Currently, in 2023, the market is oversaturated with FPS titles that do little in the name of innovation. Battlefield 2042 has flashy trailers and bland gameplay, and Call of Duty: Vanguard has a broken launch and repetitive gameplay. However, where does the circle break? We’ll tell you where and when small indie developers decide to take matters into their own hands.
Today, we will discuss some of these groundbreaking games made by such indie developers. These games range from hack-and-slash to dungeon crawlers to psychological experiences. So, sit tight, as we lead you through games that are totally worth your time.
1. Enter The Gungeon
Being praised as one of the best dungeon crawlers of all time, Enter The Gungeon is the pinnacle of unique ideas strung together with a good amount of “Gun”. As the name suggests, this game has a lot of guns. We got the plasma cutter, the AK-47, the Prototype, ten types of Bazookas, and hundreds of more.
This game takes the gun aspect to new levels. The enemies are literal shell casings and a boss being called “Ammoconda” and the final boss called the “Dragun”. For eagle-eyed players, they will notice the overflowing amount of Easter eggs hidden in the game. We have the Cardboard Box from Metal Gear Solid, the Plasma Cutter from Dead Space, and the Super Hot Watch from Super Hot.
Enter the Gungeon is the perfect indie blend of intense gameplay, a huge emphasis on dodge-rolling, and the wacky and unique items you come across in runs. If you ever feel like taking the high road, play this.
Meet Madeline, a depressed 21-year-old who was traumatized by past events not known by the players. However, what does Madeline do to overcome this depression, climb a mountain of course! Celeste is a game about overcoming trauma, be it by climbing a mountain, physically or mentally.
Celeste is a 2D platform game with intense difficulty; it focuses on frame-perfect jumps and advanced movement mechanics which gradually get more complex with each stage. Having a pixelated style, the game is often jaw-dropping in visuals and sounds.
The main antagonist isn’t you, rather a shadow of us holding us back and stopping us from heading to the summit. With the story getting closer to its conclusion and every stage demanding more precise movement than the last, this indie title takes a step forward in both story-telling and gameplay.
3. Hyper Light Drifter
When sentient animals decide to experiment on a new source of energy, and in turn unleash four mad titans, you know this game going to be crazy. In Hyper Light Drifter, our unnamed drifter must now undo the curse left by these titans as you slay creatures corrupted by madness, new species, and your own conscious.
The beauty of this indie game comes from its crisp, pixelated style. Different types of weapons and guns coupled with new dashing techniques make the gameplay extremely re-playable. From the design of the world to the overall atmosphere, this game is for those who are looking for a challenge.
Can we just say, the music in this game is absolutely insane? Furi is a game about taking on jailers one at a time until you’re free from their clutches. These jailers are no ordinary men, they are skilled warriors bent on putting you back in your cell. Taking on these behemoths, coupled with the intense music, makes for an experience like no other.
Though there is no antagonist as you are the villain of the story, and the ending compliments this as such. Furi has intense combat, great designs, and evolving gameplay. If anyone is up to the test, they can try out this action-filled masterpiece.
5. The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe
When presented with two identical doors, the narrator says, “When Stanley came to a set of two open doors, he entered the door on his left.” This is the first of many choices one will make in The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, but we assure you, they get much more… offsetting.
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is about an office worker, Stanley, arriving at his office on a normal day only to realize no one is there. Delve into a psychological and reality-bending game that breaks the boundary on what’s considered normal.
6. Risk of Rain 2
Risk of Rain 2 is an indie action-platform game with rogue-like elements, coupled with an instadeath mechanic that makes runs feel that much more intense. Although the game is heavily focused on Random Number Generators (RNG), you can change it by choosing your own items, therein changing the run to your liking.
Players will feel tense during boss fights as one small mistake and its back to the lobby. Risk of Rain 2 is not for the casual players; it’s for those willing to spend the next hour or so surviving the unsavory world with intense focus.
7. Little Nightmares
Little Nightmares is very phobia-driven and psychological. Imagine yourself as a rat, scurrying around looking for a place to hide. Extremely detailed and filled with secrets and lore, this game is for those in need of a frightening experience.
Follow Five as she tries to make sense of the hell she is stuck in. Take on creatures straight out of a person’s nightmare or solve very elaborate puzzles. For an indie title like no other, you should definitely try out this game.
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