The gaming industry is huge right now and producing some brilliant games, with dozens of Triple A titles to get excited about every year. But this avalanche of big-name titles, in addition to a wealth of mobile games and social games, means that there are a lot of brilliant single-player indie games flying under the radar.
In this guide we’ll shine the spotlight on these titles, giving them the exposure they deserve and showcasing the games that you should be playing right now. These are not the sort of games you’ll see selling millions, establishing their own leagues or dominating esports betting sites. But if it’s single-player fun you’re looking for, they top the bill.
- What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch has been described as a “mystery adventure”, which sounds intriguing, and a “walking simulator”, which does not. But focus on the former, not the latter, because this is truly one of the most mesmerising games you will have ever played.It tells the story of a young girl returning to her childhood home, but the beauty of What Remains of Edith Finch lies in the way this story is told. As she searches through the house, the player delves into the lives of each one of its unfortunate occupants. They play through that character’s eyes, and there is a unique format for each and every one, from a top-down dream sequence that takes place as you chop the heads off fish (it’ll make sense in time) to a tale told through the eyes of a succession of predators and prey, culminating with a mythical, man-eating sea creature. It’s short, and you’ll likely complete it in one or two sittings, but it’s breathtaking from start to finish and is everything that a indie game—and a video game in general—should be.
Madworld is a hack and slash game that was released on the family friendly Wii console. It was the wrong console and the wrong time for a game like this, because if it had been launched on the Xbox just a few years later or earlier, when demand for these games were a little higher, it would have flourished. As it was, Madworld faded into relative obscurity and was not fully appreciated for what it was. It uses a unique aesthetic, with black and white backdrops and stark slashes of red alongside comic book illustrations. It’s addictive, it’s fast-paced, it’s fun, and it’s seriously underplayed and under-appreciated.
- Gone Home
We played this game before What Remains of Edith Finch and if that had not been the case then we may have been disappointed with it. It has a similar plot, one that is based around discovery in a slow-moving first-person perspective. However, if you focus on what this game offers irrespective of any other title, it’s a beautifully made indie game that is great fun to play.It’s also quick, and it will be over before you know it, but it’s great fun nonetheless and has flown under many players’ radars.
- The Stanley Parable
This is one of those games where the less you know about it the more you will enjoy it. It is a game that is full of surprises and one of those kicks in as soon as the game begins. That surprise concerns how the game is narrated, making it feel like someone is playing a game with you and not the other way around.
There are multiple different endings and it’s great fun to make the choices that lead to each of them. Just like Gone Home and What Remains of Edith Finch, it is a short, story-driven game, and just like those aforementioned titles it’s huge fun.
- Fallout 2
The average modern gamer relates the Fallout series to a third-person, 3D game as represented by Fallout 3, Fallout 4 and Fallout New Vegas. But the beginnings of this series were just as impressive, if not more so, and this is best illustrated by Fallout 2.
This game is shockingly vast, and you can’t understand that until you play it yourself. The amount of things that you can do far outweigh any modern Fallout title. In one town you can enter what seems to be an insignificant gym, only to discover that you can then enter prizefighting tournaments and work your way toward being a boxing champion; in another you can assume the role of a crime-fighting detective. And all of this takes place as you drive from town to town in your beaten-up car carrying all of your possessions in the trunk.
Sure, modern Fallout games are great, but to truly experience everything that is great about this series and to understand the potential that it has for the future (once you add glorious 3D graphics, voice animation and complex storylines, you have to sacrifice size and depth) you need to play Fallout 2.
- Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
Fallout 2 was released nearly 20 years ago, so it’s understandable why some modern gamers might want to give it a miss. But if you want a newer game that is almost as vast and impressive and works with a similar perspective, then Wasteland 2 is ideal. It’s also post-apocalyptic and it borrows many ideas from Fallout (the original Wasteland was actually released before Fallout, but there is a huge difference between games 1 and 2 in this series) along with a great story and a huge game world. The game was funded by Kickstarter and other crown-funding projects and it’s one of the few Kickstarter titles that did not disappoint.
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