The Best Indie Games of 2019


with a cast that includes dancing
Reapers to mutant soap operas pathological Apes and one very unruly
goose welcome to get in the gaming and our rundown of our most loved indie
games of 2019 let’s begin at number 20 with a struggle asta which came out in
May via Steam an on iOS set in the late 16th century London you play as Foreman
a cat of a man loosely based on the case notes and studies of a chap called Simon
Forman a serial villain of sorts who died in 1611
here he offered to help give hints and advise a magnificently diverse cast of
characters who’ve arrived on a Foreman’s doorstep hoping to find guidance and
counsel it’s caustic wit and delicious characterizations on our collective
hearts within moments of its beginning highlights of the interactions include a
lady of society who really isn’t very good at hosting the parties she wants
people to so enjoy the discussions with the Archbishop of Whitgift and a lady
called Alice who rather likes her booze and bedroom gymnastics
although beneath such chaos you find a gentle soul looking for closure
and a peaceful life if you’re after something that’s just that little bit
different and don’t mind a few subtle and not so subtle digs on the usual
deferential role of the church and other historical Grandy’s of the time then
this is something well worth taking a look at at number 19 and from late February ape
out as a hyper violent arcade shooter brawler which also happens to look
incredible the soundtrack is also one of the best and most recognizable of the
year with its jazz led procedural generation and the drums cymbals and
other associated instruments of the genre the urban flows with the
characters and antics of your character ape out is certainly tough in places and
given the levels are generated on the fly there’s no chance of you being able
to memorize where and when the human enemies will attack I’ve been back to
ape out numerous times over the year and each time well it’s been a delight to
once again take control of this rampaging animal ape out is available to
play on home PC via Steam and on the Nintendo switch coming up now at number
18 Felix the Reaper is a puzzle game with a back story of love where you play
as Felix who works for the Ministry of death it’s up to you to make sure
certain individuals meet their maker by manipulating the environment to ensure
they die in a predefined way many of which would be right at home within the
final destination series of films with a delicious voiceover from Sir Patrick
Stewart the use of professional dancers to model how Felix struts and dances his
way around the levels altogether with the use of a dark and light puzzle
mechanic Felix the Reaper is one puzzler from the year that feels decidedly
unloved up now at Number 17 kind words is quite
unlike anything we’ve ever played essentially a super casual multiplayer
with almost none of the traditional mechanics usually associated with video
games it’s just you’re at home in a small issue room with you writing and
receiving letters from other people while accompanied by laid-back lo-fi
beats and while on paper it shouldn’t really work it’s absolutely delightful
it’s all anonymous which you might think would be a recipe for troll City and yet
so far I’ve seen almost none of this type of disruption within the growing
community in terms of offering players such an enriching anonymous and
uplifting experience we’ve compared it both to journey and sky from that game
company it’s honestly something worth getting hold of kind words came out in
mid-september for home PCs if you want to know what the web was kind of like
around the turn of the century then Hypnospace outlaw manages to
create an almost flawless visual and aural representation of the web from way
back when while it delivers a mountain of nostalgia it’s really a modern-day
piece of satire that plays in a similar way to say those games of papers please
and all well while also providing a testing puzzler that’s frankly tough as
nails in places you’re tasked with acting as a moderator or enforcer on an
online hub called Hypnospace it’s your job to take down trolls hackers viruses
and other dodgy things such as copyright violation while things begin at a gentle
pace the difficulty ramps up soon enough and you’ll need to use deductive
reasoning and every now and again some guesswork to figure out what’s going on
while clearly a work of fiction there’s many a metaphor in here on the
goings-on with an arc online existence it’s a game to save and
enjoy while also looking hard into its underlying themes coming up at number 15
what the golf is the most fun I’ve ever had playing a game that’s loosely
associated to a sport in which I can genuinely find almost nothing enjoyable
or fun about it aside from being outside on a decent walk it’s a physics based
sports game with environmental puzzle elements that while it might look silly
it’s hugely entertaining with plenty more going under the hood that you might
expect our number 14 and while out this past
year it’s sadly no longer available with it having been pulled from steam in late
February only a few days after its release following the discovery of
assets within the game that were allegedly derogatory to certain Chinese
officials while relatively short this remains our favorite psychological
horror of the year its use of the first-person while similar to that of
say gone home or Edith Finch the atmosphere and devotion creates anything
but for the most part you control a screenwriter through an apartment block
in which the rooms represent different years of the writers family within the
1980s as a horror game the freights when they come are at times rather delicate
although still have the power to unsettle and also recommend playing this
if you’re able to with headphones as the intensity of the audio really does
magnify what devotion is able to do as you should expect the version is
suitably dark and while some sections are stronger than others and it’s also
easy to miss out on some of the collectibles needed to fully understand
some of the backstory the game still has the power to make us feel unsettled when
thinking about it all these months later at number 13 a place in this countdown
that no doubt for some will be a travesty
disco Elysium is a modern take on dice rolling games of old where you play as a
broken former detective who’s clearly seen better days the hand-drawn art
style is painterly in its nature and reminds us of oil and canvas with it
being an assault on the senses visually it’s nothing short of stunning while
there’s also no denying it’s all very cleverly written we can’t ever recall
having the depth of conversations we’ve had with NPCs in any RPG over the past
couple of years or perhaps ever however not all of the conversations flow so
well some of the pacing is off tempo with plenty of uneven sections and
rhythm breaks where signposting of what to do next fall somewhat flat we also
struggle to gel with the characters and the type of story and associated themes
and we agreed that as wishy-washy as this sounds because it is there’s a lot
in the game we don’t enjoy particularly to place it any higher in our
end-of-year indie game run down now at number 12 tangle Tower came out in late
October and is all about a murder mystery which is elements of Ace
Attorney games and Professor Layton you go about interrogating the folks who
lived within a tower with the view of finding out who killed the victim and in
doing so you can picture a strange and yet totally convincing tale of discovery
and intrigue what sets this one apart from other visual type novels well it
isn’t just the story and interactions you have with the NPC’s but how the
characters animations and voice acting have risen the bar for those that follow
to such an extent well this one really feels like it’s taken these sort of
games from an artistic perspective upwards to a new level of sophistication
playing tangle Tower feels like jumping into an animated film that you’re able
to direct and control which is what it ultimately is and there were times where
we forgot we were playing a game at all which if you think about it well that’s
one heck of a fine achievement at number 11 and one of the games
alongside what the golf we’ve had most fun playing with on Apple arcade is the
adorable but sparse looking bleak sword while hardly revolutionary bleak sword
with it being a retro looking classic hack and slash brawler what it does
offer though is a brutal mix of action with the most challenging and fun boss
battles we’ve ever played on a mobile platform sure it doesn’t look overly
pretty but that doesn’t matter the 9 level was where you can build your
character’s abilities as you progress all feel measured and there’s a fine
difficulty progression from start to finish the controls are so simple you
attack dodge and use your shield by way of swiping or tapping the screen there
are easy comparisons to be made here with other tough fighter based games
although we think it’s best to hold off doing so we will however call out this
is possibly more fun to be had here than could really be expected on a mobile
platform and yes you do die over and over again but once you recognize the
enemy movement patterns you can get working on taking care of business for
fighty games on mobiles there’s nothing to rival it at the halfway point in this
year’s countdown untitled goofs game has been a delight to watch over the course
of its development and the finished product doesn’t disappoint as many of
you will already know you play as a moody goose and a tasked with completing
a to-do list which comprises of generally annoying the inhabitants of
what seems to be a rather sleepy English village you go about upsetting a
gardener stealing a boy’s toy before making him buy it back again from a
shopkeeper and plenty more with a simple piano led audio that features variation
of de Busey’s preludes together with pared back sounds which are totally in
keeping with the village environment has plenty add joy here to be had amongst
the chaos untitled goose game is available on home PC and the switch with
ports expected soon onto the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox next up at number eight neo cab is a
visual novel in which we explore how the expanding gig economy might look and
shape our lives within the near distant future it also peers into a view of a
time where big technology firms have more power and gravitas over people’s
daily lives than they do today neo cab tells a story of Lina who works
as one of the last human drivers for hire where nearly everyone else has been
replaced by driverless alternatives over the course of an in-game week you
collect a number of passengers each night and it’s up to you to chat with
them by way of the dialogue choices offered as the journey goes along as a
visual novel neo cap succeeds in the narrative and where it directs the
player to cast a more careful eye and where we as society are headed and if
not were almost there already up next at number 9 and the only couch co-op
focused game to make the rundown Eve ho sees you and up to three others having
the simple task of getting from point A to point B without dying it’s that good
that for much of the Year heave-ho replaced the overcooked series as our
number one party game it’s just so very silly and fun from the moment you start
playing like overcooked it’s really easy for it to cause the odd argument here
and there when players make mistakes or a careless causing other players to fall
to their doom hey it’s not perfect some levels are perhaps are just a little bit
too tricky although if you take too long the game does give you an easy option to
finishing things off which you can take or leave heave-ho came out in August on
home PC and the Nintendo switch coming at number seven Gatto Roboto with
it black on white coloring is striking within its overall visual simplicity
it’s short and can be completed in an evening more perhaps over a weekend if
you are looking to go on and finish everything it has to offer the boss
battles can be particularly fiddly Affairs in places lowers pattern based
encounters you can learn what’s going on and counter accordingly one brief note
of caution there’s not much going on from a story perspective
aside from the crazy scientist kind of thing and if you’re not already a
paid-up member of the Metroid fan club and this one’s unlikely to change your
mind that being said we loved it and have no issues placing it within the
best of our year account now from March our number six Baba is you is
certainly different while most puzzle games have you playing
with things in the environment which help guide you to and ultimately solve
the problem at hand Barbara is you does something that hasn’t been done before
not only can you manipulate things you find within the levels you are also able
to alter and change the rules the game follows these rules present themselves
as blocks of text and pushing them around say to change lava is melt to
lava is float the previously unpassable fiery impasse that was blocking your
progression is now hovering over your head therefore allowing you to pass with
over 200 different puzzles this is all about taking a methodical approach with
a good dose of lateral thinking up now and beginning the top 5 indie
games of 2019 loot at Sione came out in the third quarter of the year on to
steam and the PlayStation 4 pitched as a mutant soap opera with it looking over a
number of themes ranging from manage decay healing processors the impact of
socialization within small communities and amongst other things a story about
personal growth into adulthood it offers so much within its five or six hour play
time you play a Skye who takes a trip from the mainland to meet at Sione
to visit her grandfather who’s gravely ill over the course of a week and having
initially helped him back to health you begin to learn more about your
grandfather the other folks on the island and their individual and
collective stories one of the defining storylines comes from the overall
process and associated steps we take during grief and loss which is handled
with more nuanced subtlety and subject mastery than I can ever recall seeing
outside of an academic environment this became abundantly clear in the section
of this storyline where you use your skills to regrow the characters long
abandoned garden to help a find solace and to an extent an element of closure
you grow a number of these gardens during your time on the island and the
planting aspects are in themselves a rewarding experience where you’re free
to have a play to see what work and what doesn’t the soundtrack of these sections
and the overall sedate nature of these scenes is so very calming and peaceful
unlike nearly everything at play here is so cleverly and deftly put together at number four sayonara Wildheart is a
game that’s honestly best thought of in terms of being part interactive music
installation and part videogame the tunes are expressive catchy pop with
techno chip tune elements that work hand-in-hand with the overall artistic
aesthetic while you are on Rails the whole time as almost always a feeling of
speed and graceful movement it effortlessly leaps from genre to genre
with one moment you’re playing a rhythm based dance fight off the next a side
scroller to a semi first-person shooter and loads more the levels are brief and
intense and offer a great sense of accomplishment when Queen Latifah
hollers gold rank at the end of the level it’s art style with the animations
and accompanying soundtrack make this what it is and also like journey I’ll be
playing this from time to time for as long as I’m playing video games welcome
to all what’s warehouse a game for people who love to organize things at
number three and out late August on PC and Nintendo switch Wilmots warehouse
comes from developers Ricky hagit and Richard Hogg with it published by the
wonderful folks at Finn G described as a puzzle game for people who really like
to organize stuff you of course play as Wilmot the employee at a5 logistics
who’s responsible for organizing storing and stacking all of the products within
the firm’s warehouse how you go about organizing the products is up to you be
this by their color product type or any other format you choose to use it’s of
course totally up to you but be warned in what feels eerily similar to reports
of the workings of Amazon’s behemoth storage areas if you are too slow in
locating items when they are requested at the service hatch you won’t receive
the coveted performance stars you need to secure various upgrades with which to
improve the warehouse overall there’s something quite therapeutic when you
nail a set of delivery instructions through you knowing where everything is
and vice versa when things go all a little bit blank the end when it comes
spoiler ahead with Wilma getting fired to be replaced by a fully automated
picking system well it does feel harsh and unexpected although in hindsight
what a wonderful way to bring about closure in this year’s runners-up
position we have slay the spire while this one came out early in the year it
passed us by until a month or so before we sat down to pull together a short
list for this video a viewer had asked why we haven’t
covered this one before so we decided to pick it up and as a small collective
were so very glad we did in this game you go about moving up a tower while
killing off various monsters in what has to be one of the best card deck building
games of the current generation having chosen your base character from a number
of different classes you begin with a small deck you build on and expand as
you win in which turn makes you more powerful should you lose a battle
however well it’s down to the bottom of the tower you go it’s hugely addictive
with each playthrough offering something different and affording you the chance
to adapt and work on your battle strategies in a single word slay the
spire is a triumph and there’s only one game out all here we like playing just
that little bit more listen I need you do me a favor okay so here we
go the number one indie game we play this 2019 is telling lies from Sam
Barlow and is to date the quintessential full-motion video game this brief
overview is spoiler free although it concerns the contents of a hard drive
that has a collection of videos phone calls and hidden camera captures the
video clips are all between 45 seconds and up to 9 minutes in duration it’s all
about going through the footage and calls to join the dots together piece by
piece to figure things out we played this together as a small team and also
individually each of us noting down page after page of notes and character
observations it largely comes down to collecting words and phrases and it can
be easy to miss things here and there so playing this without concentrating fully
isn’t advisable when you do make a connection each one comes with that
little AHA sort of moment as necessary within these video motion games the
acting needs to be spot-on and yep that’s the case here each of the actors
deliver a top-notch performance that feel well I feel wonderfully real and
true to life the only issue we all agreed upon comes from the inability to
drag a video timeline to a specific point although that really is looking
for the cracks it’s brilliant and having played through it on numerous occasions
the small team that makes get indie gaming well we’re proud to say telling
lies is our most loved indie game we played in all of 2019 so which were your
favorite indie games you’ve played this year let us know down below and please
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reviews and features many thanks for watching we look forward to welcoming
you all back here soon for more indie game videos

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