I can safely say that the undoing of many indies has been compromising on their games in order to make them more commercially appealing. Attempting to standardise games has created a wave of products which cannot compete with the bigger titles, and lack of innovation. Cloning Flappy Bird and Crossy Road can only take you so far. Luckily enough, there are few indies which are not afraid of pushing the boundaries of what a game should be and should look like.
MYRIAD | Erlend Grefsrud | website
MYRIAD is the abstract game for antonomasia. The first time I’ve seen it, I’ve been completely captured by the total randomness of its gameplay. Then, after carefully looking someone playing for few minutes, a pattern emerged. The world of MYRIAD is full of rules; you just have to discover them. Is not hard to understand the basics of the game, but mastering it requires more then just good reflexes. Most of the pleasure from playing MYRIAD derives from the constant discovery of a new rule or trick; “Oh, I didn’t know I could do that too!” should be the subtitle of the game. In MYRIAD I really can make the world and destroy the world. The only thing I still can’t do, is pronouncing the name of it’s developer…
Soft Body | Zeke Virant | twitter | website
“You are a beautiful, gooey snake“. That’s how the trailer of Soft Body opens; and to be honest, I don’t need any other reason to love it. There are two aspects which help to make this game interesting. The first surely is its aesthetic: if you like that crisp, funky vector art which doesn’t apologise for itself, Soft Body is a game you’ll love. The second, and perhaps even more important aspect it’s the gameplay: levels in Soft Body are heavily scripted to react to your actions. This makes them unpredictable beyond what could be achieved within the confined rules of a traditional puzzle game. Everything in Soft Body can change; and you won’t be ready for it. Despite this Soft Body is not the same, boring bullet hell game: it is, instead, a bullet heaven.
The Sun and the Moon | Daniel Linssen | website | steam
Daniel is one of the few, brave indies not afraid to experiment and explore his creativity. You can clearly see that most of his creations lack of that traditional structure you’d expect from “a game”. Menus, tutorials (and sometimes even levels!) are often just impeachments to what really matters: the gameplay. On his itch.io page, you can see how his style and experience has evolved game after game. His latest creation for instance, The Sun and the Moon, is the one that perhaps gets closer to be “a game ” in the traditional sense; it is unique and experimental, yet remaining familiar and intuitive.