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OIO

Best indie Game - OIO Screenshot

OIO is a puzzle platformer made by the French dev Uncanny Games. The game is kind of like machinarium, in the sense that a lot of the value of the game comes from the atmoshpere, art style, and magnificent aesthetics. The game feels simple and styled with no clashing of graphics. OIO has nothing that really is directly scary, but it is a combination of atmosphere and suggestion that makes the game quite dark. TYhis quality is something that we have really noticed is common in some of the best indie games.

The game doesn’t tell you much in the way of the story, and it doesn’t have much dialog. This focuses you on the game-play and keeps this game kind of casual.

Best Indie Game - Screenshot of OIO

There are a few problems with the game, like when you try to move in a direction your character starts moving slowly and then accelerates. This is normally fine, but in this game, the running animation for the character stays the same, even though you are running very slowly, which makes the main character look like Roadrunner from the Looney Tunes.

Best Indie Game - Screen shot of OIO

The basic main mechanic of this game that differentiates it from the average platformer is the ability to grow or destroy wooden platforms by simply throwing seeds at nodes located in parts of the levels. Only three of these platforms can exist at a time, when there are 4 on the field the oldest one is destroyed. This mechanic can get very deep, as sometimes you have to do timing jumps with branches and you have to grow branches off of branches.

OIO is really a puzzle platformer that requires thought and is much deeper than a standard run and jumps indie Mario clone. If you were to compare this to most other puzzle platformers out there, this would come out best. Levels are more than timing your jumps or moving for just enough time, but about thinking and intellectual challenges.

Conclusion: OIO is a great puzzle platformer with great art style and good gameplay.

OIO

8/10

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Achron

Best Indie Game - Screenshot of Achron

What sets apart Indie games from normal titles is their innovation. Huge companies can’t afford to sink resources into creating a game that might flop, but indie developers can. This is what Hazardous did with Achron.

Best Indie Game - Screenshot of Achron

In Achron, you control the commander of Capt. Holloway and his forces.  You must guide Holloway through 35 single-player missions typical of any other RTS title. Seems standard, but what separates Achron from the rest is one amazing feature. Time Travel. At the bottom of the screen is a timeline that lets you control what time it is, which is very useful for fighting enemies, as it can act as one huge and giant Ctrl + Z. Woops, all my soldiers just died, lemme retry that bit! My god, my base just exploded, better go back in time and save it! If you make a mistake, just one click can bring you back and lets you fix it, kind of the opposite of Frozen Synapse.

This game has kind of a steep learning curve at the start, but once you figure it out this game is great fun. Three unique races keep the game fun challenging and refreshing, and you get to use all three at some time or other in the campaign. The Graphics are fine, not exactly exceptional but mediocre.  The soundtrack is quite amazing and really adds to the gameplay. There is a complete multiplayer package with 16 maps and a map editor and many other features. There are problems with this game too though. Units are almost impossible to tell apart without zooming in all the way. Pathfinding can at times be absolutely gobsmackingly heartstoppingly face-meltingly atrocious. Experienced RTS players will feel this game has much to work on, as some of its fundamental RTS aspects need some work. The game is easy in the sense that you are guided almost every step of the way. Noobs will like this, but anyone with even a Modicum of RTS experience will feel frustrated and limited. Ironically there is no instruction manual. Opening cut scenes cannot be skipped and have to be watched every time you want to play a level. But most of this is all nit-picking. This game does have a unique gameplay aspect in the form of time travel, and past the few small bugs, glitches, and weird quirks this game is quite good. Although is it worth 30 dollars? I don’t think so, but it may very well be depending on how you like your games.

Conclusion: Good game with a nice aspect, but there are glitches bugs, and quirks that kind of ruin the game, but it has a very good gameplay mechanic. Mediocre graphics, great soundtrack

Achron

6/10

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Toribash

Best Indie Game - Screenshot of Toribash

Toribash is a physics-based, turn-by-turn, meticulous, and extremely customizable fighting game by indie developer Hampus Söderström. With the ability to individually control joints and muscles, Toribash allows a huge array of possible moves, some of which can be amazingly spectacular. It really is a shame that the game has such a steep learning curve since running and jumping are almost impossible for most new players, reminiscent of QWOP in 3D.

Toribash was first started in March of 2006, and so far it has won a metric ton of indie game awards. But beware, the graphics are nothing more than shiny polygons, and the gameplay is absolutely nothing like any other fighter game out there. It is a slow turn-based fighting game, where players set up their muscle movements during the setup phase and then the game simulates the fight, often in intervals of only a second or two.

The controls are as follows: During the setup phase, click on the various joints and muscles to change whether they are either: relaxed, holding, contracted, or extended. Certain body parts such as shoulders and chests can also be raised or lowered, or twisted right or left. Fast clicking and thinking are essential because to successfully play you have to move dozens of muscles in one short turn, consisting of no more than 15 seconds at times. Meanwhile, you are shown a projected preview of how this turn will play out. When the setup phase ends, the actions that you selected are carried out and then the game pauses again for you to decide what to do.

Best Indie Game - Toribash Screenshot

To win, you either get the opponent to touch the ground with anything but his feet or hands, or you knock him dead. Many losses are by people accidentally falling and losing matches for themselves, due to the difficulty of the game.

You’d be surprised how hard this game is. A human with his hand at his sides standing up has to do this to punch properly: Contract his pectorals, contract his biceps, contract his brachioradialis, contract his deltoids; then he has to contract his triceps, turn his hip, and contract his anconeus. For 1 simple punch. Granted this is simplified in this game, but not by much. More complex moves, like a 360 spinning hook kick practically take every muscle in your body, and controlling them effectively is no easy task.

This game is not a pickup and play. The learning curve is steep, but the rewards are high. It is best to play with a friend, and fight each other, giving each other tips and tricks. In the beginning, it may seem extremely hard, but accomplishing certain moves can be very amazing to see happen, and watching a successful move hurt your enemy while supplying you with satisfying effects, sound and points can be very fun.

Best Indie Game - Toribash Screenshot

There is a huge Toribash online community. Mods, Clans, Dance Troupes, Tutorials, Tutors, and Tournaments, it’s all there. There is also a huge Youtube community, showcasing video kicks perfected to the inch, capable of taking off the enemy’s head in one stroke. Some people get so good at this game, there is an example of one of two players kicking his own head off, then passing the “ball” to the other. This goes on for a couple of passes until the headless figure dies.

Overall, Toribash is a very deep and good fighting game once you are accustomed and used to the controls, but that may take a while. The graphics aren’t much to speak of, and sounds are nearly non-existent, but the game is free and the gameplay can get very fun.

Conclusion: Toribash is a great fighting game, although the learning curve is steep, and it seems that the amount of players is starting to decline.

Toribash

6/10

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Braid

 Number None, Inc. brings us a beautiful indie game called Braid. Released on April 10, 2009, it showcases beautiful painting work, a deep, rich story as well as great puzzle scenarios. It is definitely one of the best indie games on my list.

The goal of this game is to collect all the puzzle pieces and advance through the worlds, ultimately attempting to rescue his princess. This is done as you control the character Tim through a series of puzzles and worlds from a platforming perspective.

Braid sparks the question: What if you could reverse the mistakes you’ve made? This game has a very cool mechanic: The ability for your character Tim to reverse time. Undoing mistakes can be as simple as getting your revenge on one of the monsters, or as complicated as solving intense puzzles with the new mechanics that keep getting unraveled to keep the game fresh and interesting.