5 indie games that deserve more love

by MaddOx
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Quite often in life, you can find yourself muddling along not being recognised for the great things that you do. Now, the chances are you don’t do these things for the recognition anyway. But we’re here to tell you that you deserve to be recognised and appreciated for all you have given to others. We’re here to tell you that you’re deserving of so much more love than you realise. We are of course talking to you, our favourite indie games. And if you thought this was about you the reader, well, we suppose you’re ok too.

But yeah, today, we’re here to discuss some of our favourite Indie titles that we feel are deserving of so much more love. The titles that may have been overshadowed by other releases, or that didn’t have the marketing budgets to really SELL their game. The games that we spend more time playing because they’re so addictive that we’ve sunk more hours into them than AAA titles like Skyrim or GTA V. And hopefully if you’ve not checked these titles out yet, this post will encourage you to do so. We promise you won’t regret it.

Sally Face

This episodic indie adventure game, which was created by Steve Gabry, aka Portable Moose, is just as strange as its name. It follows the story of Sal Fisher, a young person with a prosthetic face, who goes around investigating local murders with their friends. And if that wasn’t enough already, the game’s artwork just adds a pinch of creepiness to the already bizarre setup the game offers its players.

Now, this is a game that has been out for some time, with the first episode having been released in 2016. But we were guilty of missing out on it, despite its extremely positive reviews from critics and the public. It wasn’t until this year that one of our writers, Kae, checked it out and instantly became hooked. And because it took us this long to notice it ourselves, we decided it could do with a little more love, so we encourage you to check out this first indie title on our list.

Screenshot of Sally Face and two friends from indie game Sally Face

The Universim

The Universim originally caught our attention, not because of hype built around it, but because the game’s cover art reminded me of the same cover for one of my childhood favourites, Populous: The Beginning. And, in fairness, this God-style simulation game is similar in ways to that classic title, in that you take the role of a God who controls and develops the civilizations through the years, hopefully leading them to a utopia where life is perfect.

This indie title was developed and published by Crytivo Games, and one of the core reasons we liked it was because it offered an intuitive and thoroughly delightful experience that both genre novices and seasoned veterans would enjoy. And you’ll be able to find out more about why that is and what else we thought of the game in our preview for the Universim HERE.

Buddy Simulator 1984

This indie title is developed and published by Not a Sailor Studios. Buddy Simulator 1984 is a simulation game in which you befriend an AI that is programmed to be your buddy. Set in 1984, the game has a real retro feel to it, with its pixelated graphics, and dated music and sound effects, proving that you don’t have to have super detailed graphics like AAA titles such as Red Dead Redemption 2 in order to be a great game.

Now it is one of those games that people either love or hate, there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. Even when people can appreciate what Not a Sailor Studios have tried to do here. And sometimes tasks can be a little monotonous, but the way the story progresses and how things evolve as you make your way through the game, really help deliver a solid experience. And it’s one that if you don’t just care about fancy graphics and multiplayer experiences, you really should check out and show it some love.

You can actually check out our review of it HERE, and also an interview we did with the indie developer Not a Sailor Studios HERE.

Buddy Simulator 1984 gameplay

Crosscode

This happens to be another indie game we’ve reviewed on the site when it was released on Nintendo Switch in 2020, you can read it HERE. But to briefly go over what CrossCode is, it’s a game within a game that takes place in the online world of CrossWorlds. You take the role of Lea who just happens to wake up in CrossWorlds with no recollection of who she is or why she is there. In order to find out what is going on, you must navigate your way through this adventure that pays tribute to the MMO genre, trying to find the answers you so desperately seek.

Although the controls were a little awkward on the Switch version, you do get used to them but you don’t have that issue when playing on a keyboard on a PC. We really love the unique story that CrossCode tells and the interesting way in which it tells it, and it’s for that reason that this game also makes the list, because we’re sure it is a game that you will love just as much as we have.

SHUT IN

And the final indie game that makes our list is SHUT IN, which was developed by the one-man army of Cael O’Sullivan. We reviewed it ourselves following its release, as did our friend over at NinjaRefinery, and both reviews commended the game in the way that it portrays mental health issues. Whilst it is a very dark comedy game, with almost farfetched imagery used for certain scenarios, it’s actually an accurate portrayal in terms of how people with anxiety and other mental health issues can feel.

And since I’m currently on a Mental Health First Aid course at the moment, organised by the video game mental health charity Safe In Our World, it seemed an apt title to add to our list.

SHUT IN bathroom

Now, it’s only a short indie game, but it can give an incredible insight into what it can be like for those suffering from severe depression. From the struggles of getting out of bed for the day to brushing your teeth and making something to eat. The struggles are real, and whilst you may be thinking “they’re not real challenges, try being a refugee fleeing Afghanistan”, you are right, in perspective that is a bigger challenge, but to the person suffering from mental health issues, their problems can feel just as big too, and when you say things like that to them, it just makes things worse by adding guilt into the cocktail of emotions they already have.

But it’s not all as depressing as depression sounds, as I said, the game is a dark comedy. And it delivers it in a clever way that will help you to find that little glimpse of light in the darkness that we can all use from time to time.

And there you have it, a list of five indie games we think deserve more love. If you yourself think there are other indie games that need more love, why not let us know in the comments below. And if you’ve played any of the indie games we’ve already listed, let us know what your thoughts were on those titles too.


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