I Played This Indie Game and You Should Too!

As a guy who enjoys exploring the nooks and crannies of the indie game scene, I often find games I like (Thomas Was Alone was one) that I would like to tell folks about, but that I feel a little guilty starting a new thread. Typically they’ll just get a few comments, and I know not everyone has a taste for the indie.

So this thread is for that kind of thing! Please contribute! Have you played a new little game that you want to bring attention to? Are there older indie games you think have been overlooked?

The immediate inspiration for this thread is:


What is it?
They Breathe is a horror story about frogs.

Why should you play it?
It’s actually pretty creepy, or at least evocative. The game world has a kind of chilling logic to it. And I felt the core mechanics, while simple, were well executed and fit nicely with the theme. This is a nice tight game; just as big as it needs to be.

Where can you get it?
For PC on Desura. And I think it was on XBLA, too.

Sell me on it! Why is this thing worth my time?
Okay, a hint, but it might be a little spoilery. See this picture?

Take a close look at that cow/moose thing’s head. Yeah, that’s how this game operates.

I got Macguffin’s Curse as part of the Indie Royale Halloween bundle, which I really only bought for Sam & Max season 3. But I fired it up out of curiosity, and ended up liking it a lot. It’s 90% box-pushing puzzles, so if that doesn’t interest you, you won’t like it. But it has some nice twists (you’re a werewolf, and there’s certain things you can only do in human form, and certain things you can only do in wolf form, and only certain spaces where you can change), and a little adventure layer on top of the puzzles.

There’s a demo on Steam, and it’s available for iOS, apparently. From the developer of Jolly Rover, which is a bit surprising since I didn’t like that game at all.

I really liked You Have to Win The Game. Awesome tough platformer with a badass aesthetic. Free, windows only.

Gravity Bone, and it’s sequel, 30 Flights of Loving. http://blendogames.com/

Super short, super interesting, both worth playing twice.

Faerie Solitaire comes highly recommended. Played for 15 hours on steam and the equivalent on ipad.

It’s solitaire with just the right twist to be addictive. There’s pets to collect if you’re into that kind of thing. The best thing about the game is the original haunting soundtrack, simply superb.

From the developer on Steam:

The remastered version support a higher resolution than most monitors available and will be coming early next year on Steam - you’ll get it free if you already have FS before it’s released.

So that’s basically Puzzle Quest but with solitaire instead of Match-3? Nifty!

Manresa – I liked Gravity Bone a lot. Did you feel like 30 Flights of Loving got a little too convoluted for its own good? Still, there were lots of interesting scenes and moments in it.

Escape Goat, a slick platformer with some well-designed puzzles, many of which rely on smart use of a mouse side-kick who can squeeze through gaps, scale walls, and hit buttons that are otherwise out of reach. It gets a lot more complex than that, but the difficulty curve is well judged. Finished it (or so I thought) last night (3 hrs total playtime). And then it really gets difficult!

I played 30 Flights first, and had absolutely no idea what was going on. It was just this weird WTF experience. I went back to Gravity Bone, loved it, and then 30 Flights made more sense with that context. I think I like it less than Gravity Bone more because it’s less interactive than because of its non-linearity.

GoG’s getting a nice spread of Indie games these days. Miasmata is next on my list, as i was one of those guys that played Robinsons Requiem back in the amiga days, and this seems a better attempt at the theme?

Creepy indeed, especially that final area.

If you liked VVVVVV, give 1000 Amps a try. I really enjoyed it. It’s a game you clear room by room OR you skip a room to come back later or from a different direction.

Demo here: http://www.theoddmanout.net/1000amps/

My contribution, my latest fave:


Footbrawl Quest

a relatively simple little riff on football/rugby using rogue conventions. Surprisingly polished for so early in the development process, and more fun than you would think on first blush. Even if you don’t like sports this is a cool little freebie. Windows only at least for now.

As a dissenting opinion, I played a bunch of Faerie Solitaire before realizing that it bored me to tears. There are unlockable pets and stuff, yeah, but you don’t get gameplay changes when you unlock them. I’m frankly a little baffled by how much people love that one.

The way I view such games: Is that ‘playing a bunch’ still worth $5 of entertainment? You sound like you were entertained for full value of the game.

That’s probably the sane way to think of it. At the same time, I have gotten so many hours out of FREE games, or games I’ve gotten for a buck and change through a bundle that $5 worth of entertainment on that metric can be quite a lot. (Then there’s always the “what’s my time worth” metric.)

Still, Puzzle Quest and Fairway Solitaire are games I’ve sunk dozens of hours into, so Faerie Solitaire may be a great value!

Looks interesting, I loved Fairway Solitaire so might check this out.

Which is the best version to get? I notice iPad version costs more, but read that the Steam version has more features?

And the iPad seemingly already has Retina support, which I guess is what the dev means by “higher resolution than most monitors” - so does the Steam version currently have low-res assets?

I’ve played Fairway Solitaire a bit and its gameplay is identical to Faerie. I prefer the latter though as it’s more zen-like and quieter.

I’d say go for the ipad version as Steam version is fixed to an identical resolution. However you probably can get Faerie cheap in the inevitable winter Steam sale.

Dr. Mal: Practice of Horror is a pretty zany version of Fairway/Faerie Solitaire. I prefer Dr Mal or Fairway (even though I hate the golf theme) because they have a little bit more complexity.

I’ll come in with a middling opinion on Faerie Solitaire. It’s a very polished, pretty, and soothing way to play Solitaire, but that’s it. As a mindless chill-out experience to play to kill some number of hours, it’s very good. For anything more… not so much.

In particular, the Puzzle Quest comparison is inapt. PQ had loads of mechanical variation and choices in managing your resources, the board as a whole, triggering powers, and trying to prevent the opponent from getting the resources they need, that wind up elevating it to a far more strategic experience than its Bejeweled roots. FS is always just a pretty version of Solitaire.

Miasmata is a surprisingly engaging survival horror set outdoors. It’s mostly similar to Amnesia the game but without overt supernatural elements. Does dying from a fever because you tripped and slid off a hill sound like fun? It has some amazing graphics for a two man team but be prepared to pay in a lack of optimization; this requires a fairly beefy system to run well.