GONE HOME by Fullbright
One of the things I love about indie games is when a developer works with an artist I already know and love. That’s why I choose Gone Home (2013) as my #LoveIndies pick. Gone Home is a first-person exploration game made with art design by Emily Carroll, whose work as a comic artist I’ve been a fan of for years (I’ve even written about her on RP before). Her art style hits exactly the right note for my creepy horror sensibilities, and while Gone Home isn’t exactly a horror game, it definitely has that creepy “it was a dark and stormy night” atmosphere. The game itself is an intriguing story as you piece together the recent events that have left your childhood home vacant and empty. If you’re into a slow-paced exploration game, or if you want to experience video games as art, this is an excellent game for you.
INSIDE by Playdead
I love indies games, I love AAA games, and, of course, you guessed it, I love everything in between. There hasn’t been a week in the last five years where I wasn’t playing a new video game. So I’ve got all of those games rattling around up in my head, and trying to figure out which one of those is my favorite one? Mind if I make a list of 20 or 30? Okay, okay, I won’t do all of that, but the first game that did pop in my head was Playdead’s Inside (2016). A brilliant 2D adventure with no dialogue, the story is told through animations and the game play. It certainly feels like the game was inspired by the old 2D games Flashback and Another World from the SNES and Sega Genesis (among other platforms). With no spoken words or dialogue to read as the story unfolds, I was left on the edge of my seat for most of the game. When the credits rolled, I was left with a game that shook me to my very core and a game I recommend to anyone and everyone that has a video game system these days. Playdead’s Inside is on nearly everything at this point with iOS and Nintendo Switch ports making their way out back in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
DEAD CELLS by Motion Twin
Slightly frustrated after a tough string of Biding of Isaac daily runs, I picked up Dead Cells (2018) at 20% off from the PSN store to scratch my itch for a challenging rogue-like. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but this thriving indie title from Motion Twin is currently my go-to game. In Dead Cells, you’re an unnamed prisoner exploring a sprawling castle from dungeon to ramparts–complete with deadly creatures, hidden passages, and upgradable weapons and spells. The game is tinged in twilight, with a solid core of 2D action and balanced gameplay. Each area has different pattern-based enemies, so once you get the timing down, you can consistently chain some pretty devastating attacks, yet you won’t find this to be an easy roll through the dungeon. There are also some interesting little puzzles and hidden areas where special skills are required that keep the progression moving despite the endless loop. The free Rise of the Giant DLC recently dropped and adds new areas, enemies, skills, and gear, so looks like I’ll be putting off Isaac dailies for a little while yet.
NEVER ALONE by Upper One Games.