2018 had its share of great indie games. Celeste, a 2D platformer, was nominated multiple times for Game of the Year. Dead Cells was a Twitch phenomenon where countless people watched others fight their way through perilous dungeons. Kingdom Come: Deliverance made its way into the hearts of casual and hardcore gamers alike, while Beat Saber rose to the top of the rhythm games category. But some games, no less in quality, may have went under some gamers’ radars for one reason or another. In this article, we will present some of the best indie games you may have missed in 2018.
Return of the Obra Dinn
Talk about a game of artistic brilliance. Developed by Lucas Pope–the man who gave us 2013’s gem, Papers Please–Return of the Obra Dinn takes place on a mysterious ship. You wander the ship in a beautiful black and white aesthetic. It’s like stepping into a pointillist painting. But not all is well in this visually stunning world. There is murder afoot, and it is your job to solve the murders using a magic stopwatch to return to the moment of the dastardly deed. When Return of the Obra Dinn won Best Art Direction at the 2018 Game Awards, many people may not have ever heard of this game. You may have been one of them. But you know it now, so we suggest you step on board the Obra Dinn and see what mysteries await you. Return of the Obra Dinn is available for Windows PC and Mac.
Wandersong is one of those games that never fails to put a smile on your face. Even the world’s most hardened Scrooges have to enjoy something about this game. In Wandersong, the world is threatened with destruction and it is up to you, The Bard, to collect pieces of a magical song capable of saving the world. It’s music, after all, that makes the world go round. The game has light puzzling, consisting in unique musical mechanics that transform the environment in rich ways. It’s a game about friendship, hope, failure, and never giving up. Stepping into this colorful world of music will brighten any dark day and remind you that when faced with a problem, just sing harder. Wandersong is available on PC, Mac, and Nintendo Switch.
Back in 2014 a little game called This War of Mine was released by 11 bit studios, and it pulled at the heartstrings of many gamers. It pushed us into a world in which we had to look the consequences of war in the face. Frostpunk, made by the same developers, attempts to make you stare the ugly side of life right in the face yet again. Frostpunk is a city builder with a moral twist. Every decision you make has consequences. People will starve to death, children will be sent to coal mines, people will rebel. Set in 1886 during a volcanic winter, you must build your city from the ground up with nothing more than a few frostbitten individuals. If you’re in for a challenge, one that meticulously judges your actions and pushes you to the edge of morality, we highly recommend stepping into the frigid world of Frostpunk. Frostpunk is available on PC.
Iconoclasts is a metroidvania 2D platformer with a penchant for deep storytelling and brain-teasing puzzles. It’s a true callback to old school gaming, but with an added level of storytelling rare in 2D platformers. The mechanics should be familiar: wander a world of enemies, acquire new gear, solve puzzles, and then fight a huge boss. Iconoclasts has all this, and more. You play as Robin, a mechanic, and you are fighting against a corrupt government called The One Concern. This fight will take you through a rich story filled with lore, unique characters, and an emotional depth that may surprise you. Iconoclasts is available on Playstation 4, PC, Mac, and Nintendo Switch.
We are all familiar with rogue-like games. Minit is, structurally speaking, familiar. You wander a world, die, and return to the beginning again with some of your progress preserved. You go forward yet again just to get a little bit further until you are killed by some cheap trap. The difference between your typical rogue-like and Minit is that in Minit you only have a minute to live. Minute by minute you will be pushing the game forward, and it comes packed with combat, story, puzzle-solving, and adventure. It’s a fast paced game of simplicity and beauty worth every minute of your time. Minit is available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Ever imagined playing as an undead luchador? No? Never? Well, your non-dreams have come true. The first Guacamelee! Released in 2013 with positive critical reception. The game ends happily, with Juan, the main character settling down in marriage to live happily ever after. However, in Guacamelee! 2, Juan, who has become out of shape, must dawn his mask and fight evil yet again. So if suplexing some skeletons sounds like a good time for you, then feel free to fight through a metroidvania slugfest in Guacamelee! 2, available for Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
For more awesome indies from the past year, check out our picks for the top five must-play indie games of 2018!