Although Indie games are by no means new over the past few years the whole indie scene has been picking up, in no small part from the increased improvements in digital distribution on all platforms from steam on the pc; xbox market place; PSN store; and of course iTunes app store. All these outlets offer new developers a significant way to publish their hard work and innovation, which can lead to surprising results with games coming out that put some of the big publishers in their place.
In the gaming market place you may expect that Indie games even though there is all these new avenues to the consumers that they would be over shadowed by the big publishers who can spend millions on the marketing of their products. This is somewhat true however word of mouth travels far and games like Super meat boy scoring 90% across the board last year along with selling 140 000 copies alone on the xbox marketplace by the end of the year. These significant sales figures really show how the indie scene has been growing and although major developers boast sales in the millions the investments are significantly higher and thus the profit margins are generally lower.
The ever changing and growing indie games market is a breath of fresh air in the otherwise stilted gaming market with develops not really branching out and sticking all to firmly to the same franchises far to long (the idiom “flogging a death horse” rings true of many), really lacking the innovation and uniqueness that these games once gave, just for a fast buck. So it is no surprise how indie games can break new territory as has been shown with magicka which was developed by a six person team in Sweden. It plays out like a traditional top down action adventure with the exception you are able to mix and match whole combinations of spells together to yield even more potent versions, along with great pop culture references and constant running jokes it really is a very fun game. The spell mixing dynamic is a USP which has been side stepped for all too long, along with a 4 player co-op which is great fun! Creating a generally a very well rounded game with more play time then games four times the price, and although it has been scrutinised for the numerous bugs the development team has actually worked tirelessly to fix the majority of them which is more then can be said for a few games that have came out in recent history.
Another Indie game held in high steed is Amnesia again a highly innovative indie game, from last year which actually brought back the sense of a real survival horror. Forget all your pansy hero’s carrying an inventory of weaponry that would make an army blush o no, in Amnesia there is no way to fight back the ghouls that lurk in every corner . This makes a truly horrific game, where every twist and turn leaves potential danger as the only way to survive is to run, quite possibly the best example of a survival horror game in my opinion as it really pushes the horror elements in to your face, instead of hiding behind a kind of action shooter.
Super meat boy is of course another indie game held in high accolades as the graphic style is simple and clean but it is the level design and the unrelenting difficulty that really harks back to the golden age of gaming where if you died in the game you could end up having to restart the whole game! Many modern games just make the campaigns too short and easy ,this on the other hand is just pure torture from almost the first level, unrelenting and unforgiving but very addictive! A great way to kill a few hours, even if it can endue endless levels of stress and is by no means a game you want to wind down to, this said the sense of accomplishment you get from finishing the harder levels is unparalleled by many games.
There is many Indie games available and I do believe a great deal of them are much better then many games churned out by the major developers, and being at less then half the price for a more interesting experience I would recommend them to anyone, though these games mentioned are generally the ones which have shone above the rest there is a reason for that and they are cheap but well worth the purchase. The Indie market is in all the flavors from the casual pick up and play games to while away an hour or so to the really in-depth games that leave you playing for hours, so support the indie developers! god knows many of them earn it.