Steam Greenlight has all but been forgotten today, but when it released it was the premiere platform for indie games to get their name out on the market. The service was meant to showcase the best of the best when it came to independent games, and it featured everything from weirdos you wouldn't let your mama come near like McPixel to classics like Stardew Valley.
Unfortunately, the service tanked when it got saturated with weirdos that no one was playing, but it goes without much saying that there were some hits on this thing. Now that indie games have been in the mainstream for a while, it's hard to say if a service like Greenlight will ever be around again, so let's reminisce about some of the best.
Broforce is a game that knows how to have fun. Not just any kind of fun, this is testosterone-fueled, muscly man's man kind of fun. It's an intense side scroller that takes inspiration from games like Metal Slug and Double Dragon.
Instead of strategizing your way through a level as you would in most side scrollers, you run in guns blazing creating destruction in anything that stands in your way. The game does a great job of making you feel badass the same way a game like Doom (2016) does. It's a modern classic that stands with the best that the genre has to offer.
Yeah, betcha didn't know that back in the day Undertale was a Greenlight game, and no doubt it's one of the platform's best. As the old saying goes, what can be said about this modern classic that hasn't been said? The story will bring you to tears, that goes for even the most cynical of you.
The game mechanics are seriously one-of-a-kind and will make you laugh when you realize how wrong you've been playing the game. The soundtrack has also become a modern classic. If you haven't played Undertale, you are missing out!
8 Cry of Fear
There's something about choppy graphics and horror games that just makes for a much better experience. System Shock 2, Silent Hill 2, Resident Evil 1 and 2, they all feel just as terrifying as the day they came out despite being inferior to the graphical prowess of many modern games.
Cry of Fear looks like an early 2000s game, but boy oh boy does it hold up with the best that horror has to offer. With its defenseless survival horror gameplay and disgustingly creative monsters, Cry of Fear is like the love child of Amnesia and Silent Hill. A perfect game for any fan of the genre.
7 Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is definitely a gimmicky game that certainly won't appeal to everyone. Much like titles like Goat Simulator or even Turbo Dismount, a lot of the fun you have in Octodad depends on how much you're willing to give to the game.
If you want to mess around and break a game that wants you to break it, you're in for a treat. In Octodad, every one of your limbs is controlled by a different button, and if you've ever played the popular online game QWOP, you know how difficult that can be. So, the sky's the limit here and let the wacky antics ensue.
6 Papers Please
Papers Please is a game that will take you by surprise. First, you'll think you're playing a cutesy indie game where you control a border agent who controls who does and doesn't enter your communist country of Arstotzka. Then people try to sneak in, use intricate fake passports and even resort to acts of terrorism -- to say it goes down real quick is an understatement.
The themes of the game really make you think about how much craziness goes down on the borders of different countries. With multiple endings based on your actions, this is a perfect game through and through.
5 Cook, Serve, Delicious!
Cook, Serve, Delicious is probably the closest we'll ever get to a video game representing work in the food industry. Ok, sitting on your couch with a controller or a mouse in hand is still ocean's length away from the high-pressure situations you'll be put in while working in a kitchen, but this game is still the closest you'll get in a game for sure.
You take orders, fill them, and serve it all out, it's as simple as that. As the game picks up speed, you better believe you'll have sweaty fingers in no time.
4 The Impossible Game
Before there ever was a Geometry Dash there was The Impossible Game. A simple premise, tap the screen or click the mouse/button when a triangular spike was approaching. Do that enough times and you'd finish the level -- but boy does that get harder when the music starts pumping and levels start flipping -- and that's just the start of it.
The premise here definitely got fleshed out a lot more with Geometry Dash, a title that introduced a slew of different mechanics to throw the game for a loop. Nevertheless, The Impossible Game is still a fun one for the ages.
3 A Hat in Time
Make a good sequel to Banjo and Kazooie they said, Yooka Laylee was garbage and doesn't count they said. Well, well, well, all of you that were spouting this same rhetoric can now stop complaining, because A Hat in Time is the spiritual successor to Banjo that no one ever thought we'd get.
In the modern-day, it seemed the only people who could do 3D platforming any justice anymore was Nintendo, but A Hat in Time came in to save the day. The controls are tight, something that is necessary for a game like this, and the worlds are immense and wonderfully detailed. Pick this one up ASAP.
2 The Cat Lady
This is a game that will remain in your nightmares for years to come. The Cat Lady is a slow-paced side-scrolling horror game that reeks of atmosphere and is filled with twists and turns at every corner. The game is loaded with so many disturbing images and so many moments that will make you question everything you know about gaming.
This is a much slower-paced game, so you'll have to be patient with the experience until your reeled in. It's one of those weirdly disturbing games that you'll never forget, and it's a must-play for any fans of the horror genre.
1 Stardew Valley
While this list is in no particular order, there aren't many that can stand up to the masterpiece that is Stardew Valley. There's just too much to go over here -- it has the depth of Terraria, the quaintness and charm of Animal Crossing, and the mechanics of Harvest Moon -- all this culminating into one perfect game.
I almost don't want to recommend playing this, because it feels like I'm endorsing an addiction, not a game. So be warned, once you play this, you'll be hooked. But after you waste hundreds of hours farming, exploring, and having the time of your life, you'll likely feel like it was worth it.