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5 of the best indie games of all time

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The video game industry has been through a few transitions over the past few years, and I cannot wait to play these five indie games in 2017. We have seen the indie game industry, in general, go from producing jewels to every game developer and his cat making games, which oversaturated the market completely. We now live in a world where indie games have to live up to some sort of standard to be taken seriously, and it has created a bar of quality that defined what makes a great indie game.

I never used to play many indie games, but over the years I have started to appreciate a few of them. Sure you will not find me playing Terraria, but I will spend countless hours trying to solve a puzzle in The Witness. What I am saying is that I am very fussy with my indie games, but I do recommend you play these.

The Witness

  • Developer: Thekla, Inc
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
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Jonathan Blow's The Witness is probably the best indie game I played n 2016, and perhaps ever, and Wessel agrees with me. It's gorgeous world and cleverly-designed puzzles kept me intrigued for countless hours as I ventured through the desert, jungles, and even the rolling hills, completing mind-boggling puzzles, and searching for an answer to a million questions. 

Every puzzle was so ingeniously crafted, and every location translated these puzzles into their environments in ways I could never imagine. Listening to birds cheep on a speaker as I altered wavelengths to match the tune. Opening and closing vents to allow light through to create shadows that blocked certain paths. The best thing of all is that all these puzzles used a simple dot-to-dot mechanic that was simple but at the same time challenged my mind in ways games have never done before. The Witness does more than just provide new obstacles in every direction, it hides layers of secrets at its core, and every new location was littered with tiny hints about what was happening in the game. It was an escape from reality for 15 hours, and I would go back any day.

Owlboy

  • Developer: D-Pad Studio
  • Platforms: PC
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Although Owlboy was in development for nine years, I only noticed it early last year when it became mainstream in the media. Immediately I remembered all those awesome games on the SEGA Genesis that I played back in my childhood. In particular, Monster World IV is one of my all-time favorite games.The soundtrack, the combat and the visuals, and just the beauty of the game is amazing.

Owlboy is the closest thing I ever got to playing Monster World IV, and in every way, it brought joy to my heart to just experience a great platformer again that has a deep story and a great movement system. You take on the role of Otus, an owl-human who gets sent to the land of the sky to stop pirates from kidnapping and demolishing all the villages that are scattered across the sky. It plays so well, and it a truly remarkable experience that will resonate with those who loved the Genesis era.

Inside

  • Developer: Playdead
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
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I hated Limbo, there I said it, so INSIDE was something I never imagined I would enjoy, but I did. To explore this dead world with no idea what is going on, who the people are who are chasing you, and being so helpless with no real way to defend yourself. INSIDE has got no plot, rather it relies on self-interpretation, and that is the beauty of the game. As you venture into these dilapidated areas and discover mysteries around the events of the game, it is all up to you to make out what you think went wrong.  

It is the feeling that sets in while playing the game that makes it so wonderful, and it is all brought to life by superb sound design and an off-putting art style. Every trickle down a gutter sounds so bone chilling, and the overall lighting system gives the game a dark and uncomfortable feeling from start to finish. While the game only lasts a few hours, it is something everyone needs to experience once in their gaming lifetime. 

Furi

  • Developer: The Game Bakers
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
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There is something special about a "boss fight" game that gets me all worked up inside. No in-between nonsense, just pure intense fights across different bosses. I fell in love with this genre when I first played Malicious on the PS3. Furi is outstanding and brought all that love rushing back to me. In Furi, you are a warrior looking to escape a prison, the only problem is that every layer of this prison is protected by a guard, and sometimes another prisoner. These are the bosses of the game, and although there are only a handful of them, they are so unique that they offer a new combat approach every time.

Going into each battle, I had to learn their movements and combat style, and then adapt to them accordingly. Every single sense was tested through the combat system. Dodging countering, sprinting and slashing, and then doing it all at once. At the end of the game, I felt like such a badass to have bested all these bosses. Learning their moves, adapting, and slowly building up my skill in the game. It also helps that the game has one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard, which adds a unique taste to each boss, and only escalated the intensity of battle. 

Shovel Knight

  • Developer: Yacht Club Games
  • Platforms: PS4, 3DS, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One, PS Vita
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Shovel Knight has been pretty popular, and after you play it you will see why. At first, I thought it was going to be a Ducktales clone, as the knight hops around on his shovel like old Scrooge, but it is so much more. Its quirky hidden layers of comedy and great classic platforming puts the game in a unique spot. Sure it gets tough and relies on experience in past platforming games, especially from back in the days, but in general, it feels like a tribute to the retro era, while combining modern mechanics into a solid experience.

The world map like looks like Super Mario World 2, platforming from the Ducktales and Ninja Gaiden series, and a town system that will resonate with fans of the Wonder Boy series. While this all sounds like too much of everything, it is actually the complete opposite as it is all the perfect balance to make a great retro game for the modern era. Sure, Shovel Knight released back in 2014, but it is a retro game, so they never age. 

    What indie games do you recommend I try? Let me know in the comments below. 

    This post has be edited and reposted to reflect current dates and prices

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