The best PC indies of the last...10 years?

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sombre

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Hey duders,

I haven't played games properly in almost a year now. The last game I properly played was Tsushima, which I thought was the best game of the generation.

I've been largely disatisfied with gaming for a long time, but I think that's because I was largely playing the "bigger" releases. Not quite AAA focused, but the bigger franchises.

I've realized that I might have been bored because of how boilerplate and uninspired the wider gaming circle is, whereas everytime I hear on a podcast about a game, it's an indie, that sounds really cool

But I haven't played them in a long time. What are some that you think are absolutely essential? I downloaded FTL and it's really good, but kinda hard. Same for Into the Breach. I like it, but I don't think my brain is wired for that kinda game

Love to hear your guys ideas

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HurricaneJas

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Instead of giving you a list, I'll just say play Hades. It's rare to find a game so superbly executed - indie or otherwise.

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nophilip

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#3  Edited By nophilip

My favorite from each year from the last 10 years. Turned out to be a pretty broad list of a lot of types of games.

2021: Inscryption

2020: Spelunky 2 (honorable mention for Hades)

2019: Outer Wilds

2018: Return of the Obra Dinn

2017: Hollow Knight

2016: SUPERHOT

2015: N++

2014: Shovel Knight

2013: Rogue Legacy

2012: Journey

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cornfed40

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#4  Edited By cornfed40

Papers Please and Gunpoint are good ones ill always recommend

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sombre

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Papers Please and Gunpoint are good ones ill always recommend

Fun story, I was actually in the Alpha for Gunpoint back when Alpha meant an ACTUAL alpha. I have a bunch of builds from the very base of the game being developed, like when there was no mechanics. I reached out to Tom Francis to see if I could post them on here actually, but he never got back to me, so I've just got them in my e-mails somewhere

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mellotronrules

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i mean if you're into puzzles, fez is pretty incredible.

wildermyth is also great if you're curious about pen and paper RPGs but want a framework.

Dungeon of the ENDLESS and Children of Morta are also outstanding.

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MrLenno

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Seconding Outer Wilds for being a game which seemed to come out of nowhere (or maybe I wasn't paying attention) and blew everyone who played it away. An incredibly original premise which seems extremely difficult to actually pull into an enjoyable game but it nails it.

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judaspete

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If you like one-hit-kill fighting games, Slice Dice and Rice is a good one. It's on sale for $1 quite frequently.

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Onemanarmyy

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Spelunky, Binding of Isaac, Xcom: Enemy Unknown, Papers Please, Dungeon of the Endless, Hollow Knight, Return of the Obra Dinn & The Sexy Brutale are my favorites

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FacelessVixen

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Not counting Supergiant's releases since those are easy picks: Void Bastards, My Time at Portia, Mothergunship, and M.A.S.S. Builder were relevant to my interests at certain points.

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Hayt

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#11  Edited By Hayt

Disco Elysium, Outer Wilds, Sable, Cruelty Squad. These games have NOTHING in common but I really loved playing them over the last few years. The notion of ignoring indie games is kinda wild. No wonder you're fed up with games! Missing all the good shit, haha.

Obra Dinn also rules. Also not sure if its indie per se but Stellaris is probably my game of the generation.

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prl412

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#12  Edited By prl412

I'll also vote papers please.

@sombre said:

I downloaded FTL and it's really good, but kinda hard. Same for Into the Breach. I like it, but I don't think my brain is wired for that kinda game

Turn them down to easy, especially FTL. Also, check out some tips: https://beforeiplay.com/index.php?title=Category:Games

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goodbyereptilian

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Outside what's already been mentioned, I'll list some I really enjoyed over the past few years in no particular order because orders are hard.

  • Hardspace Shipbreaker
  • Dead Cells
  • Weird West
  • Vampire Survivors
  • Citizen Sleeper
  • Monster Train
  • Risk of Rain 2
  • Deep Rock Galactic
  • Heat Signature
  • Yoku's Island Express
  • Super House of Dead Ninjas

And I'll also heavily second the rec for Dungeon of the Endless. I'm really excited for the spiritual sequel!

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MagnetPhonics

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#14  Edited By MagnetPhonics

@sombre: You're making a pretty broad request there. Like several hundred games broad. Can you elaborate on your tastes?

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rorie

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#15 rorie  Staff

Spelunky, Hollow Knight, Terraria, Noita, off the top of my head.

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gaggle64

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Maybe it's just because it's too obvious a pick but I am surprised Stardew Valley hasn't been mentioned yet.

At the moment I'm also enjoying defence builder Diplomacy is Not an Option, still in beta but fairly fully featured & a balanced challenge.

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hermes

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#17  Edited By hermes
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These are only a few. Honestly, there are dozens of indie games in the last decade that I would recommend.

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gaggle64

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Just some of the other indie titles I've enjoyed in the past include:

This War Of Mine - a (correctly) depressing but engaging survival game set in a war zone.

Thomas Was Alone - a shockingly well told story about AI liberty blended with a challenging puzzle platformer

DEFCON - astoundingly atmospheric nuclear strategy game

Banished - a very peaceful but challenging town survival builder/manager

To The Moon - deeply affecting linear-RPG story about the power of memories & truth

Bomber Crew - WW2 themed real-time aircraft strategy/management

Hotline Miami - Fast & violent top-down action game with incredible style & soundtrack

Mini Metro - stylish high-score puzzle game inspired by city metro maps

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luisrz

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There are so many great ones, but off the top of my head:

- Norco

- Hollow Knight

- Hypnospace Outlaw

- Void Bastards

- Spelunky 2

- Noita

- Paper's Please

- Darkest Dungeon

- Dead Cells

- Return of the Obra Dinn

- Outer Wilds

- Inscryption

- Risk of Rain 2

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siamesegiant

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Trying to think of some that haven't been mentioned yet:

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight - Probably my favourite Metroidvania of the last 10 years

Frog Detective - Short, hilarious adventure game about...a frog detective.

Subsurface/Quarantine Circular - A pair of short sci fi games.

Emily is Away - AOL Instant messenger inspired story done entirely through a mock phone interface

Pony Island - Super meta puzzle game from the creator of Inscryption.

VA-11 Hall-A - Cyberpunk bartender simulator with awesome music.

These are all under 10 hours I think (Frog Detective, Quarantine/Subsurface and Emily is Away are probably all under 3 hours), and not too difficult, though Pony Island and Momodora maybe have their moments.

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Hells

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Here's a few more:

UltraKill -- a fast paced FPS with old school graphics with satisfying gameplay

Minit -- a minimalist Zelda-like with a unique twist

Slay the Spire -- a roguelike and deck builder card game that is surprisingly deep

Celeste -- a challenging platformer with a great accompanying soundtrack and story

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MajorMitch

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#22  Edited By MajorMitch

My favorite handful of indies from each of the past 10 years (all of which are on PC), many of which have already been said :)

2012: Journey, Mark of the Ninja
2013: Papers Please, The Swapper, Gone Home, Antichamber
2014: The Banner Saga (I'll just use this entry for the entire trilogy which is great), The Talos Principle, Shovel Knight
2015: Axiom Verge, SteamWorld Heist, Ori and the Blind Forest
2016: The Witness, Hyper Light Drifter, Superhot
2017: Hollow Knight, Pyre, Cuphead, Getting Over It
2018: Into the Breach, Subnautica, Return of the Obra Dinn, Celeste
2019: Outer Wilds, Sayonara Wild Hearts, Wargroove, Bug Fables, SteamWorld Quest
2020: Hades, Monster Train, Paradise Killer, Ori and the Will of the Wisps
2021: Unsighted, Chicory, Axiom Verge 2, The Forgotten City, Astalon

EDIT: Oh, and for 2022 right now I'm playing Tunic and so far I'm really digging it :)

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clagnaught

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Based on my GOTY lists, may I suggest:

The Forgotten City / Hades / Devotion / Celeste / Night in the Woods / VA-11 HALL-A / the Life Is Strange series (if that counts) / The Binding of Isaac

Those are games indie-ish games that appear highest on my GOTY through 2014 (which is when I started to really track that). Devotion in particular was my GOTY of 2019.

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yankeesmcav1

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Highly recommend Shovel Knight

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GTxForza

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My two most personal favorites are Nitronic Rush and Distance, these two appeared to be inspired by Tron and San Francisco Rush 2049 in terms of vibes and driving physics.

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Justin258

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OK. I'll take a stab at it.

  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - Probably the best Metroidvania that isn't Super Metroid itself.
  • Subnautica - Underwater story-driven survival game. I think "survival game" pushes away some people that would love this game - there's a much greater focus on exploration than building and managing some kind of base and resources and such. That's certainly a significant part of this game, but I'd still recommend it to basically anyone even if you loathe Minecraft and its ilk.
  • Sunless Skies - Top-down game where you drive a space train through space civilization. Lots of writing and narrative here, along with some combat. Absolutely drenched in atmosphere.
  • Divinity: Original Sin 2 - The most successful CRPG ever made, and for good reason. Great combat, good story, good characters, just all-around a great RPG.
  • Pillars of Eternity - Some dislike DOS2's combat for being too slow or too focused on elemental juggling. Pillars of Eternity has much faster-paced combat focused more on buffs and debuffs than elemental damage.
  • Cosmic Star Heroine - Old school style JRPG, but they tried to cut out all the grinding and bullshit and just make something that, in their words, "respects your time". What that really means is they made it super linear and short by RPG standards, but also it's well-paced and keeps the crazy stuff coming.
  • Shovel Knight - One of the most successful pixel art 2D action-platformers - think Mega Man, Castlevania, with a bit of Ducktales thrown in. The main campaign is worth it alone, but it has a lot of side stories featuring the bosses you fight in the main campaign.
  • Dusk - As far as I'm concerned, this is hands-down the best retro-style shooter ever made. Starts maybe a little slow and predictable, but goes nuts as the game goes on. Highly, highly recommend this.
  • Katana Zero - This gets compared to Hotline Miami a lot. That's not totally wrong, but I think there's a lot more to it than that. It's a side-scrolling action game with a big plot that's pretty confusing at first but eventually gets clearer as things go on - at least as clear as a drug-fueled rampage can be.
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Shacknews Top 10 Indie Games of the Year 2021

  • Fights in Tight Spaces. ...
  • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous.
  • Lost in Random.
  • It Takes Two. ...
  • Kena: Bridge of Spirits.
  • Loop Hero.
  • Inscryption. ...
  • Death's Door. Acid Nerve and Devolver Digital outdid themselves with Death's Door.
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sombre

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Thanks gang!

Got a lot to be checking out! :D

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sombre

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@rorie said:

Spelunky, Hollow Knight, Terraria, Noita, off the top of my head.

Spelunky HD is in my top 3 games of all time. That game is evergreen

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Geralts_gran

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Hey, I would second those who have recommended hades, hollow knight and outer wilds. I would add to the list from this year, tunic. A fantastic love letter to og zelda games with some of the best sense of discovery in any game I have experienced. The thing all 4 games gave in common is they are on gamepass. Sub to pc gamepass for a month and you could try them all out.

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UranalTruce

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Gone Home
The Beginner's Guide
What Remains of Edith Finch
Paradise Killer

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Bolle

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Some of my favorite indies I've played over the years (some might have been mentioned already):

  • Legend of Grimrock 1 + 2: The best callback to the old dungeon crawlers of yore. Great map and puzzle design, interesting monsters to fight. Not for everyone, but if you're jonesing for something different, Grimrock has it.
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun: A real-time tactics game in the style of Commandos, with tricky but enjoyable map design, an interesting backstory and very charming characters.
  • West of Loathing: Fun, well-written stick-figure RPG with an over-the-top sense of humor.
  • Gunpoint has already been mentioned, I just want to emphasize how awesome this weird little game is.
  • A Hat in Time: My second favorite 3D jump'n'run after Psychonauts. Obviously not as exceptional in the story department, but with cute, charming characters, varied map design and snappy platforming.
  • Overload: A follow-up to the classic Descent, by the makers of the original, with a banger soundtrack by Allister Brimble. Probably the best 6DoF game out there.
  • Death's Door also already got some mentions, but is worth another recommendation. A fun game to explore, with balanced combat and very good boss design.

Those are just the ones that spring to mind right now. Welcome back from the tedium of playing the same cash-cow kind of game over and over, enjoy the variety that is non-franchised gaming. :)

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  • Stardew Valley
  • Papers Please
  • Fire Watch
  • Subnautica
  • Disco Elysium
  • The Stanley Parable
  • Return of the Obra Dinn

Some of those above are between indie and normal publisher small studio, but I think there are just so many stand outs. Shoutout to Super Meat Boy for just being weird.

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luisrz

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@franzlska:

Completely forgot about Quadrilateral Cowboy. I got it for free (or really cheap) somehow and it was sitting in my Steam library for years and played it a couple years ago in one sitting. so good

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sawtooth

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Atomicrops is a great mashup of bullet-hell shooter, rogue-lite character progression and farm management sim. It's not for everyone, but will provide lots of entertainment if it clicks for you.

Legend of Bumbo has been really fun as a Sunday morning game to poke at while drinking a coffee. It's a match-4 puzzle game in the Binding of Issac universe with some interesting powers you can apply to build out your character. Another rogue-lite experience with an aesthetic that won't appeal to everyone, but worth taking a look imo

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beggary

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People here have said so many great ones, but I want to second the people who said Mini Metro and FTL: Faster Than Light. I have not stopped playing them since they were released. I had a five hour flight the other day and all I did was play them. Still as great to me as Day One (and, in FTL's case, just as difficult).

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sakesushi

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If you're interested in Rogue Legacy, skip the first game entirely and pick up Rogue Legacy 2. One of the games' devs, during the development of the second game, basically stated something along the lines of "I don't play the first game anymore, there's no point". Personally, I couldn't finish the first game, didn't like it; with the sequel, I'm on New Game +2 and still trucking along!

A few other quick hits:

Florence is a sweet, bite-sized experience about a young woman falling in love and how it affects her life. It might be a bit artsy fartsy, but it makes good use of the touch screen (read: mobile) interface to connect you with the story.

Baba is You might possibly be the smartest puzzle game ever made. It's also maddeningly difficult. It's box pushing puzzles to the nth degree if the boxes were words or objects and you could use the words to make phrases that change how things work. Tangibly inelegant coding, if you will.

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alianger

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#39  Edited By alianger

Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (Multi, 2018/PC, 2019)

AM2R/Another Metroid 2 Remake (PC, 2016)(fan game)

VVVVVV (PC, 2010)

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (PC, 2016)(originally from 2015)

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition (PC, 2014)

Freedom Planet (PC, 2014)

Shovel Knight (3DS/Wii U/PC, 2014)

Hollow Knight (PC, 2017/Multi, 2018)

Strider (PC, 2014)

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap (Multi, 2017)(WB3/Monster World II/Dragon's Curse Remake)

Monument Valley (iOS/AND, 2014)

Limbo (XB360, 2010/PS3/PC, 2011)

Valdis Story (PC, 2013)

Bastion (XB360/PC, 2011)

CrossCode (PC, 2018)

Axiom Verge (PC, 2015)

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bagimli

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I can't believe I'm saying this, but my two favorite games are Mini Metro and FTL: Faster Than Light. When they were released though? One day into playing them on the plane ride back from Hawaii - all five hours of it! Those days spent lost in nostalgia still feel as good now as ever before

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beggary

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@bagimli: omg see my comment above. Omg.

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AV_Gamer

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#42  Edited By AV_Gamer

All the games I would've told you have already been posted. So go with them and have fun. I believe Silk Song which is the full length Hollow Knight DLC expansion will also be very good so look forward to that.