Opinion Top 5 Indie Games

I like making top lists and since a lot of us here are making and playing indie games I thought I would list my top 5 must play indie games I have discovered. I'm sure there are many more great ones than these but if I was to recommend some these would be the five I would recommend first.

5. Shovel Knight
A lot of indie games are side scrolling action games and this is just one of the best in the genre period.

4. Stardew Valley
It may be a Harvest Moon clone but it does everything so well. Even though Harvest Moon came out just over 20 years ago there still isn't much like it and Stardew Valley does everything great. Plus the world is a ton of fun to interact with.

3. Spelunky
A great rogue like game. It ozees charm, it's a ton of fun, and just doesn't seem to get old.

2. To The Moon
The best story I have seen in an indie game and a soundtrack to match. This would probably be my number one if the game itself was a little more fun to play. Still a must play just for the story alone!

1. Undertale
My personal favorite indie game! A great world, great characters, and a super fun battle mechanic. I'll be honest, it wasn't until I did the pacifist run that I was blown away by this game!

What are your must play indie games? If you haven't played some of these I hope you have some new fun games to try! :)
 

K12gamer

Member
Which ones are made with GameMaker?

What makes a game an "Indie" game?

Are any of the games you listed free? If so any links to where to get them?
 
5. Celeste
A precision platformer with a masterful difficulty ramp-up from simple to insanely difficult. Movement in this game is extremely satisfying and only gets moreso the deeper you dive into the momentum mechanics. It says a lot coming from me that I hated the story and characters and yet this game still ranks 5th on this list. The game's official website is here: http://www.celestegame.com/

4. POWDER
A great beginner-friendly roguelike that still has enough complexity for genre veterans. Available for tons of different systems, including PC, iOS, GameBoy Advance, and Nintendo DS. You can get it for FREE here: http://www.zincland.com/powder/index.php?pagename=about

3. Dwarf Fortress
You probably know what this is already. A simcity-esque, fortress-building, population-managing god game. Quite possibly the most complex game of all time. Not as complicated to get into as everyone would have you believe. The third-party tileset is not a requirement, either. Get it FREE here: http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/

2. Iji
Made with Game Maker! Action/adventure platform shooter with excellent story and gameplay. The music also rocks hard. Tons of replayability with how upgrades work. I've been replaying this game for years since it came out and I'm still finding secrets. Get it for FREE here: http://www.remar.se/daniel/iji.php

1. La-Mulana
Not only my favorite indie game of all time, but also my second favorite game of all time. Extremely non-linear Metroidvania with a focus on puzzle-solving. Not just simple block-pushing or spatial recognition "puzzles" like typical Zelda puzzles. Legitimate riddles based on IRL mythological concepts, in-game mythological concepts, complex item interaction puzzles, and even some mathematics- and language-based riddles. La-Mulana's game world is extremely expansive. On my first playthrough, I kept finding new location after new location. Just when the game started slowing down, I discovered I only found about half the areas in the game. The soundtrack consists entirely of godlike Castlevania-tier tunes and you'll be surprised how often you'll find yourself humming along to them. Get it on Steam here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/230700/LaMulana/ or DRM-free on GOG.com here: https://www.gog.com/game/la_mulana
 
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Which ones are made with GameMaker?

What makes a game an "Indie" game?

Are any of the games you listed free? If so any links to where to get them?
Spelunky (original) was made in Gamemaker and so was Undertale. The only one that is free is the original version of spelunky which you can just search Spelunky original or free. The rest are on steam or other online download sites. Indie just means its self published usually. I believe all but Shovel Knight were made by a single person.
 
5. Celeste
A precision platformer with a masterful difficulty ramp-up from simple to insanely difficult. Movement in this game is extremely satisfying and only gets moreso the deeper you dive into the momentum mechanics. It says a lot coming from me that I hated the story and characters and yet this game still ranks 5th on this list. The game's official website is here: http://www.celestegame.com/

4. POWDER
A great beginner-friendly roguelike that still has enough complexity for genre veterans. Available for tons of different systems, including PC, iOS, GameBoy Advance, and Nintendo DS. You can get it for FREE here: http://www.zincland.com/powder/index.php?pagename=about

3. Dwarf Fortress
You probably know what this is already. A simcity-esque, fortress-building, population-managing god game. Quite possibly the most complex game of all time. Not as complicated to get into as everyone would have you believe. The third-party tileset is not a requirement, either. Get it FREE here: http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/

2. Iji
Made with Game Maker! Action/adventure platform shooter with excellent story and gameplay. The music also rocks hard. Tons of replayability with how upgrades work. I've been replaying this game for years since it came out and I'm still finding secrets. Get it for FREE here: http://www.remar.se/daniel/iji.php

1. La-Mulana
Not only my favorite indie game of all time, but also my second favorite game of all time. Extremely non-linear Metroidvania with a focus on puzzle-solving. Not just simple block-pushing or spatial recognition "puzzles" like typical Zelda puzzles. Legitimate riddles based on IRL mythological concepts, in-game mythological concepts, complex item interaction puzzles, and even some mathematics- and language-based riddles. La-Mulana's game world is extremely expansive. On my first playthrough, I kept finding new location after new location. Just when the game started slowing down, I discovered I only found about half the areas in the game. The soundtrack consists entirely of godlike Castlevania-tier tunes and you'll be surprised how often you'll find yourself humming along to them. Get it on Steam here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/230700/LaMulana/ or DRM-free on GOG.com here: https://www.gog.com/game/la_mulana
Celeste is one I have wanted to play as well as La-Mulana! I will have to check some of these out!
 
Spelunky (original) was made in Gamemaker and so was Undertale. The only one that is free is the original version of spelunky which you can just search Spelunky original or free. The rest are on steam or other online download sites. Indie just means its self published usually. I believe all but Shovel Knight were made by a single person.
Undertale was more than one person, too.
 

woodsmoke

Member
Sorry can't do top5, here are my top10. In no paticular order. Once a certain level has been reached there is no better or worse, and most games are hardly comparable.

Live for Speed
Developed by three people this is my go-to sim racing game. Amazing physics and excellent netcode makes for really good online racing. The base game is free, played it for over a year before I bought the rest of the game.

Nuclear Throne
I'm a big Vlambeer fan. 77 hours played on Steam, nuff said. Made with Gamemaker.

Downwell
Also made with Gamemaker and the best mobile phone gamer ever in my opinion. Worth every cent. ($3)

Hotline Miami
Yup, a Gamemaker game again. The music and the fast paced action gets me pumped every time. What the hell did they put into this game?

Hammerfight
Such fun swinging weight around with the mouse. Does anyone know other games similar to this? Very cool atmosphere too, even if I hardly read the dialogues.

Lunar Flight
Top notch game, right down my alley. If there was a sequel to Lunar Lander this would be it. Also totally nailed the atmosphere, with its GFX, SFX, UI and music.

Qvadriga
Who knew turn-based racing games could be so addictive? Well it does have a crazy fighting system in it too, maybe that helps. Yeah lets whip that other racer! XD

FTL
Into the Breach

What's there to say? Those dudes at Subset Games are demi-gods when it comes to indie games. What will they come up with next?

MWLL
Best multiplayer Mechwarrior/Battletech game hands down. Been playing since release years ago. Yeah I know this is a mod, but it's a full conversion mod where nothing is left from the base game. And it uses the demo version of Crysis, which makes it 100% free. Even has a installer now, no moddding required. Just donwload, install, play.
 
Sorry can't do top5, here are my top10. In no paticular order. Once a certain level has been reached there is no better or worse, and most games are hardly comparable.

Live for Speed
Developed by three people this is my go-to sim racing game. Amazing physics and excellent netcode makes for really good online racing. The base game is free, played it for over a year before I bought the rest of the game.

Nuclear Throne
I'm a big Vlambeer fan. 77 hours played on Steam, nuff said. Made with Gamemaker.

Downwell
Also made with Gamemaker and the best mobile phone gamer ever in my opinion. Worth every cent. ($3)

Hotline Miami
Yup, a Gamemaker game again. The music and the fast paced action gets me pumped every time. What the hell did they put into this game?

Hammerfight
Such fun swinging weight around with the mouse. Does anyone know other games similar to this? Very cool atmosphere too, even if I hardly read the dialogues.

Lunar Flight
Top notch game, right down my alley. If there was a sequel to Lunar Lander this would be it. Also totally nailed the atmosphere, with its GFX, SFX, UI and music.

Qvadriga
Who knew turn-based racing games could be so addictive? Well it does have a crazy fighting system in it too, maybe that helps. Yeah lets whip that other racer! XD

FTL
Into the Breach

What's there to say? Those dudes at Subset Games are demi-gods when it comes to indie games. What will they come up with next?

MWLL
Best multiplayer Mechwarrior/Battletech game hands down. Been playing since release years ago. Yeah I know this is a mod, but it's a full conversion mod where nothing is left from the base game. And it uses the demo version of Crysis, which makes it 100% free. Even has a installer now, no moddding required. Just donwload, install, play.
FTL is another great one! Also fantastic soundtrack!
 

Roa

Member
Space station 13: though its more of a community game than indie anymore. Choose your roll in 100 man servers, do your job, and try to make it off alive. Absolute chaos and endless laughs. Never have the same adventure twice. Hard to get into, but soooo rewarding. Pprobably spent close to 1000 hours in it. The amount of actions you can take and the details in this game are insane. Want to be a preacher that grows space weed? You can! Want to be a changeling that eats other players DNA, get caught doing something bad as said player, get murdered, then have your souls transfered to a security robot? You can. Want to incorrectly mix chemicals in the bio-labs and try to inject people with a virus all while accidentally blowing a hole in the hull, sucking out half the station. You can. Want to unrevit the walls to get parts you need to turn a mine mech into and unstopable death mech, and then tear through the shipping department because they refused to order the parts for you? You can. Want to beat the space station clown or janitor to death upon spawning in as per tradition while security turns a blind eye. You can do that too! This game is truly endless, and there is a reason people play it even being 15 years old and running like dog ****. I literally cry of laughter every day I play this POS.


Cube world beta: the release sucks balls, but its a voxel-like character building open ended RPG with random loot. Action based/ non-macro combat.

Delver: a first person action rouge-like looter dungeon crawler with character building.

Dusk: a quake-ish FPS clone. Back when FPS were simple and easy to play, but hard to master.

Rouge Legacy: a metroid vania rouge-like with random generation. Grind your way and be born as an heir to your family to conquer a cursed castle.
 
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Space station 13: though its more of a community game than indie anymore. Choose your roll in 100 man servers, do your job, and try to make it off alive. Absolute chaos and endless laughs. Never have the same adventure twice. Hard to get into, but soooo rewarding. Pprobably spent close to 1000 hours in it. The amount of actions you can take and the details in this game are insane. Want to be a preacher that grows space weed? You can! Want to be a changeling that eats other players DNA, get caught doing something bad as said player, get murdered, then have your souls transfered to a security robot? You can. Want to incorrectly mix chemicals in the bio-labs and try to inject people with a virus all while accidentally blowing a hole in the hull, sucking out half the station. You can. Want to unrevit the walls to get parts you need to turn a mine mech into and unstopable death mech, and then tear through the shipping department because they refused to order the parts for you? You can. Want to beat the space station clown or janitor to death upon spawning in as per tradition while security turns a blind eye. You can do that too! This game is truly endless, and there is a reason people play it even being 15 years old and running like dog ****. I literally cry of laughter every day I play this POS.


Cube world beta: the release sucks balls, but its a voxel-like character building open ended RPG with random loot. Action based/ non-macro combat.

Delver: a first person action rouge-like looter dungeon crawler with character building.

Dusk: a quake-ish FPS clone. Back when FPS were simple and easy to play, but hard to master.

Rouge Legacy: a metroid vania rouge-like with random generation. Grind your way and be born as an heir to your family to conquer a cursed castle.
Rouge Legacy is a good one! I never seem to be able to get into it enough though to get all the way through
 

11clock

Member
I can't really think of a top 5, but my top 3 would be Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair, Freedom Planet, and Hollow Knight. An Untitled Story gets an honorable mention.
 
I can't really think of a top 5, but my top 3 would be Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair, Freedom Planet, and Hollow Knight. An Untitled Story gets an honorable mention.
I need to play Hollow Knight! I got it for Christmas last year and never got to playing it. I love Metroid but Metroidvania is not my favorite genre right now. Looks like a great game though!
 

11clock

Member
I need to play Hollow Knight! I got it for Christmas last year and never got to playing it. I love Metroid but Metroidvania is not my favorite genre right now. Looks like a great game though!
Actually Enter the Gungeon also gets an honorable mention so I guess that would be my 5.

Edit: There is also Terraria. Argh so many good options...
 
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I don't have a top 5 indie games really, but Hollow Knight made my top 3 favorite games list of all time. It literally bopped Secret of Mana for me, so that's saying something.

Checking my games tier list for any indie games, one that hasn't been mentioned is World of Goo. It has an amazing aesthetic and Soundtrack, and the puzzles are cool.
 
I don't have a top 5 indie games really, but Hollow Knight made my top 3 favorite games list of all time. It literally bopped Secret of Mana for me, so that's saying something.

Checking my games tier list for any indie games, one that hasn't been mentioned is World of Goo. It has an amazing aesthetic and Soundtrack, and the puzzles are cool.
That makes me want to check it out more because Secret of Mana is fantastic!
 
That makes me want to check it out more because Secret of Mana is fantastic!
SoM is fantastic indeed. I think the primary reason it got beat though is that the mechanics don't hold up super well compared to modern games. Like, pausing the game constantly to cast magic, some of the game flow and progression balance is real janky in SoM. If it weren't for those flaws (mostly a product of the limitations of the time), SoM would still hold a top spot for me. (And I do really like it still).
 
Which ones are made with GameMaker?

What makes a game an "Indie" game?

Are any of the games you listed free? If so any links to where to get them?
Everyone has their own definition of "indie" even if it probably means independent, but most people lump it into a small game. Other times I've heard it's a game independent of influence, even if someone else funds it, publishes it, markets it, and distributes it.

I used to see the "this is not an indie game" arguments a lot on Steam forums before Greenlight with several reasons why a game isn't an indie game:
- Game X has a publisher (big or small) therefore not indie.
- Game Y has crowdfunding, therefore not indie.
- Game Z sub contracted all its work to a place in Korea, therefore not indie.
- Game A is using an IP from a third party, therefore not indie.
- Game B is made, published, and distributed by an entity too big to be indie
 

MissingNo.

Member
5. Kaiju A GoGo
This one is a weird one but I love it because you can destroy an entire city as a giant monster. But the thing that keeps me coming back to it is just how easy it is to mod
this game.

4. Kingdom Rush 2 or 3
I have Kingdom Rush 2 and 3 tied here because they are both such fantastic Tower Defenses that I can't decide.

3. Prison Architect
You can build a prison and rule with an iron fist, what is not to love?

2. Hand of Fate 2
I love the original and the sequel improves on it majorly. The better combat, nice graphics, fantastic new scenarios and mini games make this great.

1. Darkest Dungeon
Awesome artwork and atmosphere, great narration and a fun gameplay loop. And this game has exposed easy to edit game files that you can change to your hearts content.
Plus many have posted on the workshop mods for tons of new high quality classes that feel right at home in the game.

Honorable Mentions: The Hotline Miami series, Rouge Legacy, BeamNG Drive, Invisible Inc, Mark of the Ninja and This War of Mine.


Okay this is a little random but I felt like making a top 5 Indie Games that disappointed me:

5. Don't Starve
The art is fantastic and the game is polished but actually trying to survive in this game isn't very fun. Overall it just felt very Meh. I can't really articulate why I feel this way though.

4. GemCraft Chasing Shadows
Major Disappointment considering how much content this game has to offer, tons of maps and tons of upgrades. This Tower Defense series is rated highly and I started with this one
and it just failed to impress. The major issue it has is the lack of variety with effects between different tower types, all towers feel samey and lack any kind of punch.
Without towers that are fun to watch it's mostly just a numbers game.

3. Terraria
Honestly my less than stellar feelings with this game don't have much to do with the game itself. I was hyped to play this game, I was so ready to explore and travel through this dangerous
land but then I realized I missed the solo survival of MInecraft, the first person perspective, sense of loneliness and exploring vast caves and caverns were done so well that I think
once I tried to play this game I was looking for more of those previous experiences which Terraria just can't provide with it's 2D perspective. Also it's a bit too lighthearted for my taste.

2. Enter The Gungeon
My problem with this one is that this game offers a vast arsenal of weapons to use but yet it actively discourages you from using them. Most of the time I have found you are stuck with
your starting weapon since new weapons are hard to find and even once you have one you are discouraged from using it since you have little ammo to work with so you end up just saving it for the boss.
Another thing is that from what I recall you can only carry one additional weapon at a time. Unless a mod is available that makes it easier to find new weapons or allows you to find more ammo
or something I am unlikely to pick this game up again.

1. Sunless Sea
My biggest disappointment, the premise and the atmosphere really appeal to me but once I actually got to exploring the actual discoveries I made were either really silly or boring.
I mean at one point I found a kingdom of rats, kinda kills the vibe. Another thing I didn't like was just how inhabited the vast ocean felt, I mean it felt like I kept running into kingdoms, cities
and settlements of people left and right on every island. I was expecting more desolation. Even though this is my most disappointing indie game, it's one I may actually try again just to see
if it will be better the second time around.


Anyone have any suggestions of games to play based on what I like?
 
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5. Kaiju A GoGo
This one is a weird one but I love it because you can destroy an entire city as a giant monster. But the thing that keeps me coming back to it is just how easy it is to mod
this game.

4. Kingdom Rush 2 or 3
I have Kingdom Rush 2 and 3 tied here because they are both such fantastic Tower Defenses that I can't decide.

3. Prison Architect
You can build a prison and rule with an iron fist, what is not to love?

2. Hand of Fate 2
I love the original and the sequel improves on it majorly. The better combat, nice graphics, fantastic new scenarios and mini games make this great.

1. Darkest Dungeon
Awesome artwork and atmosphere, great narration and a fun gameplay loop. And this game has exposed easy to edit game files that you can change to your hearts content.
Plus many have posted on the workshop mods for tons of new high quality classes that feel right at home in the game.

Honorable Mentions: The Hotline Miami series, Rouge Legacy, BeamNG Drive, Invisible Inc, Mark of the Ninja and This War of Mine.


Okay this is a little random but I felt like making a top 5 Indie Games that disappointed me:

5. Don't Starve
The art is fantastic and the game is polished but actually trying to survive in this game isn't very fun. Overall it just felt very Meh. I can't really articulate why I feel this way though.

4. GemCraft Chasing Shadows
Major Disappointment considering how much content this game has to offer, tons of maps and tons of upgrades. This Tower Defense series is rated highly and I started with this one
and it just failed to impress. The major issue it has is the lack of variety with effects between different tower types, all towers feel samey and lack any kind of punch.
Without towers that are fun to watch it's mostly just a numbers game.

3. Terraria
Honestly my less than stellar feelings with this game don't have much to do with the game itself. I was hyped to play this game, I was so ready to explore and travel through this dangerous
land but then I realized I missed the solo survival of MInecraft, the first person perspective, sense of loneliness and exploring vast caves and caverns were done so well that I think
once I tried to play this game I was looking for more of those previous experiences which Terraria just can't provide with it's 2D perspective. Also it's a bit too lighthearted for my taste.

2. Enter The Gungeon
My problem with this one is that this game offers a vast arsenal of weapons to use but yet it actively encourages you not to use them. Most of the time I have found you are stuck with
your starting weapon since new weapons are hard to find and even once you have one you are discouraged from using it since you have little ammo to work with so you end up just saving it for the boss.
Another thing is that from what I recall you can only carry one additional weapon at a time. Unless a mod is available that makes it easier to find new weapons or allows you to find more ammo
or something I am unlikely to pick this game up again.

1. Sunless Sea
My biggest disappointment, the premise and the atmosphere really appeal to me but once I actually got to exploring the actual discoveries I made were either really silly or boring.
I mean at one point I found a kingdom of rats, kinda kills the vibe. Another thing I didn't like was just how inhabited the vast ocean felt, I mean it felt like I kept running into kingdoms, cities
and settlements of people left and right on every island. I was expecting more desolation. Even though this is my most disappointing indie game, it's one I may actually try again just to see
if it will be better the second time around.


Anyone have any suggestions of games to play based on what I like?
I like Don't Starve but I can't play it solo. Also Terraria is great but I can't play it for very long without getting bored. I haven't actually played any of the games you suggested so I probably couldn't give a good recommendation.
 

Wayfarer

Member
I always find it hard trying to pick "top 5" of something, so I've picked 5 games that weren't mentioned yet:

1. Iconoclasts
2. The Messenger
3. Owlboy
4. Action Henk
5. Horizon Chase: Turbo

More...
Already mentioned in other posts, but I'm going re-mention:
Celeste, Shovel Knight, Undertale

Others worth mentioning:
Firewatch, Inside, Limbo, What Remains of Edith Finch

Indie games I want to play:
Freedom Planet, Hollow Knight, Spelunky

I'm sure there are others that I'm forgetting!
 
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