The Rise of Indie Games
Continuing the trend of games like "Minecraft," "Fez," and more, independently developed video games (indie games) have exploded within the last ten years. A sparse gaming niche in its own right has grown into a beloved and highly played subsection of the gaming world. Indie games, due to their smaller budgets, do not always have features such as voice acting, long storylines, or demanding graphics—but many of them showcase their place in the indie game realm through nuanced storytelling, a more intimate gaming experience, new takes on highly saturated genres, and at their core, a love for the artistic medium of video games. While some of the games on our list have been out for the last couple of years, take a look at Odyssey's three indie video games that everyone truly needs to start off 2021!
Warning: Some of the games listed below deal with sensitive topics and/or depict violence, gore, and explicit language.
1.) "Project Warlock" is a throwback to the beginning of first-person shooters.
Devilishly enjoyable, indie German-Polish developer Buckshot Software's "Project Warlock" immerses players in the fight against the spawns of Hell in a 90s style reminiscent to the birth of gory spray-and-prey shooters "Doom" and "Blood." Playing as the unnamed warlock protagonist, players wield both spells and conventional real-life weapons while descending into the game's six non-linear chapters packed with varied enemies and bosses. "Project Warlock's" 90s 3D aesthetic adds a nostalgic factor for players familiar with the rise of first-person shooters. There is a learning curve to the mechanics of the game—as they too mimic older handling of video games before they evolved—but it's nothing when compared to the amount of nonsensical rampage driven towards defeating the denizens of Hell. "Project Warlock" is a game that is sure to excite modern shooter fans and longtime players of the genre alike, available on Windows, Linux, Playstation, Xbox, and the Nintendo Switch. So go forth and destroy everything that stands in your way as you descend deeper and deeper into hellish gameplay!
2.) "Spiritfarer" is a relaxing, emotional, and profound gaming experience.
Games few and far between put players in conversation with mortality and altruism, but Spiritfarer goes beyond even that! Developed and published by Canadian studio Thunder Lotus Games, "Spiritfarer" is a sandbox, management simulator experience of dying, compassion, and earthly bonds. Centered around the protagonist Stella and her feline companion Daffodil, the two embark on their adventure as the new spiritfarers—ferry-masters tasked with aiding souls in completing their finals wishes before departing into the afterlife. Profound in its takes on dying and heightening that with the lovable characters (all of which are animals) you give refuge to on your ship, "Spiritfarer" is nothing if not a game designed to tug at your emotions and the sinews of your heart. The item and resource management and building of the games offer a high level of creativity for players that enjoy crafting and designing, all of which is centered on your ship, and the story surrounding the characters, Stella, and the afterlife keep you completely enchanted by the 2D colorful art-style and the allegorical emphasis on the good nature of humanity. Available on Windows, MacOS, Linux, Playstation, the Nintendo Switch, and more, "Spiritfarer" is a complex adventure through the finer details of death and dying.
3.) "Cryofall" is a post-apocalyptic free-for-all.
Two words: post-apocalyptic survival! Developed by the small, tight-knit team of independent developers at AtomicTorch Studio, "CryoFall" is an early access online sci-fi survival set in post-apocalyptic future. With a multitude of servers around the world, and with the option of creating your own private servers for friends and trusted companions, players fight and survive in either a player versus environment (PvE) setting or a more intense and challenging player versus player (PvP) game mode. The game's 2D graphics add it to the realm of other item/resource management games like "Don't Starve" while adding in the qualities and ambiance of longtime apocalyptic AAA games like "Fallout," the "Metro" series, and "Sheltered" on a smaller scale. Farming, gathering resources, crafting, fortifying a base, and developing new and advanced technology is made even harder when having to defend against mutated, voracious creatures and other players looking for the same thing as you: a change to live! Available only on Windows, "Cryofall" is a survival experience that pushes you to make decisions in your self-interest—adding a new flair to the survival genre.
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