2017 was a truly fantastic year for the indie genre. We’re wrapping up the remarkable year with our 10 favorite 2017 Indie Games! These are not only games that have been able to break through the mold and ascended to gamer-fame across all communities, but titles that have flown under the radar, only gifting a few with great experiences. After tons of discussion, we’ve narrowed it down to these top 10. If your favorite game didn’t make the list, don’t worry! It’s definitely a top contender. Without further ado, let’s hop right into it!
10. Getting Over It With Bennet Foddy
Although probably the most recent indie game on this list, Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is already a major success, and it isn’t hard to see why. The game creates a perfect storm of rage with it’s nonchalant, intelligent narration besides fiercely difficult obstacles and mechanics. It’s already blown up on YouTube, as content-creators throw chairs and smash monitors in rage.
Using your mouse to control your hammer, guide yourself onward traversing difficult terrains almost certain to make you lose your temper. Don’t worry though, (Sarcastic) Bennett Foddy’s soothing narration will be with you every step of the way.
The game features you, a… well… naked man, in a cauldron, using a sledgehammer, to climb a mountain. The game was based on Jazzuo’s 2002 B-Game classic, Sexy Hiking where a very similar concept was used. The anger-inducing game creates a unique range of obstacles to conquer. Fling yourself upwards, sideways, off cliffs and over houses. Don’t fall through! You most likely won’t enjoy the climb a second or third time.
9. Oxygen Not Included
Are you a builder? Are sandbox games your thing? I think it’s time for you to check out Oxygen Not Included. Travel to a secluded land with a team of three to colonize, create, and survive. Build an infrastructure of wiring, pipes, containers, pumps, and so much more.
Control and guide your small team, outlasting the harsh environments in space. Be a true leader, managing everything from water pollution to oxygen rates. Oxygen Not Included truly offers a new-world experience for anyone trying to colonize space.
Although the game is still in early access, Oxygen Not Included already holds more features than many popular indie games. Traverse your very own universe and follow through on your space dreams.
8. Dead Cells
When summing up Dead Cells it’s rather hard to make it not sounds like a traditional experience. It’s a pixel-art, hack and slash, Metroidvania game set in dungeons and distant lands. It contains many roguelike features as well, but we’ve seen a lot of those too in recent games. Despite all of this, Dead Cells somehow feels refreshing! And that’s because it approaches all of these elements a little bit differently.
The pixel art is generated from regular animation so it feels extremely smooth. Players are not locked in a certain route but can choose from diverging paths with each their own difficulty and scaled rewards. But above all, it’s just really well executed. Items are impactful, weapons are diverse and the difficulty is expertly tweaked. A real risk-versus-reward kind of game, both vibrantly beautiful and ghastly challenging. It is a true joy to play.
7. The First Tree
The First Tree offers an experience unlike any other game on this list, and that experience is the story of loss. Follow both a fox determined to save her young from a hungry wolf in masterful conjunction with a touching story about a son’s attempt to cope with the loss of his father in this heartfelt adventure.
With some of the best design we’ve seen all year, The First Tree offers a reality known much too well to some: The regret of not handling situations better, only to not be able to make amends. Travel as a worried fox across a vast landscape, spanning mountains, forests, and snowy terrains.
If you’re someone like me, who craves beautiful games, then this game is for you. If you seek meaningful games, this game is for you. If you have something to cope with, this game is for you.
I won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say that I was having a very hard time holding back my tears. You can check out a full review of the game in the description below.
6. Night in the Woods
Sometimes you buy a game after months of deliberation. Other times you buy a game on a whim because a screenshot looked charming. That might turn into a disappointment or a nice gaming experience. But on a few rare occasions, it turns into one of the best, most deep and well told narrative gaming experiences you ever had all year!
Night in The Woods flew under the radar for many but blew lucky players away. Through a cast of colourful anthropomorphic animals, the game tells a story that is both touching and heartfelt. Few saw the amazing experience coming because the game toyed with everyone’s expectations. When you first start up the game you meet a myriad of colourful creatures and you’ll be instantly enthralled. Rightly so! Colours are bright, animation is bouncy, and the catgirl you play as is quirky. But then you learn that characters have a darker side. Kids practice knife fights in the woods, get drunk at parties while the parents face the consequences of economic depression, and so much more.
The game masterfully displays a misconception. People are a lot deeper than meet the eye, and this colourful cast has a lot of skeletons in their closet. A stab at modern reality. One of the best narrative games of 2017, unexpected and magical.
One of the most classic gaming genres is ‘fighting games’. Going all the way back to arcade-era games such as Street Fighter, the genre invokes much nostalgia. Despite the categories popularity, recent fighting games haven’t produced a lot of innovation.
But along came Absolver, an open world fighting game where you learn new fighting moves by blocking and dodging both NPC enemies and players that reside on the other side of your screen. Once you learn these moves you add them to your fighting deck and create your very own fighting style! This game really makes YOU the fighter, not some preset character. Test your skills in PVP or PVE, maybe even start your own fighting school for others to join. Technically still in early access, but a lot of fun to play!
With three classes to utilize and a fourth hidden one, there is a lot of replayability. With the capacity of switching in and out moves, and having a secondary sword moveset, we can see ourselves playing this game for a long time to come.
4. Opus Magnum
Opus Magnum surprised us late this year by providing an excellent puzzle game where the answer didn’t matter as much as the way you personally solved the puzzle. Rewarding creativity, this game has you create elaborate machines to create alchemical compounds within a steampunk setting, but instead of scoring you on time, it gives a graph showing you how many other people got close to your score in effectiveness, space used or speed, with the systems having no preference in score over one another.
By allowing you to succeed in solving the puzzles in your own personal way, Zachtronics created a game that rewards creativity over brainpower and has you optimizing and improving your contraptions for months to come. It gives some spectacular results to boot!
Coming from a line of Zachtronic games, you would think there’d be a high entry level, but Opus Magnum ended up being the most accessible game yet! As a beginner, it will be very easy to make that explosive phial compound. Fancy yourself an expert? Make that bad boy in under 40 cycles. Just make sure to send us a gif of it.
3. Gang Beasts
Number 3 is one of our favorite games released this year. Ever since it took the Youtube gaming community by storm, we’ve been in love with its minimalistic designs and hilarious physics.
Fight your friends, throwing gelatinous punches with the goal of knocking them off the map (or grinding them to a pulp). The ragdoll-like physics allow you to pick up, hurl, and knock out your enemies. Wacky maps aid your brawlers in sending your enemies to their doom.
Play as an adorable looking blob attacking your friends, trying to get any advantage on them possible. Catch them off guard and shove them in front of a train… or a truck… or out of an elevator… or into a meat grinder… or into an incinerator… You get the point. This game is hands down one worth getting to play with friends!
2. Little Nightmares
Remember all those terrifying dreams we had of massive monsters coming to get us? Morphed creatures hidden in shadow, under your bed and in the closet. Well, take that, multiply it by 100, and you have Little Nightmares. The story itself is ingenious, and with its latest DLC released last month, the horror can last for solid play time.
This disturbing story allows you to control a little girl in a yellow raincoat named Six. Six, a girl perceived as the size of mice, is a mere nine years old. Surrounded by an ominous scenery, complete puzzles and avoid massive, grotesque monsters.
Between the long string-arm “Janitor” whose face is peeled from the top like a banana and the glutinous twin chefs that inhabit the kitchen, there are tons of terrible enemies to evade.
Not only is the game a great play, but it offers a story equally as engrossing. Learn the history of Six as she attempts to escape the massive ship “Maw” alive. Encounter new foes, get out alive and try not to wet yourself
It would come to no surprise that our top pick for 2017 indie games would be the duck and dodging, finger shooting, cup spilling, cartoon busting, award-winning old school retro game, Cuphead.
Cuphead and Mugman found their way into the Devil’s Casino to win their sought for fortune. Greed overtook Cuphead, and without a second thought, he bet away their souls. Mugman attempted to stop him, but it was too late, as Cuphead had already lost the gamble. The Devil, being the compassionate man he is, offered a deal. Cuphead and Mugman must travel the land and collect the souls of runaway debtors. If they are successful than they may reclaim their precious souls.
While winning multiple awards within the three months of release, Cuphead proves that you do not need modern graphics to be successful. Cuphead brings us back to the 1930’s, offering us old school art, and wacky characters that seem to have escaped Walt Disneys drawing book. Travel the map either solo or with a friend, and battle unique and challenging bosses. From a tag team of frogs to a seed shooting sunflower, you will never know what bosses will come from the world of Cuphead.
While you will have to dish out $20 to purchase Cuphead, We can ensure that it will not be a waste. With holidays approaching, Cuphead is sure to make the top of every kids Christmas list, and will be waiting under the tree in many homes.