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[GOTY] IndieGaf recommends: The 50 Best Indies of 2015

Toma

Let me show you through these halls, my friend, where treasures of indie gaming await...
Mar 25, 2006
26,213
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1,510
www.wasfuersohr.blogspot.com
Hey everyone!

We finally, finally, finally were able to finish the Indie Game GOTY thread, which was like... 4 months overdue now. Best GOTY list comes last obviously! ;p Thanks to everyone involved in writing, formatting, creating images and voting!

Previous GOTY threads:
IndieGAF recommends: The 50 Best Indies of 2013
IndieGAF recommends: The 50 Best Indies of 2014

Monthly Indie Games thread series:
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1193020

We are already 1/3rd into 2016, already played a ton more great games that deserve a spotlight, but hopefully, this list still gives you 1 or 2 ideas for games you might want to check out. These were the 50 games that the people voting for them felt most strongly about. If you want to participate in next years voting too, make sure to drop by in the Indie Threads from time to time to get the latest impressions on the smallest gems ;)

Some of the listed games obviously won't be a fit for everyone, and some will be particularly niche, but all of these games can be fantastic experiences that are worth looking into. I hope you enjoy our list, the format and the texts written by your very own GAF community.

Have fun playing games in 2016 and beyond!
 

Toma

Let me show you through these halls, my friend, where treasures of indie gaming await...
Mar 25, 2006
26,213
0
1,510
www.wasfuersohr.blogspot.com
Assault Android Cactus - $14,99 (PC, Mac, Linux, Ps4, Wii U, Vita)
http://www.assaultandroidcactus.com/p/landing.html

Dual stick shooters are quite common, but Assault Android Cactus is a stand-out. Battles aren't mere exchanges of bullets, but screen-filling spectacles of searing lasers, mechanical hordes, and shifting arenas. Each moment is one of chaotic gunfire and deft evasion, but also balanced out by the synergy of an android's loadout and need to keep your battery charged. From basic weapons like assault rifles to shotguns to more exotic tools of destruction such as plasma field generator and a cannonball launcher, each gun feels feel powerful and unique.
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Axiom Verge - $19,99 (PC, Mac, Linux, PS4)
http://www.axiomverge.com/

Open world exploration side scrolling platformer; from the outset Axiom Verge is a fine homage to the classic early games in the Metroid series. However upon further exploration it starts to develop its own identity with a mass of strange weapons to find and use, outlandish powers and the ability to manipulate the glitchy nature of the world itself. The end result is a game which feels oddly familiar yet completely alien.
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The Beginner's Guide - $9,99 (PC, Mac)
http://thebeginnersgui.de/

Regardless of whether you think this personal artistic experience was worth your time and money or it should have stayed personal, you have to acknowledge that this game is art, through and through. Games as a medium can be so many things and convey so much, and this is another solid, in-depth example of that. This sets it apart from the Stanley Parable, I think, in that it doesn't examine the nature of narrative in games, but uses the game as a medium to self-examination. The fact that it's a video game is secondary to the artistic meaning of it, but necessary to the integrity of the piece, and that's what interests me the most about this game.
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Besiege - $7,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://www.besiege.spiderlinggames.co.uk/

Besiege takes the vehicle construction you love from games like Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts and injects it with a dose of physics, blood, and medieval destruction, as you build powerful siege engines to level castles and lay waste to armies. It's the little details that stand out: wood beams snap in half when broken, blood stains your blades and the ground, your structure collapses and falls apart realistically when aflame, buildings crumble under the might of your cannon fire or swinging maces
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Big Pharma - $24,95 (PC)
http://www.bigpharmagame.com/

Big Pharma is a pretty brilliant game. Basically it's part puzzle game, part business sim. Your job is to take ingredients, and then create a production line which turns them into a medication for something. At the end of your production line you'll get paid based on the quality of the drug you've made and the side effects it induces. That's the business bit. The business bit is way more complex than that though, because the world outside your factory is constantly evolving. Rival companies might produce a better drug than yours to combat a specific malady and so yours is suddenly not as profitable. Or there might be a particularly harsh winter and if you can get in quick with a decent cold medicine you could make tons of money... but when spring rolls around you'll have a huge production line making a drug no one wants.
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Castle in the Darkness - $5,99 (PC)
http://castleinthedarkness.mattkap.net/

It's clearly inspired by older Castlevanias titles, even though there are some backtracking to reach new areas when you find new abilities but it's not a tedious backtracking since you unlock some warps in the world. There are various hidden secrets in the levels that are required to 100% the game, and there are many references to 8-bit era of video games, but I didn't thought they were intrusive. The OST fits very well into the game, while the gameplay is tight and works well.
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Chroma Squad - $14,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://www.chromasquad.com/

Chroma Squad is a tactical role playing game where you manage your own monster of the week tokusatsu show, a television drama that uses special effects. It sets itself apart from other TRPGs by focusing on satisfying team attacks and maneuvers along with knock back on hit while following a script that gives you more viewers and bonuses. Destroying minions and bosses nets you materials which you can use to craft new armor and weapons for your actors or giant mecha. Manage your dream team hero show everyone wants to watch!
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Cities: Skylines - $39,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
www.citiesskylines.com/

For too long we'd been starved of a proper city builder to succeed the fantastic Simcity 4, and that was only made worse by the horrific Simcity (2014). Colossal Order have produced a fantastically refined and feature filled city builder. A particular highlight for me is the massively flexible road building tools allowing for some crazy, imaginative yet functional intersections. They have also embraced the community which was so crucial to Simcity 4 by supporting user mods.
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Contradiction - $9,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://baggycat.com/contradiction/

FMV murder mystery game in which you follow in the wake of Detective Jenks on the trail to find out what happened to a murdered girl in the small village of Edenton. Although the core gameplay loop of interrogating suspects and pointing out logical contradictions in their testimony is rewarding, the real joy of this game comes from the odd characters during your travels and the loveable melodramatical acting style on display by most of the main cast.
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D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die - $14,99 (PC, XBO)
http://d4-game.com/

While D4 does not reinvent the adventure game wheel, it has an incredibly engaging story, charming side activities, unique ideas and interesting characters. It has a slower pace sometimes, but the great presentation for a detective murder story with time travel elements and seriously wacky (wackily serious?) moments. Unfortunately, the games overarching story might never be fully finished, but the game is still very much worth grabbing for the fantastic ride it provides.
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Darkest Dungeon - $24,99 (PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Vita)
http://www.darkestdungeon.com/

Darkest Dungeon is perhaps most aptly described as "The Road" of dungeon crawlers. The bleak Lovecraftian game explores the human angle of dungeon crawling, delving into what would happen to the mind and body as you bled, toiled, and endured the dank darkness filled with unearthly horrors. Stylized visuals, gruesome beasts, deep tactical combat, and an atmosphere anchored by the compelling tones of narrator Wayne June makes Darkest Dungeon a gripping experience
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Deathtrap - $19,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://store.steampowered.com/app/310510/
http://www.neocoregames.com/games/deathtrap/overview/

Tower defense action RPG which pits you against hordes of mythical beasts and weird science monstrosities to stop their endless march towards your home base. As you complete maps you get the opportunity to level both your active and passive skills, your towers and traps and even craft new gear to help boost your talents to aid with future challenges. The strategic layer of the tower placement along with the clickfest of the action RPG mesh together perfectly to create an experience which is both tactically deep and wonderfully mindless
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Downwell (PC, iOS)
http://downwellgame.com/

Downwell is no simple mindless shooter. Carefully leaping around enemies to get in the best positions to fire, jumping on enemies to converse ammo, deftly avoiding hazards, is all necessary to survive. Downwell shines due to its subtle depth and challenging action. Like games such as Spelunky or Vlambeer's titles, it nails that amorphous element of "game feel", gameplay design that just feels satisfying and addicting and powerful.
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Dropsy - $9.99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://dropsytheclown.com/

Dropsy is the video game with a heart made out of gold. In a world where many video games revolve around killing things to reach the goal of saving the world, this little adventure game is a breath of fresh air. As Dropsy all you really want to do is help people, make them happy and give them a hug. Making people happy in this nightmarish world will not only put smiles on their face, but also on the player's. It is a cathartic experience in some way. Otherwise Dropsy s also "just" a very well crafted adventure game with beautiful art, and dialogs which work non-verbally. The latter adds a lot to the puzzles and this game being so much about the emotions of these characters, a picture can often say more than a thousand words.
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Duskers - $19,99 (PC)
http://duskers.misfits-attic.com/

The universe is dead. You are alone. Supplies are dwindling. As the lone survivor in a galaxy gone silent, you travel from ship to ship, derelict barges and stations and outposts now drifting through space, staving off starvation or certain death by sending drones onto those empty vessels. You can control these drones through command lines; a method that may sound archaic and clunky, but is actually what makes Duskers so brilliant and immersive. Every command must be planned and carefully considered, because if something goes wrong - and it will - you must adapt and improvise on the fly.
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Dyscourse - $14,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://dyscourse.com/

Best way to describe it: A digital survival choose your own adventure game. You play Rita, a plucky Barista off to the world championships, who is one of 6 survivors of a mysterious plane crash on a desert island. How you interact with your fellow survivors, who you choose to do various tasks can produce wildly varying outcomes, people might die, you might die, you might lose an arm, you might elect an Inanimate object as the new ruler of your desert kingdom or possibly you might even survive! Each game probably takes no more than on hour or so and judging by the completely different outcomes I've already seen in 5 or 6 plays it's well worth a look at.
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Earthtongue - $5 (PC, Mac)
https://erichermit.itch.io/earth-tongue

This is a prime example for the type of games that I started creating the Indie threads on GAF for. There are plenty of games that are bound to never get mass traction and an alien garden simulator playground definitely falls into that. Dabbling in this ecosystem and how dozens of plants or animals react to each other and unlocking more options was one of my personal favourites in 2015. It's a game you might only spend 2-4 hours with, depending on your playfulness, but I absolutely adore what this game managed to achieve and I'll keep holding these experiences dear to my heart.
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Elite Dangerous - $29,99 (PC, Mac)
https://www.elitedangerous.com/

Elite Dangerous was my first space sim, and it was an awe-inspiring introduction genre. Elite is like having your own personal Interstellar at your fingertips, each moment featuring glorious space vistas, looming suns and planets, a scale that never ceases to amaze. Every docking at a gargantuan station, every thrilling frame-shift jump, every fast-paced yet strategic encounter adds to the experience, and the immersive UI only makes the exploration more compelling
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Environmental Station Alpha - $7,99 (PC, Mac)
http://www.hempuli.com/esa/

There are a lot of metroidvanias released and being made by indie developers, in a genre crowded it can be hard to get attention. While there are nothing innovative in ESA, it is a very well made game with tight controls, well designed levels and a good soundtrack to imerse you in the game. Each area feels different from each other and you understand immediately what kind of biome it was in the Station.
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Hand of Fate - $24,99 (PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, XBO)
http://www.defiantdev.com/hofpress/

Hand of Fate combines card game, dungeon crawler, and action RPG/brawler to deliver a brilliant and incredibly addictive hybrid of an experience. Other games may have more complex card mechanics or better combat, but Hand of Fate combines hefty combat and the unknown exploration of a text adventure with engaging deck-building, the varied locations, and the excellent voice acting from the mysterious Dealer, creating a compelling experience that's easy to dive back into again and again.
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Her Story - $5,99 (PC, Mac, iOS)
http://www.herstorygame.com/

Whether you classify it as a game, a visual novel, interactive fiction, or something else, one thing remains constant: Her Story offers a mature and gripping experience. Her Story distills the adventure game to its purest form. Your items you gather are the parts of a story, and you're trying to discover the truth. Through deduction and learning more details, you gather new keywords and phrases to unlock more of Her Story's narrative puzzle box. Her Story strips all out those extraneous elements since in other detective game and places the onus on the player to piece together the mystery
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Hotline Miami 2 $14,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://www.devolverdigital.com/games/view/hotline-miami-2-wrong-number

Much like its predecessor, Hotline Miami 2 is brutal. Cathartic. Chaotic. Insane. Drive meets David Lynch. And it's all that on grander scale, taking what worked in the first game - that die-repeat-succeed rapid-fire pacing, the copious gore and blood, the satisfying arcadey combat that left broken bodies in your wake - and expanded on everything. A more complex but no less weird story, more masks with more diverse skills like dodge rolls and dual wielding, larger levels, and of course more weapons made Hotline Miami 2 a worthy sequel and thrilling action game.
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Infinifactory - $24,99 (PC, Mac, Linux, PS4)
http://www.zachtronics.com/infinifactory/

At a glance, Infinifactory looks like SpaceChem in 3D. And in a sense, it is, featuring the same style of building elaborate assembly lines that always make you feel like an engineering genius when it all finally works. But at the same time, it isn't. The addition of a Z-axis changes everything, allowing for brain-breaking new challenges and building techniques that were never possible before, and the aspect of building tangible items rather than abstract elements made the construction even more satisfying.
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Invisible Inc - $19,99 (PC, Mac, Linux, PS4 soon)
https://www.kleientertainment.com/games/invisible-inc

Klei proved themselves to be masters of the stealth genre with Mark of the Ninja, but Invisible Inc is not only a fantastic stealth game, but an innovative one, combining the strategic, methodical nature of turn-based gameplay with cautious desperate sneaking. A wealth of agents and skills opens the door for a plethora of tactics, but at its core, Invisible Inc is all about careful sneaking around sight cones, avoiding patrols, stealing important data, and infiltrating secure facilities. A masterpiece of stealth gameplay
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Mushroom 11 - $14,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://mushroom11.com/

Mushroom 11 is a challenging physics-based puzzle platformer that turns the typical genre gameplay on its head by putting you in control of an amorphous fungus that can mold and shift into any shape. Each chapter introduces new mechanics and dangers, always exploring new uses of the mushroom's amorphous design. The unique gameplay was Mushroom 11's initial hook, but discovering what new hazards and puzzle elements the developers would introduce next was what keep me intrigued throughout my six-hour playthrough.
 

Toma

Let me show you through these halls, my friend, where treasures of indie gaming await...
Mar 25, 2006
26,213
0
1,510
www.wasfuersohr.blogspot.com
Neon Struct - $17,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://www.neonstruct.com/

A stealth game with a solid plot and an aesthetics that refers to the old Deux EX, with the game being clearly inspired by it, and while it may look simple Minor Key Games nailed the feel. The level are vast and with different routes to finish each mission, also there are secret stashes to find if you like to explore.
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Nuclear Throne - $11,99 (PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Vita)
http://nuclearthrone.com/

If there's one thing Vlambeer absolutely excels at, it's satisfying action that just feels engrossing to control, and Nuclear Throne encapsulates that perfectly. It's hectic frenzied bullet hell chaos, as you deftly dodge and weave between countless projectiles and return the favor with your own. Each character requires a different skillset to master, and each weapon feels brutal and rocks the screen with a pull of the trigger.
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Ori and the Blind Forest - $19,99 (PC, XBO)
http://www.oriblindforest.com/

Ori doesn't reinvent the wheel, or innovate the platformer. But what it does do is deliver what is easily the most gorgeous, most fluidly-animated, vibrant platformer in years. From mist-choked forest to caverns strangled by thorny vines, from crystal clear lakes to flaming ruins, every location in Ori is flush with color and life. The exploration, acrobatic combat, challenging platforming, and excellent music are all satisfying icing on a beautiful cake.
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Quasi - Free (PC, Mac, Linux)
https://prominent.itch.io/quasi

It's a very unique puzzle game. I wont spoil the mechanics, because in the first 2 levels, you'll spend the most time just figuring out what the mechanics actually ARE. What are your powers? How do different level elements react to each other? Very similar to Fjords/Starseed Pilgrim in that regard. After you got the hang of it, the game throws a surprising amount of levels at you, which I had a blast solving. I haven't finished the game yet (about 50% through), and in the beginning the weirdness with the controls put me off a bit, but the more I played, the more this game rose up in my voting list.
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Pillars of Eternity - $44,99 (PC,Mac, Linux)
http://eternity.obsidian.net/

Those said to be dead live longer. After being one of the most popular genres in the 90s, classical top down RPGs were basically about to die a horrible and uneventful death. In the wake of the first Kickstarter resurrections, former genre veterans came together to continue where they left off: making damn fine RPG epics. Engaging world building, a beautiful new engine and art design, tons and tons of spells, attacks and magic, tactical combat and a world that just makes you crave for exploring the next area. A great first step into the next era of isometrical RPGs.
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Pix the Cat - $9,99 (PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Vita)
http://www.pastagames.com/pix-the-cat/

Ever wondered why some of the older classics died and asked yourself why nobody tried to come up with modern versions? Look no further than Pix, if you want a high speed, twitchy and very challenging Pacman/Snake crossover in puzzle format. Additionally, the game also offers several other modes and generally just a plethora of content to dive into. Definitely pick this up if the arcadey nature of Pix sounds appealing to you.
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Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion - $14,99 (PC, Mac, Android)
http://www.ravenmark-saga.com/

Ravenmark is a rather interesting tactical game that has its fair share of fans, but warning: It is certainly not for everyone. Some widespread design ideas, like character progression, are missing from this game, but instead the game makes up for it with very engaging tactical combat, that needs careful consideration for its finer elements, such as formations, and a fleshed out story. It is an iOS port, so there are the occasional oddities, but give this beautiful little game a chance if you like tactical combat and if you can see it for an affordable price.
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Read Only Memories - $9,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://readonlymemori.es/

Read Only Memories is a heavily story-driven cyberpunk adventure game, very reminiscent of Snatcher and Policenauts in both style and gameplay. The cyberpunk Aesthetic blends with the progressive tones of the plot and characters almost perfectly, from the gay couple tending the bar of the nightclub you frequent through the story, to the cybernetically enhanced, Magical Girl VR Drama loving energy drink vendor with a heart of gold, to the genetically modified, hot tempered anthropomorphic feline lawyer who assists you in your investigations. The soundtrack is top-notch, an 80's blend of Synthwave, Rock, and Hip Hop that sets the cyberpunk mood perfectly, giving off vibes of everything from Shadowrun for the SNES to Snatcher to the Ace Attorney series in tone. If you're after a cyberpunk tale that does the genre justice, you can't go any better than ROM.
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Renowned Explorers - $19,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://renownedexplorers.com/

A Strategic Turn Based Rogue-Like where you play a 19th Century adventurer intent on becoming the worlds greatest explorer. Now how you achieve this is where the game does something new, there are 3 types of attacks: aggressive where you punch, shoot, whip and the like, Devious where you insult, belittle, embarrass and finally you can just be really nice via cheering, congratulating etc... An enemy can be highly armored and laugh off attacks but could be thin-skinned and really sensitive about his smelly underwear and might just go home if you bring it up! How these 3 types of attacks interact can also effect the outcome and rewards you receive from each expedition and then how you upgrade you crew between missions. An amazing, ridiculous and surprisingly deep game.
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Rocket League - $19,99 (PC, PS4, XBO)
http://www.rocketleaguegame.com/

Rocket League is the multiplayer game everyone can enjoy. No leveling or perks to worry about, no game-changing unlocks. It's 100% skill-based, as you fly gracefully through the air, drive up the walls, make glorious last-minute goals and amazing interceptions. Fast, fun, colorful, and easy to pick up and play, Rocket League is the best multiplayer experience of the year.
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Satellite Reign - $29,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://satellitereign.com/

Cyberpunk has a long history in games, from Snatcher to Deus Ex, but perhaps none was as satisfyingly destructive as Syndicate. Satellite Reign modernizes and evolves Syndicate's guns-blazing chaos with a greater emphasis on squad tactics and stealth, a gorgeous rain-soaked neon-lit aesthetic, reactive districts to explore and hack, and a vast arsenal of tech, weapons, and skills to utilize.
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Secrets of Grindea - $14,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://www.secretsofgrindea.com/

Secrets of Grindea is an action RPG inspired by the genre classics like Zelda and Secrets of Mana. A huge amount of different skills and abilities, character customization extremely fun bosses, big areas worth exploring, puzzles, secrets, a great art style and animations and many, many, many side activities and minigames. I almost forgot to mention the additional gameplay modes too, beside the main campaign. Incredibly addictive and satisfying to play. Check this out if you are a fan of Action RPGs.
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Snakebird - $6,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://snakebird.noumenongames.com/

Beneath Snakebird's colorful friendly aesthetic lies one devious puzzle game. Snakebird never evolves beyond moving and twisting those colorful birds, but uses that seemingly simple mechanic to deliver an incredibly tricky puzzler. A single puzzle could take an hour or more, but it's always satisfying to figure out the game's spatial challenges. Don't be fooled by its cutesy facade; this is an amazing gem of a puzzler
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Software Inc. - $13,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://softwareinc.coredumping.com/

This game finally fully realizes the idea of managing a software development company. Remember Gamedev story? Now imagine that... with more depth and complexity. dozens of decisions for your projects, HR management, worker compatibility and needs, office building, competitors, PC features that affect what you can develop, economy impacting future development decisions and more. It is still in Early access but gets frequently big updates and is already one of the most notable games in the genre. Start with a single developer, which is easy enough and then work yourself up to managing a multi dozen people company with different projects and priorities in a game, where even the right placement for car parking can be a factor to optimize your workflow. Highly recommended.
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SOMA - $29,99 (PC, Mac, Linux, PS4)
http://somagame.com/

SOMA sheds Amnesia's Lovecraftian trappings in favor of a research station on the ocean floor, but the horror and the oppressive atmosphere remains, anchored by a compelling and thought-provoking story influenced by the works of Harlan Ellison and Philip K. Dick. The horror in SOMA comes less from its terrifying creatures and more from the atmosphere, the themes, the sound design and setting. Every moment is fraught with tension, enhanced by the music and the groaning of metal being crushed by the immense ocean pressure. The game is a slow-burn experience, letting the unnerving uneasy implications of grotesque sights and of your actions stew in your mind.
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Sublevel Zero - $14,99 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://www.sigtrapgames.com/sublevelzero/

Sublevel Zero combines the claustrophobic tunnels and hectic action of Descent with the looming tension and unpredictable nature of the roguelite, each playthrough delivering reckless flights down tight corridors and relentless firepower. Throughout cramped technological tunnels and lava-lit caverns where it's easy to lose your bearings to cavernous crystalline quarries, mechanical threats lurk at every turn. Permadeath looms over every new room and every unknown corner, so each encounter must be tackled like it could be your last. Each weapon feels powerful and satisfying to use, tearing through the levels in overwhelming streaks of colorful energy.
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Tales from the Borderlands - $24,99 (PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, XBO)
https://www.telltalegames.com/talesfromtheborderlands/

In line with Telltales other ventures, Tales of the Borderlands presents an additional view on a well known franchise and transforms an FPS franchise into a very compelling, imaginative and engaging adventure game. Telltale games arent known for intricate puzzle design, but the world they built and character interactions they laid out so well done, that this game ended up on quite a few GOTY lists. You should also jump in for these Incredibly likable characters, surprising story and super fun ride.
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Technobabylon - $14,99 (PC)
http://www.wadjeteyegames.com/games/technobabylon/

Technobabylon continues the strong track record of Wadjet Eye Games in producing retro-style point-and-click adventure games. The cyberpunk setting gives way to a rich, multi-layered story that blends topics ranging from genetic engineering and increasing online activity in a thoughtful, mature way. The latter allows for some fun puzzles that require lateral thinking across the real-world setting ("meatspace") and virtual setting (known as the Trance). The puzzles overall are logical and well-integrated with the story and setting, never obtuse but becoming more challenging as the game progresses. Throughout Technobabylon the player will control three different characters, each quite likeable and well-developed. Dialogue and voice acting are excellent and the pixel art is gorgeous, all setting the tone for the game along with a moody soundtrack. Overall Technobabylon is an excellent sci-fi point-and-click adventure that gets everything right.
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Thea: The Awakening - $19,99 (PC)
http://muhagames.com/projects/the-awakening/

Thea is an unique mix of Civ, Rogue, and CCGs, with a little King of Dragon Pass sprinkled in. Somehow these seemingly disparate parts that manage to come together in a cohesive whole. You're a God from Slavic mythology who is directing survivors after an apocalyptic event has occurred. You're going to lose, but you must take solace in knowing that the now deceased civilization likely progressed enough to help the next one get just a little bit further, as you do have meta-progression across games. Definitely has the "one more turn" feeling. Downsides include a not great tutorial and interface quirks.
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TIS-100 (PC, Mac, Linux)
http://www.zachtronics.com/tis-100/

TIS-100 was a distillation of SpaceChem, cutting away the abstractions and pseudo-chemistry theme to deliver a pure programming puzzler. The gameplay is essentially the same; you're still transporting data from inputs to outputs, combining and separating inputs, and working around the limited space. But instead of waldos and flip-flops, you're need to think in terms of MOV and ACC and BAK and NIL. The assembly language challenges tickle your brain in the best way, building in complexity as you meticulously type out command lines.
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Towerclimb - $14,99 (PC)
http://store.steampowered.com/app/396640

A lot of games task you with climbing structures, but how many focus solely on that ascent. Towerclimb is a roguelite platformer challenging you to climb fast and riskily through a skyward gauntlet of traps and monsters. Don't be fooled by its unassuming looks; this is a rewarding finely-tuned game of wall climbs and ceiling hangs, of strategic potion use and desperate escapes from rising lava and charging beasts,
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Underrail - $14,99 (PC)
http://www.underrail.com/

This is seriously the best cRPG I've played in years.The combat is tough, but there are enough options to deal with most situations, including stealth and climbing in vents. Lots of environmental interaction and a really nice detailed crafting system that made me wish I had spent more skill points on it. Also a detailed world with lots of things to explore and steal, a bit like Arcanum where you could steal all the shop inventories if you were good enough. Really, try it if you have any love for turn-based crpgs.
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Undertale - $9,99 (PC, Mac)
http://undertale.com/

Undertale's presentation is pretty simple and may turn many off because of the "ugly" graphics or even how it spawned many memes, though if you look past that superficial issues one can find an interesting story with new takes in an already stablished genre like JRPG. The game is best experienced without reading spoilers because it's going to be quite a ride.
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Velocity 2X - $19,99 (PC, PS4, Vita)
http://velocitygame.co.uk/

The sequel to the already fantastic Velocity made an already great game concept even better by adding more variety to the zipping and zooming around the levels. With the incredibly tight controls, both the shmup and sidescrolling levels are quick and fun to play. V2X is an incredibly refined and polished experience, which allows for a ton of room to replay and improve your scores.Disclaimer: The game is bugged for Nvidia Users on W10, but if you have a different setup, or can play it on console, definitely check it out.
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You Must Build A Boat - $4,99 (PC, Mac, Linux, Android)
http://eightyeightgames.com/you-must-build-a-boat/

Like Puzzle Quest, 100000000 was one of those games that blended match-3 with RPG elements to deliver a unique and addicting concept. You Must Build A Boat only deepens and expands upon that already solid foundation, as you once race across the screen and fight monsters with careful but quick matches. Out of combat, a growing assortment of passengers on your ever-expanding vessel let you upgrade stats and buffs, improve and buy weapons, unlocks skills and magic, and more.
 

Toma

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4th, thread open.

And yes, we are late with this thread. On the plus side, we are the only 2015 GOTY thread in April!
 

epmode

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Lovely thread. Seriously, great work.

In related news, I'm glad that voting for this thread finally got me to put together a real top 20 list. I rarely quantify my favorite games like that and it was fun to do.
 

Toma

Let me show you through these halls, my friend, where treasures of indie gaming await...
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Lovely thread. Seriously, great work.

In related news, I'm glad that voting for this thread finally got me to put together a real top 20 list. I rarely quantify my favorite games like that and it was fun to do.

Yeah, that is always a real head scratcher. I usually end with like a list of 50-60 and need to cut it down to 20.
 

NinjamicWZ

Banned
Jul 30, 2010
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So many amazing looking games I haven't played. Pix the Cat is also on PS4 & Vita.

Had fun with Axiom Verge, Helldivers, Galak-Z, Dragon Fin Soup & Volume last year.
 

Toma

Let me show you through these halls, my friend, where treasures of indie gaming await...
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It's... It's.. So beautiful... So many games... How? How can it be? Hehe

Thanks Toma for all your trouble. AAA thread!

Thanks :) Also huge shoutout to Baddy and the others writing blurbs and creating images.

Also: Indie > AAA
In-joke ;p
 
D

Deleted member 126221

Unconfirmed Member
Great list, thanks! I played some of those and loved them (Hotline 2, Nuclear Throne, Her Story, Ori, Pix the Cat...) and now I added a bunch more to my Steam wishlist.
 

Toma

Let me show you through these halls, my friend, where treasures of indie gaming await...
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No Fast Racing NEO?
No runbow either.

:(

Fast Racing NEO was on the extended list past 50 I think, but Runbow wasnt. Stick around in the Indie threads, and participate this year. ;)

If we are only like 10 people votings, its bound to happen that we miss some games. We'd always love to read about any games in the Indie threads, so if there is something you feel strongly about, feel free to drop by!
 
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Stunning work Toma. I somehow didn't realise Software Inc. existed and it's immediately gone onto my to buy queue.
 

Arulan

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This thread delivers.

I didn't participate in the voting thread, but I feel I need to mention The Age of Decadence for those looking for the best games to play of last year. It's perhaps one of, if not the best RPG of last year.
 

neonglow

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I added a bunch to my wishlist. I noticed several have been in the Humble Monthly bundles so here's hoping more show up.
 

Toma

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This thread delivers.

I didn't participate in the voting thread, but I feel I need to mention The Age of Decadence for those looking for the best games to play of last year. It's perhaps one of, if not the best RPG of last year.

Yeah, its a bit unfortunate it got left out from the thread, as it definitely should be up there as well, but none of the voters had it high enough on their lists, and barely anyone voted for it.

A friend recently really talked me into it, and its especially remarkable how the game handled the setting, decisions, and the different gameplay options.
 

Dennis

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Magnificent thread.

Can't help but feel that Cities: Skyline, Elite: Dangerous, Pillars of Eternity and Tales from the Borderland aren't exactly indies though.
 

PandaPedinte

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This thread delivers.

I didn't participate in the voting thread, but I feel I need to mention The Age of Decadence for those looking for the best games to play of last year. It's perhaps one of, if not the best RPG of last year.

Everything I've read about thia game made it looks very interesting.
 

Peterthumpa

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Magnificent thread.

Can't help but feel that Cities: Skyline, Elite: Dangerous, Pillars of Eternity and Tales from the Borderland aren't exactly indies though.

Yup, not sure if they belong to this list, specially Elite and Tales.
 

GamerJM

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Great list, though I'm disappointed at the lack of Aviary Attorney.

Her Story and Rocket League in particular are awesome.
 

Toma

Let me show you through these halls, my friend, where treasures of indie gaming await...
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Magnificent thread.

Can't help but feel that Cities: Skyline, Elite: Dangerous, Pillars of Eternity and Tales from the Borderland aren't exactly indies though.

We had that discussion a million times, but the distinction between small Indies, 10 man Indies, bigger self-published independent studios and Indie Studios gobbled up by smaller or mostly "Indie Game" publishers (Devolver Digital for example) has so many grey areas, its basically indistinguishable by now.

I agree though, that the categorization of these becomes weirder and weirder as time goes on and more Indie studios fill up the mid-level or high quality market.

I mean... even No Mans Sky is an Indie Game, with huge Sony PR and incredible production values/scope. Self-published, as is Tales of the Borderlands, which is also self-published.

Just as an example.

I agree though, I always feel weird about these entries and discussions too and havent fully made up my mind yet.
 

Diprosalic

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wasn't a great year for indies, played most of these and barely enjoyed any.
2016 is already up to a better start with "The Witness".
 

toddhunter

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I don't seem to follow indie games very much lately, but thanks very much for the thread Toma. The efforts of guys like you and MB are appreciated. Will check a couple of these out.

For the ones I have played, You must build a boat is an amazing little time waster. I'd probably recommend it on a phone, but I could see it working elsewhere as well. It took an already great game in 1000000000 or however many zeros it had and added just enough features and charm to make it even better.
 

Dennis

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Looking for more GAF impression of these games:

Technobabylon
Read Only Memories
Underrail
SOMA
Hyper Light Drifter
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
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Everything I've played on that list looks great and anecdotally I know that almost everything there has broadly positive reception across the gaming community at large so for anyone coming into this and not knowing where to start, I suspect you'll be very safe just getting anything that looks and sounds interesting.
 

Toma

Let me show you through these halls, my friend, where treasures of indie gaming await...
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Looking for more GAF impression of these games:

Technobabylon
Read Only Memories
Underrail
SOMA
Hyper Light Drifter

Underrail is an old school style Fallout. No brainer if you liked those.
Didnt play Techno yet, but its a Wadjet game, and they kinda dont make bad games. Looking forward to getting to it eventually.
 

Arulan

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Looking for more GAF impression of these games:

Technobabylon
Read Only Memories
Underrail
SOMA

Well, it won RPG Codex's GOTY if that means anything to you. It's up there with The Age of Decadence for me as among the best RPGs of last year. It's very much inspired by Fallout, but while The Age of Decadence took Fallout's choice & consequences design focus to its extreme, Underrail focuses on the combat and its dependent systems.
 

Toma

Let me show you through these halls, my friend, where treasures of indie gaming await...
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How good is it quality-wise compared to Fallout 1 and 2?

In my memory, Fallout 1 & 2 were exceptional games, especially in regards to world building. Underrail is the closest any game has gotten to that so far, so if you crave for more Fallout style gaming, its your best bet.

There are some difference in tone, Underrail is a bit less wacky, has a higher focus on technical stuff, like equipment and combat etc, but it very much feels like someone took the Fallout Formula and tried to make a 2010+ Indie Game based on that.
 

Dennis

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Well, it won RPG Codex's GOTY if that means anything to you. It's up there with The Age of Decadence for me as among the best RPGs of last year. It's very much inspired by Fallout, but while The Age of Decadence took Fallout's choice & consequences design focus to its extreme, Underrail focuses on the combat and its dependent systems.

In my memory, Fallout 1 & 2 were exceptional games, especially in regards to world building. Underrail is the closest any game has gotten to that so far, so if you crave for more Fallout style gaming, its your best bet.

There are some difference in tone, Underrail is a bit less wacky, has a higher focus on technical stuff, like equipment and combat etc, but it very much feels like someone took the Fallout Formula and tried to make a 2010+ Indie Game based on that.

Well, between you two and RPG Codex it is seems I better get this game in damn hurry!

Thanks.
 

ghibli99

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Cool list! Lots that I still have yet to try. I gotta say that I much prefer Downwell on PC with a proper controller though. Amazing game no matter what though!
 
wasn't a great year for indies, played most of these and barely enjoyed any.
2016 is already up to a better start with "The Witness".
Have to disagree and agree :p
2015 was so good

But 2016 is amazing. Firewatch, The Witness, Oxenfree, Darkest Dungeon, SuperHOT, Devil Daggers, Stardew Valley, Unraveled, Hyper Light Drifter, Samorost 3. And Enter The Gungeon next week
 

misses bull

Banned
Oct 2, 2013
10,051
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Looking for more GAF impression of these games:

Technobabylon
Read Only Memories
Underrail
SOMA
Hyper Light Drifter

SOMA is a horror game that isn't very scary but amazingly well written.

If you're down for that it's 100% worth it
 

Dennis

Banned
Jul 7, 2009
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Rhaknar

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Invisible Inc is $20 not $15

List is mostly excelent, has some duds in it (like Dyscourse which I really didnt like) but to each its own
 

timmyp53

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May 26, 2013
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Awesome really awesome list. I feel like Apotheon is criminally underrated though. I loved that game.



 

Rhaknar

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Dec 20, 2013
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Agree on Apotheon, well...at least of the 45mins or so I played (until I got to Olympus and the actual game begins I guess)

Also I have a hard time lumping in Telltale games with all these indies these days... I mean I know they are technically indie but still
 

Anno

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Great thread! Thanks Toma and MB for all the great work you two do bringing these games to the fore. 2015 was an amazing year for indie games; hopefully 2016 proves even close to as great.
 

chrominance

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May 24, 2013
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I never participate in the voting for these because a) I don't think I play enough indie games to qualify as a voter and b) I always forget about the indie threads, but I'm pleasantly surprised to find many of my favourite games from last year on the list. Especially pleased to see Sublevel Zero get a nod, that game was the biggest surprise of 2015 for me.
 
I never participate in the voting for these because a) I don't think I play enough indie games to qualify as a voter and b) I always forget about the indie threads, but I'm pleasantly surprised to find many of my favourite games from last year on the list. Especially pleased to see Sublevel Zero get a nod, that game was the biggest surprise of 2015 for me.
Your lengthy post on Sublevel Zero is what convinced me to check out the game