With impressive titles likeÂ God of War,Â Spider-Man, andÂ Red Dead Redemption 2, 2018 has been a great year for AAA games. But because these games are so grand in scope, they tend to overshadow the indie gems that deserve some love too. We’ve seen unique art styles, innovative gameplay, and compelling storytelling from every genre of indie game, and have compiled a list of some of the best you may have missed this year. No matter what your preferred way to play, there’s guaranteed to be a title you’ll enjoy.
Florence is a narrative mobile game about a woman named, you guessed it, Florence, whose dull everyday life gets turned upside down by street-performing cellist Krish. What follows is a story of love, growth, and self-love. The game stands out because of its gorgeous soundtrack, adorable art style, and masterful storytelling. Only about half an hour long,Â FlorenceÂ is short, sweet, and memorable.
2.Â Donut County
Are you a fan ofÂ Katamari Damacy, but feel like you need to switch it up? Maybe check out its inverse,Â Donut County, where you control a hole that expands in size as it swallows increasingly large objects. It’s an eccentric and colorful world full of animals and donuts, with just enough of an objective to be engaging, but just relaxed enough for some chill gaming time.
A whimsical blend of elements fromÂ Pokemon,Â Stardew Valley,Â andÂ Animal Crossing, Ooblets is a cartoony life simulation game by the two-man development team Glumberland. You arrive in the town and receive an animal-like creature known as an ooblet, and from there become part of the community, duel other ooblets, or even grow more of the little creatures on your farm.Â
If you’re craving a classical fantasy world, the enchanting action RPGÂ MoonlighterÂ might be for you. Not only will you be dungeon crawling and facing off against goblins and ghouls, but you’re also a shopkeeper during the day.Â It’s a classic RPG formula where all of the fun comes from getting stronger and leveling upâ€”manage the shop, upgrade the town, and find loot along the way.
5.Â Outer Wilds
Think ofÂ Outer Wilds as theÂ Groundhog Day of video games. In this unique premise, you’re an astronaut on a planet that only has 20 minutes until the sun supernovas, destroying everything. Your goal is to explore the planet as much as you can in that time and discover its secrets, and when your time is up, you start all over again. With each successive playthrough, you’ll learn more and get further, compounding on the information you learned each time.
6.Â The Messenger
Ninjas, demons, a mysterious robed figureâ€”The MessengerÂ has ALL of the cool things. In this side-scrolling action platformer inspired by theÂ Ninja GaidenÂ series, you play as a, well, messenger, tasked with bringing a scroll to the top of a mountain. It’s an epic, fast-paced journey through time, but also an homage to the classic side-scrollers that came before it.
7.Â Beat Saber
Beat SaberÂ is the spiritual successor to Dance Dance Revolution in a VR age. It’s a pretty simple conceptâ€”smash floating blocks as they come at you to the beat of the musicâ€”but just like DDR, it’s all about the mastery of difficult songs. Oh, and did we mention that you’re destroying the blocks with virtual lightsabers that you hold in each hand?
All of these cartoony art styles can be fun, but sometimes you just miss the dark, gritty feel of retro first person shooters. If you miss the days ofÂ Doom, Wolfenstein,Â andÂ GoldenEye 007,Â DuskÂ is the answer to your prayers. It’s got it allâ€”demons, Lovecraftian imagery, and of course, lots and lots of guns.
Looking for a bit more post-apocalypse in your life?Â FrostpunkÂ has you covered. In the wake of a worldwide volcanic winter, the player must escort survivors through a devastated England and try to build settlements. It combines characteristics of a survival game with classic strategy games likeÂ Civilization, making for a truly cool experience.What did you think of our list? What were your favorite indie games of 2018? Let us know in the comments below!
Image Sources: Mountains, Glumberland, Annapurna Interactive, Digital Sun, Mobius Digital, Sabotage Studio, Beat Games, New Blood Interactive, 11 bit StudiosÂ