Have Indie Games Become Stale?
Indie games have been a much needed breath of fresh air on the gaming industry in recent years. They provide the best of both worlds, allowing smaller developers to get their content to the masses while giving gamers small but excellent experiences at a cheaper price point than many AAA titles.
The above said, indie games seem to have fallen into a bit of a rut that has me worrying that indies are going to get really stale, really quickly.
So what's the problem?
The main issue is that a frighteningly large percentage of indie games fall into the same genre.
Roughly 2/3 of all indie games that get to see the light of day in modern gaming are 2D platformers. Though these usually have their own artsy twist to make them interesting, it's rapidly approaching a point where gamers are going to get bored with such titles.
The indie market is becoming so flooded with 2D platformers that many of these games will fly under the radar because we've seen the like already, and fairly recently.
Pictured above is the fairly recent Cloudberry Kingdom, a fast paced 2D platformer with extremely difficult levels. Had this released two years ago, it would have had a huge amount of hype surrounding it because it would have been new and different. Now, however, we got a small bit of hype about it close to release but we haven't heard much about it since.
This is all because we've already had games like Super Meat Boy. The idea behind the two titles is essentially the same: fast paced platforming in levels designed to kill you with ease. There's an art difference, but it's not dissimilar enough to attract attention, which is what indie games need to survive.
Has it all gone wrong?
It's not all gone wrong for indie games. There are several either available now or soon in the future that have generated a lot of hype by being different.
The recent indie title Divekick met with large success upon release and built a lot of hype. Divekick is a simple fighter with only two buttons that parodies a lot of modern fighters, especially Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3. It had a lot of hype surrounding it from fighting game fans and was even marketed quite a bit by Sony directly. This is just one example of a recent successful indie title, many more are out there.
There is also one game that has drawn attention to itself not by being different, but by being similar.
Recently the Kickstarter for Mighty No. 9 opened and reached more than 2/3 of it's somewhat high funding goal of $900,000 within 24 hours. Interestingly, the game appears to be extremely similar to the MegaMan series of games, and even includes several developers that left Capcom after the last two MegaMan titles were cancelled. Of course, the difference here is that it is emulating a popular series that used to be Capcom's main franchise.
On the whole, I find many indie games are becoming old hat and I feel like they need to start evolving if they want to continue to be a big deal. Still, there are plenty of indie gems around for you to enjoy if you know where to look.