10 Best Indie Games of 2014
Awesome games that won't break your wallet.
It’s easy to get caught up playing The Witcher or League of Legends and forget about all the truly great indie games out there. Here are 10 of our favorites from 2014:
10. Goat Simulator (Coffee Stain Studios)
‘Become the goat you always knew you could be.’
This game is proof that sometimes a game can be so stupid it’s brilliant. Get hit by a car, blow yourself up, sacrifice innocent bystanders to become Goat Satan; each possibility in his game is more absurd than the last. But absurdity is this game’s lifeblood.
It doesn’t even matter that the graphics are bad and the physics are wonky. You know what you’re getting into with this game. Goat Simulator is a stupidly good time.
9. Five Nights at Freddy’s (Scott Cawthon)
Don’t let Five Nights at Freddy’s simplistic design fool you, this game is not for the faint of heart. You assume the role of the overnight security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza (think Chuck E. Cheese), which has a little problem with murderous animatronic puppets prowling the restaurant at night.
‘Maybe he just wants a hug.’
The objective of Five Nights at Freddy’s is to make it through the night alive. The catch is, the place has a limited amount of power for things like the lights, doors, and cameras. Run out of power and you lose, but if you’re too slow to close the doors then prepare yourself for a swift demise.
8. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts)
‘Hey look! Hundreds of skeletons! Doesn’t anyone in video games call the police?’
You play as Paul Prospero, a paranormal investigator who journeys to the small town of Red Creek Valley to find it abandoned. Using your sleuthing skills and your paranormal powers it’s up to you to piece together what happened to the residents of the town. The game is particularly praiseworthy for its story, which features a fun and surprising twist at the end.
‘I’m sure someone just hit a deer or something.’
Interestingly, the game features no combat of any kind. The developers chose to focus less on terror and more about just generating a sense of ‘clammy unease.’ It’s definitely worth it figure out what really did happen to Ethan Carter.
7. Threes (Sirvo)
‘Everyone’s favorite pastime: Math.’
Threes, like many great games is simple to learn, but difficult to master. Slide the numbered tiles up, down, or side to side in order to add their values together. The catch: Every time you slide you get another tile, other than ones and twos you can only add together multiples of three and if the tiles fill up all the available space you lose.
‘I checked my calculator and I can confirm that 1+2 does, in fact, equal 3.’
This game is great for gamers who frequently find themselves with a few spare moments to kill. For a game where you can easily log over a hundred hours, it’s a real bargain for only, you guessed it, $3.00. Put your puzzle skills to the test.
6. The Banner Saga (Stoic)
‘I know it’s called The Banner Saga, but does the banner really need to be 200 feet long?’
The Banner Saga tells the story of the return of the Dredge and the army assembled to fight them. There’s no shortage of tough choices to make in the battle against the Dredge. Just be prepared to face the consequences for the decisions you make and the battles you lose, but that’s just another part of the fun.
'He seems way too interested in that arrow.'
The Banner Saga plays almost like a game of chess. You need to think ahead and carefully consider where to move each member of your party in combat. Failure to think strategically will garner you a quick loss.
5. This War of Mine (11 Bit Studios)
‘I’m only five minutes in and I already robbed an old lady.’
This War of Mine tells the story of ordinary people caught in the midst of a siege. In this war game, you need to make tough decisions. Can you go another night without sleep to try to find that medicine your friend needs?
‘No respawns either.’
Inspired by the atrocious living conditions of Bosnians during the Siege of Sarajevo, this game shows war without any of the glory or excitement. If Call of Duty represents one end of the war game spectrum, then this game is at the opposite one. The game features many random elements such as what parts of the city you can visit and what character might appear to join your party – or not, your choice – so that every game is a bit different.
4. Transistor (Supergiant Games)
‘I said make the sword bigger!’
From the team who brought you 2011’s indie hit Bastion, Transistor proves that Supergiant’s success with Bastion wasn’t just a one-off. Transistor boasts awesome music, striking art, and deep gameplay.
‘Make the sword shoot stuff, too!’
You play as Red, a popular singer in Cloudbank city who is attacked by robots known only as The Process. Red comes into possession of The Transistor – a sword which, conveniently, allows her to destroy The Process. If you enjoy interesting story-telling, unconventional combat, and beautiful art, then Transistor is the game for you.
3. Child of Light (Ubisoft Montreal)
‘They’re pretty committed to the rhyming thing.’
Take the role of Princess Aurora in Ubisoft’s Child of Light. The story begins as Aurora goes to sleep on a Friday night in 1895 and grows cold as ice, seemingly dead. Aurora awakes, however, finding herself in the strange, mythical land of Lemuria.
‘Kind of like Snow White, but with more fireballs.’
The game features lots of skills to learn and upgrades to get, so you have a lot of control over how you want to play Aurora. This game will keep you busy for quite a while, especially if you’re a completionist.
2. Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Ubisoft Montpellier)
‘That war doesn’t look so great to me.’
Valiant Hearts: The Great War follows the lives of four different characters from four different countries and their struggles during WWI. Each character’s story requires the player to complete certain objectives, normally with a snag, requiring the player to solve puzzles to progress.
‘No wonder the Germans lost the war. Their helmets completely cover their eyes!’
You can tell that Ubisoft really put a lot of heart into this game. WWI is often overshadowed by what happened during WWII. Valiant Hearts: The Great War pays tribute and serves to educate players about the horrors of WWI.
1. Shovel Knight (Yacht Club Games)
‘The most fun you’ll ever have shoveling, guaranteed!’
A game that already has shoveling, you’re probably think to yourself, couldn’t possibly be better. Well you’re wrong. Shovel Knight is a charming game with a quirky and humorous story.
‘This guy must have the world’s strongest lower back.’
Shovel your way through all kinds of memorable enemies in this homage to classic NES titles. The story is funny and well-written and the game features tons of secrets and hidden content which you can go back and find with New Game+. Shovel Knight is something that every gamer should play and was one of the best titles of 2014.
Tell us your favorites in the comments and be sure to check out some of our other articles such as the 10 Best Real Time Strategy Games for 2015 and 11 Gamer Girls Who Are Captivating Male Gamers Worldwide.
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