8 Must-Play Indies of 2013 
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Zoe Hawkins
December 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm

8 of the West Indies. What happens when you ask Geoff for a picture of 8 Indies.

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.

8: Spelunky

Spelunky ghost

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.

7: FTL

FTL

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

GoneHome1

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

Desktop Dungeons death

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

Dont starve qa lead base

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

Papers please 1

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

Mark of the NInja 1

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

Beginning

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.

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!

  • CaptainNemo42

    Man that is a good header with the text and all…

    • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      She asked me to put in a pic of the best indies. Although I heard something else. :P

      • Lego Witcher of the Squirrels

        The Windies!! There’s even 8 of them… well done Geoff

        • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

          it actually took far too much time to find a pic of 8 of them ;)

          • CaptainNemo42

            You should not admit that.

  • RinceGivesRspectsToMadiba

    I read they are all apparently very rogue-like *RUNS

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Did that make you excited?

      • RinceGivesRspectsToMadiba

        Yeth.

    • Admiral Chief of Souls

      I think Rince’s nickname should be RinceTheRunningAwayGinger

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Because RinceTheRunningAwayLikeAGirlGinger is too long?

        • Admiral Chief of Souls

          RTRALAGG

        • Admiral Chief of Souls

          Hey, RALAG Rince sounds good actually, has a nice ring to it.

          RALAG RINCE

          Running Away Like A Girl Rince

      • Shift-Tab John (JJ)

        I’ll vote for that.

  • Admiral Chief of Souls

    1, 2, and oh so very much 7

    • Skoobaz

      LOL, you are seriously hooked on FTL, addict!

      • Admiral Chief of Souls

        Used to be, beautiful little game that. Terraria has me in its grip now!

        • Skoobaz

          And did you ever finish it? I kept getting so close and then getting mostly boarded and / or too many rooms set on fire to recover. Most of the time my crew would either burn alive or suffer death from oxygen depletion cos the cargo doors were open just that bit too long while I tried to snuff out the fires…

          • Admiral Chief of Souls

            Yes, finished many times!

            ONLY one thing eludes me and that is that Crystal Ship….Other than that I’ve finished with each and every ship available

          • Skoobaz

            Just googled Terraria. Shot for the head’s up. Looks cool. Like a mix between Minecraft and Don’t Starve. Steam?

          • Admiral Chief of Souls

            Steam yes.

            While there, have a lookout for Sanctum 2 on the latest Humble Bundle!

        • DOA

          You should check out Starbound, made by the same peeps as Terraria. Could call it T2 :). Its in Beta right now, available on Steam.

          • Admiral Chief of Souls

            Saw that, yeah, looks flippen cool!

  • Craig Boonzaier

    The Stanley Parable?

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      apparently it’s amazing. he’s making a mac version, but who knows how long i’ll have to wait… http://store.steampowered.com/app/221910/

      • Craig Boonzaier

        I have played it, still very confused, apparently there is a minecraft level somewhere. I was just thinking it should have been in this list. Like an unofficial number 9 or 8.5.

        • Her Highness the Hipster

          LIke i said in my preamble, i didn’t get to play it. only games we’ve actually played got a spot on the list. but yes – i’d definitely recommend for people who can to play it :)

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I’ve only played MotN – but it was great.

  • Umar Seeker of Truth

    What I love about Indie is that they made rogue-like games current. We only had a few not too long ago like Shiren the wander and Zettai Hero Project: Unlosing Ranger VS Darkdeath Evilman. Love it!

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    I love indies! :D If that makes me a dirty hipster banana, then so be it. I still need to play FTL though, Chief Erwin hounded me to play it earlier this year, but I just never got the chance to. Fortunately, this December is officially GAMINGTEMBER BABY!

    • Admiral Chief of Souls

      PLAY FTL NANA, just do it, so much awesomeness in a small package

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    I’d add Guacamelee as well. Love that game. I play it with my lucha mask on, because that’s how I roll!!

    • Umar Seeker of Truth

      Guaca was freaking AWESOME!

  • Shift-Tab John (JJ)

    Don’t starve is awesome. Really have to get FTL though.

  • Brett Miller

    Binding of Isaac honourable mention?

    • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      game was released in 2011.

      • Brett Miller

        Wow, I’m late on the bandwagon then :-/

        • Skyblue

          But what a bandwagon Isaac is dude! EPIC game!

          • Brett Miller

            Picked it up for $3 on the last steam sale and BLOWN away. Only made it to mom once so far.

  • El Capitan del Blade

    GLORY TO ARSTOTSKA! GLORY TO THE MOTHERLAND!

  • Skoobaz

    I’ve got 1, 2, 3, 4 & 7. All awesome!

    Thing is I would not have known about these little gems without you guys, not only content writers, but the community too!

    Thanks all!

  • DOA

    FTL and Don’t Starve…Those two have to be my favourites in the list above. Playing Starbound at the moment (in Beta right now), great game if you like Terraria or Minecraft :)

  • Gideon Venter

    Gone Home is set in the 90’s…

  • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    Hahahahaha! I knew Thomas Was Alone would be number one when I saw the writer :P I am glad to see someone shares my love for Thomas!

  • Skyblue

    Sigh, more shit to add to my already-totally-unachievable-due-to-limited-life-expectancy list of games I have to play, DAMN YOU ZOE!!!

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      don’t worry, i was forced to pick up hotline miami – i will NEVER conquer my backlog of games. but doesn’t stop me from trying :)

      • Skyblue

        You really should play Hotline Miami though, loooooved that game :-p

  • http://www.harmonicemotions.com Massimo Nastasi

    Where is Starbound!?!?!