Player 2’s Best Indies of 2016
Now it is the humble indie’s time in the spotlight. Each year these titles made by small teams have a habit of coming from nowhere to take the gaming world by storm and 2016 was no different. Player 2’s writers sat down and put together their favourite indies of the year below and all of them deserve your time.
Stevie – Mallow Drops
With limited gaming time this year, the attention I’ve given to indie games has been sorely lacking. While I have played a few minutes of heaps of indie titles this year (thanks PAXAus!) there has been, shamefully, only one indie title I have spent any respectable amount of time playing – that being said, it doesn’t make this title any less deserving of being my top indie of the year (or the many additional accolades it has earned!). Mallow Drops, by John ‘Gritfish’ Kane, is a wonderful little puzzle game for PC that looks cute and whimsical but will swiftly have you scratching your head and turning things over both in your mind and in your game. Employing gravity as a game mechanic, you will have to twist your level every which way in order to help your kiwi characters navigate obstacles, gather their eggs and progress through the game. While you can compare your level times to other players, it’s much more likely you’ll find yourself accidentally losing chunks of time pondering over the increasingly knotty puzzles and wondering if this is maybe why the kiwis are an endangered species – or perhaps that’s just me…
James – The Witness
The Witness is the best-designed game released 2016, no exceptions. It is immaculate in almost every way; the look and sound of the island, the variety of each location, the puzzles and how each introduces the rules behind it without resorting to a specific tutorial or immersion-killing textbox. You can move along at your own pace, without fear of harm or death, tackling each puzzle in your own time. Exploration is encouraged and rewarded through stellar vistas and intriguing environmental puzzles, including some that span most of the island. I truly believe it’s one of the finest games ever made, utterly worth anyone’s time and money.
Matt – Stories: The Path of Destinies
Wow, talk about a sucker punch from the left. I never saw this one coming but boy am I glad I took the time to play it. A great combination of Bastion and a choose your own adventure novel, Stories grabbed me from the get-go. I love the subtle changes with each playthrough, the whimsical story and the engaging combat which is up there with the best the genre has to offer. The game is only further enhanced by the light RPG elements and the enthralling narrator. If you haven’t played it then now is the time, it is currently a part of the PS Plus selection for December. You should really get on that.
Jenn – Rogue Wizards
Rogue Wizards! This game was rather addictive and really fun to sit down and play with. I feel it tried to do a little too much with its story but other than that, the mechanics were fantastic and the gameplay was simply addictive.
Stephen – Thumper
Before playing Thumper, I would have scoffed at the idea of a VR rhythm game, because I would never conceive of a rhythm game like Thumper. It’s brutal, difficult and hypnotic– there is a reason the developers promoted it as a ‘rhythm violence’ game. While playable on the PS4 itself, the VR implementation on Thumper is superb and ramps up the intensity to the point that I have to take a break between levels. It’s also the first game I’ve played that’s caused damage to my thumbs.
Paul – Inside
While I’ve probably not been as across the indie scene this year as I would have liked, there’s a few that stand out in an increasingly large pool of independently developed titles. In a warped way, I’m kind of thankful that there have been a number of high-profile indie games such as No Man’s Sky and Mighty No. 9 that have made it easier to narrow the pool of quality down. Despite it being a year where we had Inside, Hyper Light Drifter, The Witness and a console release of Screencheat, it could only be one game, Inside that took the cake. Successfully merging style and substance into a game that had carried weight, emotion and a very strange ending – Inside is still a game that springs to mind every now and then and leaves me wanting to go back to it… If nothing else, then just to work out what the hell that ending was!! If you’re yet to play Inside, this is your latest plea.