5 Amazing Indie Games To Get Hooked On
If you’re a video game enthusiast who’s become unsatisfied with big-budget titles or studios, here are 5 entry-level Indie Games that deserve your support and attention.
1. Dead Cells.
One of the rising stars of the Indie Game scene, Dead Cells combines roguelike, metroidvania, and action platformer elements to create a uniquely challenging and irreverent experience. In Dead Cells, you play as The Beheaded, a reanimated headless body trying to escape an island overcome by a curse. In order to do so, you must fight your way through many punishing zones of the island, learning as you go. Dead Cells‘ core gameplay loop can be summed up as follows: “Kill, Die, Learn, Repeat.” Over the course of your many attempts to reach the king and end the curse plaguing the island, you will improve your character, unlock new weapons and items, but most importantly, learn the game itself. Another great thing about dead cells is the sheer amount of content and quality of the pixel-art style. There are multiple DLCs and updates celebrating the Indie games community, and the studio has recently announced a DLC crossover with the Castlevania franchise. A great game with a great community, great humor, and a passionate team behind it.
2. Hollow Knight.
If you haven’t heard of this modern classic of an Indie Game, I’d have to question if you even know what indie games are. Hollow Knight is a lovingly crafted and gorgeously designed Metroidvania created by the Australian development studio Team Cherry. The game takes place in a ruined underground kingdom in a world populated by sentient bugs. You play as a small, unspeaking creature known only as The Knight, and it is your mission to unravel the secrets of this fallen kingdom of Hallownest, and perhaps even cleanse it of the infection that caused its downfall long ago. This game was a labor of love by its developers and you can clearly see the passion and effort poured into it by its 3-man development team. The gameplay is a classic 2-D metroidvania, where you explore the expansive world, defeating bosses, finding secrets and unlocking new abilities so you can explore new areas. The game also has a wealth of lore to uncover and decipher, but it would take a brain much bigger than mine to explain it all. All in all, Hollow Knight is one of the best and most iconic indie games out there, and I cannot recommend it enough.
3. Lobotomy Corporation.
One of the best Indie Games to come out of the South Korean dev scene, Lobotomy Corporation is a base-building and management simulator with a few twists. The team behind this game, Project Moon, started as a bunch of broke college students aiming for fame and fortune, and their drive to improve and grow has turned their games into some of the best hidden gems of the indie scene. In Lobotomy Corporation, you take on the role of X, the newly appointed manager of the titular Corporation. Your job is to manage and study a wide variety of bizarre and wonderful SCP-like creatures known as Abnormalities, so that you can extract energy from them. The game has a very unique and interesting story, which I really don’t want to spoil. Be warned that Lobotomy Corporation is not a forgiving or particularly easy experience. The suffering is actually a vital part of the experience according to the game’s own creators. It’s an amazing experience and the devs absolutely deserve your support, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re a fan of hard-as-nails simulator games with good stories and incredible art, look no further. The soundtrack is also really good.
Another modern classic among indie games, Celeste is a narrative-driven, single-player platformer that was released in 2018. Wow, has it really been five years already? The story of Celeste follows a character named Madeline as she climbs the titular Mount Celeste while coming to terms with the representations of various emotional and psychological struggles while meeting a small but colorful cast of characters along the way. The mountain is as much a metaphor for overcoming one’s own emotional struggles and issues as it is a physical obstacle to be overcome. Celeste has an active and dedicated speedrunning community and the skill ceiling is incredibly high. The game was designed to emulate the feel of climbing or bouldering, and was balanced in such a way as to be “tough but fair.” Celeste also has several accessibility and difficulty options if you end up finding it too challenging. The art style uses simple and beautiful pixel-art combined with various dialogue still during story segments. The game was universally praised upon its release, and has established itself as one of the shining stars of the indie scene. A simple, yet complex and enjoyable experience.
For the last of our indie games, I’ve chosen something truly exciting. Arsi “Hakita” Patala’s early-access masterwork of retro FPS action, ULTRAKILL. Published by acclaimed indie studio New Blood Interactive, Ultrakill is a viscerally stylish action FPS with retro-style graphics and gameplay that combines the frantic action of movement shooters like Doom and Quake with the stylish and skillful combat of character-action games like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. In Ultrakill you play as a robot named V1, who must battle his way ever deeper into the depths of a Dante’s Inferno-inspired hell. The robot’s motives are simple: “Mankind is dead, blood is fuel, and Hell is full.” While the game is still in early access on steam, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience that some reviewers say is “Even more metal than Doom Eternal.” The music is also primarily composed by the lead developer Hakita, and utilizes a unique and highly energetic breakcore style. Ultrakill is a game that you can learn in an hour or so, but the skill and fun ceilings are so high that it can take hundreds of hours to truly master. You can also punch your shotgun bullets to make them go faster and explode, which is just too damn cool. Go play Ultrakill, right now. I am no longer asking.