The 10 Best Indie Games of 2016

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The end of another year is upon us and the beginning of a new one is just on the horizon. It is time to sit back and remember the many wonderful video game titles that released throughout 2016. The indie scene has been most awe-inspiring and some of the best games this year have come from indie developers.

Today we are going to take a look at The 10 Best Indies Games of 2016. So without further ado, let's count down the absolute best that indie developers have given us this year.

10. Hypersensitive Bob

Developer: Sieidi Ltd

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux and Steam OS

Hypersensitive Bob is one of those hidden gems that you sometimes find among the many bad games on Steam. It is a roguelike, similar to the Binding of Issac. The main difference? Hypersensitive Bob takes a much more casual and child-friendly approach. You take on the role of Bob, who is allergic to absolutely everything. Armed with his InHaGun 2000, he sets out to overcome his allergies. 

Hypersensitive Bob is a wonderful title that's a whole lot of fun for the whole family. Both its theme and design are very much something of the '90s, with colorful visuals and an awesome and mello soundtrack.

In an industry that is now full of games that focus on nothing but realism, Hypersensitive Bob is a breath of fresh air. It has been a game that I came back to time and time again throughout the entire year.

 

9. Avadon 3: The Warborn

Developer: Spiderweb Software

Platforms: PC, Mac, and iOS

The highly anticipated sequel to Jeff Vogul's Avadon 2: The Corruption, Avadon 3, like all of Vogul's games, is a real call back to the classic RPG genre and titles like Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment. 

You take on the role of a Hand of Avadon, a bringer of justice that only answers to the Keeper of Avadon, a Medieval Judge Dread -- just on a bigger scale. The game has a brilliant plot where the player has to make many choices throughout that actually make a difference in the world.

Its gameplay is solid and well balanced and its character development is simple but deep. Avadon 3 is a game that will keep you hooked from the very beginning to the end and it is a cracker of a finale to the series.

8. Thumper

Developer: Drool

Platforms: PC and PS4

I actually feel bad putting this weird title so far down this list, but it just goes to show how strong the indie scene has been this year. Thumper is a psychedelic rhythm game where you take on the role of a space beetle braving a hellish void to confront a maniacal giant head from the future. 

In its own right, this game is horrifying as there is nothing else like it out there. The lack of familiarity causes a great unease in the player, not to mention the sights and the bosses. To say any more would give away what exactly Thumper is, but one thing I will say is this: The less you know going in the better. It is one hell of an experience.

7. Pony Island

Developer: Daniel Mullins Games

Platforms: PC, Mac and Linux

To call Pony Island anything less than genius would be an insult, as quite frankly this is one of the most creative and clever games to come out not just this year, but in recent years. Pony Island is a puzzle game where you are in limbo trapped in a malevolent and malfunctioning arcade machine made by the devil himself.

The problem is the devil isn't the best of programmers, so in order to escape, you must hack through the game's programming and figure out his puzzles. If I was to say anything more about the game we would be going into spoiler territory. If you are looking for something very different and a bit strange, this is worth a try.

6. Firewatch

Developer: Campo Santo

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One

FIrewatch is one of those games I decided to give a chance despite its genre being something I generally wouldn't have an interest in. You take on the role of Henry, a man who has taken a job as a fire lookout in the Wyoming woodlands. Something strange grabs your attention and you head out to investigate.

Your only contact is your supervisor, who you communicate with through a small handheld radio. You must explore an environment that is unknown to you, face hard questions and make difficult decisions. The major highlights of the game are its story and beautiful design. 

If you are looking for something that isn't all guns and violence with a gripping plot, then Firewatch is definitely worth checking out.

5. Hyper Light Drifter

Developer: Heart Machine

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, PS4 and Ouya

Hyper Light Drifter is a 2D action RPG that has similarities to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. You take on the role of The Drifter, who has access to long-lost technology and is suffering from an unspecified illness.

The Drifter wields an energy sword and can gain additional modules to expand his weapon and abilities. Much like games from the SNES era, the game has no spoken dialogue and instead tells it story through visuals and music.

It is very much a game that fans of the 16-bit era of gaming will love. It has a good story, great gameplay and solid mechanics. Overall, it is a beautiful and magical experience.

4. Stardew Valley

Developer: Concerned Ape

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One and PS4

What can I say about Stardew Valley that hasn't already been said by practically every other video game journalist out there? At first glimpse, it looks like nothing more than Harvest Moon on other platforms that don't belong to Nintendo.

That alone would be enough for many to instantly buy it -- but it is far more than just another Harvest MoonOnce you get deeper into the game, you begin to realize just how much depth and gameplay is really there. So much so, in fact, that it goes beyond that of the series it takes inspiration from.

Farming and rebuilding the run-down old farm are but only two activities available to the player. The player can also fish, cook and craft just to name a few of the game's mechanics. If you love Harvest Moon or any form of a game that involves farming and want something with depth, Stardew Valley is as good as it gets.

 

 

3. Owlboy

Developer: D-Pad Studio

Platforms: PC

The once questioned "will it ever release" platformer finally made its way to the PC this year after nine years in development. Owlboy is a real love letter to the '90s platforming era of gaming. From its visuals to its plot to its gameplay, Owlboy is a game that oozes '90s gaming chic.

You take on the role of Otus, who belongs to a clan of owl and human hybrids known as the Owls. When his village is attacked by a band of pirates, he sets out on a journey to save it. 

With a charming cast, brilliant and varied level design and excellent Metroidvania style gameplay, Owlboy is an absolute classic.

2. Darkest Dungeon

Developer: Red Hook Studios

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4 and PS Vita

Oh my! I bet you weren't expecting Darkest Dungeon to be second on this list. It was a very close and tough decision but yes, Darkest Dungeon takes second place on the 10 Best Indie Games of 2016. This hardcore turn-based combat RPG is absolute genius.

It takes a different approach to how the stress of adventuring affects its many heroes. There are no all mighty and indestructible heroes. As stress builds, they begin to become afflicted with all forms of psychological problems. 

Darkest Dungeon is a dark world and one where you will have to commit horrible acts in order to succeed in your goal to restore your family estate. What heroes will you keep and what heroes will you send on suicidal missions where you know they will likely meet their doom.

It is a brilliant game and easily one of the best titles to release this year. It is one of those games that once you start playing, you don't want to stop.

1. Tadpole Treble

Developer: BitFinity

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux and Wii U

Oh, how I said "hmm, ha, um" and grunted and groaned attempting to decide between this and Darkest Dungeon as the number one indie game of 2016. In the end, the musical Tadpole Treble took the spot. It is a relatively unknown title compared to most on this list, but my goodness, is it a magical experience.

You take on the role of Baton, a tadpole who swims too far into the river and get scooped up by a pelican and brought far away. She must find her way home while avoiding the many dangers along the game. What is it that makes the game so magical you might be wondering?

Everything in each level acts as a part of the song that plays along with your actions. It makes it feel like you are a part of the song on every level, which each have a unique song in a different genre. 

Even now, months on from its release, this game still makes me laugh and smile just as it did when I first played it. Not only that, I still enjoy it just as much too. 

And there you have it, our 10 Best Indie Games of 2016. From the dark and horrifying world of Darkest Dungeon to the gripping adventure of Avadon 3 to all your farming needs with Stardew Valley and the magical, cheerful and addicting musical that is Tadpole Treble, iIt truly has been an amazing year for indie games.

What do you think of our list? What are yourfavoritee indie games of 2016? Let me know in the comments below!

Published Dec. 17th 2016

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Playing video games for over 23 years, love to write and love everything video game related.

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