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The Best Indie Games of 2016 - Voting thread

Late Flag

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Jul 28, 2014
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1. Darkest Dungeon ; I loved the combat. I loved managing perks and diseases. I loved being an evil HR manager. Everything about this game is exactly what I was hoping for. Sorry to do this, but I don't play a lot of indie games and normally I would just gloss this thread over, but I picked Darkest Dungeon as my GOTY in the pinned GOTY thread, so I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't give it a vote in this thread too.
 

Stoze

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Feb 20, 2013
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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.

It's great, it's some of the most time I spent with a single game last year at around 70 or 80 hours and I posted in the OT a decent amount. That said I can think of over a dozen indies that impressed me or resonated with me more after its release though. It might just barely make my list. I don't think there's anything wrong with roguelites/likes, especially one as fun and polished as Gungeon, but the wow factor is kind of gone from those games for me.

Part of that is by playing a lot of those games over the past few years you get very used to losing runs and death and repetition as part of the learning process. The inadvertent result is the tension gets almost completely sapped from the rougelike structure, and I don't know if I'll ever experience some of the highs I got when playing FTL, BoI, or Spelunky years ago even if I come across a great rogue game. At least not without a considerable amount of innovation.
 

dralla

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Apr 6, 2007
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Enter The Gungeon
ABZU
Inside
Firewatch
SteamWorld Heist (I'm in them middle of this so it's hard to say where it'll eventually sit)

I've got Hyper Light Drifter and a few others downloaded and will eventually make my way through. Indies have been pretty amazing this year
 

desbang

Neo Member
Jun 9, 2013
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The Vita continues to be my platform of choice for playing indies.

1. Darkest Dungeon ; I shouldn't like this - the grindiest of grinds. And yet it's by far my most played game of the year. I still play at least a few minutes every day, and have done since it released on the Vita.
2. Inside ; The atmosphere and setting are top notch. Each little section has its own gameplay wrinkle - none of them are particularly original, but the presentation is such that everything feels fresh.
3. Steamworld Heist ; 2D Xcom-lite on a handheld = bliss.
4. Salt and Sanctuary ; I'm only half-way through, and have been for months - waiting for the Vita release. I don't care for the art at all, but have enjoyed what I've played immensely.
5. The Witness ; I respect this game as an achievement more than I actually enjoyed it. Beautiful and very very clever.
6. Severed ; This has some ease-of-use issues that really detracted from my enjoyment, but overall another winner from Drinkbox.
7. Downwell ; My go-to Vita game for a while until Darkest Dungeon came along and usurped everything.
 

Perineum

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Jul 22, 2016
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1. Hyper Light Drifter ; My GOTY 2016. Not just indie game.

2. Furi ; What a soundtrack. What a game!

3. Inside ; WTF did I just play simulator? So good!

4. Firewatch ; Bad ending, but the rest was a real treat.

5. Salt & Sanctuary

6. Stardew Valley
 

EVO

Member
Sep 22, 2012
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There's still a bunch of games I haven't played, but here's my top 5:

1. INSIDE ; Had me absolutely spellbound from start to finish. An instant classic.

2. Thumper ; S-ranking this was one of the most satisfying things I did all year.

3. Firewatch ; Refreshingly grounded and stunningly beautiful.

4. The Witness ; Frustrating at times but meditative at others.

5. Overcooked ; I only got to play this once with a friend but I loved every minute of it. Fingers crossed for online multiplayer in a future update.

Honorable Mentions:
x. Enter the Gungeon
x. SUPER HOT
x. Oxenfree
x. Hyper Light Drifter
x. Abzu
 

Aaron D.

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Mar 30, 2014
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1. RimWorld ; I always wanted to get into Dwarf Fortress. The promises of bottomless depth enticed, but the abstract ASCII presentation always eluded me. Enter RimWorld. A promise of DF-lite with actual gosh-darn graphics to ease in DF wannabes. I love the whole setting of this colony sim. Crash-landed and stranded on a lonely yet hostile planet creates great opportunities for primitive to advanced tech development. And micromanaging these little guys is just a blast. The level of minutia between the two is in turns daunting and breathtaking.

2. Stephen's Sausage Roll ; SSR is one of my absolute faves because it presented a devious puzzle experience, delivered in a lovingly distilled package. The puzzles are quite simple in presentation, yet maddening deliberate in execution. You can't brute-force these guys, there's ONE solution. The "ah-ha!" moment of discovery is sublime. Bonus props for the inspired lo-fi audio/visual presentation.

3. Farming Simulator 17 ; Released biennially, FS is the Madden of my world. Every two years I eagerly queue up in line for the latest installment. And every time I wonder if this will be the year FS falls off of my Top 10 list. Not for lack of enthusiasm, but more for dealing in known quantities. After all, the discipline deals in unmoving parts. Farming is farming is farming. And yet here we are, with FS17 appearing in the winner's circle. I think a lot of this is due to how each new release manages to surprise me in its qualitative leap over the previous installment. This year's model is drop-dead gorgeous, with a ton of smart improvements, both fundamental and QoL. For example, this year you can take on jobs for neighboring farmers, using their equipment in the process. This lets the player pilot advanced machinery from the start, equipment costing hundreds of thousands that would have been late-game investments in the past. In the end FS17 winds up feeling like a smart evolution of the franchise and showcases a dev committed to delivering above and beyond.

4. Stellaris ; Leave it to Paradox to take their masterclass grand-strat roots, liberally mix in 4X elements, and ship an amazing strategy hybrid set in space. This is the most approachable I've ever seen the company. While Paradox is known for intimidating learning curves, Stellaris super noob-friendly. I think this is part of what makes the game so much fun for me. While CK & EU feel incredibly tactical & cerebral, Stellaris feels far more freewheeling and loose. To me it says, "Let's just have some fun." Not lacking in depth, but more "gamey" than most Paradox titles. Bonus props to an amazing production package. Gorgeous visuals (in 3D!!), smart UI, and one of the best soundtracks of the year. Stellaris (year one) is an exciting foundation and I can't wait to see where it goes with future DLC.

5. Duskers ; Chalk up yet another one-man production. Duskers tasks you with piloting drones through derelict spaceships using command-line interface navigation. The whole presentation has a retro look and feel to it. I've always thought it felt like being a Nostromo nav-officer from the first Alien movie. The audio design in the game is superb, hearing the ships creak & groan as your drones whiz and buzz about. It gives this lonely, detached vibe that is creepy as hell, keeping in tone with the game's themes of unraveling the mystery of why this corner of the galaxy is dead. The command-line interface gives Duskers a unique feel. While I know it's a game, typing in the commands feels immersive and authentic. Far more than traditional control methods. It helps make the game feel special & uncommon.

6. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun ; Continuing with the Silent Assassin theme, Shadow Tactics sneaks in like a ninja with my Dec. eleventh-hour nom. Last time this happened was a couple years ago when Talos Principle (12/11/14) made a last-minute appearance. In much the same way, Shadow Tactics came straight out of nowhere and knocked my socks off. I wasn't following development at all, I just read somewhere that I should check out the demo. That's all it took. Looks like the classic Commandos franchise. Feels like Mark of the Ninja. Shadow Tactics is a joy to play. Levels are large and sprawling, many taking several hours to complete. Opportunities abound for multiple paths to victory. It's a great balance of puzzle-like noodling in a big sandbox environment. Simply brilliant in look & execution. Bonus props for the full Japanese audio dialogue option. Double secret-probation bonus props for the seemingly superfluous but essential "X since your last QuickSave" on-screen timer.

7. Crusader Kings II: The Reaper's Due ; In introducing the Black Death to the world of CK2, Paradox have hit their stride in delivering some of the most entertaining story events I've seen yet. It's truly depraved. The Prosperity mechanic is a welcome addition on the gameplay side. It really is a joy to see substantive content delivered regularly to Paradox's legacy IP. It makes the games feel larger than life when taken as a whole.

8. Darkest Dungeon ; I'm kind of lttp with DD as I only picked it up during the Steam Holiday sale, but man am I having a blast with it so far. I was always interested in Dungeon, even during EA, but the punitive RNG always scared me off. I'm glad I finally jumped in as I'm finding the game to be an absolute dream, both aesthetically and tactically. Incredibly well-rounded & polished and experience.

9. Tyranny ; Obsidian rekindled my love for CRPGs with Pillars. They sealed the deal with Tyranny. Loved the alternate "bad guy" angle setup. It also provided a greater context for the 'shades of gray' a villain could be filtered through, in our typical black & white - good vs. evil world. Loved the improved combat and quite appreciated the paired-down party size (things got too chaotic for me in PoE). It's so exciting to see Obsidian back on top, doing what they do best.

10. SteamWorld Heist ; Picked up SH on iOS for holiday travel and found myself incredibly absorbed by this charming title. Didn't realize the game was basically 2D XCOM wrapped in an colorful & inviting package. This game the perfect commuter mobile title.

..............................

Honorable Mention:

x. House of the Dying Sun
x. Stardew Valley
x. Software Inc.

..............................

The One I Just Didn't Get:



Imbroglio iOS just went right over my head. It's being heralded all around as one of the year's best on mobile, but I have no idea what I'm doing. I mean, I kinda do, but the game feels really random. I think I need to look at a tutorial or something.

...............................

Most Anticipated 2017:

Oxygen Not Included - Klei Entertainment's take on the Colony Management Sim?

Yes, Please!!
 

Aaron D.

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Mar 30, 2014
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I haven't played played 868-Hack, but I do understand that it's from the same dev and highly regarded. Perhaps I should drop it into my AppSpy Wishlist.

I do want to understand the hooks for Imbroglio, I just need to sit down and devote some time to parsing out its subtleties.

Damn that A.D.D.! :p
 

ChryZ

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Jun 21, 2004
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1. Grow Up ; I love Grow Home, but Grow Up is on a whole different level, almost makes its predecessor feel like a prototype or proof of concept! It's a poster child of a sequel. The playground got extended to a whole planet and periphery. I'd guess 4-6 times the size of the original game. Yet the new tool kit makes it so much easier to get around. Useful plant life can be DNA scanned and replicated at will and allows for even more playful high jinks. They've upgraded the engine from Unity 4 to 5 and took advantage of a few more expensive rendering techniques, so it's unfortunately a bit more taxing the hardware. This bummed me out at the beginning, but as soon as the world opened up it was more understandable. Zipping around the planet seamlessly with the given level of detail and even with additions of player created plant life is pretty impressive after all. I had a blast mainlining the story and will be back for some clean up.

2. BLUE REVOLVER ; The dev team was clearly hell-bent to create a love letter to classics like CAVE's DoDonPachi. Well, they definitely succeed. This bullet hell SHMUP is LEGIT. The whole package is: well tuned gameplay, modes for every skill level / play style, bonus unlocks, missions mode with bite sized challenges, a god-tier soundtrack, fantastic sprite work and art direction. The polish on display is almost scary. Best of all: BLUE REVOLVER is so much fun to play.

3. RefRain - prism memories - ; The golden age of doujin bullet hell SHMUP localization has dawned. RefRain isn't new, but comes with a fair bit of story, manual, tutorial and so the english release was more than welcome. This SHMUP is amazingly well polished and balanced. It being a few years old, shows a little from the assets side though. The STG part is 3D rendered, but the rest of the presentation is sprite work with a base res of 640x480. Upping the internal resolution makes the 3D part sharper, but the 2D rest blurry and soft. I ended up using the default 480p and binary doubled it up to 960p with nearest-neighbor scaling. Blocky, but pixelicious perfect and sharp. The difficulty modes allow fun to be had at any skill level. I blasted through easy on my second try and normal took a few more attempts. The bullet curtains are top class, beautiful to look at and a joy to dodge. The gameplay system allows to cut paths into the curtains, cancel whole bullet patterns (but not lasers) and charge powerful attacks. Each run clocks in under 30 minutes, which is also nice for a play in between the busiest of schedules. The soundtrack rocks too by the way.

4. Furi ; Now I've seen it all: Furi is a french made sword fighting boss rush peppered with bullethell elements, inspired by Japanese games, fused with western influence, stunning presentation, amazing synth soundtrack and highly technical combat. They managed to create a game more unforgiving as any Souls game. It's all focus, do or die. Never unfair, but the tiniest mistake will be punished, hard. Furi will happily crush you and then taunt you to come back for a second serving. You get up, dust yourself off and eventually crush Furi. Many people don't like the forced walking / story exposition in between fights. I never minded the calm moments before each encounter while looking at the beautiful scenery and listening to synth tunes. The story only made sense at the end of the game, which is totally fine. My only gripes were the rare sections which required "precision" dashing in moving close quarters and PS4's spotty performance spoiled the fun a couple of times: screen tearing, jumpy framerate, input lag by noticeable slowdown, all horrible for such demanding gameplay. I'll double dip down the line and buy the Steam version for a revisit without Unity performance woes.

5. Trouble Witches Origin -Episode1 Daughters of Amalgam- ; This doujin SHMUP went comic market scene PC debut, then Arcade, then 360 and now Steam! The core game remains as refined as ever, but the "Origin" release was reworked and enhanced in many ways: re-adjusted visuals, new magic card (power up), new modes and a new character with new story line. There are all the modes you can ask for; Origin AC (arcade with Origin assets, no story), Origin Story (character's story line), Origin Challenge (score attack, get as many points in 2 or 5 minutes) and AC (the original Arcade release!). The STG is bullet hell, but with a major twist. You can and must dodge bullet curtains, but the player can also create a magic circle that slows bullets down and converts bullets to coins, when you shoot their shooter. The magic circle depletes over time and needs to be used strategically. It's the core gameplay element to make the whole chaos manageable. Controlling the mayhem and creating heaps of coins is amazingly satisfying. The coins can be used to buy power ups at Pumpkin Girl's store, witch pops up twice every stage. The power ups help in a pinch and offer additional firepower for a short amount of time. I'm completely in love with this game: it runs buttery smooth, plays great, lots of fun to be had, the characters and their stories are adorable and funny.

6. ABZÛ ; New game from the makers of Journey and Flower? Yeah, they still got it. ABZÛ is ridiculously beautiful, the visuals, the flow of animation, the sound design, it's all stupendously magnificent. They worked the Unreal4 engine hard, tons of particle and swarm effects. It's a joy to go with the flow of the experience. The gameplay is more casual and relaxing than challenging. The focus is mainly on exploration and very light puzzles. The emotional impact isn't as insane as in Journey, but moments of scale were equally staggering to me.

7. Handsome Mr. Frog ; It's like someone unearthed a lost Taito arcade rom: Super Crate Box meets Bubble Bobble. Pure arcade fun in form of a single screen platformer driven by score and hat chasing. You ARE Handsome Mr. Frog, an adorable amphibian with impeccable style and a fable for hats. You tongue-fetch foes into your chubby cheeks, then spit them as projectiles against their cohorts, wave after wave, stage after stage, until you run out of frog life. There are random bubbles with bonus points, extra life and handsomeness boosting hats. The gameplay is super fun, chaotic with lots of random chain reactions and collateral damage. The game features wicked sprite work, which is also lovingly animated and everything is accompanied by awesome chiptunes.

8. Devil Daggers ; 666
 

NeoRaider

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Aug 1, 2015
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Is Grow Up being Ubisoft game and not done by Indie team considered to be a Indie game??
 

Miletius

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Oct 1, 2010
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I'm not going to cross post my list from the GOTY thread even though many of the entries are the same. Instead, I'll try to write a small blurb for why this game succeeds as an indie title (from my perception). For a more extensive write up please see my GOTY vote here

1. Stardew Valley; Stardew Valley is lets players assume the role of a small time farmer in a quaint fictional community. Ultimately, it's a love letter to it's predecessors, but also a story about the power of one person. You start the game as a fictional employee for Jojoa Mart, the quintessential soul-draining corporation. In a small act of personal rebellion, your character chooses to leave his or her life behind in order to find something better. Is there any more appropriate metaphor for the power of the independent venture? ConcernedApe, through Stardew Valley is appealing to everybody that feels shackled to their AAA game.

2. Tyranny; Obsidian Entertainment has always struggled with certain aspects of AAA game production. Games like Alpha Protocol, Fallout New Vegas, and SP:The Stick of Truth maybe cult favorites but they never reached widespread, mainstream appeal in comparison to their Bioware and Bethesda cousins. The Pillars Engine has finally released Obsidian from the need to appeal to a widening demographic. They can return to creating interesting role-playing games without having to consider if their game "ticks all the right boxes." And that, ultimately, is what Tyranny is -- it isn't a game that will appeal to most audiences. Instead, it's a CRPG with a focus on creating an interesting role playing scenario.

3. Grim Dawn; The ARPG space has been tricky for independent developers to crack, despite it's supposed simplicity of design. Each one (Torchlight, Path of Exile, Van Hellsing, countless others), gets some things right and gets some things dreadfully wrong. Grim Dawn is the first one, in my opinion, to have gotten it right. And while it isn't perfect, it's a testament to the developers using their prior experience and the time that Kickstarter gave them to create an excellent product.

4. Darkest Dungeon; An early in the year release, Darkest Dungeon did as promised, recapturing the danger and malaise of well, the dungeon.

5. Orwell; Orwell reminds me very much of Papers, Please, which was my Game of the Year a couple of years ago. The "game" portion is designed to make you feel uneasy at what you are doing. The sausage making, which may seem justified, feels like you are violating somebody's personal space at every term. Part game, part Parable, Orwell is a great visual novel/puzzler which tackles subjects rarely discussed in games.
 

lt519

Member
May 17, 2013
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Oxenfree is amazing, near the end, I feel like I'm playing Stranger Things, it's got that old school childhood adventure feel to it. Loving the dialogue/atmosphere and it's creepy as all hell.

Enjoying it more than INSIDE actually. May vault into my total top ten for the year.

Just finished, damn that was awesome.
 

hydruxo

Member
Nov 2, 2013
13,039
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1. The Witness ; One of the best games I've ever played. Brilliant puzzles.
2. Hyper Light Drifter ; Gorgeous artstyle and music, plus challenging combat. I'd been anticipating this for years and it delivered big time
3. Enter The Gungeon ; Addicting bullet hell shooter with a massive variety of guns that make each run exciting and unique. Normally not my thing but this game was a blast.
4. Alienation ; Tight and fluid co-op twin stick shooter with loot drops made by Housemarque. There's alot to love here.
5. Abzu ; I wasn't as fond of this game as I thought I'd be, but all things considered it is a beautiful game with a fantastic soundtrack. The lesson behind the game's premise is also very important.
 

GlamFM

Banned
Sep 22, 2009
16,012
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940
Düsseldorf/Germany


1. The Witness ; The best game of the year without doubt. Only possible because one mastermind with a small team and a lot of money and time could keep his vision intact without any outside influence. MASTERPIECE

2. Obduction ; Best game no one played (?)

3. Stardew Valley ; Lovely time sink. Stopped playing once I started suspecting that this might come to the Switch. Can´t wait to start over!

4. Inside ; Insanely beautiful and haunting. A special game.

5. Hyper Light Drifter ; So hard I did not finish it - a shame because I loved everything a bout it. Could be sitting way higher on my list if it had an easy option.
 

Yoshi

Headmaster of Console Warrior Jugendstrafanstalt
May 4, 2005
16,562
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1. Ittle Dew 2 ; Very clever and versatile dungeon design, solving the "do dungeons in any order" problem better than Zelda ALBW and an overworld packed with tons of secrets. Fantastic game and one of the best Zelda clones ever.
2. The Witness ; Witty puzzle design, well integrated into a nice looking world. A creative pool of ideas that are simple, yet intriguing.
3. FreezeME ; Some really nice platforming. Not absolutely at the top of the genre, but all-around solid and fun game that is well worth playing.
4. The Turing Test ; It is not quite Portal, but I had a lot of fun, both with the puzzles and the narrative.
5. Binaries ; Tight and fun skill game with a simple, yet engaging concept
6. Hopiko ; Really tough, but fast and rewarding, this game is about precision and speed at the same time, which I really appreciate a lot.
7. Fru ; One of the best Kinect games I have played so far. Nice combination of classical platforming and camera based controls and some really fun level design
8. Mantis Burn Racing ; Really nice top down racer that has tight controls, a nice speed and good course design. Definitely a positive surprise, particularly after being burned by those horrible Rock N Racing games
9. Factotum 90 ; Another engaging puzzle game that calls a bit for a Nintendo DS set up but still is great fun on Xbox One as well.
10. Stories of Bethem: Full Moon ; Some clever dungeon design reminiscent of Zelda but a not-so-great overworld design. Still, overall a really fun game - and surprisingly better than Oceanhorn in my opinion, due to its superior puzzle design.
11. Oceanhorn ; Nice little Zelda clone, though it really is a bit on the simple side sadly.

EDIT:

Most Anticipated:
1. Yooka-Laylee ; A new collectathon by the masters of collectathons, what else is there to say? My most anticipated game 2017.
I have changed my voting, because I have played a new top indie game of 2016, Ittle Dew 2. All other games just slid one place down.
 
Oct 9, 2016
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1. Enter the Gungeon: Ludicrously addictive, brutal bullet-hell roguelike.

2. Tadpole Treble: Adorable music game made with love by the creator of Brawl in the Family.

3. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows: Highly extensive DLC for an already wonderful game. Could easily be considered a new game.


Anticipated for 2017:

Nefarious: Action platformer in which you are the villain.

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment: Yet another absurdly huge DLC for Shovel Knight.

Yooka-Laylee: A true Rare revival? I hope so!
 

Klart

Member
Jan 16, 2014
2,022
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1. Mother Russia Bleeds ; after waiting for so long for a worthy successor to the Streets of Rage series, this game finally succeeds. I love it to bits. It has the violence, gore & synthwave from Hotline Miami. There's more gameplay to it than meets the eye (a lot of "hidden" combo's). It just "hits" all the right notes.
2. Furi ; best Plus surprise.
3. Viking Squad ; fun 3 player brawler.
4. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime ; lovely coop game.
5. Overcooked ; so much fun in coop.
6. Dungeon Punks ; fun brawler.
7. Tricky Towers ; had lots of fun in couch versus.
 

Permanently A

Junior Member
Jan 16, 2012
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1. Furi - sick combat, sick OST, sick visuals, sick everything.

2. Inside - really nice puzzles and atmosphere. Great storytelling.

3. Hyper Light Drifter - fun combat with nice vibes.
 

Morrigan Stark

Arrogant Smirk
Jul 23, 2010
30,991
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1. Salt and Sanctuary ; Metroidvania meets Dark Souls? Hell yeah. Impressive map, tight combat, deep RPG system, cool bosses, atmospheric and dark... love it and replayed the hell out of it.
2. Sorcery! ; Great adaptation of those cool gamebooks of my childhood!
3. Viking Squad ; Fun little coop beat-em-up, great art and music too.

Sadly haven't played Shrouded in Sanity, Owlboy, Momodora, Hyper Light Drifter or Echoes of Aetheria yet so they can't make the cut. :(

Most Anticipated
1. Death's Gambit ; I'm always down for more Souls-likes and this one sounds amazing.
2. Cosmic Star Heroine ; potentially the dream JRPG, next best thing to Phantasy Star V
3. CrossCode ; Ys combat + Zelda puzzles? That demo was glorious, can't wait for the full game
4. EITR ; Isometric Souls (or Souls x Diablo) or something. Looks neat.
5. Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom ; it's like a new, HD Wonder Boy game! I want it.
 

swarley64

Member
Aug 27, 2015
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1. The Witness ; I don't think I've ever felt so intensely about a puzzle game like this before.

2. Inside ;

3. Hyper Light Drifter ;

4. Super Hot ; The most innovative shooter I've played in years!

5. Death Road to Canada ; This is a rogue-like game that's getting lost in the endless sea of Steam indies, but I really enjoy it. Its got a great Earthbound-esque sense of humor and I love the music. It seems like every run I'll encounter something unique and/or hilarious that I hadn't seen before.

6. The Count Lucanor ; A short (4-hour-ish) horror-adventure game on Steam. I really like the atmosphere and the look of it and the story struck a chord with me.

7. Oxenfree ;

8. Unbox ; Do you need a 3D-platformer appetizer to keep you going before Yooka-Laylee drops next year? Give Unbox a try.

9. Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor ; Its like the non-violent PS1 RPG I never knew I wanted.

10. VA-11 HALL-A Cyberpunk Bartender Action ; Great music and characters that you fall in love with over time.

11. Pony Island ;

12. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight ;

13. The Flame in the Flood ; FTL meets Huckleberry Finn meets the survival/crafting genre
meets a clunky inventory
.

14. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero ; Drop-dead gorgeous.

15. Firewatch ;
 

One Foul Note

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Jun 23, 2012
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This is only the first four (the others are chosen but their comments haven't been done yet), but I thought I would post this up just in case of a major computer fail I will at least get these votes down, I'll edit this post before the end of the deadline (hopefully)

1. Salt & Sanctuary ; Perfect storm of me. Dark Souls style gameplay with Metroid like elements all in a highly sinister world, a game would struggle to be more suited to my general interests.

2. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight ; Best impulse buy of the year. Got this purely because of something in the product description and couldn't be happier that I did. Highly enjoyable journey through a Japanese take on gothic horror while clubbing everything to death with a leaf. Couldn't ask for more really.

3. Anatomy ; The most interesting horror games I have played for a long time. Anatomy isn't a game about jumpscares and rising blood pressures, but instead about dark ideas and mythos that plant inside your head and stay with you long after you have finished the game. I can't really say anything about it without spoiling a whole load but I can say it is one of the most effecting horror games I have played and I think it will stick with me for a long tim yet.

4. SteamWorld Heist ; Lovely mix of strategy unit placement and action with having to take the shots yourself, all while you get to run around with a group of lovable steampunk robots. Heist is a real interest hybrid game that manages to pull these two elements together fantastically and results in an awesomely unique strategy game.

5. Enter the Gungeon ; Top fun. What Gungeon does well (as well as having like the best name ever) is very solid foundations. The roguelike aspect is great but just the pure gameplay roots of running around a room, dodging bullets and unloading into the enemies is great.

6. Starbound ; An astonishingly large sandbox survival sim. I would be here for eight paragraphs if I listed all the activities you can preform in this game and throughout the entire year I keep finding myself leaping back into this one to keep exploring this wonderful universe.

7. Viking Squad ; Lowest rated game on my list (fuck you critics ;) ). That aside, Viking Squad is a lovely side scrolling brawler with a healthy amount of mad humour, nice punchy combat and a cool upgrade system.

8. Brigador ; Love grotty cyberpunk so love Brigador. Big tank/mech simulator with a nice mix of big highly destructive weaponry and actually thoughtful gameplay. This is probably the game I have talked to most with my friends, debating builds and tactics so that has to count for something.

9. Stardew Valley ; Nothing I can say hasn't already been said, lovely deep arcade farming sim which is a miracle it all came from one person.

10. Klocki ; Very thoughtful puzzle game that has a perfect knowledge about when to change the rules and shake things up.

11. Slayaway Camp ; Thoughtfully designed puzzle game with a lovely boxy murderer aesthetic.

12. N++ ; The next step in the N generation. Fantastic controls and nice level design.

13. DarkMaus ; It's the dark playable Redwall I've always wanted. Great thoughtful top down combat with a sinister minimalist artstyle.

14. Inside ; I really like Limbo and Inside makes Limbo look like shit. Lots of fun puzzles and weird thought provoking imagery lies within Insides twisted core.

15. Stellaris ; I know this is pushing the definition of indie, but screw it I am including it as my 15. Stellaris is a uniquely interesting space x4 that blends both small scale expansion and grand empire management to make a game that really lets your space empire from its one planet beginnings to its final ascension. Stellaris is a great 4x currently but with the level that Paradox keep redesigning their own games it has the possibility to be one of the best.

Edit: All done! Sorry if some of the comments are a bit odd, I tend to get weird and ramble.
 

PandaPedinte

Member
Dec 19, 2012
16,037
3
560
1. Stardew Valley ; one of my most awaited games and it delivered in everything. it's one of these games that put a smile on my face when I'm playing, and is perfect after having a stressful day at work

2. Orwell ; The game is pretty simple, but makes you wonder how little things taken out of context can mess with someone life

3. That Dragon Cancer ; Deeply emotional, beat in one sitting and I was destroyed once I finished it.

4. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight ; Surprise of the year. Bought it only because of the praise it got and it didn't disappointed me.

5. Owlboy ; I loved every minute of it, especially how it told it narrative

6. Halcyon 6 ; It's a mix of turn based RPG and base building game.

7. Crashlands ; A survival game, the silly humor kind of clicked with me.

8. Gunmetal Arcadia Zero ; Another solid game by Minor Key Games. It felt highly inspired by old Castlevania titles
 

yurinka

Member
Jan 19, 2007
13,591
5,418
1,745
Barcelona, Spain
www.capcom-town.es
1. The Witness
2. Firewatch
3. Ghost 1.0
4. Aragami
5. Leap Day
6. No Man's Sky
7. Furi
8. Hyper Light Drifter
9. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero
10. Mother Russia Bleeds
11. Maldita Castilla EX / Cursed Castilla
12. Candle
13. Abzü
14. Conga Master
15. Bot Vice

Most Anticipated:
1. Rime
2. Below
3. Cuphead
4. Rain World
5. Thimbleweed Park
 

Skikkiks

Member
Aug 28, 2014
471
0
240
1. Clustertruck ; vrrrRRRRrrOOOOoooOOOOOoooMmmmMmm
2. Severed ; Drinkbox melded a bunch of random ideas together into a great cohesive experience and delivered in spades
3. Unravel ; Playing as little yarn thing is fun and charming.
4. Abzü ; I'd like to be, under the sea, in an octopus' garden, in the shade.
5. Amplitude ; YOU GOTTA FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT OF YOUR MIND, D I G I T A L P A R A L Y S I S
6. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight ; One of my many surprises this year. Fantastically designed 2D platformer in every respect.
7. REZ: Infinite ; Pretty sure despite being a remaster this meets the indie criteria, this was a good experience despite its short length which only adds to its replayability, really
8. Owlboy ; This game excels in nearly every regard, but some poorer design choices in regards to some enemies and puzzles really bogged down the gameplay and took the game from a great game to just a really good game.
9. Va11 Hall-a: Cyberpunk Bartending Action ; Quriky and unique visual novel. I'll be revisiting it when it hits the Vita for its bevy of alternate endings
10. INSIDE ; A game people got much more out of than me. For me it was a better Limbo but it was still just Limbo. The
Explosion Testing Facility area
and the
Ball of Flesh Finale
made the game more than just pretty good for me.
11. Thumper ; This 'Rhythm Violence' game ended up devolving more into a pattern recognition game for me, but it's got good visuals and delivers some tense gameplay
12. Firewatch ; Beautiful walking game, Forrest Byrnes character of the year 2016 confirmed
13. Oxenfree ; Another good 'adventure' game, was a fun game to play through an afternoon or so
14. Small Radio Big Television ; Just a weird ass game, really
15. Omnibus ; The wheels on the bus go round and round and never end so don't fuck up

Honourable Mention:
x. Riff Racer ; it's a play your own songs game, and it's not bad! Hooray!

Most Anticipated:
1. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2 ; The sequel to a game that was a big surprise for me this year
2. Yooka Laylee ; I'm a backer, loved the toybox demo so I'm going to have fun playing this
3. Cuphead ; Played the double frog and vegetable bosses at a convention and loved it, I'm patiently waiting for this one
4. Toe Jam & Earl: Back in the Groove ; Another game I backed, I love the style of these games and this one has done nothing but look better over time
5. Little Nightmares ; Game already sold me with its first teaser as 'Hunger' nearly two years ago, looks like some real spooky shit
 

jimboton

Member
Sep 14, 2013
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0
565
I have changed my voting, because I have played a new top indie game of 2016, Ittle Dew 2. All other games just slid one place down.

I don't think Stories of Bethem or FreezeME were released last year. I had FreezeME on my 2015 GOTY list, it came out of EA late 2015 ;)

Voting concludes on Friday, January 25, 2017 at 11:59 PM PST.
Do we have until Friday 27 or tomorrow 25?
 

Mugen08

Member
Nov 12, 2014
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Stockholm, Sweden
wasdmash.net
1. The Witness ; The easiest pick for me this year, puzzle-perfection.
2. Quadrilateral Cowboy ; Super-charming and delightfully short hacking game.
3. Inside ; Great sci-fi-horror that sticks to your mind.
4. Starbound ; Went 1.0 this year and it is great.
5. Abzû ; Swimming with whales and turtles = liked it more than Journey.
6. Factorio ; Still in early access but nearly 20k positive reviews on Steam are not wrong.
7. Firewatch ; Thought this would be my goty 2016, still loved it but competition was tough this year. Want more games like this.
8. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight ; Lovely action-platformer, great soundtrack.
9. Superhot ; Some launch-bugs held this back for me, but overall fun.
10. N++ ; Platformer that nails the feeling and controls.

Honorable Mentions
x. Shenzhen I/O ; I will probably blame myself years from now for not including this on the top 10 but I just haven't had the time to play it enough to warrant an inclusion yet.
x. AM2R: Return of Samus ; Haven't finished this either but got a good vibe from what I've played.
x. Hyper Light Drifter ; Haven't finished this either but got a good vibe from what I've played.

Most anticipated
1. Tacoma ; From the creator of Gone Home, a game that I liked very much.
2. Miegakure ; Been waiting for this one for years.
3. Torment: Tides of Numenera ; Unofficial sequel to the best rpg of all time Planescape: Torment.
4. Yooka-Laylee ; Contributed to the KS and it looks like it will deliver the goods.
5. Cuphead ; Looks lovely.
 

Messofanego

Banned
Oct 31, 2011
46,356
1
0
UK
twitter.com
This is easy for me because I mostly voted for indie games in the GOTY thread, heh. Thumper is excellent, but I couldn't finish it to put in my ballot because it was too hard :p


1. Kentucky Route Zero - Act IV ; How could it be any other game at the top? There is still no other game doing what Cardboard Computer has been and to this level of resonance. Unlike many other games on my list, this is politically relevant. While it has become a joke phrase because of Trump voters, this game is genuinely about economic anxiety and working class malaise. No wonder it's had influence on many other videogame developers, especially the upcoming Night In The Woods. Even more so than Act 3, this fourth and penultimate act really nails down what the overall plight is of the characters and the themes are in this game. You've built up quite an ensemble by now who are all travelling together on a boat. At points, you can switch between people on the boat and the people who got off the boat to check out certain buildings or weird places. To where, we don't quite know, which is emblematic of the aimlessness found in the characters, but it's all about savouring the journey and new experiences. Conway the deliveryman is not getting any younger, and once he gets a replacement robot leg and meets with what can just be crudely called skeleton people, he decides to settle for a job in the underground to Shannon's surprise. The whole game is about working class people trying to make ends meet while holding onto ambitions and philosophising on their existence. In that way, it's even more emotionally relevant and topical than the David Lynch influence. Yes, the game has eye-catching visual storytelling in its amazing and unique presentation that changes perspectives at a moment's notice, but the focus is on characters first and foremost. Kentucky Route Zero should be seen as one of the most important videogames of our time.

I can't wait for the final episode!


2. Severed ; There have been quite a few games in 2016 that had fantastic and emotionally enriching stories, and none other were they as resonant as in Drinkbox's firstperson dungeon crawler Severed which is about loss, grief, and moving on. I loved Guacamelee and would follow Drinkbox's games wherever they went. For their next venture, they went exclusively to the Playstation Vita. I literally bought a Vita just for this game. I'm glad it's finally now on other devices (iOS, Android, 3DS, Wii U). I had no idea how big of a departure this would be from Guacamelee not just in terms of gameplay but also in tone. This game much like Hyper Light Drifter is purely melancholic in its tone and atmosphere. As for the typical hero's journey, there are early deaths in the family, but the hardest and subversive part is the protagonist Sasha having to move on from all these hardships. This game is funereal. It's the videogame equivalent of Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain in terms of being about moving on past your grief, in a fantastical manner. In this oppressive and lonely world of nasty monsters, there are only two other talking creatures that you interact with which adds to the purgatorial atmosphere. Easily, the coolest and most interesting female protagonist of 2016.

Not only does the game have excellent storytelling, it's packed to the gills with variety in locations, enemies, mechanics, and the perfect level of challenge, rounded by top-notch presentation. Who expected such depth from just the main interaction of swiping? The neon-bathed art style is immediately eye-catching compared to any other dungeon crawler. The original soundtrack by Yamantaka Sonic Titan and Pantayo is memorable, it's like a mix of tribal instruments and modern rock structure. The track "Home Revisited" is like out of the best work of a JRPG composer. Severed is just well-executed on all levels, and left a big impact on me.


3. Superhot ; This innovative first person shooter, much like the best of games (like the recent DOOM), is more of a puzzler. Variety and new mechanics keep on being introduced until the end, packaged by a high level of replayability through various modes that bring new challenges to the same levels because of a different playstyle you have to adopt like with just a katana sword or your bare hands or only being able to hotswitch between bodies where guns don't exist. Top notch aesthetics and gamefeel really make Superhot stand out. Of mention is actually the postmodern metatextual narrative. The game is fully aware of the Matrix-like cyberpunk hero's journey it is and works to subversively undermine that in its text adventure in hilarious fashion. It brings a refreshing sense of self-aware satirical humour that never takes itself too seriously and makes for an engrossing tale from start to finish.


4. Hyper Light Drifter ; This is another game genre like Severed's that I didn't expect loving so much this year, being a top-down action adventure. Part character action game and part dungeon crawler, not only does this have top-notch presentation in terms of music, animation, art, and melancholic storytelling, but also a healthy amount of challenge throughout especially with the memorable and excellent boss battles. Thankfully, it's not as morose as Severed so you could play them one after the other, where there is light-hearted atmosphere and a bright lively hub to return to after all the hard adventuring. There is no dialogue but what story the game is about to tell through gameplay, cutscenes, and art is one of being afflicted with a terminal disease (inspired by the developer's own heart condition) that is appreciably ambiguous, melancholic, and hard-hitting.


5. Aragami ; One of the first stealth games I ever played was Tenchu on the Playstation 1. I'm glad there finally is a spiritual successor that even improves and innovates in certain ways to give an incredibly fast-paced and replayable stealth adventure thanks to the shadow leap mechanic. There are three playstyles, but my favourite is ghosting where you shadow leap all the way through a level without being noticed or even touching an enemy. While the story is not exactly the most engaging, the levels and challenge are. The stealth is satisfying to the level of Mark of the Ninja, so if you're hankering for some more ninja goodness, look no further.


6. Anatomy ; Your mind is scarier than anything physical, which is exemplified by Kitty Horrorshow's Anatomy about a haunted house and listening to tapes. The game plays on your mind's power of suggestion and making up patterns in the dark. This psychological horror game is like no other, with the lack of monsters, and in a Lovecraftian way is more about an inexplicable abstract horror. There is an intimate and uncomfortable relationship between the player and the house. There is plenty of metaphorical meaning that can be layered, especially because it's narrated by a woman about how this could be a tale of domestic neglect, abuse, and revenge. It's only ten minutes long with three critically important subsequent playthroughs amounting to less than an hour, but it's one of the best horror games I've ever played. If you love games like Silent Hill that stick in your head forever, you need to play this.


7. Inside ; A dialogue-less game that has more power in depicting a dystopic world through mechanics and environmental storytelling than any other. The game is ultimately a tale about human nature, both the bad and the good, rendered through aspects of mind control, population control, and body control. It's been a year of melancholic stories in games, and you should definitely not miss out on this.


8. Quadrilateral Cowboy ; Do you like the old heist capers? Do you adore Jazzpunk? Do you love production design and animation where you pore over every object and want to zoom into details of the world? Well, this decidedly 20th century take on cyberpunk with an all-female heist team should be up your alley. You play as Poncho the hacker in the funniest, quirkiest, and most varied game of 2016. The new mechanics keep on coming to the very end. Each time you type out the commands to increasingly complex steps to complete your heist in success, it's super satisfying. More than that though, is the character building through intimate moments such as finding Poncho waking up after a one night stand or playing badminton with her friend that really give this a heartwarming touch.


9. Virginia ; Another dialogue-less game that has shown the power of storytelling in videogames can also be conveyed much like in film through editing, multiple character perspectives, jump cuts at the right times. This 2 hour tale of supernatural mysteries and conspiracies might not have much in the way of interaction where you just walk around levels (or scenes) to then press a button and have the story jump but it's something that can't be achieved in any other medium. My favourite bit however is a bit of social relevance with the theme of understated racism in an emotionally compelling montage towards the latter half. The multiple characters and the question of character identity along with confusion is incredibly potent, reminding of the likes of Bergman's Persona and Robert Altman's 3 Women. The fantastic Twin Peaks-inspired orchestral original soundtrack deserves mention, too. The best walking simulator of 2016.


10. The Deadly Tower Of Monsters ; One of the funniest games of 2016 thanks to the director narrator's fourth wall breaking that is always aware of whatever you're doing in the game, even down to spinning around (commented on twice!) in an idle manner. What started as an innocent and funny examination about spinning in videogames turns into a heart-wrenching story of love and loss. It's a cute retro sci fi romp through movie sets and a gorgeously designed tower. Now ACE Team, give me Zeno Clash 3!


11. That Dragon, Cancer ; An autobiographical game about cancer that has more to appreciate it for such as the surrealism, theme of frustration and cherishing the good moments, multiple perspective, and how to let go through mechanics at the end.


12. Bound ; Unique and interesting 3D platformer about the power of ballet in defeating enemies and reminiscing about a dysfunctional family that deserves to be played. Especially recommended if you're into surreal landscapes. Especially if you liked Papo and Yo. My favourite female character design of 2016.


13. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday ; With Never Alone and a few others, it's pretty cool to have videogames about different cultures and histories that you don't ever get in this medium. In this case it's Iran around the time of the Islamic Revolution when anti-establishment sentiment was soaring against the Shah totalitarian regime. It's fascinating to learn about that through the game while having a cohesive and compelling story so it doesn't feel like just a narrated walk through a museum exhibit. All the historical and cultural tidbits you learn and uncover makes for an enlightening experience like the political climate of the time such as about SAVAT or the Mujahideen, Iran's version of backgammon, the food, and why there was such an anti-American fervour.

The game plays like a historical Telltale game where you have player control and moral decisions to make but it's not quite an adventure game and more a cinematic experience. It's well-written drama with moving music and great voice acting. There are large crowd setpieces which are quite impressive for how much detail is packed in for a crowdfunded game (that missed its initial Kickstarter goal of $395K). There are sometimes QTEs which just reminded me of Indigo Prophecy and they can be silly but the most effective one is when you're moving between a hail of bullets and can die pretty easily, so patience and attention to audio cues is key. There's a framed narrative so you're reminiscing about this time of the 1979 Revolution while being interrogated and tortured. You play as Reza, who's a photographer struggling to remain neutral as it becomes increasingly harder to do at the cusp of a revolution. You've been away from the country so it's also a homecoming story. All the photograph taking reminded me of Beyond Good And Evil, so that was great. Often when you take a photo, you can read more info about the real event which reminded me of Never Alone's tapes.

There's a cast of characters that are all interesting (especially Bibi the woman leader of the protests, Babak the close friend, Ali the hothead, and Hossein your brother who's Shah security). Moral decisions relating to them can be trying with your own politics like whether violence such as throwing rocks during a protest is justifiable under such oppression. There's a particular one in the last quarter of the game that will feel like you're given nothing to make such a potentially devastating accusation or who to save which plays into the endings. There are 19 chapters, some of them can zip by in a few minutes while the ones where you're controlling Reza and navigating environments while interacting with hotspots can be longer, so overall it's a 2 hour experience. The story is eventful enough that it doesn't feel short but despite both endings, the abrupt ending(s) is a major cliffhanger. Abrupt not in an artistic sense where there's meaning to it but just as if there will be a continuation to do with other characters.

Despite the intense drama around the revolution, it was the smaller specific moments that stuck with me more. At one point that's not related to the plot, you can decide to pray or not. I've never seen muslim prayer in a videogame ever and have to say it was very faithful with even a step-by-step photo guide. From that prayer, you get a line of dialogue about Prophet Muhammad PBUH that can be used later on. My favourite sequence was spending time in your home with your family, viewing live-action photos, arguing with family members about this political situation, rummaging through items, and coming across this giant stack of home video tapes. The photos and home videos are all live-action which made me wonder if this was autobiographical in a way, and that kind of intimacy was exciting. I wanted to spend more time with these characters and this world, which is why I felt unsatisfied with the ending as I just wanted more. That is probably a good thing.


14. Oxenfree ; Did you like Life Is Strange or Stranger Things for its cast of young characters and slice of life narrative blended into a time-bender of a framing? Do you like John Hughes or Richard Linklater films that nail the teenager life? Do you like good writing? Play this. Also, play it a second time to cement its actually quite tragic story.


15. Firewatch ; Superb voice acting really sell this emotionally resonant tale of a man escaping reality and his marriage to a place with no responsibilities but eventually realising his mistakes. Unlike other people, I wasn't as taken aback by the mystery being surprisingly mundane and grounded, as I felt it was foreshadowed if you dig through the notes and environments. The game's pacing suffers a bit when you have the open world with nothing to discover or find in the nooks and crannies except for a turtle at one point, but the second half recovers with all the jump cuts much like Virginia where it speeds up in thrills thanks to Chris Remo's incredible soundtrack.

Most Anticipated

1. Absolver ; Hopefully this fulfills my 3D brawler itch since Zeno Clash 2.

2. Night In The Woods ; Following the footsteps of Kentucky Route Zero of displaying economic hard times in modern America with a colourful bunch of characters. Of course I'm into it.

3. Rain World ; Creepy creature behaviour and AI makes me want to get through this oppressive world.

4. Tangiers ; Firstperson surreal stealth immersive sim inspired by William S Burroughs? Yes, please!

5. Miegakure ; Yeah, I can bet this is going to blow my mind.
 

spineduke

Unconfirmed Member
Apr 19, 2007
3,813
0
0
1. Hyper Light Drifter ; HLD was the game that made me sit up and take notice of the caliber of indies we were getting this year. Playing it, I found a beautiful but haunting dead world. I only discovered afterwards the story of the developer himself, who suffers from a life long heart disease. The game felt like a living persona of it's creator. I have always been a huge fan of Zelda 1's structure and overworld, and HLD emulates it to a degree - only to push it further with combat that felt fleeting and brutal. Must play of 2016 for me.

2. The Witness ; Daring in its reserved design, and subtly rewarding.I took special joy in deconstructing Blow's island puzzle by puzzle. I found a brilliantly paced game, unafraid to treat the player with respect and allow for the room to observe and discover the island secrets. With that in mind, Steve's Sexy Sauages are next on my list.

3. Overcooked ; Overcooked shined brightly, albeit quickly - it's here as an attestment to the strength of it's core game design. I played this with multiple groups of friends and without fail, people adapted to the controls and mechanics of the game almost instantly. The game itself is ridiculously fun and will put your communication and relationships to the test as every level boils down to a mad, desperate dash of cooking chaos.

4. Inside ; Limbo left an unremarkable blip on my radar back then - but Inside is a different beast. For those few brief hours of gameplay, it managed to capture me totally . Everything was masterclass - the visuals, animation, the audio all did their part and I found myself engrossed as I hurtled forwards to the unknown. Beating it left with me with as many questions as I had starting it. I was a little disappointed with how vague it all felt in the end, perhaps that was the point - but overall, a worthy experience.

5. Death Road to Canada ; Cute, charming and dangerous - Death Road to Canada is a zombie Oregon Trail game that attempts to create narrative stories through pure player agency, and for the most part succeeds.

6. Gonner ; Major props to Gonner's visual style. After coming off the likes of Downwell and NT, Gonnersucceeded in fulfilling that arcade experience with plenty of visual pops and sound design. Did I mention how much I dig the artsyle? It's freaking great.

7. Oxenfree ; Oxenfree was a pleasent surprise. It managed to be engaging, humorous and scary in one broad stroke. A well written story delivered with some interesting conversation mechanics.

8. Stardew Valley ; to be written

9. N++ ; A decade later, but N has always been a staple in my "ruthless platformer" diet. This is probably it's best iteration ever. Big content update coming for it!

10. Darkest Dungeon ; to be written

11. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime ; Another success in local co-op games, Lovers beckons to the pure arcade experience.

12. Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor ; Diaries didn't feel so much a game than an experience. It takes no shame in subverting your expectations. Instead of being the hero, you instead assumed the role of a lowly janitor sweeping the streets in a bustling, noisy, alien city looking for a way off the planet. Something about the world itself felt real enough, going from day to night, that makes me wish I could visit it in person. The vendors frying their space kebabs, the corrupt guards that tried to shake you down for cash , the weird space bands that played on the corner. Would love to see more from this developer, preferably with more mechanics in the game!

13. Reigns ; Reigns is bizarre - a game that taught me how a deck of cards can shape a narrative experience. The game mirrors Tinder (mobile dating app) - where all decisions are reduced to simple swipes to the left or right. You're left to fend yourself off in a kingdom full of danger and conspiracy. Quick, but left a last impression on me.

14. Enter the Gungeon ; I played this roguelite dungeon shooter , eager in the hopes that I would encounter a game that took its deisgn cues from Binding of Isaac and Nuclear Throne. It never peaked the brilliance of either game, but it was a solid game with a ton of content. There's a coming update that should only sweeten the pie.



Honorable Mentions:

x. Astroneer - I got this just recently - its diegetic UI and systems design left an amazingly positive impression. Too early, but I expect it to top some lists next year.
x. Factorio - I have voted for this last year, but it's an attestment of how amazing this game is.
x. Aviary Attorney - I missed this last year (Dec22.2015) but I loved what I played - a Bird lawyer game that's full of charm, sharp humor and beautiful drawings. An ode to Ace Attorney

games of past.

Games I wish I played but couldn't:

(Just to show how overcrowded 2016 is)
SuperHOT
Thumper
Owlboy
Shadow Tactics
Offworld Trading Company
Rimworld
Stephen's Sausage Roll
House of the Dying Sun
Duskers
Steamworld Heist
Slime Rancher

Excited for next year:

1. River City Ransom: Underground
2. Doorkickers 2
3. Rain World
4. Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord
5. RUINER
 
Feb 9, 2006
8,501
2
0
1. The Witness ; Rarely have I played a game with such meticulous design. It's an open world, but not one with pointless collectibles and other filler, but one where everything is deliberately placed and has a purpose. It has been described as a Metroidvania where it's knowledge and insight that let's you progress instead of mechanical skills. Everytime I play it I discover something new. There are so many layers to this game. Where lots of games are dumbed down for the masses, here's a title that asks you to think, connect dots, observe. Like Dark Souls, it doesn't hold your hand. Here's a game that puts trust in you and even if you don't 100 percent it, you can achieve a lot if you're willing to make the effort. It's a feast for the brain and bloody gorgeous to boot.

2. Inside ; One of the shortest games I played last year because it doesn't have an ounce of fat on its bones. As fun as its physics based puzzles are, it's the atmosphere that is the true star of this rather disturbing show. Art, sound effects and animation are expertly crafted and building to probably the most impressive climax of any game this year. Where Limbo peaked early with the giant spider sequence, this game is much better paced. An unforgettable experience.

3. Hyper Light Drifter ; In some ways this felt like a top down Bloodborne, which is a high recommendation. The constant dashing, switching between the gun in my one hand and the sword in the other and very obscure lore (depicted entirely through illustrations) all reminded me of FROM's masterpiece. The melancholic environments, brought to life by some of the most gorgeous pixel art ever, and stunning soundtrack contributed to one of the most atmospheric games of the year.

4. Thumper ; What can I say? Slamming that metal beetle against the sides of the track at breakneck speeds against a cosmic horror-esque backdrop and a droning soundtrack that was as oppresive as impressive in VR was probably the most intense experience of the year.
 

Yoshi

Headmaster of Console Warrior Jugendstrafanstalt
May 4, 2005
16,562
6,243
1,920
34
Germany
www.gaming-universe.de
I don't think Stories of Bethem or FreezeME were released last year. I had FreezeME on my 2015 GOTY list, it came out of EA late 2015 ;)

Stories of Bethem released in September 2016 on Xbox One, FreezeMe released in early 2016 on Wii U. They may have been available on non-dediacted platforms before, but I never touch anything for games that is not either a console or a game handheld. Is it not allowed to vote for games that previously released on other platforms?
 

jimboton

Member
Sep 14, 2013
1,723
0
565
Stories of Bethem released in September 2016 on Xbox One, FreezeMe released in early 2016 on Wii U. They may have been available on non-dediacted platforms before, but I never touch anything for games that is not either a console or a game handheld. Is it not allowed to vote for games that previously released on other platforms?

It is, I had no idea Bethem was on consoles and I thought FreezeMe released on WiiU more or less at the same time.
 

jimboton

Member
Sep 14, 2013
1,723
0
565
Deja vu from the GOTY thread:

1. The Witness ; Months after finishing this masterpiece you will wonder why it seemed so important at the time that it consisted only of ‘line puzzles’ when all you remember is having this incredible time full of exploration and discovery. It’s to Metroid Prime what FEZ or Toki Tori 2+ were to Super Metroid where instead of earning abilities you earn knowledge in one corner of the map and then carry it to the far side of the island to open up further mysteries. It’s also, like, really pretty.


2. Candle ; Beautiful andean flavoured adventure that’s rooted in the best of Sierra and Lucasarts’ tradition with a pinch of Flashback thrown in. What’s more amazing than the lush watercolor hand drawn (in 1920*1080) graphics or the fact that it’s a Unity game that runs 100% without stuttering at any refresh rate you throw at it is the way puzzles, while decently challenging, are all about observation, deduction and sensible experimentation without ever devolving into blind ‘try everything with everything’ like many adventures (even some of the classics) sometimes do. This having gone practically unnoticed is fucking tragic. If you’re into adventure games please do yourself a favour and get it.


3. Hyper Light Drifter ; This is a ridiculously good action and exploration game and all the hype was deserved. It is no longer advisable to use the term ‘stylish action’ to refer to japanese character action games seeing as The Drifter is orders of magnitude more stylish than any of them.


4. Obduction ; I never played Myst but this spiritual successor is a masterfully crafted adventure full of wonder and great UE4 graphics. Would have been even better had there been more of it but what’s here is very satisfying. Another sleeper non-hit sadly.


5. Salt and Sanctuary ; 2d Dark Souls, works exactly as advertised. Some people dislike the art, I don’t love it myself but the combat mechanics and general gameplay are excellent, music is good, and the game world is huge and interesting.


6. The Way ; A sci-fi action adventure in the spirit of Lucasarts' The Dig, with gameplay closest to Flashback or Another World but with better puzzles than either. Really good.


7. Xanadu Next ; The long lost child of forbidden love between the Ys series of jrpgs and the Diablo lineage of western computer arpgs has come to Steam at last to delight fans of both genres. Or perhaps not, seeing as it has sold about 3000 copies. Which is a shame since it’s a great arpg with a nice interconnected world and an addictive combat system, if a little on the short side.


8. The Eyes of Ara ; Another Myst-like this one is a relentless onslaught of puzzles compared to the more measured pace of Obduction. It keeps getting better and better as you go, a rarity with adventure games.


9. Enter the Gungeon ; Great challenging rogue-em-up. Has a thing for guns.


10. Ittle Dew 2 ; People utterly ignored this rather good 2d Zelda-like while the 23rd thread about how no one is making 2d Zelda-likes anymore was going on in the first page of a certain gaming forum. True story.


11. Goetia ; Beautiful, unique, complex and completely unfair ghost story/mystery mansion adventure game. Imo it's worth experiencing, just be prepared to fetch the Wikipedia as soon as you find a piano (unless you know music) and the walkthrough as soon as you find a poem (unless you're french).


12. Maldita Castilla EX ; For my money this may be better than Ghosts’n Goblins.


13. Pan-Pan ; Cool isometric adventure, so pretty and well made, but infuriatingly short. I wanted it to go full Little Big Adventure on me.


14. The Solus Project ; A big disappointment coming from the The Ball devs, The Solus Project still manages moments of fascinating alien planet exploration, but puzzles are a bit simplistic when you come down to it and there are some progress breaking bugs unaddressed to this day.


15. Pharaonic ; Great 2d fighting engine in need of a more varied adventure.

Most Anticipated:

Bard's Tale IV
Hollow Knight
CrossCode
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Heart Forth Alicia
Death's Gambit
Yooka Laylee
A Hat in Time
EITR
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
 

Stoze

Member
Feb 20, 2013
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415
Not going to write as much here since I've already covered a lot of this in my massive GoTY post, but needless to say it was a fantastic game for indies and consequently games as a whole. My big regret is I still haven't played Oxenfree despite having owned it for months now.

Indie Games of the Year
1. The Witness ; The Witness features one of if not the most intriguing and satisfying game environment I've ever had the pleasure of exploring, thanks to the phenomenal art direction and immaculate non-linear world design. All of that is intertwined with the masterful puzzle design, which is consistently varied and has you zipping around different parts of the island as well as your own brain to solve them. After falling down the game's ever deepening rabbit hole and experiencing so many of its mind-blowing revelations, I'd say The Witness as a whole is such a profound experience so unforgettable that it plays into its own detriment. It's my indie game of the year, regular game of the year, and one of the greatest games I've ever played.

2. Quadrilateral Cowboy ; A lovingly crafted and unique heist game rooted in immersive sims of old. Quad Cow is a game that clearly went through a lot of revisions and testing, leaving only the most engaging and tastiest morsels of level design and mechanics to feast on. There's something refreshingly analog and old school about QC; whether it be having to put your mouse over each screw to drill them so you can get through a vent, tinkering with your quadrupedal robot to get it facing in just the right direction, pulling out a flash light so you can look at the hand drawn Thief-esque map of each level, or the high amount of interactivity with objects allowing you to throw all the shit around in your hacker den or play a text-adventure game on your friend's computer.

Also in line with Blendo Games' library is a wordlessly yet well told story that is very endearing, and one that manages to warm your heart and conjure up a strange sense of nostalgia where there isn't one. Perhaps the coolest thing about Quad Cow is its meta gamification and celebration of game development itself; from constantly tweaking values and methods to get things timed and working just right, having noclip as an actual in-game option, or huddling around computer screens in a dark room next to some ramen while your hacker friends debug the last level. I adore this game, and considering its low profile it would be the one I would recommend the most out of this list.

3. SteamWorld Heist ; SteamWorld Heist is a ridiculously fun and addictive turn-based strategy game that plays like almost nothing else out there. It alleviates a lot of problems that have typically kept me from fully enjoying the genre; hitting enemies requires aiming and skill, you don't have a unreasonably giant cast of characters (and everyone is viable in-game), gameplay is fast paced, you can change difficulty on a per level/mission basis, the campaign isn't overly long...etc. Heist is a genuine blast and one of the better TBS games I've played.

4. Hyper Light Drifter ; HLD is the full indie package. It has: A phenomenal soundtrack, gorgeous pixel art, great world design, a tough but fair difficulty level, contemplative yet vivacious combat, excellent boss design, well designed secrets, etc. Probably the game I'm most looking forward to replaying this year, especially with the 60fps patch.

5. Thumper ; I'm a big fan of games that push you further than what you thought you were capable of, and Thumper does this in spades. Thumper is a rhythm game that utilizes a call and response style of gameplay closer to Simon's Says or Rhythm Heaven rather than Guitar Hero. It's incredibly tense and fast paced while remaining palatable thanks to an almost perfect difficulty curve that eases you into its intuitive mechanics and insane speeds. Very, very rarely do I find myself fiercely competing in leaderboards or making extensive guides for games, but that's what Thumper did for me. It's not only a gem of a game in terms of design and gameplay, but its one of the most optimized, polished, and well-performing indie games I've ever played.

6. Inside ; A truly jaw-dropping experience from start to finish. Inside is a breathtakingly harrowing cinematic platformer, where you never know what to expect from the next screen. Its many sequences remain vivid and memorable even looking back on them months later, and the game is a triumph in sound design, art design, and overall atmosphere. Its simple but varied puzzles that meld well into the twisted and interpretative world are also no slouch. If there's one game from this list I would show someone not into the hobby to impress them, it would be easily Inside.

7. OneShot ; A charming yet bleak and mysterious adventure game that manages to make you care about the world and its inhabitants. Oh yeah, there's also some awesome and crazy meta/4th wall breaking stuff too. All I'll say is that the game lived up to my expectations created after the startup screen told me it's best experienced in windowed mode (and not for technical reasons).

8. Stephen's Sausage Roll ; Despite its rudimentary and weird yet inviting aesthetic, SSR might be the hardest puzzle game I've fully completed. Thanks to elegant puzzle design though, that challenge typically remains fair. SSR is a constantly surprisingly puzzle game that invites you to peel back its many, many layers all rooted in simple core mechanics. The level design is similarly surprising and varied, and the constant discovery and new solutions created an excellent brain-busting experience that didn't overstay its welcome over a 30 hour playtime.

9. Blackbox ; My mobile GotY. Blackbox is a puzzle game/app that represents a near perfect execution of what it means both design around its hardware as well as thinking outside the box. It takes a mind focused on the meta to discover its solutions, and it never fails to impress or to make you say "ah-ha!". It's extremely clever and the coolest thing I've seen programmed for iOS.

10. AM2R ; A impressive and expertly designed unofficial Metroid 2 remake that does what Zero Mission did for the original game. Samus' movement and shooting here is perhaps the best its ever been.

11. Superhot ; Featuring a slick and innovative core mechanic and some wild presentation, Superhot epitomizes what it means to feel cool in a video game.

12. Abzu ; A gorgeous and affecting marrying of visuals, soundtrack, and sublime swimming controls. Abzu is a memorable meditation down in the deep blue.

13. Enter the Gungeon ; Gungeon wraps up satisfying twin-stick gameplay, weapon variety, good boss design, and a charming 2D/3D pixel art style into the Binding of Isaac paradigm. EoG also brings a few much needed QoL additions to the rougelite table, like being able to teleport to explored rooms.

14. Shenzhen I/O ; Zachtronics takes his gamification of assembly programming and puts it into the most cohesive and engaging package I've played from him. The role playing element of working as an engineer succeeds in providing both motivation and context for your problem solving. Comradery between the entertainingly written employees also adds to the experience, as does the absurdly addictive Solitare minigame.

15. Obduction ; Cyan brings back its old-school puzzle/adventure games into the modern era. Obduction succeeds at being something truly otherworldly and wonderfully alien thanks to its intricate and mysterious world building, A-tier environmental design, and neat puzzles.

Honorable Mentions
x. The Turing Test ; A very solid Portal-like featuring sublime side/secret puzzles and a great mid-game twist that works within both the story and the gameplay.

x. Event[0] ; A game that for the most part succeeds on the daunting task of making you feel like you're actually conversing a character. That's due to the context of having it be a rigorously programmed AI situated in well-told and interesting story, a story brought to life with strong environmental art and presentation.

x. RYB ; A great take on elimination puzzle games like Hexcells or Minesweeper. Here you have to learn and master the various rules through examination of its minimalist imagery and excellent puzzle design.

x. Deadbolt ; Gunpoint meets Hotline Miami, Deadbolt features contemplative, tactical, and brutal gameplay with its own charming style.

x. The Tomorrow Children ; A very interesting take on the survival/resource gathering genre. TTC captures the feeling of being a cog in a machine perhaps more than anything else I've played, and does so with a fantastic art style and unique atmosphere.

Most Anticipated
1. Rain World ; Badass's info thread filled with gorgeous gifs won me over. Rain World's lively ecosystem is one of the most interesting things I want to explore next year.

2. Cuphead ; This might be the third time I've put this on a yearly anticipated list, but I think its still deserving of that status. Anytime I see footage of Cuphead I can't help but really want to play it.

3. Below ; The long development of this game by Capybara alone gets me excited for its eventual (hopeful) release this year.

4. Styx: Shards of Darkness ; One of those games that almost feels like cheating putting on here due to its seemingly higher budget and ambitious scope. Having just completed the first game, I'm really looking forward to the upgrade in art direction and Styx's toolset that this sequel seeks to bring. I also hope that it solves the issues I have with Master of Shadows.

5. Rime ; I'm cautious about this one due to the delay and development hub-bub, but based off just watching a few minutes of recent gameplay footage I think I might really enjoy this.
 

Matt Frost

Member
May 22, 2014
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Canary Islands
My Indie GOTY, from first to last...
Enter the Gungeon - awesome arcade action
Inside - better than LIMBO
Song of the Deep - best metroidvania
Unravel - incredible visual along with solid gameplay
Abzû - relaxing underwated museum
Hyper Light Drifter - amazing 16 bit era modern RPG
SteamWorld Heist - best turn based shooter
Samorost 3 - on a similar level to Machinarium
Firewatch - nice storytelling
Love in a Dangerous Spacetime - awesome cooperative game
 

Birbo

Member
Jun 17, 2004
2,290
0
1,440
Ok, I'm crazy LTTP here, but...

1. Inside: Beautiful and creepy. Animations are amazing.
2. Overcooked: Played co-op with my son and had a blast. Lots of yelling at each other.
3. Superhot: SUPER HOT. Awesome style and polish. Felt like I was Neo in slow-mo bullet-time.
4. Thumper: Had a blast with this rhythm game until my lack of skill literally and figuratively hit a wall. So good in VR.
5. Enter the Gungeon: Like most other rougelike games I’ve played, I have a love / hate relationship with this game. Fun and frustrating; I don’t get very far, I’m convinced I’m playing it wrong (same thing happened in Risk of Rain for me) but I keep coming back for more.
6. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime: Another great co-op experience for me and my son. Gave me a PixelJunk Shooter vibe, but not nearly as satisfying.
7. Darkest Dungeon: Haven’t put enough time into this, but liked what I’ve played. Again, falling into the “Am I doing this right?” experience for me.
8. Firewatch: Another I haven’t played enough of, but like what I have. Great art and voice acting thus far.