Although indie games can be found on almost every platform these days, most started on the PC. With platforms like itch.io that anyone can use to send their Magnum opus – or tech demo – to the masses, the PC is still the go-to place for creative and innovative indie games. Here are our best indie games on PC, from fans' favorite hits like Cuphead to the lesser known That Dragon, Cancer.
Return of the Obra Dinn
Lucas Pope's successor to the great papers, please! (Note for later) is one of the most dazzling puzzle games we have ever played. The return of the Obra Dinn put you in the position of an insurance specialist around 1807. Your task is to board the mysterious Obra Dinn, a merchant ship previously declared lost at sea, and to identify the bodies of the 60 crew members.
You only have a notebook with the ship's manifest, a few receipts and a magical pocket watch that takes you to the moments before the unfortunate death of a crew member. The return of the Obra Dinn forces you to play the long game, since identifying even a single person requires careful observation.
It is basically a sophisticated logic puzzle and a ridiculously brilliant one. Return of the Obra Dinn is rendered in classic 1-bit Macintosh graphics and has a unique aesthetic that will last you long after 60 names for 60 very dead bodies.
Read our report on the return of the Obra Dinn
Into the breach
Into the Breach, the studio behind FTL: Faster Than Light developed by Subset Games, is a bite-sized tactical game with a deceptive depth. Each level in Into the Breach is shown on a small grid-based map. Unlike other turn-based strategy games, you control only a few units and compete against several others.
However, their main goal is to protect the buildings from shameful insect aliens called Vek. The name of the game is to fend off the vek for a small number of rounds to proceed to the next mission. However, when all of your units are eliminated, you have to start the whole game all over again, like a villain. Into the Breach is a tactical masterpiece, brilliantly designed, invigoratingly challenging and relentlessly charming.
Read our Into the Breach test
That dragon, cancer
That Dragon, Cancer, a beautiful, heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring game by Numinous Games, takes players through the Green family's experience of cancer in children. End-stage cancer was diagnosed with Ryan and Amy Green's 1-year-old son, Joel, but he by far survived his prognosis by surviving four more years.
With this dragon, cancer, you can see snippets of what the Green family went through during Joel's fight against cancer through a point-and-click adventure game. Though the subject grapples with some serious issues, Numinous Games That Dragon, Cancer have created an ode to Joel's brave and inspiring struggle. It will make you cry, but it will also give you hope.
The square cowboy put you in the role of a hacker in the 1980s. They work with several other agents to gain access to buildings and steal important documents and other items. However, as a hacker, you don't go in to complete the job. Instead, you help through a computer terminal and enter commands to open doors, turn off cameras, and manipulate other objects.
Since raid jobs are time-critical, you have to be quick-witted to be successful. The commands (hacking inputs) are also not always clear. Before each mission, you have the option to create a mock version of the following events in "virtual reality" that you can use to develop strategies and find out what each agent will do and how he will do it The square cowboy is an all-round impressive achievement and a truly new experience.
The Steam side of her story says, "A video game about a woman talking to the police." And that's technically true, but you have to play it to really understand its size. Her Story, an FMV (Full Motion Video) game, contains video clips of police interviews with Viva Seifert, an actress and musician whose husband has disappeared.
They sit down at a desk and type sentences to see pictures of Viva discussing this information with the police. Why are you looking at these clips? What happened to her husband Her story tells an enticing story in an unconventional way. If you are at all interested in storytelling in games, you should definitely check out Her Story.
Back to the papers, please, please. Similar to Return of the Obra Dinn, Lucas Pope's other well-known game lets players take on the role of a relatively ordinary person. At a border crossing inspired by East and West Berlin, check travelers' papers to make sure everything is in order and that they are not a threat in this turbulent time of history.
Playing as an immigration official may sound boring, but you'd be surprised at how much depth Pope could put into this strange "puzzle game". There is a much deeper meaning in Papers, Please than just its quirky premise. It is a wondrous experience that makes you think differently about the people and the world around you.
Cuphead from Studio MDHR has it all. At first glance, you are fascinated by the images that are inspired by cartoons from the 1940s. Once you start playing, you will find that it is far more than just a great looking game. Cuphead was primarily designed as a boss rush and offers a variety of interesting and darn tough bosses that lead to Cuphead's last fight with the devil himself.
Each of the three worlds contains five well-designed multi-phase boss fights. But wait, there's more. Cuphead also has two run-and-gun side scrolling levels per world, each of which requires excellent platforming skills and awareness of your environment. Cuphead is not an easy game, but the fight is worth it.
Read our Cuphead test
Celeste is one of the best games of 2018 and a precision platformer with a surprising amount of emotional depth. You play as Madeline, a young woman determined to climb Celeste Mountain to overcome her own demons. In some chapters you have to jump, climb and think about every screen.
With expert platform design, a moving story about mental illness, a brilliant soundtrack and charming retro graphics, Celeste has no low point. We rated it 10/10 in our rating. It is one of the best platforms we have played in a long time.
Read our Celeste test
Spelunky had a humble start as an open source game developer, Derek Yu, which was shared on forums. The original version was officially released in 2008, but did not gain popularity until 2012 with the expanded version. In our opinion, Spelunky is not only one of the best indie games ever, but also one of the best games ever made.
As a villainous side-scroller, you play as an adventurer who works his way through procedurally created spaces, avoids villains and thereby acquires gold and useful objects. Once you die and death comes often, you have to start from the beginner.
Spelunky has only four worlds, each with four levels, but there are many secret areas. Add that each playthrough is different and Spelunky has some serious legs. It is a really remarkable game that should be played by anyone with a distant interest in 2D platform players.
Before Hollow Knight made waves on the Nintendo Switch, his life started on the PC. This 2D Metroidvania with an insect knight and a needle sword is one of the best ever. With an absolutely massive map and a progress system that forces you to explore, Hollow Knight is amazed that few games of the genre have been able to replicate.
The avoidance-centered fight is reminiscent of Dark Souls – tough but fair. During the more than 30-hour adventure, Hollow Knight features some of the most rewarding combat and platform sequences that can be seen in a Metroidvania.
Like Hollow Knight, Dead Cells started on PC before migrating to consoles much later. And like Hollow Knight, it is also not pleasant to be cast as a single genre. At face value, it's a Metroidvania with a spacious map that opens the more you play.
But it's also a villain, as you lose your progress with every death – apart from saved upgrades, weapons, and blueprints. Dead Cells is about overcoming a challenging task over time. Deaths teach lessons on what to do differently. The fight is comparable to Dark Souls, but in 2D; The real reason to stay here is the seductive art style, the fascinating world and the rewarding loot system.
Read our full report on Dead Cells
Owlboy is now available on all major consoles, but the vibrant, brilliant life started on the PC. D-Pad Studio had been working on Owlboy for almost a decade before it was launched, and this dedication is evident. You play as Otus, a young owl whose heavenly pirates have invaded their hometown. Now it's up to Otus and the friends he meets along the way to save the day.
Owlboy has a beautiful 16-bit art style that goes back to the SNES platform. The world is slowly opening up as Otus and his companions solve intelligent puzzles and fight bad guys. The puzzles are just as good as those in the series The Legend of Zelda and the exploration corresponds to that of the best Metroidvania titles. Owlboy is infinitely charming and delighted to be on the move. He will make you grin to his great conclusion.
Undertale captures a rare type of magic that has not been seen since Earthbound. This JRPG is about putting a nameless child in an underbelly filled with monsters and undermining your expectations. Undertale shines in its writing and characterization.
It is extremely funny, heartbreaking and wonderfully written. Without spoiling anything, Undertale has one of the most moving messages we've seen in a game. And if you like Toby Fox's exquisite creation, you can play the follow-up Deltarune completely free of charge. It is also not surprising, astonishing.
Eric Barone designed Stardew Valley as a kind of ode to Harvest Moon, but for the PC. The impact is clear, and many Minecraft-like mechanics show up. In the Stardew Valley, you leave town to begin a quiet life on your grandfather's property. From there you can harvest grain, fish, explore less tasty places at night and develop relationships with city AI.
Stardew Valley can easily devour hundreds of hours of your life. The 16-bit graphics, great dialogue and appealing progress system make Pelican Town an enticing place to spend your time every day. If you want a relaxing and rewarding simulation experience, the Stardew Valley is the place for you.
Where the water tastes of wine
Where the water tastes like wine was unfortunately a commercial failure, according to the developers. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be playing it. Indeed, if you want a bold narrative adventure, the water that tastes like wine is one of the best in the recent past.
During the Great Depression, just walk around and listen to people tell you their life stories. While this may sound boring, in this turbulent time in history it becomes a fascinating snapshot in the minds of people across America.
However, there are some gameplay elements other than speaking. You can earn money to buy groceries and travel. It is very experimental as there is not much play here. If you want something else whose words stay with you after the credits, you should give it a try.
FTL: Faster than light
FTL: Faster Than Light by Subset Games is one of the best real-time strategy games ever. Seriously, it's so good. In this top-down experience with rudimentary but pretty graphics, you control a spaceship that needs to bring your allies information about space. The problem is that enemies are chasing you.
In combat, it plays like a standard RTS, but you can pause the fight to think about your next moves. In the meantime, you'll also need to take care of upgrades and introducing new crew members. Like Subset & # 39; s Into the Breach, FTL has a villainous element. If your ship is destroyed or everyone is killed, the game starts over. Fortunately, every area in FTL is generated randomly, making every trip feel like a brand new game.
Read our FTL: Faster Than Light test
Frostpunk, a hybrid management sim / survival game, is extremely dark. But that's not too surprising considering that the studio behind it was responsible for This War of Mine. A volcanic winter that took place in 1886 has resulted in the death of millions and decimated sources of food.
You play as the leader of a city whose mission is to keep people alive. Frostpunk has four different scenarios, each of which brings new challenges. The interesting thing about Frostpunk is that it goes beyond the standard "Management Sim" area. The AI that you rule can be disappointed if you make bad decisions. Every time you go through a scenario, you face new challenges, such as: B. very different weather and political conflicts that make your task a tough fight at any time.
The Stanley parable
The Stanley parable is a clever, bizarre game. As a running simulator, you play as Stanley, who basically works as a gear in a machine in an office building. He looks at a computer screen and presses buttons when asked to do so. That's it. What a life. But when the screen goes dark, Stanley realizes that his office building is pretty empty.
Throughout the Stanley parable, the narrator breaks through the fourth wall and speaks to you, the player. Where Stanley's story ends is largely up to you. Depending on your choice, there are six different endings. When you quit The Stanley Parable, however, you will be wondering how much choice you really had. The Stanley parable does a wonderful job commenting on free will, but it's also just a wonderful unique experience that we fully recommend.
The beginner's guide
Even more special is The Beginner & # 39; s Guide, developed by Davey Wreden, the developer responsible for The Stanley Parable. In The Beginner & # 39; s Guide, Wreden wants to show you fragments of games created by someone he calls Coda. We recommend playing The Stanley Parable first, but The Beginner's Guide is arguably even more worth discussing.
During the short experience, Wreden takes you on an exciting journey through a friendship that fell apart. There are several theories about what the beginner's guide is trying to say. We'll let you interpret it yourself.
Unavowed is an old-school point-and-click adventure set in a fictional New York City. Her character (male or female) was possessed by a demon a year before the game started. After it detaches from your body, join the eponymous group that specializes in paranormal activities to look for answers.
Unavowed is depicted in images seen in classic adventure games, and feels like a mix of old and new thanks to an election-based system that is used in every investigation. With a colorful cast of characters and strong fonts, Unavowed makes it clear that point-and-click adventure games can still offer exciting experiences.