic imagery an intimidating prospect. It’s ostensibly a point-and-click adventure, though the subjective experience of play seems to take precedence over puzzling and conversation.