Everyone’s playing Final Fantasy and Rock Band, but the blockbuster video games aren’t the only ones worth playing. Thousands of indy developers are creating really fun games, often selling for less than $20. It is possible for indy games to be successful (think Flower, World of Goo, or Braid, for example), but some really fantastic games go unnoticed every year. Here are the top ten indy games that you haven’t played…but should:
If you’re a Steampunk fan, this is the game for you. Cogs takes old school gaming ideas and totally reshapes them, creating a 3D puzzle game that is hard to stop playing. It’s perfect for the casual gamer who likes to pick up a game for just a half hour or so at a time, since game play is easy to understand. Developed by Lazy 8 Studios, Cogs has over 50 levels, with the first few available for free online.
9. Soul Bubbles
Mekensleep’s Soul Bubbles is a DS game that asks you to use protective bubbles to get through each level unharmed. It was released in 2008, and has over 40 levels – if you’re smart enough to unlock them all while playing the game.
8. The Marionette
Team Effigy’s The Marionette is a beautiful game with an original plot played out in a point-and-click adventure style. You play Martin, the stereotypical starving artist who specializes in the human figure. Martin’s kidnapped, and you must figure out why you’ve been taken and how to escape.
7. Outpost Kaloki X
Tycoon game lovers should download Outpost Kaloki X, a game that’s been around awhile, but doesn’t get nearly enough credit. Developed by NinjaBee, this game is all about supply and demand in an intergalactic community. The concept won’t blow anyone away, but this is a well-done game that more people should check out.
Developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment, de Blob is a good reason to dust off your Wii. In this game, you play as a water droplet that is tasked with painting the town red – literally. It isn’t a hard game to pick up, but the concept is original, and it can be addicting to try to get all of the achievements and unlock the mini-games. Since it is a Wii game, de Blob is a little more expensive than most of the games on this list, but luckily, it came out in 2008, so you should be able to find an inexpensive used copy.
Time Gentlemen, Please! is the second in a series of games by Zombie Cow Studios, but if you haven’t played Ben There, Dan That! yet, don’t worry – you can get it for free. Both of the games are hilarious, featuring two regular guys who accidentally kill everyone in the world by convincing them to watch a Magnum, P.I. marathon. You time travel with the two to try to set things right, encountering everyone from Hitler to God along the way.
Eufloria is a real-time strategy game by developers Alex May and Rudolf Kremers. The goal of the game is to plant trees to protect home asteroid using little creatures called seedlings. Enemy seedlings attack your asteroid, and every seedling you encounter varies in speed and strength. It’s a very minimalist, zen game to play, and a must for any RTS lover.
Like the title implies, in Runman, you do one thing – run. For those of you who like time trials, this is the game for you. The graphics won’t blow you out of the water, looking like something a six-year-old drew in MS Paint, but that’s part of the game’s charm. As the creators Tom Sennett and Matt Thorson say, this game is all about “doing your best, making new friends along the way, trying exciting new things, triumphing over adversity, and running really, really fast.” Basically, it’s a better version of Sonic, and how could you not love that?
Loosely based on “Little Red Riding Hood,” The Path is a horror genre game from Tale of Tales. There was buzz about this game when it was first released, but that has since died down, and few people have actually picked up a copy to play, unfortunately. Upon starting, you’re given one rule: Go to Grandmother’s house and stay on the path. If you follow that rule, you’ll survive, but you’ll also lose the game. The fun (and horror) is in breaking the rule and exploring the woods, where you’ll find many versions of “the wolf” just waiting to get you. The Path is an artistic statement more than anything else, and there are dozens of interpretations of the plot. Love it or hate it, one this is certain: this is a beautiful game with inspiring artwork and audio.
Not only is Amanita Design’s Machinarium fun to play, but it is beautiful as well. The main character is a little robot who plays Macgyver in his world, putting together found objects to complete each level. At its most basic, it’s a point-and-click puzzler, but everything about it is really thoughtful, from the story line to the hints system. The demo is free, so if you’re on the fence about making the purchase, check out the little preview first.