Gamer gift guide: 10 indie games for the PlayStation 4

1 of 12

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and with that means thinking of what presents to get loved ones and friends. But when it comes to gamers, things can get a bit hard as there is so much to choose from; no one wants to get someone the wrong present!

So, here are 10 games that will be great to get any gamer who are fans of indie games. 

1. Axiom Verge 

Price: $19.99

Buy: PlayStation store

Rating: 84 Metascore

Let's start with a game that was made by one man. It can't get any more indie than that. 

Axiom Verge is a Metroidvania-style game where you take control of Trace, a scientist who was blown up during an experiment and was sent to an alien world, where he must explore to find a way home.

This game is your standard Metroidvania game, taking its inspirations from the Metroid sci-fi side of things. The pixel art style of the environments look amazing and, combined with the soundtrack, really capture the alien feel of the world. There are tons of things to collect: drones to help you get to small places, new weapons to use, and the item that makes Axiom Verge stand out -- the disrupter, a gadget that allows you to causes glitches in the environment and the enemies you face.

The only downside to Axiom Verge is that the story is not the best. It relies a lot on the player to explore and collect notes to fill in any blanks they have. Other than that, Axiom Verge is a really fun game all gamers should give a shot.

2. Rogue Legacy

Price: $16.99

Buy: Amazon

Rating: 85 Metascore

Next up we have a great starting point in the rogue-like genre.

Rogue Legacy puts you in control of a knight who is trying to save their king by venturing into a castle that holds the cure to the king's illness. 

This is a game in which you will die a lot...and I mean A LOT. Death awaits you around every corner, be it spike traps, zombies, skeletons, or flying portraits. This, though, is how the game hooks you. Every time I died I wanted to get back in, seeing if I could get further into the castle, wondering if I am finally ready to kill that boss. 

The rogue-like elements come in when you pick a new character every time you die. Your descendants are able to use the gold your previous character collected to upgrade themselves, making sure they can get further in the castle than the previous person. Plus, every descendant you play as comes with their own unique trait. Traits include having bad eyesight that makes everything far away blurry, ADHD so you can move faster, or -- my favorite --  The One, where the castle gets a science fiction aesthetic.

This is a game you will find yourself going back to every now and again. It's death mechanic makes Rogue Legacy perfect to play in short bursts and never gets so infuriating that you want to put the controller down.

3. Don't Starve

Price: $14.99

Buy: Amazon

Rating: 78 Metascore

Do you want to live out in the wilderness, survive off the land, and fend off the elements of nature itself? If no, then good choice. (It's scary out there in the wild.) If yes, then I think I have a game you will like.

Don't Starve sends you into a weird world, where you must gather supplies and fight against giant spiders, Pigmen, and bees. In the game, you must keep track of your health, hunger, and sanity if you want to stand any chance of surviving. When you first play it, you can die very quickly. When I started playing Don't Starve I had no idea what items were more useful than others or where to find them. 

It is best to play this game with a guide so you know which areas are best to start in. But once you get the hang of it, you'll know where to look for supplies. If you want a challenging but rewarding experience in a game, then Don't Starve is for you.

4. Transistor 

Price: $19.99

Buy: Amazon

Rating: 83 Metascore

Transistor is an amazing Action RPG game made by Supergiant Games. In it, you take control of Red, a singer who has lost the ability to speak and wields the mysterious talking weapon called the Transistor. 

This game is a brilliant example of how innovative indie games can be. The story is amazing, following Red as she trackS down the Camerata -- the organization who took her voice away. The action-based gameplay is great and the turn-based elements give Transistor a unique feel. The artwork is beautifully drawn and the soundtrack is one of the best I have heard in a game.

Though the game may be short with about a six or seven hours of game time, the new game plus and challenge rooms kept me coming back for more. This is something that everyone should give a try. 

5. Minecraft

Price: $18.95

Buy: Amazon

Rating: 89 Metascore

What were you expecting? Can't have a list about indie games without Minecraft.

If you are one of the few people who still haven't seen or heard of this game, Minecraft is a sandbox game where you gather materials to create structures and craft items. This is a massive game to explore with interesting areas to go to. As you go on your journeys you will find vast desserts, cold tundras, and caves filled with monsters. 

It is quite easy to get lost in Minecraft. With so much to do, I found myself investing dozens of hours into it, just exploring and constantly looking for more materials to build castles. 

The major selling point of Minecraft is how open it is. It relies on the players setting their own goals in the game. Sure, you can say fighting the Ender Dragon and other bosses in the game are the end goals, but these are only a small part of what this game has to offer. 

As long as you can keep setting goals for yourself and are willing to stick to them, Minecraft is a game for you try.

6. Shovel Knight

Price: $22.49

Buy: Amazon

Rating: 90 Metascore

Shovel knight is a game that takes a lot of inspiration from the 8-bit era of gaming. The over-world is similar to that of Super Mario 3, the Knights of No Quarter are inspired from the robot masters from Mega Man, and of course, the game is drawn in a pixel art style.

All the environments are really fun to go through, from Specter Knight's Lich Yard to Plague Knight's Explodatorium. The entire soundtrack is really good, with each stage's music being extremely memorable. 

But the high point of Shovel Knight is the gameplay and the use of the shovel for platforming offers unique experiences. Plus, the Plague of Shadows update is available, letting you play the whole game as Plague Knight -- and that doesn't cost anything. 

If you want to play a game to make it feel like the 1980s again, this is the game for you. 

7. Bastion

Price: $14.99

Buy: PlayStation store

Rating: 89 Metascore

Supergiant Games' second entry on this list, Bastion is their first game - and it's a brilliant first game.

In Bastion, you take control of the Kid, a boy who wakes up one day when the apocalyptic Calamity hits. He, along with the help of the Stranger must go searching for any survivors of the Calamity and shards to power up the Bastion so they can be better equipped to fend off the creatures that inhabit the world.

All of your actions in-game are described through narration by the Stranger, eventually named Rucks. This is a unique way to tell the story, one that was done quite well.

There is never a dull moment in the combat in Bastion, and there is a wide variety of weapons to use, from hammers to rifles. You are able to equip tonics to upgrade the Kid and activate shrines to make the game harder.

Like Transistor, Bastion has amazing visuals to coincide with the gameplay and a brilliant soundtrack. If you enjoyed Transistor, then you will also like Bastion.

8. Dust: An Elysian Tail

Price: $14.99

Buy: PlayStation store

Rating: 79 Metascore

Another entry in the Metroidvania style genre, Dust: An Elysian Tail follows the character Dust, who gains possession of the sentient sword, the Blade of Ahrah. With the blade's help -- along with its guardian Fidget -- Dust travels the world of Falana to find out who he is.

While the story sounds like it has been done before, it's the combat that really makes Dust: An Elysian Tail stand out. You are able to pull off a chain of combos to defeat your enemies. The longer the chain, the more EXP you earn. Each area you enter introduces new enemy types, offering new challenges to face. There is never a dull moment when fighting the mass amounts of monsters across Falana.

It is after combat is when the pace slows down. There is a lot of dialogue in this game that can interrupt the flow of the game. The voice acting is quite good, but the sheer amount of dialogue to go through every time you want to start a new quest or finish one can be annoying.

Other than that, the game is a blast to go through, with amazing visuals to look at. Plus, Fidget is an amazing character to have. I always like it when characters in games break the fourth wall.

9. Terraria 

Price: $19.99

Buy: Amazon

Rating: 83 Metascore

If Minecraft was too three dimensional, then I have the 2D alternative. 

Terraria is similar to Minecraft in a number of ways. They both involve the player exploring the map, mining for materials and building their own structures, except one is 2D and the other is 3D.

But two things Terraria has over Minecraft is its items and its defined end goals. Terraria has a number of bosses to fight, from the Eye of Cthulhu to a wall of flesh. These give the players more defined goals to accomplish compared to Minecraft. Plus, there is a massive of amount of items to choose from. 

There are lots of ways to gear up your character when it comes to venturing off into the world of Terraria. There are boots to make you run faster, a jet pack, a massive flaming sword, a blaster, and the list goes on. Terraria has a huge emphasis on upgrading your character and fighting off the many creatures that are in the world.

Terraria really sucks you in when preparing for a boss fight. You would be surprised how satisfying it is finding the last bit of ore needed to finish off building the next best suit of armor.

For anyone looking for an adventure with a good sense of progression, this is the game for you.

10. Rocket League

Price: $19.99

Buy: Amazon

Rating: 85 Metascore

 And last but certainly not least we have Rocket League

Rocket League is a really simple game. You play football with cars. Rocket League has been one of the best multiplayer games to come out for the PlayStation 4. You can play 1 on 1, 2 on 2, and 3 on 3 matches, either against other players or the computer.

You can customize your car by putting flags or hats on it, or changing the exhaust. The high point of Rocket League is the gameplay. Things can get very hectic while playing a game, especially when 6 people are all trying to get the ball. The is rarely a dull moment in this game. The driving is really fun and the game is surprising tactile. Good communication between teammates can lead to easy wins and good control of the car.It is quite hard to control the car, but playing matches is so fun I rarely cared how bad I was driving it, 

This game is best played with a friend, either against each other or playing against other players online. Even now I still have a fun time playing Rocket League online with one of my mates. 

And there are ten games that any indie gamer would like to have. If there are any particular games we missed then let us know in the comments below and have Happy Holidays!

Published Nov. 22nd 2015

Contributor

Big gaming enthusiast and fond of anything nerdy


Cached - article_comments_article_30012
Related