The world is filled with video games, so many that it's impossible to get through them all in a lifetime. What we've got to do, then, is be more picky about the games that appeal to us most.
Our choices are usually dominated by AAA titles with big budgets, being pumped out by the EAs and Activisions of the world. The market for smaller games by independent studios is increasing, but it struggles to get its voice heard. After all, conventional wisdom dictates that the biggest teams with the most financial clout get the job done better. Nevertheless, we're here with ten examples that show why that's just not true!
Not only does this game offer up an amazing platforming challenge (expecting the player to perform pinpoint actions in a way that is unlike most other games out there), it has a curious narrative that players can become truly invested in. Or not, should they choose to keep the gameplay at the forefront.
Celeste follows a young woman as she battles to come to terms with the fact that her disbelief and anxiety is weighing her down. It's a burden that takes physical form, due to the magic contained within the mountain she's climbing.
Undertale is one of those games that can be spoiled with just a small amount of information, so we really don't want to give much of it away. Suffice it to say that anyone with an interest in video games as an art form should be giving this one a look.
Depending on how the player chooses to interact with the enemies and characters within the game, the narrative will unfurl in different ways. Seriously, we don't want to spoil anything, but people shouldn't let the simple visuals put them off. There's so much going on beneath the surface here.
While games like Dark Souls have proven that there's a market for hardcore games, not many mainstream developers bring us those sorts of experiences. Perhaps they worry that people won't want to play their games if they're too difficult?
Cuphead shows that video games with a high level of difficulty have a massive audience when they're done right. Throw in the fact that this game is a beautiful sight to behold --with some absolutely amazing music-- and there's no reason not to pick up this game and really try to get to the end.
7 Into The Breach
When FTL: Faster Than Light was first released, it proved that the developers had a unique eye that many major developers don't. Into The Breach is another of their projects, a fantastic game that forces the player to really think about the move that they're making.
They are able to get away this level of difficulty by cutting up the game into levels, small spaces that players can understand almost immediately. While other games of this type make the mistake of thinking that bigger is better, Into The Breach goes for brevity instead.
6 Papers, Please
If somebody had told us ten years ago that video games will cast us as an immigration officer in a fictional dystopian country, we would have laughed at them. This is another game that we don't want to spoil for anyone, but we want everyone to give it a go.
At first, it seems like such a bland and boring puzzler, but within minutes, it will click. Once you get a handle on the narrative, Papers, Please will really hook you in.
5 Cave Story
It's been fifteen years since the first version of this game hit the market. While there have been many different takes on it since we would say that each is just as good as the next.
The main mechanic is the loop of taking down enemies, to power up weapons, to take on bigger enemies, but there's a genuinely intriguing story to go along with the action. Whether people are here for the gameplay or the plot, there will be enough to keep them coming back. It was all made by a single person, too!
Inside is the follow up to Limbo. While it's only a spiritual successor, there is a lot that connects the two of them. A rather obtuse story, for instance.
A lot of the game follows a young boy as he works his way through the shadows of a worrying future. This very quickly turns all kinds of odd, and by the end, all semblance of narrative is out of the window. A lot of people didn't like this about the game, but we personally thought it was hilarious and genuinely brilliant.
This one is not for those who don't have a knack for puzzles. After all, the beautiful visuals and calming music will only go so far when the player is trying to best one of the cruel puzzles contained in this game.
Fez has been quite a big deal; even people that haven't played it have heard of it at some point. We really think that everyone should give it a go, too. We're not saying that all players will be able to make it to the end, but those that push through will find one of the most rewarding puzzle games out there.
2 Gone Home
This is the sort of experience that a lot of developers just won't touch. When Gone Home was first released, a lot of players complained that it wasn't even a proper 'game,' as though that's such an easy thing to define!
We personally feel that it was a fascinating journey, a glimpse into a narrative that perhaps reflects the lives of many people in the real world. Why not give it a go or yourself, and see what you think about the unforgettable story that unfolds before you?
While the game might have launched some time ago, Bastion is an experience well worth revisiting. Even the visuals still hold up well today.
Towards the end of the game, it can get quite challenging, but the developers even threw in the option to up the difficulty even further! Supergiant Games have released Transistor and Pyre since (with Hades hitting early access last December), and they're also well worth a look if you were impressed by Bastion.