2013 is coming to an end, so it’s time for all those lists of best games. Indies are a bit tricky – they often release and take some time to gain attention, and there are so many great games that fall through the cracks. Here is our list of top indies that we played in 2013.
Keep in mind that these game are limited to those I could get hold of on Mac/console or games that the other guys have played – I’m desperate to play the Stanley Parable as I’ve heard amazing things about it, but I can’t put it on this list as I haven’t had the opportunity to play it.
Spelunky is definitely the Dark Souls of rogue-like platformers. Insanely difficult and infuriating, it becomes strangely addictive. Well designed and thought out, if you’re a fan of old-school platformers and are ready for a challenge, Spelunky is worth your attention.
FTL: Faster than Light was actually released in September 2012, yet it gained attention during this year which is why it’s included here. The game appears quite simple – players must manage a spacecraft while trying to escape rebel forces and reach Federation headquarters. Also a rogue-like but this time in space, FTL offers a punishing, addictive and rewarding experience.
6: Gone Home
At first glance, Gone Home is a simple point and click game, set in the 1980s. However, this first-person experience is about so much more. I brave my first-person induced nausea in order to play this game as the story and ambiance of the game are so compelling.
5: Desktop Dungeons
This South African-developed indie will steal hours of your life with its rogue-like dungeon crawling. I loved the fact that it felt so clever and made me learn and level-up. Even if it weren’t a local game, I would be impressed by this little treasure – the fact that it is South African certainly adds icing on the cake.
4: Don’t Starve
The strange survival game is truly a bizarre marriage between Tim Burton-esque design and Minecraft. With procedurally generated worlds, various approaches to survival and the ability to craft all kinds of weird and wonderful things, Don’t Starve absorbed a ton of my time in 2013. For those who are interested in survival games but are looking for something different, give this impressive indie a whirl.
3: Papers, Please
Who would have thought bureaucracy could be so intriguing? Papers, Please uses a simple spot-the-difference interface to tell a complex and emotional story. With tons of endings and approaches possible, Papers, Please offers plenty of gameplay. If you haven’t ventured into the world of Arstotska, you really are missing out.
2: Mark of the Ninja
Another entry from Klei on this list, but well deserved, even if it was technically released at the end of last year. Mark of the Ninja is a fantastic 2D platformer that explores the traditions of ninjas as well as the nature of honor and sanity. It is beautifully crafted and well polished with fantastic gameplay. Combining puzzling, stealth and some blood and gore, Mark of the Ninja was one of my favorite gaming experiences across all types this year.
1: Thomas Was Alone
Saving the best for last, Thomas Was Alone is your absolute must-play indie of 2013. Witty, touching and brilliant in its simplicity, I cannot give this game enough praise. Thomas Was Alone transcends the platformer genre – music, emotion, gameplay, characters; this game has everything you’ve ever looked for, all in a neat little package. If you haven’t played it yet, put it on your list today. Despite all the fantastic AAA titles I’ve played this year, Thomas Was Alone is a contender for my top game of 2013.