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The Best Indie Games of 2016 - Voting thread

Fantastapotamus

Wrong about commas, wrong about everything
Aug 5, 2013
16,801
3
685
The Zoo
It becomes harder and harder to determine what is and what isn't an Indie game so I hope those all count. One of my favourite games of this year was Grow Up, made by the Driver team and published by Ubisoft. I'm going to assume that doesn't count tho. But what about Stellaris? Tyranny? Is Paradox big enough so they don't count anymore?

10. 35MM
Alright, hear me out. 35MM is not a good game. It doesn't look great. It's story isn't great and it is full of spelling mistakes, much like this post. It plays like....well....image a linear DayZ without zombies and inventory, without survival elements and without multiplayer. AND YET. I'm a sucker for easter european post-apocalyptic games. There is a certain....something to the atmosphere of this game that I really dig. If you'd ask me "Should I play 35MM" I'd say NO! (But maybe yes)

9. Enter the Gungeon
Wins the "best theme song of the year" award I just invented. It's a fun game with a lot of attention to detail. It's on the end of this list cause ultimately I never made it very far in the game and lost interest due to surprisingly boring drops.

8. Hyper Light Drifter
Hyper Light Drifter is a game that was supposed to be one of my favourite games of all times. So what happened? It looks gorgeous but it never quite clicked. The 30 FPS sure didn't help. Maybe most surprising, the soundtrack didn't work for me at all . It remains a good game, but I feel like it could have been much more.

7. The Witness
It's impressive how many puzzles you can make with such a simle concept. While I haven't beaten any of The Witness' harder bonus puzzles I still had a blast with most of the game except the final level. Also, it's one of the best looking games this year. Easily.

6. Salt and Sanctuary
It's Dark Souls. In 2D. And unlike most other "It's Dark Souls but" games, this one actually pulls it of.

5. Pony Island
Pony Island was one of the first games I've played this year. Yet I still remember most of it. Because while it's not a long game, it's certainly a memorable one. And it features my favourite moment of the year, a moment so utterly brilliant I still can't believe they were able to do this.

4. Darkest Dungeon
I never beat Darkest Dungeon but I've played almost 70 hours of it (includin the long EA phase). It's an amazing game, with an amazing atmosphere and a lot of incredibly clever systems. When your entire group is on the verge of a heart attack but you still pull through and beat a boss with you've feel like you could conquer the world....that is until you get destroyed by a random group of enemies on your next run.

3. Super. Hot.
Super. Hot. Super. Hot. Super. Hot. It's the most innovative shooter I've played in years. Super. Hot. Super. Hot. Super. Hot. Super. Hot. Super. Hot. Super. Hot. Super. Hot. Super. Hot. Super. Hot.

2. Tyranny
Assuming it is eligable, Tyranny is one of the sleekest and most focused RPGs I've ever played. It knows what it wants and it delievers on it. It puts a clever new spin on the "morality system" that has haunted Bioware's games for a long time. And finally, finally, finally a game's inhabitants don't treat me like an idiot even after I saved the world from all the evils in existance.

1. Abzü
Sometimes evil wins, but not this time.
I did not expect much from Abzü. I bought if during a sale because I assumed I wouldn't even bother to finish it. I'm not a big fan of games in Abzü's genre. What I expected were some pretty images and...well that's it. And while Abzü isn't much more than a series of pretty images, those images are so exceptionally amazing and perfectly accompanied by Austin Whintory's amazing score that I couldn't help but beat this game in one long, amazing sitting, It's a chill game and it's going to stay on my SSD for a long time, cause every time i feel down I will load this game, play for 15-30 minutes and calm down

Most anticipated games

5.Rain World
I feel like an damn optimist and idiot for even putting this on a "2017" list so I can't put it any higher.
4. The Long Dark
I usually don't much care for survival games and The Long Dark....isn't different. I have no fun in surviving as long as possible when ultimately there is nothing you can do but die in the end. I like the CONCEPT of survival games though. That's why I'm still excited for Long Dark. More specifically the promised Story mode where I do have a goal other than "Not die until I die". I'm also a sucker for the setting and art style
3. Yooka-Laylee
Just give me a fun, bright and colorfull 3D plattformer and i'm in.
2. Torment: Tides of Numenera
Well, this one took a while. After Wasteland 2 I expect a lot from inXile, at the very least I hope they manage to pull off one of the most interesting settings for a game in a long, long time.
1. Divinity Original Sin II
The original DOS is one of my favourite games of all times and the very short time I've spent with the early access version utterly convinced me that this game is going to be amazing
 

Apenheul

Member
Feb 2, 2005
3,523
0
1,120
1. Factorio ; It somehow scratches that sim-game itch, puzzle game itch and crafting itch at the same time.
2. The Witness ; not Jonathan Blow's greatest game but an awesome example of how to explore a set of core mechanics.
3. Thumper ; this is basically to me what Rez used to be. An experience that puts me 'in the zone' or so to speak with its rhythm and gameplay.
 

Bits N Pieces

Member
Jun 9, 2015
6,446
2
0
Here are my top 6 of the year, reading through this thread and im seeing half a dozen games I want to play as well so thanks folks :)

1. Inside
It is what it is, a masterpiece. One if my favourite games ever and had me thinking about it long after I had finished it. Games never make me do that.
2. Superhot
It's the most innovative shooter I've played in years.
3. Oxenfree
A delightful game with a cool story and bunch of characters with some top tier writing and dialogue.
4. Firewatch
Looks stunning, the ambient music fits perfectly and has an intriguing story that doesn't treat the player like an idiot.
5. Hue
Great little puzzle platformer that has a cool hook to the gameplay.
6. Layers of Fear
Not really into 'scary' games but I really enjoyed this, was more psychological than jump scares although I did jump once or twice as well lol.

I might add a couple more depending on if I buy some if your suggestions today or tomorrow.
 
Dec 11, 2010
3,175
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1. The Witness; This is simply one of the best puzzles games of all time. I would liked it to go on forever.

2. Inside; The last 30 minutes of this game are probably my favorite moment in gaming this year, sickening and exhilarating at the same time.

3. Oxenfree; I was prepared to dislike this as I think narrative storytelling in games that are similar has really sucked(Home, Firewatch), but this was fantastically written and enjoyable to play at the same time.

4. Pony Island; Another one of the more memorable experiences of the year in indie games for me. Unique and creepy and fun.

5. Steamworld Heist; Another year these next two would be higher...I just have barely scratched the surface of this game, but what I've seen is SO good.

6. Shadow Tactics; Again, for whatever reason my gaming time hasn't brought me back to this, but what I've played is pure butter and hopefully the developers will be hugely successful. I will get into this more soon.

7. Severed; Finally bought and beat this yesterday. Due to art alone I felt it lock a place in the top ten. I love the structure of the dungeons/puzzles. However, there was at least one battle which left me seriously wanting to throw my Vita at the wall which is a level of anger I haven't felt since I was a teenager, and I really didn't like that. Thankfully I prevailed.

8. Xanadu Next; I'm unsure of the placement of the next few. This game is brilliant, and anyone who loves Ys or Action RPGs should grab it. Nothing new here, but incredibly solid.

9. Owlboy; Ultimately I am left feeling slightly let down by this game and it's lack of solid backtracking fun(its there... but its not very much fun). It was a fantastic first experience however.

10. Rusty Lake: Roots; The aesthetic is really what's winning me over with this one. The surrealist, slightly creepy paintings that you poke around in are so visually pleasing to me.

11. Trials of Azra; Just beat this and enjoyed it quite a bit. It has some solid puzzles and ideas...wrapped inside some some extremely drab graphics, sounds and controls. But it doesn't overstay it's welcome and the variety of creatures you possess is fun.

12. Stephen's Sausage Roll; I barely started this so far. One day this could top a list....but right now it's a game that I can only play for short bursts and frustrates more than delights. I think the idea of it is brilliant.
 

DashReindeer

Lead Community Manager, Outpost Games
Aug 2, 2011
2,306
1
0
www.outpostgames.com
1. INSIDE ; INSIDE managed to one-up Limbo in pretty much every way, moving that game's black&white aesthetic into a much more well-developed visual motif of light and darkness. The environmental puzzles were some of the most naturalistic I have encountered and the open-ended storyline left me with lots to think about when the game ended. An incredible second game from a very talented team. I can't wait to see what they do next.

2. Pony Island ; This game came out of nowhere and gripped me from the very first moment. I don't want to get into what makes it so great, as that basically spoils the whole point of the game, but suffice it to say that I still am not sure whether I beat the game or not. Perfect blend of humor and horror that really should be played by as many people as possible. remember, you will need an actual mouse to play this game. Trackpads are nearly impossible.

3. Stardew Valley ; I was never that big into Harvest Moon, but this game grabbed me from basically the first moment I played it. One of the best examples of impossible to put down gaming. The fact that this greatness was developed by just one person makes me love it even more.

4. Oxenfree ; A great point and click adventure game that really refined a lot of the issues that I have with the genre these days. Dialogue actually felt meaningful, the characters were relatable, and the branching paths offered some good opportunity for replayability. A really good game and one that had to make the list.

5. Overcooked; Pure co-op greatness. Constantly restarting to get the perfect flow of tandem cookery felt great and the ever varied level design along with free holiday content made me fall in love. this was the game that made the Steam Link seem worth it me, and it wasn't a fact I had even considered prior to my friend bringing it over to work through this awesomeness.

6. Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander ; As much as this game gets compared to XCOM, I found it way more appealing than those games simply due to the tighter gameplay loop that wasn't getting interrupted every few seconds by distress calls. Great pixel art, solid base building mechanics, tight unit management, and a solid combat system made this game a fave of mine.

7. Hyper Light Drifter ; While this game wasn't as great a I'd hoped, it still delivered a solid art style and awesome music with some hard as hell combat scenarios and an open-ended level design.

8. Thumper ; An escape from hell or maybe a descent into hell. It's hard to say, but this first game from Lightning Bolt's Brian Gibson was an awesome take on the rhythm genre (a genre that I have no interest in usually). Excited to see what comes next out of this team.

9. Tyranny ; The game based on the premise of "what if evil won?" came out a little too close to the election results this year for my liking, but as usual, Obsidian delivered solid writing and excellent branching dialogue choices.

10. That Dragon, Cancer ; Very different from everything else on my list, but this exploration of loss and grief touched me pretty deeply even if there wasn't as much inventive gameplay as I would have liked to have seen.
 

Pellaidh

Neo Member
Dec 21, 2015
47
0
130
Are we allowed to vote for expansion packs/DLC in the same manner as in the GOTY vote (ie. as long as the DLC adds playable content)?
 

Dusk Golem

A 21st Century Rockefeller
Sep 15, 2011
19,006
2
800
Portland, Oregon
www.twitch.tv
Funnily enough, my top 10 games of the year list perfectly works here. I even listed five honorable mentions!

I have been busy this year, so haven't had a chance to play even half the horror releases this year yet, especially in the last few months, but it's been a very good year. My list as it is now:




01. IMSCARED ;
I don't know why this particular title has stuck with me so much this year. It's a pixely 3D horror game where you need to get all the achievements to win, and solve cryptic puzzles in a strange world. The antagonist is interesting, and the game has some fun twists and turns. But something about it has made it truly special to me. Maybe I just had an amazing unique experience, or something about it spoke to me personally. It did scare me a few times, yet I find it absolutely charming. I played a lot of clever things this year, but I enjoyed its cleverness the most. And something about its morbid world speaks to me. Anyway, I thought it was the best thing I played this year in what was a great year for horror and creativity in general.

02. OneShot ;
Only non-horror game on my list. I hope this title catches on, it deserves it. It pre-dates Undertale & Pony Island for a metagame, being originally a freeware 2014 game. It got remade and now is over twice as long. With simply one of the most likable protagonists in gaming in a charming, but sad, yet strangely hopeful dying world, you the player must work with protagonist Niko to either save him, or this world. Hard to talk about without spoiling, but quite the experience with some good but challenging puzzles.

03. DreadOut: Keepers of the Dark ;
I loved the original DreadOut, but this I think may be a better game. A spin-off from the original, join Linda in a world of mirrors as she combats unique and interesting ghosts to find her escape. Spkit between eight selectable worlds from within a hub, each with 2-3 ghosts to vanquish, what makes it are the unique ghosts full of creativity and well-done execution that shows a similar but maybe even greater genius that these developers from Indonesia have to bring to the table. Decididly somewhat oldschool, but also something truly new and unique to horror. Some of the ghosts and encounters have stuck with me.

04. INSIDE;
With excellent atmosphere in a haunting and cold world, INSIDE joins a nameless boy who treks frodm farmland to city to underground lakes to get inside... clever puzzle bits, and amazing animation which helps gives a detailed look on a mostly silent world. Ending is fun but didn't blow me away like most.

05. Oxenfree ;
80s horror narrative with some of the best writing and well executed dialogue chains in any game to date. With a dynamic relationship system and actually likable characters, Oxenfree has an interesting world and good atmosphere, but may be best remembered for its writing.

06. Virginia ;
I love Twin Peaks and X-Files, and this obvious love letter managed to craft its own experience despite obvious inspirations. A story with well done symbolism, excellent music, and manages to be engaging and moving without a single line of dialogue (funnily enough in contrast to Oxenfree).

07. Sylvio Remastered ;
I've come to like this game more and more over time. You play as a girl who uses a cassette recorder to communicate with the dead who goes to an abandoned amusement park to learn more about a tragic incident that happened years ago. It's a quiet, slow game that has 80s syth styled music, an interesting color scheme, and a slowburn horror story that has stuck with me. Very unique, and in its own way very haunting.

08. The Count Lucanor ;
The Legend of Zelda as a horror game featured on fairytales. Charming world, twisted characters, fun puzzles, interesting enemies, and multiple endings with a number of secrets helped make this morbid curiosity one of my favorite things I played this year.

09. Pony Island ;
You play an endless runner game which you find out early on was literally made by the Devil. And the fact that's not simplest and earliest twist should say a lot. Interesting and fun experience.

10. Near Death ;
Everyone got so focused on FireWatch, this game which is a bit similar but I think far superior got unfortunately largely overlooked. You star as a guy who is stranded in an arctic base during a nasty storm who must work to return home while in communication with someone at a nearby base. Has some light gameplay in its survival elements from the cold and weather, but its strong suits are its phenomenal atmosphere, art direction, and writing. It has maybe one of the best endings to a game I've experienced all year.

11. Dead Secret ;
Made by a new studio including Chris from the famous horror game sote, Chris' Survival-Horror Quest, it's a unique indie take on the classic point'n'click Clock Tower formula, but taking place in a first-person view (with VR support~). With an interesting rural farm setting, a Japanese masked killer, and an fascinating story (though lots of reading to fully get it), it absolutely charmed me this year.


12. Left Alone ;
It opens up with its weaknesses, but develops into one of the best mood pieces I've seen in a while. This game maybe more than any other unnerved me with sheer atmosphere and implication. Some moderate fun and challenging puzzles, and an interesting abandoned school in the woods setting.

13. Through The Woods ;
Atmospheric 'walking sim' third-person horror with some excellent atmosphere, exploration, and lush Nordic folklore to make an enchanting experience.

14. The Survey
One of the best P.T. clones ai've played, though it does just enough to become its own thing in my opinion. You receive a strange survey on your phone via an app you don't remember downloading when strange things begin to happen in your home. It was an enjoyabke romp, a few trips, but a worthwhile experience.

15. Dead End Road ;
The horror rogue-like driving game you never knew you wanted! With all sorts of weird events, multiple roads, towns to visit, upgrades, and a nowhere USA highway to reach Dead End Road, it can be addicting and charming in its uniqueness and details.


---

And there's some I really need to play, like Yomonawi and Last Door Season 2 (season 1 was amazing and underlooked).
 

Dusk Golem

A 21st Century Rockefeller
Sep 15, 2011
19,006
2
800
Portland, Oregon
www.twitch.tv
Dunno if you saw my post in that other thread but you may be interested in Anatomy.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=227181323&postcount=307

I don't think it's all that well-known, especially since it's not on Steam.
I've played and loved Anatomy, but only so much room on the list. I did space to include it here but a lot of my choices are very close as they were.

If I delved into the more niche titles such as freeware, my listing gets even more complicated. This year was a REALLY good year for horror, and I hope many of these titles catch on a bit more than they have. I think the only horror games that really caught on this year fully was like, Dead by Daylight. And INSIDE, that one of course. Pony Island & Oxenfree are also slowly spreading through word of moth thankfully. Layers of Fear kinda, but more so the early access build since the main game was middling.
 

Eridani

Member
Sep 8, 2015
541
0
0
Right. I wrote a bunch of stuff, since there were a lot of amazing games that came out this year. I'm not quite sure about the eligibility of Tyranny (it has a publisher - which doesn't really matter, and Obsidian is quite a big studio) and Unimeko (since the fan translation has been out for a while now), but hopefully they count.


1. The Witness ; It's interesting to see all the things people praise about this game. Reading about how the secret puzzles blew people's mind, how thought provoking they found the narrative or how genius they thought the game's way of teaching you things was. It's interesting because I didn't really care about any of this. I just really liked the puzzles. It's simply amazing how the game took such a simple idea - draw a line from start to finish - and then kept introducing new mechanics that kept the idea fresh for hundreds of puzzles. Sure, not all of them work - a certain section of puzzles relying on sound is completely terrible for instance - but those cases are a minority.

And it's not just the diversity of the puzzles that makes the game great. The puzzles in the game are simply among the most fun and well designed in any puzzle game I've played so far. There's so many puzzles that seem impossible when you first see them, but after spending half an hour or so on them you finally see the solution and feel like an idiot, since the solution seems so obvious in retrospect. For example, there's this one puzzle later in the game. It starts of as an incredibly easy puzzle, one similar to the ones you've solved a dozen times before. But when you solve it, the game adds new elements to it, making it harder. You repeat this couple of times, the puzzle getting harder and harder each time, progressively adding more and more complicated elements. You struggle with the penultimate solution for what feels like ages, but you eventually get it down by building on your past solutions. And then, for the final part, the game adds a single new element to the puzzle. A joke really - you've seen this element before. It's incredibly simple and shouldn't cause you much trouble compared to what's been added on before. Except it's not. None of your past solutions work anymore. None of then come even close to working. NOTHING works. You're back to square one. That single, simple element forces you to completely reevaluate your approach. It's genius really. And that's just one of the many great puzzles in the game.

And while I said i just really liked the puzzles, that's not the entire truth. The game has much more going for it - there's a lot of content, the game's way of teaching you things is great and the structure is amazing - an open world that allows you to tackle the puzzles in (mostly) any order, which means you will rarely be stuck on just this one puzzle . It also "ends" on a spectacularly high note, presenting you with a challenge that pushes you to your limit and at first seems impossible, even compared to everything that came before. When you solve that, you really feel like you've mastered the game, even if you've still got dozens of optional puzzles to get through. It's just such a great package overall.

I can't thing of much that impressed me as much as this game did, not just this year but in general. The game's simply a masterpiece.


2. Tyranny ; When Obsidian released Pillars of Eternity, I was quite disappointed. The game was supposed to be the second coming of Baldur's Gate 2, but I just couldn't stay interested in it for very long. The combat was good, but outside of that it was just too bloated with middling content which just wasn't very memorable. A year from playing the game I only remember a total of about two quests I did - one because it had a challenging combat encounter and one because the story was interesting. Well, aside from the characters Avellone wrote. Those were great, but felt rather out of place in the game. But this year Obsidian released Tyranny, which immediately fixes most of my problems with Pillars of Eternity. Right of the bat you're dropped into an interesting world and forced to define your character's backstory through a series of interesting (and meaningful) choices. This both immediately connects you to the world and gives you a reason to care about your character, as well as defining his place in the world. It's a lovely piece of exposition that means the game can start off strong right away. Several RPGs have tried similar to set up your character's backstory in a similar way (Dragon Age: Origins being a notable example), but none of them connected me to their worlds as much as Tyranny, mostly because you're making big choices that get brought up a lot through the course of the story, and because the world's actually interesting. When the game properly starts, Tyranny continues to impress with excellent world building and great characters. Instead of trying to create a massive world with thousands of years of history, like Pillars of Eternity, it focuses on a smaller, much more contained conflict. This means you're meeting important characters right of the bat, and get to devote your attention to events that actually matter, instead of doing 100 fetch quests and killing rats for the first dozen hours. The game's just really good about not wasting any time. This shows in the characters to. Instead of talking to generic inn keeps in a godforsaken village, you're talking to soul devouring gods, mind controlling singers and generals who can keep their entire army from dying, IN THE FIRST HOUR OF THE GAME. Of course, Obsidian's stellar writing is present, making dialogue with those characters consistently fun to read through.

The combat is slightly less stellar, but it's by no means bad. It's similar to Pillars of Eternity, in that it's a real time with pause tactical game, but it's simpler and more streamlined. Playing on the hardest difficulty forces you to constantly keep your positioning and ability use in mind, and crafting your own spells keeps the strategic side of things engaging. Sadly, the last third of the game is stupidly easy and combat just devolves into murdering everything. The bosses in particular are pretty sad. It's not perfect, but it's fun for most of the game, and definitely not bad enough to bring the overall package down.


3. Umineko When They Cry ; This one is a bit weird. The fan translation has been available for quite a while now, but the game (well, the first half at least) got the official English release this year. As such, I suppose it should count for this year. Umineko is quite simply the best visual novel I've ever read. By a very large margin at that. Better than Stein's Gate, better than 999, better than Ace Attorney. Much better.

The first thing that sets it apart is the setting. The game begins with a yakuza family convening on their private island to discuss their future since their current leader is on the verge of death. Now, as the Yakuza series has thought us (and if you haven't played that yet, you probably should since it's great) any game featuring yakuza as its protagonists is bound to be something special. And Umineko is. It takes about two chapters to realize every character present on the island is:

a) Completely crazy
b) Itching to murder everyone else on the island

It's great. First of all - it's unusual. Generic high school kids and anime tropes (not that it's entirely without those, but they take a seat very far in the back) are replaced by an Agatha Christie style murder mystery staring crazy mafia members. Secondly, the characters are great. Most of the early chapters are dedicated to setting up the characters, but they manage not to feel boring since the characters are interesting enough. The fact that it's a murder mystery also immediately makes you pay attention to clues.

The thing is though, that's not really what makes Umineko great. In fact, it's not even what Umineko really is. It describes the first game pretty well, but there's 8 games in total, and the story gets COMPLETELY CRAZY pretty early on. The murder mystery remains central to the plot, but on top of that there's magic, several love stories, tragic tales of child abuse, more magic, witches, gun fights, magic gun fights, a meta analysis of the detective genre, several different stories occurring simultaneously, gods, personal musings from the author on various things, and so many different things. It's INSANE.

It sounds incredibly silly, but it works. Somehow, all of it works together to create an incredibly cohesive story and even the most completely insane subplots manage to tie into the central mystery. Because despite everything, Umineko actually is about the murder mystery. It's incredible.


4. Sunless Sea - Zubmariner ; It's more Sunless Sea basically. There's not really much to say here. If you enjoy great writing and incredible word building you've probably played Sunless Sea already (if you didn't, you really should), and this just adds more amazing content to the game. For those that didn't like Sunless Sea there's not much here that will change your mind.


5. Devil Daggers ; This is hands down the most surprising game of the year. I remember reading praise for it here, but I've never really liked Doom-like single player shooters. They always felt a bit to empty, mostly consisting of circle strafing enemies and shooting everything that moves, with every death feeling arbitrary (oh, enemies shooting at me slowly withered my health down. Or maybe they shot me from somewhere I didn't even see). So I dismissed the praise, which was a big mistake. This game is incredible. It's just full of amazing design ideas that add up to an incredible game.

First, there's the movement. Bunnyhopping around the arena just feels great. But that's more of an afterthought really. What makes this game work is how incredibly the enemies are designed to constantly challenge you. Every new enemy introduced forces you to reevaluate your approach to the game. The skulls keep you moving around. The squids (as the game website calls them) keep spawning new enemies forcing you to deal with them sooner or later, but you can only do so from a specific angle, since you need to hit their weak spot. Just when you get the hang of dealing with these basic enemies, the game introduces a faster skull that you can't just run away from. Suddenly you constantly have to be on the lookout for those to avoid getting killed from behind. Then there's spiders, which must be dealt with as soon as possible, before they overwhelm the arena with spider-lings that will kill you. The game keeps adding on different enemies for far longer than the wast majority of the players will ever survive.

Because of this you constantly have to think about what to do next. Should you kill the spider that just spawned, or is it better to kill the squid right in front of you? Do you have enough time to do that before a skull catches up to you? How will you ever find the time to deal with that giant centipede that just spawned? And you have to do this while jumping around the arena like crazy, constantly dodging things in front of you.

The best part for me though, is that I always know what killed me, and I know exactly where I made the mistake that got me killed. That's because every enemy is unique and has a distinct way of killing you.

6. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun ; Another surprising game, since it released so far into the year. I've always found the concept of the Commandos games appealing. Real time, strategic, party based stealth? Sounds great. Unfortunately the games have always seemed a bit to dated for me, which is why I'm glad this game took that formula and modernized it.

The level design is my favorite thing about it. The levels are open, allowing for many different approaches and strategies. Sure, there's not a whole lot of them, but the optional challenges really push you to explore each map to its fullest.

7. Stardew Valley ; It's Harvest Moon/Rune Factory on the PC, and it's great. Tons of different things to do and the farming's nice and relaxing. It's the kind of game you can just keep playing for hours, never really getting bored. For some reason I can't really find much to say about it though.

8. Enter the Gungeon ; It's a rouglike shump RPG. Which is every bit as amazing as it sounds like. Binding of Isaac tried to do something similar, but I've always found the gameplay in that to be dreadfully slow. Gungeon fixes that, and the overall result is an amazing game.

9. Battlerite ; I wrote about this in the OT, but this really is one of the most interesting multiplayer games out there at the moment, and I'd strongly recommend people to check it not. If not now, then when it launches as a free to play title sometime next year.

10. Eternal Card Game ; Somebody finally made a good free to play MtG clone. I don't know why it took so long but it has finally happened, and the result is one of the best free to play card games out there right now.

11. Thumper ; This is a fun rhythm game. Not the best in the genre by a long shot, but the unique visuals set it apart. I also appreciate that it doesn't require as many keypresses as Beatmania or Osu! while still remaining fun, since this means I can actually play it without murdering my hands.

12. BLUE REVOLVER ; A great indie Cave style shump. Im not the most qualified person for judging shmups, but this one certainly feels fun to play. I'm not the biggest fan of the dynamic difficulty, but it's still fun, looks great and has an awesome soundtrack.

13. VA-11 Hall-A Cyberpunk Bartender Action ; I'm not the biggest fan of this game. It delivers its cyberpunk bartender story well enough, but I just can't say I cared much about any of the characters, which are the main hook of the game. I did enjoy it though, just not as much as others might have.

14. INSIDE ; This is another game I just didn't enjoy as much as other people. It certainly does some things very well. The sound design is outstanding, the animations are great and its approach to storytelling is great. However, actually playing it was just incredibly sad. I wish I had a better word to describe it. Disinterested might be a better way to put it. What I remember most about playing the game is walking from left to right, occasionally doing an incredibly menial puzzle or coming across an action set piece that I overcame through trial and error (since most of them instantly killed me if I didn't immediately know what to do). Doing this, I felt rather dissapointed that all the great things the game does felt wasted on one of the least engaging experiences I've had this year. The story was also a huge disappointment. The game constantly demonstrates incredible storytelling techniques, but instead of actually saying anything with them it chooses to bask in its obscurity, leaving things "open ended" and "up to interpretation". Which would be cool, but with so little for players to go on there's not really much to interpret.

Still, it does deserve praise for things it does well. I hope we get more games like this, and I hope someone builds on the things INSIDE does well to create a truly great game.

15. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight ; This is a neat little metroidvania-esque 2d action platformer. It's not a particularly amazing game - the bosses are rather weak and the combat system is incredibly basic. But it's fun despite that. If you want a cheap game to spend some time on, you could do a lot worse than this.
 

Atilac

Member
Feb 8, 2007
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Erie, PA
1. Darkest Dungeon ; Every single part of it fits perfectly and it is an absolute joy to play.
2. Grim Dawn ; The Best ARPG since torchlight 2.
4. Tyranny ;
3. Enter the Gungeon ;
 

Zynx

Member
Sep 9, 2006
1,360
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0
1 Shenzhen I/O
2 Satellite Reign
3 Steamworld Heist
4 Crypt of the Necrodancer
5 Stephen's Sausage Roll
6 Grim Dawn
7 Underrail
 

Bonfires Down

Member
Jul 31, 2007
3,373
4,890
1,595
Laptop ate my comments so I'm just gonna make a list.

1. Darkest Dungeon
2. Killing Floor 2
3. Planet Coaster (?)
4. Scrap Mechanic
5. Duelyst
6. Portal Knights
7. The Witness
8. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight

Most anticipated
1. Prey for the Gods
2. Agony
3. Tacoma
4. Cuphead
5. Ruiner
 

Rymuth

Member
Jun 8, 2014
15,300
2
0
1. Darkest Dungeon - Fantastic presentation, gameplay and, of course, narration
2. Salt and Sanctuary - Got closer to Dark Souls than Lords of the Fallen wishes it had
3. Furi - justified PS+ for me
4. Tyranny - Any game that makes you ponder for 10 whole minutes over a single choice, deserves to be on this list.
 

lt519

Member
May 17, 2013
9,318
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I'm going to elaborate and fill out more later (a bunch of honorable mentions), but this is my list for now. I was sadly light on Indie games this year, I played a lot from my backlog that wouldn't qualify, and still have INSIDE, Firewatch and Oxenfree that I want to play by the time voting ends. Games like Owlboy and Hyper Light Drifter will just have to hang out in my backlog for a bit. Excluding re-releases (iOS) and definitive editions (Ori); otherwise some of these wouldn't even sniff top 20.

I still need to review to verify all the titles qualify for indie (Alienation). Comments on the rest coming soon.

1. Alienation ; Housemarque sure knows how to make a frenetically paced game with eye melting graphics. Their follow up to Resogun is just as tightly controlled and satisfying to pull off death defying escapes against all odds. With a decent loot mechanic, fun enemies, challenging difficulty, online co-op, and great post release support this is an easy pick for my Top 5. Running through the Mothership with 3 others, testing your strength against hordes of aliens, has never been so fun.

2. The Witness ; It took a while to click, I found it pretentious and often obtuse, but the intrigue and visuals kept me going. Boy am I glad I kept going. Underneath the surface of the simple line puzzles you find in the world is an incredibly brilliant game design. Environmental puzzles were one of the greatest surprises of the year for me and were a blast hunting down. The Challenge was also my favorite skill based Trophy of the year. Color-blindness and difficult audio puzzles held it back a little

3. Oxenfree; I only just finished this now, but also having beat INSIDE in the same week I can safely say I enjoyed Oxenfree a lot more. It just had that whole Stranger Things childhood sci-fi adventure going on with the right amount of creepiness and humor mixed together. The music and dialogue were top notch and I just really had a lot of fun with the story and dialog choices. I plan on playing it again to search out the collectibles and learn more about the island and the motivations, but mostly so I can play through again as a total jerk and see what happens.

4. Inside ; Not sure that I'd call it fun, but a beautifully crafted game that sucked me in right from the beginning and left me thinking long after the end

5. Abzu ; Not quite up to the standards of Journey, but a beautiful adventure with a unique setting and stunning visuals

6. VEV ; My favorite indie VR game by far. I've left extensive analysis in the OT but the game goes from a relaxing to intense as the difficulty scales and at points you feel like you are dog fighting with other organisms on a micro level. It actually controls and feels better than any of the "cockpit" VR flying games.

7. No Man's Sky ;
Ignoring the hype, No Man's Sky was a fantastic experiment. Technical issues marred my experience, but I hope one day this game is fully fleshed out because it is bursting with potential

8. Brut@l ; Creative concept with crushing difficulty that really puts you on edge, but ultimately a bit repetitive.

9. Thumper ; Another fantastic VR game, which actually enhances the game play to the point where I play better in VR. Eye melting visuals, breakneck speed, and great music all add up to a fun game.

10. Tethered ; Like playing with a diorama in VR. You play God for the little creatures and help them build their settlements and fend of critters during the night. Full of charm, solid game play, and great use of the PSVR.
 
Mar 3, 2016
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Tuscaloosa, AL
1. Hyper Light Drifter ; Gorgeous 16-bit art style with an enticing world begging you to explore it. Bundle that with a killer soundtrack and great combat and we have a winner here folks. The game also just oozes cool.

2. SUPERHOT ; A great shooter/puzzle hybrid. Do you throw this book at the shotgun guy, grab his shotgun and blast the few enemies left in the room? Or do you shoot the katana enemy with the shotgun and use it to chop the incoming bullets as you slice and dice the enemies and throw it into the face of the last one?

3. Stardew Valley ; Such a chill game. I'm currently insanely addicted to just fishing, growing my cauliflower, and trying to tap that sweet, sweet Maru.

4. No Man's Sky ; For everything it didn't live up to, it did enough right to be a pretty enjoyable walking simulator with a great soundtrack. The technical marvel of landing on planets took a long tie to get old and it's a beautiful looking game. A disappointment, but without this broken promises, promises, a decent game. The base building is awesome and added a much needed layer to it. I'm sure in a years time, it will be closer to the game it should have been.

Didn't play a whole lot of indie titles this year but theres were the ones I enjoyed the most.
 

KooopaKid

Banned
Jun 3, 2014
4,978
0
0
Cross-posting from the GOTY thread. Exact same list :)

1. Hyper Light Drifter ; A cross between Nintendo's Zelda and Platinum's combat and upgrade systems with a unique artstyle
and soundtrack. Excellent pacing, world building, secrets and bosses. The only game I consider "perfect" this year. 5/5.

2. Inside ; Very polished cinematic experience, a bit light gameplay wise and the last 30 minutes are a bit overated
but still worth it for its uniqueness. 4/5.

3. Superhot ; Very original concept. Too bad it's too short and doesn't expand on the main mechanic with interesting
and varied scenarios. Very basic presentation. 4/5.

4. Thumper ; The first 3 hours were exhilarating. Perfect controls and artistic direction. Unfortunately it became
too difficult with trial & error gameplay after that. The difficulty curve killed the fun. A shame the visuals often don't
really match the beats too. 3/5.

5. Firewatch ; The dialogues, artstyle and scenery make this game worth going through. 3/5.

6. The Witness ; Fantastic setting and clever puzzles. Unfortunately, the game is austere, with sometimes slightly cheap
solutions or just unfun puzzles to solve. The game often felt like work. Didn't finish it. 3/5.

7. Owlboy ; Beautiful indie game with an original cast and world but the combat, level design and puzzles
lack depth. 3/5.
 

FelipeMGM

Member
Feb 14, 2015
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1. INSIDE ; The six years of development are understandable after a playtrough of this game. Playdead must have had insane amounts of QA and playtest hours to tune some of those sequences so it would end up having perfect timing and tone. The result was a masterpiece when it comes to the technical fields and an insanely intriguing narrative that had a bunch of ''whoooa'' and ''oh shit'' moments.

2. The Witness ; Since the PS1 days I didnt have a notebook with me while playing a game. Main puzzle designs were great and so satisfying when it clicked in your head (or paper), but the enviromental puzzles were the ones that really got to me. Just like INSIDE its understandable why this took so long to come out. The freedom and loneliness the island provides were also very much responsible of this beeing one of my favorites this year.

3. Stardew Valley ; I got late to this one, but boy do I love it. Maybe its because I had not played a Harvest Moon game in so long, but this resonated with me way more than any game on that franchise. The loop of the routine got to me fast and I love doing my chores and analyzing what I need to do and if I can accomplish stuff in time for the day. Also, at the beginning I was feeling no real connection to any of these characters, but man when relationship with them rises, their backstory is revealed in very cool ways. Also, discovering the secrets of that valley is so awesome and gives me a sense of adventure that I really love in games with this visual aspect. I hope ConcernedApe keeps working on this for a long time, and I would gladly support him via DLC or something like that so we can have new areas, new crops and items and new villagers.

4. Firewatch ; For me It took the next step when it comes to walking simulators/FPX's. Introducing some traversing mechanics like the map and having an open world really worked well for immersion, connecting to this world and the exploration (even though it is kinda limited in this aspect). But what really shines here is the greatly written dialogues delivered amazingly well both by Cissy Jones and Rich Sommer. I was really invested in these two stories, and even though coices hardly change anything massive in gameplay or overall story, it made me feel more like a part of this. Also, Olly Moss art which can only be a plus.

5. ABZÛ ; Despite missing the opportunity of beeing more deep in some of its mechanics , ABZÛ was a delight because of visuals, flow and set pieces. No, its not good as Journey but still a beautiful game.

6. Headlander ; Visuals and humour so on point as you expect from Double Fine, but combat was sometimes frustrating. Aiming is not really good, and many times just using the head is way better and more effective. Also, the Metroidvania vibes were light, which I think is a con. Still, the cast of characters and its very unique premise were awesome.

7. Virginia ; The way the storytelling works here and how stuff can change based on very minor actions is really interesting. The game almost plays itself, opening very little to exploration but still I had a great time playing it. Its priced like a movie ticket, has the duration of a movie, but still offers a more interactive experience than a movie, even if not by much.

8. Clustertruck ; Just a fun and thrilling game. Doing the tricks and jumping at high speed between the trucks was awesome and I holded my breath many times while playing this game. Also, that godlike ending was incredible.

9. Alone With You ; While the actions you do while exploring the stations might become repetitve, the interactions and dialogues Ben developed here were very neat and personal. Also, that art man, I miss this look of Sega CD adventures.

10. Ittle Dew 2 ; Combat is simple and much of this game is based on stuff others did but God is this game a hell of a great time. Ittle Dew 2 made me laugh my ass many times with the interactions between Ittle and Tippsie and the NPC's and also with the varied visual gags. Only way this game really let me down is that is has no Platinum Trophy.

Most Anticipated
1. Yooka-Laylee ; One of my favorite genres back then, made by the people that clearly know what to do in that genre. This is pure hype.
2. Knights And Bikes ; Two great guys working on this (Moo Yu and Rex Crowle) and the game has all the right inspirations in Earthbound and the Mana series. Plus, its looks amazing.
3. What Remains Of Edith Finch ; Unfinished Swan was amazing and showed how creative the team at Giant Sparrow is, so naturally Im excited for their next stuff
4. Shinness ; Just look at it man, this game is incredible
5. Finding Paradise (To The Moon EP2) ; To The Moon was amazing back then, so anything this guy does in that vein will get me excited
 

chrixter

Member
Jul 1, 2014
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1. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun ; Incredible real-time stealth tactics game that demands player creativity and razor-sharp execution to overcome extremely formidable odds. Methodically peeling away the layers of each masterfully-crafted level with my team of ninja/samurai/sniper specialists was among the most satisfying experiences I've ever had with a game.

2. Stardew Valley ; Not since Harvest Moon 64 has a game sucked me into spending so many hours of my life living a virtual one. The fact that one person created by far the best game of its kind is an amazing achievement.

3. Darkest Dungeon ; Surviving the Lovecraftian horrors of this merciless strategy RPG/dungeon crawler was among my most challenging and intense experiences of the year. The excellent turn-based combat and stylish presentation propelled me through to the end.

4. Inside ; Inside weaves elegant puzzle platforming into an intriguing nonverbal narrative that ends with a bang. Seriously, the finale of Inside is a strong contender for Best Moment of 2016, but everything leading up to it is also superb.

5. Firewatch ; A journey worth experiencing for the striking art direction and some of the most grounded and believable interactions between two video game characters.

6. Orwell ; A mystery adventure game that spotlights issues of surveillance and privacy in the digital age through some clever investigative mechanics and a strong narrative.

7. Aragami ; Solid stealth game that combines some Dishonored-lite mechanics with a unique light/shadow system.

8. The Witness ; If you take the time to explore its beautiful world and learn the language of its puzzles, you'll see just how far a game can push a single simple mechanic.

9. Thumper ; Few games require the level of focus Thumper demands at all times. Extremely intense rhythm action and exceptional audiovisual design.

10. Virginia ; Fresh use of cinematic transitions between scenes and a powerful soundtrack make this interactive movie-like experience worthwhile.
 

cropduster

Member
May 14, 2014
97
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Houston
1. Severed - played all the way through on Vita and IOS. Fantastic art, story, atmosphere, and unique touch controls.

2. The Witness - I admit, I had to look up a few things to get through this game and wish I would have had more time to explorer on my own. To me, the game was relaxing but had a mysterious and unsettling vibe.

3. Inside - Enjoyed this game but it didn't top Limbo for me.

4. Abzu - Awesome game. I just started it this week. It may move up once I've completed it.

5. Steamworld Heist - Awesome game and perfect on phone. Never got into Dig but loving this one.

6. Crashlands - Another cool mobile game this year. First time crafting has ever hooked me.

I really want to play Stardew Valley, Firewatch, Undertale, and Oxenfree but haven't had the time. I play about 1 console/PC game for every 20 mobile/handheld games. I would especially like to see Stardew Valley on a handheld bc that would most likely be my GOTY.
 
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1. Inside ; One of the best directed games ever. The pacing is masterful and fat-free, the set pieces jaw-dropping, the visuals dripping with style and atmosphere.

2. Owlboy ; This game may have been praised primarily for its graphics and gameplay, but what made this so good was the central relationship between Otis and Asio. It may be the best job a game has done at depicting an abusive relationship.

3. Hyper Light Drifter ; A haunting, minimalist work of art.

4. The Witness ; How did this game end up working so well? An open-world puzzle game based entirely around drawing lines sounds like a Molydeux tweet, yet this ended up being the freshest thing to hit the puzzle game genre since Portal. Story is a bit naff though.

5. Superhot ; Yeah, it's style over substance. That having been said, once you move beyond the fun but gimmicky campaign, this game blossoms into an exciting and addictive score attack loop.

6. Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight ; Ain’t no question if I want it, I need it / I can feel it slowly drifting away from me / I’m on the edge, so why you playing? I’m saying / I will never ever let you live this down, down, down / Not for nothing I’ve foreseen it, I dream it / I can feel it slowly drifting away from me / No more chances if you blow this, you bogus / I will never ever let you live this down, down, down.

7. Thumper ; R H Y T H M V I O L E N C E

8. Stardew Valley ; The first 2 years of this was one of the most relaxing and charming indie game experiences I have ever had. The end game got a bit boring, but I still like this game.

9. Overcooked ; Only so low because I lost friends to this game.

10. Anatomy ; I wouldn't call this scary, but oh my god is it unnerving.

11. Pony Island ; This game came at a time when I was over meta games. I still am, but this game was quite a fun surprise.

12. Devil Daggers ; The Super Hexagon of shooters.

13. Tyranny ; A disappointingly undercooked endgame aside, I enjoyed this unique take on morality.

14. That Dragon Cancer; A heartbreaking experience, albeit one that suffers in its more "gamey" moments.

15. Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero ; This game regressed harshly after the brilliant Pirate's Curse, but this is still a charming and polished little platformer.
 

Rathorial

Member
Apr 20, 2014
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1
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  1. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun - A love-letter to Commandos style real-time tactics in edo-period Japan. Great level design that continually adds new features, and a charming crew of character that each have unique uses.
  2. Grim Dawn - It feels like a modern Diablo 2, with all of the things you liked from the older game, and some modern conveniences executed incredibly well.
  3. SUPERHOT - Utterly unique take on the FPS, where the world moves as you do setup ,allows a player time to perform all the cool moves only film actions stars ever got to do.
  4. Alienation - Solid top-down shooter with a great sense of movement, fantastic weapon feedback, cool abilities to unlock, and some of the most fun co-op I've had this year.
  5. Tyranny - An RPG that deals in shades of evil, where you work for the bad government that wins, craft your own spells, and get to craft your own background in the world right from the start.
  6. Darkest Dungeon - Fantastic take on the dungeon crawler, with a mix of randomized elements themed around the management of suffering and sanity. I rarely feel like I win, but the failure is at least interesting.
  7. Don't Starve Together - What I've always wanted, Don't Starve with friends, and then tons of mods over time that really let you craft your own survival in a procedural world.
  8. Offworld Trading Company - Never expected an RTS based around just the economy bits to be so entertaining, but this games succeeds pretty strongly.
  9. Seraph - Like SUPERHOT in 2d, a game built around performing stylish moves to keep going, but in real-time with angel powers.
  10. Stardew Valley - Someone made Harvest Moon for the PC, with a cool bit of personality, and continual improvements.
  11. The Banner Saga 2 - Just a beautiful viking-inspired world, neat take on turn-based combat, and continual importance placed on dialog choice.
  12. Enter the Gungeon - So many procedural top-down shooters, but this is the one that stuck for me. An impressive array of weapons, a focus on i-frame dodge rolls + bullet hell, and a fun sense of humor down to the art.
  13. Thumper - A game where drugs wouldn't make it better, because it's already trippy enough on its own. An impressive sense of speed and rhythm I wish more games could pull off.
  14. Planet Coaster - Finally we get a good new take on Rollercoaster Tycoon, with impressive modding tools, and a cool editor to really customize your park.
  15. Furi - One of those indie games with a narrow focus that seems to be cool boss fights and cool music, each done very well.
Honorable Mentions
x. Endless Legend: Tempest - A notable expansion to a unique 4X title, that fills in the gaps missing when it comes to mechanics based around the sea.
x. Hyper Light Drifter - A beautiful take on pixel-art with gameplay that feels like a combo of Zelda + Diablo, all in a weird mysterious world.

Most Anticipated
  1. Divinity: Original Sin 2 - An ambitious looking sequel, with improved writing, new playable races that effect dialog, verticality effecting combat, co-op where you can troll your friends, mod support, romance, and a full on game master mode.
  2. RUINER - Impressive sense of cyberpunk style wrapped in fluid looking melee and ranged combat. I want to know more, but what I already do I want.
  3. DESYNC - Indie take on Bulletstorm, where unique weapons + environment hazards are built around you performing continually creative killing.
  4. Below - Been delayed and delayed, but the tilt-shift photography Dark Souls-esque game with crazy sounding cooking is up my alley.
  5. Pyre - Loved Bastion and Transistor, so a party-based RPG that feels akin to a combative sports game has me intrigued.
 

teokrazia

Member
Apr 19, 2012
1,452
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1. Devil Daggers
2. Thumper
3. Inside
4. SUPERHOT
5. Pony Island
6. Virginia
7. Firewatch
8. ABZÛ
9. Owlboy
10. TOXXIK

x. The Witness: didn't played as much as I would like
 

hampig

Member
Dec 12, 2008
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765
1. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight;
One of my favorite games this year. Momodora is the first game I'm aware of to translate Dark Souls combat to a 2D playstyle. The game has gorgeous pixel-art, and a strong atmosphere that left a very big impression on me. Even the game's world and characters come off as very "cool" and interesting. I'd love to see more of everything in this game, Momodora 5 has a great chance of being my GOTY whenever it comes out.

2. Stardew Valley;
I love Harvest Moon. Always have, always will. That said, I've been following Stardew Valley since the beginning. I remember years ago, checking ConcernedApes dev blog every day hoping for a new update. I did pull back from that, but I never stopped being excited, and even after all that anticipation, the game payed off.


3. The Witness;
One of the first puzzle games in a long time to really make me feel like a genius, and wow me with its cleverness. Probably the most interesting experience of the year.


4. Firewatch;
Firewatch had an interesting story with great characters. I don't see it being a long-lasting favorite of mine, but I did really enjoy what they did with the story.
 

Greatest Ever

Member
Apr 27, 2015
3,521
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I want to be the buzzkill and post my opinion here: if we want to mature as the audience of this medium, then we have to adhere to our own rules. If we're against people generalizing indie games as a complete genre in threads like PS+ threads (because games like Divinity Original Sin and The Witness *totally* play alike one another), then we have to avoid singling out a budget in awards too.

I'm not shitposting, I said this about The Game Awards and many times before. Shit, I might even make a YouTube video about it. The ability to have a publisher, or lack thereof, shouldn't be a differentiator in anything except for threads that More Badass makes precisely to highlight those without an advertising budget. The Swapper being a puzzle platformer of high quality should be where it's highlighted in awards, just like Stardew Valley as a farming game, etc. I think it's dumb to single out a budget in either detriment or praise when the games that fall under these categories often share enough similarities and level of quality to compete against each other.

That being said, this thread is ultimately inoffensive and an extension of what we do every month here. The games that fall under the indie category this year have been fantastic; I think only 2014 in recent memory has been as good in that area for me.
 

wapplew

Member
Mar 1, 2012
13,775
7
610
1. Thumper; 2nd place on my overall game of the year. Love it for relentless demand of accuracy while give you some creative freedom to score higher. Great visual style too.
2. Shadow tactics; awesome level design, good characters, good story, Yuki is one of my favorite character this year, brave young little girl.
3. Inside; great art and animation, good puzzle, good use of environment story telling.
4. Overcooked; simple machanic mix with fresh level design, make every level felt different and exciting.

Most anticipated
1. Dino frontier
 

Dascu

Member
Nov 24, 2006
13,568
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Ranking:
1. Momodora: Reverie under the Moonlight - Beautiful, challenging and incredibly atmospheric action/adventure game.
2. Furi - Great graphics and combat mechanics, with an incredible soundtrack.
3. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun - Very polished and rewarding stealth game.

Honorable mention:
x. The Silver Case - Good story and script, nice presentation. Super happy this game finally got localized.

Looking forward to in 2017 (my own games):
1. The Godbeast - Neon-noir action/adventure and hunting big monsters.
2. Dullahan - Survival-horror 3rd person shooter.
 

Pellaidh

Neo Member
Dec 21, 2015
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130
1. Sunless Sea: Zubmariner ; Sunless Sea is, to me, just about as good as video game writing gets. Endlessly imaginative, equal parts comical and depressing, with wonderful and clear prose that leaves just enough to the imagination of its reader. When most games get praised for their writing, it usually refers to their characters, rarely their words or prose. But the writers of Sunless Sea managed to create perhaps the most brilliant and imaginative world I've ever seen in a game, and brought it to life simply with text, not visuals.

Its first and only expansion pack, Zubmariner, can really only be described in one way: it's more Sunless Sea (about 20% more, in fact), and when the original was that good, that's the best way to go about it. The new content does manage to improve on some flaws of the original's structure, however. The main storyline is much more clear in regards to where you need to go, and does a much better job at guiding the player towards the various ports introduced in the expansion, as opposed to the original's story, which just gave you a giant list of items with only the vaguest of clues about where to get them. The new ports are also geared much more towards quality over quantity, with each one of them including a full storyline, while the original included a lot of islands with only one or two encounters each.

For being the best written game I've played this year, Zubmariner takes the first spot.

2. Tyranny ; Continuing with games that feature good settings, the second place goes to Tyranny. There's nothing too groundbreaking here, but Tyranny still presents enough interesting twists to a world entirely conquered by evil. Perhaps the most interesting one of them is the player character, who at the start of the game already wields a great position of power and authority. It's not often an RPG gives you a character that's already both feared and respected at the start of the game and it's a welcome change of pace over playing as some inexperienced adventurer hunting rats or goblins. It's also a very reactive game, with a lot of choices that do at least somewhat impact how the game plays out, and a faction system where no one option can be regarded as the absolute best.

3. Stradew Valley ; Stardew Valley is the most relaxing game I've played this year. Sometimes I just want to sit down and relax with a game, and Stardew Valley fulfills that role splendidly. A Harvest Moon clone, but one that improves and refines the genre in a way that hasn't been seen for quite a while, and also an amazing labour of love of its single developer.

4. Battlerite ; Bloodline Champions returns from the grave. Battlerite distills the traditional Dota-like experience to its essentials, with no leveling, no items, and just a single fight to the death, providing one of the best parts of in simple and quick two minutes rounds without sacrificing too much skill. It's also a much more action oriented experience, with every skill, including healing having to be manually aimed. While it's still in early access, the game feels mostly complete, save for the free to play monetization model.

5. Umineko When They Cry ; It's hard to talk about what makes Umineko stand out so much from the visual novel crowd without ruining what makes it special. It's also very hard to recommend unconditionally, due to its slow pace and staggering length of about 80 hours What I can say though, is that it's easily the best VN I've ever read. Starting of as a simple horror/murder mystery but evolving into so much more, with a large and varied cast of very well developed characters, it's definitely something fans of the genre should look into, particularly those who like murder mysteries in the style of Danganronpa or Ace Attorney (even if the actual story is about much more than just those mysteries). It also almost entirely lacks the common tropes found in other games of the genre, even those that are ussualy well regarded, with a capable protagonist who doesn't immediately attract every woman he interacts with, a cast varied both in age as well as gender, and minimal but important romance aspects. Umineko is definitely an experience I won't forget, and a story unlike anything else.

6. Rimworld ; Describing Rimworld as just simplified Dwarf Fortress in space wouldn't be entirely inaccurate, but it would also do the game a giant disservice. What sets Rimworld apart from other similar games is its very real focus on combat, base defense and survival. The combat system is well designed, with simple controls but enough depth in its varied weapons and in depth damage modelling. But unlike other base building "survival" games, Rimworld is the first one where it feels like I'm supposed to eventually lose. It also helps that, despite being simpler than Dwarf Fortress, it still retains the core features that make that game so fun, with interesting stories that occur due to the various gameplay systems interacting with each other aplenty. The best attempt yet at capturing the magic of Dwarf Fortress while stripping it of the bulk.

7. Factorio ; Factorio is another brilliantly designed base building game to release this year. In contrast with Rimworld, there no emergent storytelling and no giant focus on base defense (it's present, but not really what the game's about). Factorio is great in a completely different way. While Rimworld has your base competing against murderous space raiders, Factorio has you competing against yourself, your own vision of what a good, well oiled and completely automated base should look like. I've never lost a base in Factorio to its alien invaders, but I've lost plenty of bases due to realizing that they're a horiblly designed mess that barely works. What I find myself most lacking in base/city building is difficulty and challenge, and both Rimworld and Factorio are two of the few games that provide that, but in completely different ways.

8. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun ; A brilliant example of how to modernize a classic genre. I'm not even a fan of the old Commandos games (never played them), but I still like Shadow Tactics. A great example of what a stealth game should be, with large maps, varied tools and plenty of optional challenges for those who find the base game too easy.

9. The Banner Saga 2 ; Tactical RPGs are a very rare genre this days, so it's nice to see that The Banner Saga 2 kept the same qualities that made the first one good. I appreciated the story being told from two very different perspectives, as well as some added variety to the original's quite repetitive combat encounters. A well executed example in one of my favourite genres.

10. Twilight Struggle; A perfectly fine digital conversion of one of the most interesting and well made board games out there. A great combination of a wargame and a card game, with a cool and underused cold war setting and somewhat asymetric gampley between the two sides. Sadly, the AI is a bit weak, but it's definitely the easiest it's ever been to play this online.

11. Eternal Card Game ; Someone finally made a decent free to play Magic the Gathering clone. There's really not much more to say than that. I've always liked MTG, but it's very hard to justify its steep price of entry. Eternal mostly copies MTG's design, but provides a very generous free to play system that has allowed me to play draft pretty much whenever I want to, and a great take on drafting where you still pick cards from packs other players have opened without having to commit several continuous hours to get through the games.

12. Rabi-Ribi ; To get the obvious out of the way first, Rabi-Ribi's visual style is absolutely atrocious, and I really wouldn't blame anyone for instantly dismissing the game after seeing the screenshots on its Steam page. If you can get past that however, you'll find that Rabi-Ribi is one of the most interesting blends of a metroidvania and bullet hell around. The main focus of the game are its excellently designed boss fights, all of which feature bullet hell inspired attacks that test your platforming abilities to the fullest. The game may look "cute", but its difficulty is absolutely brutal. For people who like challenging platformers and difficult but well designed boss battles, this is one game that should not be overlooked, if you can put up with its visual design and poor story.

13. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight ; Momodora is another brilliant metroidvania released this year, and it feels like almost an exact opposite of Rabi-Ribi. Where Rabi-Ribi is visually offputting, Momodora looks great, with amazing spritework and great atmospheric environments inspired by the Souls franchise. Rabi-Ribi is massive, with a huge number of boss fights, while Momodora is short and focused, and can easily be finished in an afternoon (and both of those can be good qualities, depending on what you want out of a game). Momodora is also much easier than Rabi-Ribi.
Where Momodora really excels is in taking the atmosphere and feel of the Souls series and transferring it into a metroidvania. It gave me the same sense of mystery and doomed world as the Souls game, and it did that without ever feeling dragged out or overly confusing in its map design the way some metroidvanias do to me. In the end, while both are excellent games, Rabi-Ribi edges this one out due to its excellent boss designs, which is one area where Momodora falls short for me, since none of its boss fights presented too much of a challenge.

14. Blue Revolver ; Blue Revolver manages to capture the feeling I get when playing a good Cave shmup. Fast, colorful, with great stage and boss design, it's about as good as shmups got this year.

15. Sengoku Jidai: Shadow of the Shogun ; Sengoku Jidai is one of the best designed wargames I've ever played. It's sleek and elegant, while still presenting a deep and realistic feeling warfare. It shows that wargames don't need a gigantic roster of units and stats to be engaging. It's simply one of the most elegant turn based combat systems I've come across. It does lack slightly when it comes to content, but if you're looking for an easy to get into wargame, I feel like this is one of the best choices around.

Honorable Mentions
x. Tale of Wuxia ; I don't really think Tale of Wuxia is that great of a game. It's a Princess Maker styled stat raising sim with a Wuxia theme and a decent turn based strategy RPG combat system that is sadly brought down by a horrible translation and an overreliance on awful minigames. But I'm putting it here to highlight a very surprising and positive trend I've noticed on Steam this year: the release of a large number of Chinese indie games. It feels great to have the ability to be exposed to a relatively isolated group of games from a region that the west isn't all that familiar with. Also, it's a game I feel I would have liked a lot, if only it was better localized (or I understood Chinese), and they took out the minigames.

Most Anticipated
1. Sunless Skies ; The sequel to Sunless Sea, with a kickstarter set for February (which means it may get some sort of an alpha build in 2017, hopefully). Sunless Sea was already so insanely imaginative, and I can't wait to see what a sequel set in space will do with its setting.

2. A House of Many Doors ; To quote directly from its Steam page: "A House of Many Doors is a 2D exploration RPG that takes inspiration from Sunless Sea, China Mieville, Planescape: Torment and Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities." It would be very hard to make a sentance that would make me more excited for a game.

3. Divinity: Original Sin 2 ; the first Original Sin game had one of the best RPG combat systems out there, but suffered form a bland story and setting. I hope this can improve on its predecessor's flaws without trying to fix what wasn't broken.

4. Torment: Tides of Numenera ; If this is even 10% as good as Planescape Torment was, then it will still be a worthwhile game.

5. Fae Tactics ; Valdis Story was one of the best indie surprises of 2013. The same developer is now making a turn based strategy RPG that already looks lovely from the few screenshots available. I love strategy RPGs, and if this is even close to as well designed as Valdis Story was the it should be well worth playing.
 

Azuardo

Member
Jan 7, 2012
3,661
4
500
1. Inside ; Creepy and bizarre, and keeps you questioning just what on earth is going on even after the ending.
2. Firewatch ; Excellent voice acting and atmosphere forced me to play through this in one sitting.
3. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero ; Pure 2D platforming fun. More like this, please!
4. Superhot ; Incredibly original concept that is more difficult than it seems!
5. Owlboy ; Charming and beautiful little adventure.
 

Servbot24

Banned
Feb 14, 2012
30,474
2
0
Austin, TX
www.ianbarkerart.com
1. The Witness ; Top 20 game of all time. It made me feel simultaneously brilliant and stupid, but constantly refreshed and intrigued.
2. Inside ; Maybe the most complete package for a game in 2016. Every aspect works together wonderfully. I'll never forget the ending.
3. Hyper Light Drifter ; The fantastic grasp of control in this game is just about unparalleled this year. Unfortunately the focus on "lore" and being obscure isn't very interesting.
 

Servbot24

Banned
Feb 14, 2012
30,474
2
0
Austin, TX
www.ianbarkerart.com
This voting thread seems much more lively than the past ones. Is it because more people are playing indie games or are the lower requirements and whatnot encouraging more people to participate?

I wouldn't have been able to vote with higher requirements.

That said I'm familiar with most of the games posted here and am pretty confident they wouldn't have surpassed my top 3 if I played more of them.
 

Eridani

Member
Sep 8, 2015
541
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0
This voting thread seems much more lively than the past ones. Is it because more people are playing indie games or are the lower requirements and whatnot encouraging more people to participate?

The lower requirements obviously help, since there's a lot of shorter lists here. What also might be a factor is the thread title. IndieGAF Community GOTY Voting 2015 seems much less friendly to people who don't post in indieGAF. I mean, I don't post in those threads so I wouldn't consider myself a part of the IndieGAF Community and would be hesitant posting in that thread. The Best Indie Games of 2016 - Voting thread is just another X of the year thread that people should see no problems voting in.

There's also been a lot of high profile indie games this year. The Witness, Firewatch, Hyper Light Drifter, Furi, Stardew Valley, and more, so I'm sure that also helps.
 

Dandy Lyin

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Jun 14, 2013
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1. Oxenfree ; I loved this short, quirky, mystery. The writing is fantastic. Begs to be replayed.
2. Stardew Valley ; An amazing feat for a single individual, that surpasses its inspiration.
3. Shardlight ; Classic point and click adventure game with a unique setting.
4. Firewatch ; Drew me in with its gorgeous visuals and amazing voice acting. The ending was a bit of a disappointment.
5. ABZU ; Stunning piece of art.

Honorable Mention
x. Kathy Rain ; A game I wanted to love since it was announced, but the story just didn't work for me.

Most Anticipated
1. Night in the Woods ; It's been a long road from the Kickstarter, and I can't wait to dive in.
2. Thimbleweed Park ; This is basically tied for #1 as my most anticipated.
 

holymantle

Neo Member
Sep 19, 2016
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1. Soft Body. Super nice, super chill, super immersive.
2. Stardew Valley. Give me all the goats and Harvest Moon 64 vibes.
3. Beglitched. Aesthetically super pleasing, funny, cool dinamics, finally a game about hacking that doesn't feel all 90s-y.
4.Abzû. Dunno. Fishes are cool.
5. Inside. Better to play in one sitting.
7. Overcooked. Best couch coop ever.
8. Enter the Gungeon. Got bored eventually and didn't have the time to absolutely master it but damn, it is a good game.
9. No Man's Sky. Fuck it, I love it.
10. Maybe Event[0].

Honorable mentions:
Spelunky, because Spelunky it's always game of the year, no matter what year we're in.

Most anticipated is absolutely Knuckle Sandwich. Go check it out.
 
May 30, 2014
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1. Grim Dawn: The best Arpg I have played since Diablo 2. it as a wonderful art style, lots of different class combinations and great combat.
2. American Truck Simulator: This game is just relaxing and a joy to play. Listen to some music and drive.
3. Darkest Dungeon: An amazingly difficult turn-base game. It is so intense so be on the verge of a group wipe and pulling through.
4. Stardew Valley: Another relaxing game that you can get lost in for hours. Lots of content and the soundtrack is fantastic.
5. Dungelot: Shattered Lands: Just a great roguelike dungeon-crawler. The classes are fun and the art style is good.
6. The Witness: Great and challenging puzzle in a beautiful open world.
7. Punch Club: Fun gameplay and another great art style in this choose your own adventure boxing management game. The OST is also good.

Most Anticipated:
Ray’s the Dead: This game looks amazing I have been following the progress for a few years now and hopefully in 2017 it releases. The art style is just quirky.
 
Jan 10, 2013
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1. Owlboy ; 10 years of love and genuine heart, owlboy is the best synthesis of homage and wholly original identity.

2. Inside ; I didn't think it was possible to improve on Limbo's cohesion, but Inside really is Limbo cranked to 11.

3. Hyper Light Drifter ; HLD's style is confidently alien and gorgeously evocative of corruption, technology and mysticism which bind the entire game s incredibly well.

4. Abzu ; Never has the sublime surrealism of the sea been so realized.

5. Stephen's Sausage Roll ; A deceptively crude puzzler masking design brilliance in its low poly count.
 

Slixshot

Banned
Jun 21, 2013
6,355
1
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1. Hyper Light Drifter ; backed this game from its initial Kickstarter day and lived up to everything I wanted and hoped for.

2. FURI ; this one came out of nowhere. What a stylish game. Bumpin soundtrack and fast responsive gameplay.

3. The Witness ; one of the greatest puzzle games ever, but I'm just not the biggest puzzle guy. Still, I applaud the see team and jonathan blow for their skills

4. Super Hyper Cube ; easily one of the more stylish games of the year. Simple concept and incredibly fun.

5. Thumper ; This game had me from the pax east demo. It's so intense. Really cool rhythm game.
 
Need to flesh out and add some blurbs, but I think that's my final ranking



1. Inside ; At a glance, one might question what exactly makes Inside so special. Its visuals seems muted and dull, strip away everything and it's a game of mostly traversing right and solving environmental puzzles, it's a game where the only controls are move, jump, and grab. But Inside can't be fully appreciated at a glance; it must be played to understand its excellence.
Inside is a bleak crescendo of a cinematic platformer, every aspect building upon the other until its incredible finale. The animations, how the boy stumbles and struggles, how he looks with nervous glances or hunches over in tense fear. The aesthetic, rife with countless details and a cohesive palette that accentuates the game's depressing dystopian tone. The sound design, from the subtle heartbeat of a soundtrack to the boy's hurried breathing when stealth shifts to desperate pursuit. Everything coalesces to create an oppressive miasma of unease and tension, where you never feel safe, where every mistake is met with quick ruthless death, and its lean puzzle design is always driving you forward to more haunting imagery and more surreal discoveries.



2. Oxenfree ; The narrative adventure has seen a renaissance since Telltale revitalized it with The Walking Dead way back in 2012. From Dontnod's Life Is Strange to the historical 1979 Revolution, their influence has been undeniable. But while they may be the originator, Oxenfree is the innovator. Harkening back to the Spielbergian adventures of the 80s, this tale of friends on an island where dark forces lurk pushes the genre forward in wonderful ways. Its walk-and-talk mechanic allows for the kind of pacing that Telltale games and their ilk could never do, letting you make tough dialogue choices without breaking away from regular gameplay. And that dialogue is so natural, flows so smoothly, with interjections and interruptions and whatnot, a far cry from the turn-based style of conversation seen in everything from Mass Effect to Fables. And finally Night School found a clever way to do a New Game Plus within the confines of a narrative adventure, giving you another reason to revisit these likeable characters and atmospheric locales.



3. SuperHOT ; It's the most innovative shooter I've played in years. No really, clever joke aside, it is. SuperHOT takes the one hit kills and limited ammo and encroaching enemies on all sides of Hotline Miami, and makes it a pseudo-turn-based action puzzler through its core time-moves-when-you-move mechanic. That simple idea changes everything. It's a game of minimalism and restraint, more time spent side-stepping bullets and planning your next move than attacking. Those methodical minutes-long sequences of time-slowed action only last mere seconds in real time. Every moment is one of careful movement, since every step by you means danger is one step closer. Every variable needs to be considered. How many bullets do you have left in your gun? Do you have time and space to evade the bullets headed your way? Can you stun that enemy and close the distance soon enough to grab his fallen weapon?
The combat in SuperHOT is the stuff of Hollywood magic, scenes that are usually only reserved for scripted moments and set pieces. You snatch a gun out of the air and spin around to kill the enemies approaching from behind. Point blank shots are negated by a katana slicing the bullet in half. You weave between bullets with effortless ease. It's a low-poly dance through a rain of crystalline shards and it never gets old



4. Stephen's Sausage Roll ; 2016 was the year of the puzzler. The Witness, Obduction, SHENZHEN I/O, Recursed, Sethian, Thoth, and more, this year was one with quality puzzle games of all kinds. But none impressed or stumped me as much as Stephen's Sausage Roll. It may not seem like much, a Sokoban-style puzzler with a low-fi aesthetic, but that's where the genius of the games lies. Stephen's Sausage Roll is an ever growing puzzle box of new mechanics, mechanics that were always there, hidden in plain sight through level design alone. Your basic toolset of rotation and fork is so versatile, allowing for puzzles so satisfyingly diverse and tricky, it is astounding to think back to how the early puzzles were only about rotating and pushing sausages with your fork. This is an ingenious work of level design and clever puzzles that should not be missed.



5. House of the Dying Sun ; At one point, House of the Dying Sun was a bigger game, an ambitious sprawling Mount-and-Blade-style campaign with procedural factions and an open map. But instead the finished game is a lean collection of hand-crafted missions, polished and distilled to focus on one thing: combat. Combat is House of the Dying Sun's core element, each mission dropping you into a volatile situation and asking you to seamlessly manage both intense dogfighting from your interceptor cockpit and fleet tactics from the macro RTS view. No map to travel, no trading or hangars to buy a better fleet, no smaller jobs to build up your reputation, just relentless combat where positioning and expert flight is key to survival.
But it would remiss to not single out House of the Dying Sun's stellar sound design. The audio makes the game. The muted rumble and thuds of your weapons. The rasp of your oxygen mask. The tinny chatter of your wingmen, The mechanical whir when you reload or switch weapons. The sound design draws you into the combat, gives every action an immersive and atmospheric reaction



6. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun ; You know a game is going to be good when a demo shifts your expectations from "Huh, seems interesting" to "I need to keep playing, please release it already". In an ideal world, Shadow Tactics will be for real-time Commandos-style tactics what Divinity was for CRPGs. Polished to a mirror sheen, this is a game of weaving through vision cones, of carefully planning out precisely timed distractions and executions, of managing all your of team's special skills and abilities to overcome seemingly impossible odds. A single mission can last 2-3 hours, as you plan and study and observe and act and react and quick-save like a madman. This is one of the best stealth games of 2016, and the best Commandos-like in a long time.



7. Imbroglio ; Michael Brough's games have often hinged on the dichotomy of simple on the outside and surprisingly deep within, a lo-fi aesthetic contrasted by challenging strategy. His latest game Imbroglio is no different; it plays like a distant cousin of his previous roguelike 868-Hack, with a focus on positioning and smart use of your abilities, but expanded exponentially and offering surprising complexity.
Imbroglio is many things. It's a roguelike, as you tactically use different skills and turn-based movement to outlast increasingly challenging groups of enemies. It's a card game, with each class having unique skills and limitations that define the kind of deck you can build. And it's a board game, as you use those cards to build the floor of the board itself, carefully considering synergy between abilities and your health and mana and where enemies will enter the arena. Imbroglio is the kind of simple-to-play yet surprisingly complex game that you'll often find on mobile, and one of the best roguelikes the platform has to offer.



8. Sethian ;In dialogue choice-driven games, your words define you. The challenge lies in choosing what to say. In Sethian, you do have to choose what to say, uncovering the secrets of a lost civilization through your queries. But first you have to learn how to say it, because question, answer, and in fact the majority of the game's UI is presented in an alien language. It's a text adventure from another world. At the start, the game can feel overwhelming, thanks to a minimalist multi-page display of odd symbols. Dots and dashes and weird runes and squiggles and geometric shapes and similar variants, and it's all utter nonsense to your untrained eye. But slowly, gradually, you acclimate. You learn how input questions. How to properly format a question. How to ask who, where, how inquiries. How to state "I" versus asking about other nouns like a building or an event. How to mark a work as someone's or something's title. How to combine phrases to create a new concept that doesn't have a word in the language. And soon, that array of symbols isn't nonsense. You can formulate a directed question and understand the response. It's quite fitting that Sethian released around the same time as the first contact movie Arrival, because this is probably the closest analog, a game of alien linguistics.



9. N++ ; I'd place the physics-driven platforming and slick smooth controls of the original N up there with games like Super Meat Boy as one of the forefathers of the indie precision platformer, and N++ is the culmination of 12 years of refinement on that original game, with thousands of smartly-designed stages that wringe diverse platforming challenges from a simple moveset.



10. Devil Daggers ; If DOOM was the modern update of the old-school shooter, Devil Daggers is the other side of the coin, distilling the genre to its leanest form. You, your weapon, an arena, a cacophonous onslaught of eldritch horrors, now survive. An oppressive symphony of distorted shrieks, skittering legs, guttural roars, echoing moans brings to life a bestiary of bone and flesh and too many appendages. Devil Daggers' sound design is some of the best you'll hear this year



11. Thumper ; The most intense, most satisfying, and most draining test of reflexes since Super Hexagon, Thumper is equal parts simplicity and excess, easy-to-understand but challenging-to-master gameplay within a sensory overload of movement, color, and sound. If Super Hexagon was hypnotic in its shifting twisting geometric minimalism, then Thumper is 2001's mesmerizing mindfuck given metal life.



12. The Witness ; Jonathan Blow's seven-years-in-the-making magnus opus is a puzzle game masterpiece, a vibrant Myst-like that wordlessly teaches you to understand its expansive repertoire of mechanics



13. Samorost 3 ; Developer Amanita Design has always delivered finely-crafted adventures that as much artistic showcases as they are enjoyable point-and-click games, and this latest release Samorost 3, six years in the making, is no exception. Discovering the places and people of gorgeous organic worlds is what imbues Samorost 3 with such charm and wonder. Those interactions are what constitutes the puzzles you'll find throughout Samorost 3. Much like Amanita Design's previous game Botanicula, many puzzles are more about learning how the different elements of a planet intermingle and interact. How to manipulate hanging roots to cross a gap or how to get a hulking creature to move out of the way of an opening. Samorost 3 will last you around five hours, each one filled with wonderful art, odd people and places, and playful puzzles across space. Amanita Design described this as their ambitious project, and it shows in every new area and animation of this beautiful adventure.



14. Hyper Light Drifter ; . Every area in Hyper Light Drifter is one of gorgeous pixel artistry, lavish details, and vibrant colors: the gargantuan remains of titans now choked with flora, technological ruins, windswept peaks, bustling town square, dim subterranean tunnels. But Hyper Light Drifter's beauty is only surpassed by its danger. A deadly menagerie of foes await, from avian mages that unleash devastating short-range lasers and lupine samurai that teleport-dash towards you with their blades to shuriken-armed toads and towering crystalline beings. Innocuous flowers erupt into hulking beasts, heavily-armed creatures fire bullet hell-esque volleys of projectiles, and relentless bosses unleash multi-tiered attacks that test your evasive prowess. And yet even with the intriguing environments and fast punchy combat, it's the little details that can make a great game, special. The way you can sit down at any time to just relax and admire the environment. The snowy footprints and pools of blood you leave in your wake. Your cloak flying and fluttering with each strike. The fancy sword flourish the Drifter performs after a particularly challenging battle.



15. Recursed ; A simple-on-the-surface, but fascinating-underneath puzzler that takes the "dream-within-a-dream" concept of Inception and translates into a playable puzzle fashion. To fully explain the mechanics would ruin the thrill of discovering them for yourself, but each new mechanic and logical leap feels amazing, bolstered by very clever level design that wrings every possibility out of a idea that seems basic at first glance

Honorable Mentions
x. Clustertruck
x. Brigador
x. Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor
x. Thoth
x. RYB
x. Orwell

Most Anticipated
1. Rain World; 1,500 rooms of a handcrafted alien world, a dynamic ecosystem powered by complex AI, and tense survival stealth-platforming
2. Ruiner; atmospheric af cyberpunk dual-stick action
3. Miegakure; mind-bending puzzler that attempts to craft a 4D world
4. Desync; Bulletstorm: Indie Edition, with a slick style and trick kills
5. Little Nightmares; bleak cinematic platformer in unsettling world
 

spineduke

Unconfirmed Member
Apr 19, 2007
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A bit surprised at the lack of Gungeon love. I wasn't too fond of it initially, but I remember a lot of people having really positive impressions early on.
 

Strider

Member
Jul 23, 2013
8,400
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0
1. Planet Coaster: A little bit light on the sim/management mechanics for my taste but this game nails the creation tools and it's simply a blast to build a park. Steam workshop also adds so much to this title...

2. OwlBoy: Stunning sprites and music with new gameplay mechanics introduced throughout constantly keeping the gameplay interesting.

3. Stardew Valley: This game was a lot more interesting and had more content than I ever thought it would.

4. Grim Dawn: Fun and atmospheric ARPG... I enjoyed the depth and variety of character builds a lot.

5. Battlerite: Designed really well for competition but the matches are quick and fun letting it maintain that "party game" feel... Good game for both the competitive players and casual alike.

6. Eternal Card Game: A card game that does about everything correct... Lots of depth and has a really nice client as well.


Most anticipated:


1: Yooka-Laylee: I loved Banjo and it's from the same folks so I'm hopeful this turns out well.

2. Pyre: After Bastion and Transistor I'm definitely interested in the next game from SuperGiant.
 

Zornack

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Jun 15, 2013
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355
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1. The Witness ; One of my favorite games of all time. Beautiful, challenging, just a delight.

2. Furi ; What a damn fun game. I still need to make it through hard mode.

3. Hyper Light Drifter ; Zelda, Fez and pink lemonade. What more could I ask for?