What were your favorite indie games last gen?

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liquiddragon

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#1  Edited By liquiddragon

It seemed like last gen there were boatloads of great indie titles every year. So many in fact, I know I've barely scratched the surface. What were some of your favorites? There were so many notable ones, I'm curious if there is any consensus on this matter.

My top 3 that comes to mind are Celeste, Night in the Woods, and The Beginner's Guide. If I had to nominate a game to win in a popular vote, I'd probably pick Undertale. I really enjoyed that game but admire and respect it much more and think it might have a chance of winning.

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SpicyFoodMan

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If it counts I'd say the swapper was a great surprise. The puzzle gameplay was creative. Really dug the eerie aesthetic and simple but unsettling story. If not for ps plus I likely wouldn't have tried it - glad I did

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BaneFireLord

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The Stanley Parable, The Beginner's Guide, Stardew Valley, and Darkest Dungeon are all up there for me. Never actually finished either of the last two but I dumped a loooot of hours into them.

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imhungry

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Separating indie games into console generations is a weird concept considering how wide of a platform release they often get so I'm not sure what really counts here but the first few that jumped to mind were Celeste, CrossCode and Obra Dinn. Hades is definitely on that list if it counts, Pyre instead if it doesn't.

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Mezmero

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I guess within the PS4 time frame I can narrow it down a bit although most of them I've played on PC. Some of my favorite games ever came out of the Indie space when I think about it. The cream of the crop would probably be Hades, Outer Wilds, Undertale, and Into the Breach. I would include Divinity: Original Sin 2 in that conversation if that counts, it totally should since it even relied on a production bump from kickstarters to make one of the most elaborate CRPGs I've ever played. Just a veritable explosion of creativity and craft from these games that genuinely captured my heart.

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noboners

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Gosh this is tough. If I were to narrow it down to 3, my favorites would be The Witness, Outer Wilds and Slay the Spire.

The first two are games that I would put in my top ten of all time. Slay the Spire is the first rogue-like dungeon deck builder I played, and that's now a hyper specific "genre" that I flock towards...

Honorable mention to Undertale, Stardew Valley, Hades & Dead Cells. And was Spelunky last gen or the one before?

But yeah, I have a feeling that there were just too many for there to be any sort of consensus. I opened this thread expecting nothing but Undertale, so I'm kinda glad I was wrong on that?

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mclargepants

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@spicyfoodman: Oh many The Swapper is great! That's a good call. I'm not 100% sure what my choice would be, but that is up there. I'm going to throw Rogue Legacy on as a contender.

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isomeri

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Nidhogg, Ori and the Blind Forest and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds might be my top three. Rocket League, The Banner Saga, Kerbal Space Program, Superhot, Inside, Everything and Into the Breach were also excellent.

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wollywoo

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Outer Wilds is one of my favorites of all-time, indie or not. I love indies in general though. Others include

- Celeste

- Steamworld: Dig 2

- Spiritfarer

- FTL

- Into the Breach

- Night in the Woods

- Hades

- Slay the Spire

- Wargroove

- Wandersong

- Inside

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FacelessVixen

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I spent 42 hours in HuniePop, so I guess that's my answer.

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bigsocrates

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I spent 42 hours in HuniePop.

That's the title of a travelogue posting on a very disreputable website.

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FacelessVixen

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@bigsocrates said:

@facelessvixen said:

I spent 42 hours in HuniePop.

That's the title of a travelogue posting on a very disreputable website.

Loading Video...

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sparky_buzzsaw

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Stardew Valley. Dead Cells, Rocket League, Life is Strange BtS, and What Remains of Edith Finch. Going to edit this as I think of more.

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BisonHero

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Number one for me was Hollow Knight. Just a great world to explore and get lost in, and some incredible audio to go with it.

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Rich666

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Darkest Dungeon, World of Horror, Timespinner and Salt & Sanctuary.

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plinko

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The one that's probably taken the most time and money out of me is The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth if it counts? The first system it got ported to was the 3DS and I'd say that was a while back! Started playing it on PC, then got it on 3DS when that was my main portable system. Then it came to Switch and I got it again, and I'm still playing it to this day. The final DLC is coming out in like 2 days (March 31st!!) and I'm super excited. Basically this mod team that's been working on modded content since the Adobe Flash version made a DLC-sized mod for the original release, and the creator, Edmund McMillen, was like "Wow that's really awesome" and they've spent all this time working officially to combine it with the 2 new DLCs that Edmund made as well as adding new stuff on top of all of it. I can't wait! Hope I don't sound like an advert, I just love this game a loooot. I have 1000 hours on PC, and probably 1000 combined on the 3DS and Switch.

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theonewhoplays

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Number one for me is the Witness. Fantastic game if you enjoy peeling of the layers of problems.

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knivesouttt

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Inside is probably my favourite game of all time, so I guess that would be on my list :)

Also loved - Undertale, Kentucky Route Zero, Rouge Legacy, Dead Cells, Sportsfriends

Wish I played more or didn't fall off - Disco Elysium, Return Of The Obra Dinn, Outer Wilds, Hollow Knight, Hades

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MajorMitch

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Into the Breach, Hollow Knight, and Hades are all-time favorites that I liked as much as anything from last gen, indie or otherwise. The Witness, Axiom Verge, and Outer Wilds are a few others I loved.

Though I think we've passed the point where we have to make big distinctions between "indie" and "AAA". Indie games are video games, and they can be very, very good.

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bigsocrates

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@majormitch: I don't even think there's agreement on what an Indie game is in this thread. People are citing games like Ori and the Blind Forest and Life Is Strange Before the Storm, which were published by Microsoft and Square Enix, and in my view can't really be considered indies.

Indie has become a catchall term for any game that's relatively low budget, and I think "smaller game" works better to describe those titles.

Even something like Outer Wilds was published by Annapurna, which is a pretty big publisher. If Annapurna games are indies then the term doesn't actually mean independent game.

And while some people might argue that games from independent studios are indies even if they're funded and published by big publishers, I don't think that works either because through much of video game history that was how even high budget games got made. Insomniac was an independent studio before Sony bought them, so was PS4 Spider-Man an indie?

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morningstar

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Hollow Knight, Children Of Morta, Life Is Strange comes to mind.

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FRANZlSKA

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#22  Edited By FRANZlSKA

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove: The fact that Yacht Club Games not only produced an NES-inspired platformer that puts every other game of that kind to shame, but then proceeded to produce three extra campaigns entirely for free (for owners of the original), each one only getting better and better, is mind-boggling. I don't know how the math on that works, but even as someone who has never been especially fond of this type of game, Shovel Knight is ridiculously good.

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight: I'll admit, I bought this game sort of on a whim because I liked the art style (to be fair, this game has some really gorgeous pixel art, with just enough tasteful shading over it to really make it pop.) But beyond just being really pretty to look at, this game turned out to be the first "souls-like" I've played that truly reminded me of a Souls game. The combat has a simplicity of control to it that allows for a high skill ceiling, while also nailing the gloomy, dilapidated atmosphere that the Souls games do so well.

Umurangi Generation: There's something refreshing about the ways in which Umurangi is bleak. That's sort of a weird way to put it, but some games are so fond of cynicism and nihilism, often hammering those themes away while at the same time tasking the player with fighting danger after danger, killing off a character or pushing back the player's progress just frequently enough to maintain that false sense of hopelessness. Umurangi doesn't do any of that, instead it creates a world where everything is fucked and has the player just sit in that space. You don't get guns and armor to go shoot some kaiju or sneak around snapping the necks of imperialist UN peacekeepers, you aren't delivering some vital information to build a weapon that will save the planet, you're just a person with a camera trying their best to make it through the day. Add on top of that a final (DLC) level which can only be described as "not fucking around in the slightest," and Umurangi is maybe the closest I can think of to being a game everyone should play.

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peffy

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Wattam
Donut County
Papers Please
Bugsnax (well, played it on PS5 but I think it counts)
Hatoful Boyfriend

I've got a number of indies in my backlog that I would probably love but just didn't play yet.

I did not like Undertale & Rogue Legacy at all.

Currently in the middle of CrossCode but ... I didn't know a big part of the game was excessively long dungeons consisting mostly of bullet-bouncing puzzles. I started using a walkthrough just to get through it faster. I should stop buying games based solely on how hyped other people are about them.

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luciensanchez

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Salt and Sanctuary and Axiom Verge are at the top of my list. It was great to have them on both Vita and PS4.

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GTxForza

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Distance and Slipstream.

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HeelBill

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Ori and the Blind Forest and Outer Wilds are my two favorites in a league of their own. Honorable mentions for:

Slay the Spire

What Remains of Edith Finch

Into the Breach

Hollow Knight

Monster Train

And Divinity Original Sin 2 even though it feels triple A.

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noboners

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@bigsocrates: I agree. Even though I listed Outer Wilds. It's similar to the "What is considered a B tier game?" from a few years back. For the sake of this thread, I considered an indie game based on the size of the developer, license they're developing, how the product was released and how many games they've made previously. I know that's a lot to take into account, but I agree there just isn't an easy definition like there was during the XBLA days where you could just call something an XBLA game and people would understand the limitations behind it.

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judaspete

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#29  Edited By judaspete

This is kind of a weird statement, but I haven't played many of the "big" indies. So my list may not be as good as something like Shovel Knight, but I'm none the wiser.

Slice, Dice, and Rice. Crap title, great game. It's yet another one-hit-kill fighting game, but it's mechanics allow you to be lazer focused on zoning, timing, and baiting. Playing this will actually help you get better at more traditional fighting games.

Override: Mech City Brawl. Remember War of the Monsters or Godzilla: Destroy all Monsters Melee? This is like those, but better.

GRIP. Nice old-school sci-fi racing game. Can be unwieldy at first, but lots of fun once you get used to it.

Slain: Back from Hell. Like the linear Castlevania games of old, but with more metal.

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Spliffmaster

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#30  Edited By Spliffmaster

I'm a total roguelite fiend and there were a lot of good games in that genre. If I had to pick three I would go with Nuclear Throne, Crypt of the Necrodancer and Dead Cells.

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Nodima

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#31  Edited By Nodima

Kentucky Route Zero: Finally just wrapped this up today after binging the first 4 Acts and interludes in a single day a month or so ago. I wanted to kind of simulate the long wait for Act V and...sure, I'm not sure I personally would have been satisfied with that conclusion, but in the moment I wasn't thinking about that, and the same goes for most of KRZ. Rarely was I thinking about whether I was satisfied with the experience or how much longer I had to spend in that world, it just carried me along and cradled me. That feeling is super rare for me outside of certain movie theater experiences.

Vampyr: Maybe this doesn't count since Focus Home Interactive isn't small, but then Annapurna isn't either and everything they do gets the indie label thrust upon it. I really came to love this game, especially just thinking back on it months later. It really defined the fall of COVID 2020 for me in the same way Last of Us Part II defined the summer.

(Oh God, I forgot Dead Cells. Sorry Dead Cells.)

Genshin Impact: I put 100 hours into this game and the only reason I quit playing was they introduced a survival mechanic during one of their seasonal events that I had zero patience for. I've since got to take a stab at Breath of the Wild and, as far as big open world exploration games with a vague and slightly annoying story you can mostly ignore and despite the gacha elements...this is, like, clearly a more well-rounded game than BotW? That's wild for me but here we are.

Outer Wilds: I didn't finish this game and lacked the mental faculties to solve more than maybe 50% of the puzzles I did solve without a guide...and I definitely won't finish this game because the angler fish in the Dark Bramble are just too much for me...but man do I appreciate what this game did for people who were able to solve it on the strength of their own wits, and the fleeting moments I got taken on that ride as well.

Con...trol...?: 505 Games is an even edgier case than Annapurna or Focus Home at this point, I'd wager they have a strong independent spirit if you look at their roster. So there.

Pyre: Having played this game through three times and never gotten substantially great at the basketball portion, I personally think it's fair to say that half of the game is a bit of a letdown. Something about the balancing of your best/favorite players being the ones that are generally the people most beneficial to sacrifice each loop, thus making your team notably worse as the AI gets notably better over and over. But the characters, the general feel of the gameplay, the music, the world, all that? Man, I really wish I loved the basketball...I always think I will...

Here's where I'll say if it wasn't a PS3 game I waited to play until it was PS+ offering on PS4, Transistor would make the entirety of this post a pointless exercise. But it was a PS3 game I waited to play until it was a PS+ offering on PS4, so...

Inside: Yuck.

The Banner Saga: Feels a bit weird to nominate considering I waited years (just lat winter, in fact!) to play its sequel and I only got about halfway into it before deciding I was no longer a fan of the armor/strength based tactics combat at all...but that first game was sort of a magical blend of low fantasy and grimdark storytelling that was a real vibe.

The Swapper: I didn't finish this game, but it was pretty cool. And it didn't threaten me with a sequel so I didn't feel pressured to finish a game I was ready to move on from unlike The Fall, so thanks, The Swapper.

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Sahalarious

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@bisonhero: Hollow Knight was a revalation, that game spoke to me on a deep level. After that, I'd go Stardew then Into the Breach

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bigsocrates

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@nodima: I can't tell if you're making jokes here or not. Putting aside whether games like Control and Genshin Impact are actually Indie games (what does the term even mean if games with a budget at least in the 8 figures funded by publishers count?)...

You have to be joking about Transistor being a PS3 game that you waited to play until it was PS+ on PS4, right? I bought Transistor on launch day and it was on PS4 and I see no evidence of a PS3 version ever being released, and have no memory of such a version. I don't really get it.

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prolurker

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I like this thread!

Hollow Knight - Hands down my favorite of this past gen. I played through it twice and got the "best" ending the 2nd time through. The atmosphere, music, boss fights, combat, NPCs, upgrades... I could talk endlessly about this game.

Manifold Garden - Seriously good puzzle game with an endless/infinite level space mechanic. Truly a unique and clever puzzler. Story is a little lackluster/ambiguous, but the "infinite space loop" gameplay is fantastic IMO.

Outer Wilds - What can I say, achieves almost everything I could want out of a space game. Physics is unparalleled to any other modern title IMO, and the tech was built by a team of university students (built in Unity). Just phenomenal.

A Short Hike - A charming open-world purely exploration-focused game with a unique pixelated art style (that you can tone down if you choose) + "dynamically fixed" camera + fun flying mechanic. Music is fantastic too.

Stardew Valley - Ofc I have to mention this, I was a cynic approaching this game because of the hype I read on the internet. Turned out to be a 50+ hour title that I'll gladly return to. Everyone knows this one at this point.

These games reignited my appreciation for gaming as an art form. :)

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cubidog

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#36  Edited By cubidog

Last gen had so many amazing indie titles. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Hollow Knight, and Stardew Valley are all in my top 10 favorite games of all time, so I guess I'd go with those. Honorable mentions to Enter the Gungeon, Nuclear Throne, and Rocket League. Not sure if Hades and Spelunky 2 count, but they're both also on my top 10 games of all time list.

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Teddie

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Hollow Knight might be my favorite indie game of any generation. Once I got into the rhythm of it, I couldn't put it down. So much fun to explore, the secrets were genuinely rewarding and surprising, and they absolutely nailed the combat. The world they made for that game is oppressive, but incredibly endearing and tonally consistent-- the art, sound, and narrative all work together perfectly and I loved being in that world. Honestly, it clicked with me so well that I think it ruined all other Metroidvanias for me.

Also want to give props to Stardew Valley, which was my first farming game. Was totally addicted, and have gone back a few times over the years and put solid time in exploring aspects that I didn't focus on in my initial burst.

Last one I'll mention is Undertale. Gameplay was only ever serviceable, but it has the best exploration of "things you can do with the video game medium" I've experienced in the industry. Huge fan of the story and characters, the music is stellar, and the amount of creativity packed into everything was very refreshing.

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cikame

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Project Wingman?
I don't know, this is extremely difficult and i don't know whether it's because i don't play a lot of indie games or if going PC only has completely warped my sense of generations, i wanted to say Bastion, Project Wingman was really fantastic though.

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sombre

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That "Mummy" game was REALLY GOOD, but too hard.

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norm9

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Dungeon of the Endless and Streets of Rogue.