Every year, there are more amazing indie games that slip through your fingers than titles on store shelves. If anything, this year proved that these small development teams have yet to exhaust their endless supply of creativity or passion for making great games. With the holidays quickly approaching, I figured that this would be an opportune time to remind you of some of the incredible titles released early this year for Steam. Knowing Gabe and the rest of the crew there, you’ll be able to pick up most of these titles for only a couple of bucks very soon. Winter sales are coming.
Originally written off by many people as a Minecraft clone, Terraria takes the same “block destroying and building” mechanics and takes it in a new direction with more of a focus on adventuring and exploring. The 2D environment calms the often agoraphobic fears of the open environment while still giving you freedom to build, create, and craft. And much like its big brother, you can bring in a couple of friends to take on the countless armies and endless depths of this strange world.
Hardcore puzzling – I don’t often type that, but in this case, it’s the only way to describe this chemical-based game. Set up a chain of events to create the final product or an amazing mess. It’s either Henry Ford’s wet dream or worse nightmare as you set up a molecular assembly line where you create the raw material for each additional puzzle in the game. Elegant yet insidious; SpaceChem taxes your neurons to their limits.
The soul of LucasArts adventure games lives on at Wadjet Eye games. From the makers of Puzzle Bots and the Blackwell series comes a crime noir story set in the future and stretches across a whole galaxy. Two men, millions of miles apart, risk their lives to uncover a tangled truth. One must trust the criminals he used to work for while the other man must find his missing identity. Great storytelling as well as classic puzzles makes this a must buy for anyone who used to explore the world one click at a time.
If chess came with shotguns, it would probably play like Frozen Synapse. Like a Metal Gear Solid AR mission, you’re given the bare minimum of details when you approach the board – wall, window, enemies. Worry about the combat details, not the graphics. Each turn last for only a couple of seconds as each side goes at the same time, playing out pre-set commands. Combatants play out any number of scenarios to test their setup. Once you hit go, however, there’s no going back. Without a doubt, this is the best strategy game that you’re not playing.
Tower defense takes a twist as you play as the enemies making your way though the gauntlet. Instead of massive waves, you control a small squad slowly winding your way through a tower-infested landscape. Taking out towers with weapons lets you buy more vehicles or upgrade the ones you already have rolling around. Collect power-ups to slow down their defenses or keep yours intact.
Blendo Games is a name you should know because they make games you should play. Their newest title pits you against the endless horde of zed as you try to rescue the last remnants of humanity. When you’re facing a dozen zombies, you use a shotgun. When you’re facing hundreds, you require something a little bigger like dynamite, grenades, or whole mess of nuclear warheads. It’s all about saving who you can and praying for the rest of them.
The only thing bigger than the adventure may just be the skill tree. Dredmor lets you craft the perfect warrior, equip him with some rather outrageous spells, and then lets you send him out into a rogue-like dungeon where he will surely die. Not for the faint of heart, Dredmor will punish you every step of the way only to reward you with more loot, stats, and oddball humor to keep you venturing down for more fun. Even more amazing, the good gents at Gaslamp Games have been hard at work updating the game with even more ways to die and reward any who dare to enter their dungeons.
You Should Play: Hoshi Saga
The object of the game is simple enough – find the star. What it takes to find the star is completely up to you. This Japanese developed flash game series will keep you occupied for hours as you search for that little star. If you get stuck on any of the puzzles, skip it and head over to the next one. Since it’s developed in Japan, some of the puzzles may require you to know a little kanji. Don’t worry. That’s why they make walkthrough guides.
You Should Buy: Escape Goat
So you’re this goat who needs to go save sheep with the help of a mouse who sometimes wears a magical hat. Yes, that’s the game. Some gamers may find this puzzle platformer a little easy in the beginning, but Escape Goat provides enough tricks and treats to keep you coming back for more. If that wasn’t enough, you can build your own rooms of doom with the handy level editor.
You Should Support – Jak and Poi
Rock-Paper-Scissors now comes with the added twist of superheroes, monsters, and ray guns. Jak and Poi, an iOS game, combines the worlds of card collecting along with this simple hand gesture game. By throwing the right item, you can then unlock more powerful items to use in the game. Just as amazing as the game design, the art from Ken Wong and Darren Rawlings are equally just as impressive. Fifteen bucks gets you the game and an actual deck with some amazing artwork.