You’ll Need Razor-Sharp Reflexes To Play These 4 Indie Games

Or you'll build the reflexes if you try hard enough.

Story Highlights

  • Ghostrunner is a first-person sword slasher where you have to use your reflexes to dodge bullets.
  • Cuphead and Hotline Miami are both 2D shooters that are really difficult.
  • Playing Celeste, a 2D platformer, will hone your reflexes to a knife’s edge.

Indie gaming can be leisurely, where you don’t have to think or worry too much about the gameplay and combat, and you can just engross yourself in the story and the world the developers built for you. Abzu and What Remains of Edith Finch are such games.

But indie games can also be mind-numbingly hard and require a certain respect and skill level before you can even think about playing them. In this list, we’ll go through 4 indie games in which you’ll need better reflexes than F1 players to progress.


If you’re a fan of games that portray a cyberpunk, dystopian future, you’ll instantly fall in love with Ghosrunner.

The combat will have you constantly dying over and over again until you master the different mechanics. You have all your abilities at your disposal, in addition to a nifty time-slowing power that can help you dodge enemy bullets. But it’s easier said than done.

Each combat segment involves multiple enemies scattered in a play area, separated by various parkour-related sections. And it is entirely up to you which enemy you want to go after first.

And there is no health bar. You get hit once by a laser bullet and you’re off to repeating the entire combat segment. So you’ll have to train your reflexes to swiftly dodge a bullet, dash in to cut an enemy up, and move flawlessly through the parkour section to the next enemy and do the same, all the while dodging the bullets from other enemies.

Ghostrunner Requires Fast Reflexes | Source: Steam
Ghostrunner Requires Fast Reflexes | Source: Steam


As pretty as it looks, Cuphead brings back the ridiculously hard difficulty of 90s 16-bit platformers and gives it a modern twist. Yes, there is a fully-fledged save system in place so you don’t go back to the start of the game when you die, like in the arcades. But you do have very few hearts, bosses have multiple stages and get progressively harder, and you’ll be constantly dodging projectiles and enemies while shooting at the boss, just like in 90s games.

Unfortunately, the excellent soundtrack of this game does little to alleviate the game’s incredibly hard difficulty, and you’ll be facing almost every boss multiple times before finally learning their attacks and successfully defeating them. And even then, you’ll need to be quick-witted and act on your instincts to even stand a chance against the bosses.

Boss Fight in Cuphead | Source: Steam
Boss Fight in Cuphead | Source: Steam

Hotline Miami

Chances are, you’ve never heard of this game. If you have heard about it, it’s probably nothing but praise and compliments. And perchance, if you’ve actually played this title, I hold you in the highest regard.

Hotline Miami is a game that can be best described as drug-fueled bloody carnage in a Los Angeles-Neon world aesthetic. This 2D top-down shooter looks very basic, thanks to its pixelated graphics, but carries more charm and personality than many AAA titles out these days. More importantly, its gameplay is sharp, precise, and responsive, and the game demands an equal amount of skill from you, too.

All this game is about is fast-paced shooting while dodging bullets. You can play stealthily too using melee weapons, but when you go guns blazing, you better pray Gods on your side because these enemies in this game don’t play around.

A word to the wise, play Hotline Miami and its equally good sequel with joysticks if you’re on a PC, and if you have a Nintendo Switch or a modded PSVita, play on these systems.

Brutal Combat in Hotline Miami | Source: Steam
Brutal Combat in Hotline Miami | Source: Steam


Hardly any other indie game can come close to the excellence of Celeste, and since this title also requires fairly quick reflexes to beat it, I get the chance to talk about this masterpiece in this list.

The game puts you in the shoes of Madeline, an anxiety-ridden girl who is trying to climb a mountain to overcome her anxiety. Despite everything that happens and all the signs that point her in the other direction, Madeline persists, meets new people, makes new friends, and faces her inner demons before finally reaching the summit.

Hidden under the guise of a splendidly canorous soundtrack and beautiful, 2D graphics is an extremely hard indie game that will test your reflexes and teach you to execute complicated moves with split-second timing during the most exhilarating sections of the game. During your journey, you learn new abilities like wall climb and dash, but this happens very early on in the game, and for the remainder, you’ll only be perfecting these abilities and honing your reflexes.

Platforming in Celeste | Source: Steam
Platforming in Celeste | Source: Steam
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Ahmad's idea of a successful life involves three things: unlimited time to play video games, a chiseled body with abs that can grate cheese, and all-you-can-eat buffets at all times (ironic, I know). This final-year medical student is a religious enjoyer of all categories of video games and has developed full-fledged opinions on games you've probably never even heard of. As an opinion writer at eXputer, he combines all of his gaming, gym, and medical knowledge to deliver content you won't find anywhere on the World Wide Web.

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