Video games with premium titles have become remarkably similar and this is evident through the last generation, as publishers have become less willing to bet on creative and unique ideas as they focus on existing franchises. Independent games – those created by independent developers without the support of a major publisher for the company – do not have this problem.
In recent years, many Indie games have managed to surpass AAA games in terms of quality, and the idea of looking at Indie games “a little less” because they are on a low budget is inaccurate. In fact, if you ignore Indie games, you are missing out on some of the best video games ever.
Although big-budget 3D video games have their place, it’s a good idea to balance these with the best indie games.
An indie game is generally developed by an individual or a small development team. Developers are often not restricted by a publisher, which allows them to take creative risks.
There are a lot of good games that you can enjoy, but where do we start? To help you get started on your Indie game adventure, here are the best Indie games worth buying on Steam.
Braid is a systematic game released in 2008, originally for the Xbox 360. It is labeled as the game that launched the indie gaming boom, or at least brought it to the fore.
It’s easy to understand why. While the premise—the man saving a princess who has been captured by a monster—seems predictable, the way Braid’s story unfolds is anything but.
The key to this is mechanically time manipulation. Each world has its own role in time: being able to rewind, your movement bound to it, making it flow in the opposite direction, and so on. The game will spoil your brain, but that makes it even more useful when you succeed.
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Machinarium is a beautiful point-and-shoot adventure game that puts you in charge of a desperate little robot looking to get back to the city walls and bring down the evil inside.
There is no dialogue in the game. Instead, everything is communicated through expression or symbols, which makes solving many puzzles more useful.
But you probably don’t need much convincing if you look at the gorgeous artwork and listen to the charming soundtrack. Machinarium is one of the best Indie games of all time.
The golden age of American animation began in the 1930s, and it is in this sense that Cuphead draws its artistic inspiration from it. They look like something pulled straight from the era that gave us Steamboat Willie and Betty Boop.
Everything is hand-drawn on Cuphead, the watercolor-created backgrounds, and the great soundtrack. But Cuphead offers much more than audio and video options.
It’s an incredibly daring and challenging game where you take control of the lavish Cuphead as you work through the levels to get to the gigantic battles. There is also a co-op mode if you need a friend’s help to survive.
4. The Stanley Parable
To say too much about The Stanley Parable is to ruin her brilliance. It was originally born as a mod for Half-Life 2, before it took off with its own game release in 2013.
You take responsibility for Stanley, guiding him away from his deserted position, as the narrator comments on his every move. As the narrator attempts to direct Stanley, you can choose to make completely different decisions, resulting in plenty of surreal humor.
It’s worth trying The Stanley Parable a few times so you can make different decisions and explore all it has to offer. It’s fun.
5. Super Meat Boy
Super Meat Boy is a follow up to an excellent flash game (how to download and play flash games). However, you do not need any previous experience in this series.
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Super Meat Boy is a complex platformer where you control a red square, and bounce across perilous terrain to save his girlfriend. It’s inspired by old school classics like Mega Man 2 and Super Mario Bros.
There are more than 300 levels to get into, but the difficulty curve is quite judged. You will go back to the previous levels and wonder why you were bombarding your head in frustration.
6. Return of the Obra Dinn
You will board a ghost ship for the East India Company in 1800 at Return of the Obra Dinn. Created by Lucas Pope (developer of the critically acclaimed Papers, Please) this second edition is better than the first.
Everyone on the ship has disappeared and it’s up to you to solve the mystery. You must search for clues, gather information to find out the names of the deceased and how they met their fate.
Return of the Obra Dinn has a very interesting show. It looks like something you’d find on an early Macintosh computer. Let that alone tempt you on this clever and sweet adventure.
Bastion is a role-playing game, set in an alien world where a disaster has shattered the Earth on floating islands.
You put on the shoes of a young boy aptly named The Kid, and you chop and shoot a variety of enemies. As you usually do, the narrator not only tells an interesting story, but also comments on your actions.
All the weapons you collect can be upgraded and there are plenty of challenges along the way, ensuring you spend plenty of time in the great Bastion environments.
8. A Hat in Time
3D platforms used to be all the rage and it’s clear where A Hat in Time draws its inspiration. However, it presents itself quite nicely in its own right.
It’s a wonderful, magical and fun platform game starring a little girl trying to get home on a spaceship. To do this, you will need to collect all the time pieces that were scattered in the worlds below.
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The Girl with the Hat gets her powers through the different tools she makes – like brewing potions or looking inside other dimensions. It is a pleasure to get around all the different groups and it should put a smile on your face..
Inside is a dark game, both aesthetically and emotionally. It’s mostly monochrome, with little to no sound, and there’s a smug sense of dread and despair.
You will take on the role of a runaway young boy, who is being hunted down by mysterious forces. Whether it is being chased by angry dogs, swimming against the surging water, or shooting with soothing arrows, there is rarely time for a moment for the protagonist.
Inside is a puzzle platformer, so you need to manipulate the environment to keep your progress. Whether there is light at the end of the tunnel is what you need to know.
10. Stardew Valley
No list of indie games is complete without mentioning Stardew Valley. This game is the definition of a labor of love, developed with dedication over four years by Eric Baron.
Stardew Valley was heavily inspired by Barone’s passion for Harvest Moon. In this game, your grandfather’s farm is bequeathed to you and you need to control the fields in order to earn a living.
You can master skills such as mining and fishing, help other characters in the community, explore underground caves, and much more. Say goodbye to your real life and embrace your new virtual life in Stardew Valley.
There are a lot of good indie games out there
If we’re being honest, the list of the best indie games to buy on Steam could be longer, given the wealth of indie games available today. However, we consider these to be the best and hope you enjoy playing them.
If you want more gaming fun, be sure to read our article listing the best free PC games on Steam.