The rise of indie games is happening so fast that both the PS4 and Xbox One are scrambling to prove that their console is the place to go for the best of the bunch. In truth, both consoles (and of course the PC) are now brimming with excellent titles made by small-scale independent developers, who may lack the budgets and marketing clout of the big publishers, but more than make up for this with raw creativity and ingenuity. As indies increase in prominence, many of its developers are now getting funded by major publishers to help realise their games, too. You could argue that when the business-oriented concerns of a publisher start getting involved, then a game loses its 'indie' status, but indies are defined by more than just their production process. Defining an indie game is an endless debate thanks to all of the above, but for the purposes of this article let's go with small developers that make unique and boundary-pushing games, all with minimal or no interference from publishers. All agreed on that definition? No? I thought so. Let's move on, and at the very least, try and agree that the following 10 titles are the greatest indie offerings of 2015.
10. Her Story
Remember those awful FMV games back in the 90s, with dodgy acting, terrible puzzles, and the kind of plots worthy of the Syfy Channel? Well, Her Story is a throwback to one of these, but much, much better. In fact, it's probably the best FMV game ever made. But that's not really doing it justice. Her Story is a game in which you are a police detective watching recordings of Hannah, a woman giving a series of interviews to the police relating to the case of her missing husband. As you sift through the segmented tapes, it's your job to work out what exactly happened by cross-referencing the clips with each other using a police computer (which, true to the 1994 setting, looks like a creaky old Windows 95 PC). You don't hear the police ask Hannah any questions, so it's up to you to work out the context of what she's talking about and come to your conclusions accordingly. Her Story is brave, ambitious, and brilliantly executed, presented in a way that makes you feel like an investigator more than a gamer - which is more than can be said of most other, higher-budget, games tackling the tricky detective genre. Thanks to the fact that it's mostly made up of grainy film recordings, development costs were minimal, so it's super-cheap even for an indie game. Could this trigger an FMV game revival? Buy Her Story at GOG
Gamer, Researcher of strange things.
I'm a writer-editor hybrid whose writings on video games, technology and movies can be found across the internet. I've even ventured into the realm of current affairs on occasion but, unable to face reality, have retreated into expatiating on things on screens instead.