Ever since the release of Braid, an early independent title, independent gaming has become more and more prominent. Indie games are huge now, being sources of revenue for smaller publishers and developers. They’re cheaper to develop than mainstream games and comprise of small teams and rather relying on fancy 3D graphics; and many focus on the artwork, style, and gameplay.
Here we list 8 of the must-try titles that were released in 2014.[/whole]

8. Monument Valley (iOS/Android)


A minimalist puzzle game developed by Ustwo, an independent game studio. This beautifully crafted isometric, optical illusion game stars princess Ida who must traverse various maze-like buildings and progress by moving parts of the building or rotate the entire building and move along through looking at it through different perspectives. The game is now out for the iOS and Android.

7. Never Alone (PC/PlayStation 4/Xbox One)

What’s interesting about this educational independent title is that it’s developed by the very first indigenous-owned video game publisher and developer. This atmospheric puzzle platformer stars an Iñupiaq girl named Nuna and arctic fox and together they must restore the balance in the Eternal Blizzard. This game features several Alaskan indigenous folklore such as the Blizzard Man and Sky People. This game is now available on the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

6. Velocity 2X (PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita)

A sequel to Velocity (2012). This game features side-scrolling platforming and vertical shoot-em-up elements. With its speedy gameplay (and veterans of the original Velocity), people will have fun and enjoy its more rhythmic-like play. The game follows Kai who enters a Black Hole and in a brand new world. This game is now out for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

5. Threes! (iOS/Android/Xbox One)

A simple but very addicting mobile game, Threes! is a puzzle game laid out on a 4×3 grid that allows the users to slide a numbered tile to another tile and add them up, though the general rule is that the numbered tile it will slide to should be the same number. The game’s prototype was developed in one night but the design took a year to make with several layouts being experimented such as a chess and card layout. This game is available on the iOS, Android, and Xbox One.

4. Transistor (PC/PlayStation 4)

From the developers of the critically acclaimed Bastion (2011) comes this beautifully drawn action RPG. You play as Red, a singer who wields a giant sword named Transistor that was supposed to assassinate her, who must battle her way against a robotic force called the Camerata. The “Turn()” mode allows Red to pause time, strategically plan on how to attack the enemies, and allows Red to move at a speed of light. This game also includes general RPG elements such as experience points other powers call functions. This is available for the PlayStation 4 and PC.

3. Five Night at Freddy’s (PC/iOS/Android/Windows Phone)

Animatronic animals have never gotten any scarier until this game! This point-and-click adventure game takes place in Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. You play as a night security guard who must defend himself from these malfunctioning and rogue animatronics by tracking their movements via the security camera and scare them temporarily via turning on the lights, the only catch is that the camera and lights will drain battery so you should definitely conserve your energy! This one’s for PC and mobile devices.

2. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (PC/PlayStation 4/PlayStation Vita)

A remake of the original Binding of Isaac which was first released for the PC in 2011. Developed by Nicalis, this game refines the graphical elements of the original Binding of Isaac and retains the gameplay. This top-down procedurally-generated dungeon crawler plays similar to The Legend of Zelda games and instead of using weapons, you use the protagonist’s poop and tears as weapons to kill the enemies. The game stars Isaac who escapes to their monster-filled basement from his brainwashed mother who heard voices from the sky saying that she needs to save her son.

1. Shovel Knight (3DS/Wii U/PC/PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4/PlayStation Vita)

A Kickstarter game developed by Yacht Club Games (founded by the former director of WayForward Technologies). This game pays homage to the 8-bit side-scrolling classics of the NES era and also pays homage to the DuckTales’ (NES) pogo-stick attack gameplay. You play as a shovel-wielding knight who must rescue Shield Knight and defeat the eight members of “The Order of No Quarter”. The game has also received an award for Best Independent Game from the The Game Awards just this December 2014. This game is now out for the 3DS, Wii U, and PC and will be available for the PlayStation Network (PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4/PlayStation Vita) this coming 2015.
Want to add more games to this list? Share them with us in the Comments Section below!

Daniel Gonzales

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