The Indie scene is becoming bigger and more prolific with every year that passes, and 2016 was pretty darn big. We all played our fair share of amazing indie titles from every genre imaginable, until we came up with the list below. Some of these titles are pretty well-known, and for very good reasons, but we think you’ll find at least a couple you might not have tried, or even heard of. We know it makes us sound like hipsters, but it’s the truth.

Here are our picks for the best indie games of 2016.

Abzu

Best Indie games of 2016 abzu

Developer: Giant Squid

Publisher: 505 Games

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

The weirdly-named Abzu is a serene and beautiful adventure by some of the people who made Journey. Since the comparison is inevitable, we should state that Abzu doesn’t quite have the impact its older brother had on the indie scene, but it is a wonderful journey nonetheless. Exploring the underwater ruins makes you want to dive deeper (pun intended) into this colorful world and uncover the secrets it holds. Other times you just want to sit on a rock, absorb the beauty that’s all around you, and just… go with the flow. Not many games let you play at your own pace without urging you forward from one set piece to the next, and we simply love Abzu for being perhaps one of the most chill experiences this year.

Enter the Gungeon

Best Indie games of 2016 enter the gungeon

Developer: Dodge Roll

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4

Count on the indie scene to come up with something as crazy as a game about shooting bullets at bullets that in turn shoot other bullets right back at you. Well, sometimes you shoot stuff other then bullets at things that are not bullets, but you get the point – Enter the Gungeon is a game that loves guns and shooting them, and never feels the need to apologize for that. Even the titular Gungeon is inside a giant bullet-shaped spaceship. Thanks to a combination of an arcade shooter, Bullet Hell and roguelike elements, you can probably keep playing Enter the Gungeon until you run out of ammo, which will never ever happen.

Factorio

Best Indie games of 2016 factorio

Developer: Wube Software

Publisher: Wube Software

Platforms: PC

What we have to say about Factorio can fill the roughly 500 hours of playtime we already have on it – and this is a game that’s still in Early Access. Apart from easily being one of the most polished and content-rich games we’ve seen, it’s also got that “Easy to learn, hard to master” thing going for it, which makes me come back to it time and time again. It’s a game that even after hundreds of hours, you can always find something to improve or innovate – the options to experiment and try out new things are practically endless. It’s always “I’ll just adjust this one little thing” right before the entire day seems to go by and yet the game doesn’t get old or repetitive – the factory simply grows.

Inside

Best Indie games of 2016 inside

Developer: Playdead

Publisher: Playdead

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Inside comes to us from the creators of Limbo, so you already know what to expect – it’s bleak, depressing, clever and is full of great platforming puzzles. It’s also full of uncomfortable death scenes and really disturbing themes like mind control, slavery and human cloning. The best part is that Inside never sticks any of that in your face, and lets the horrible realization slowly creep up on you as you play the game. We absolutely love it. Even if you put all that aside and focus solely on the gameplay, you’ll find solid platforming and puzzles that will take a gruesome death or two to figure out. Just writing about Inside makes us want to play the game all over again, so if you never did – join us.

Thumper

Best Indie games of 2016 thumper

Developer: Drool

Publisher: Drool

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4

The only way to describe Thumper is “rhythmic violence”. The heavy drumbeats and digital noise are cold, oppressive and sinister – feelings that are only amplified by the game’s visuals. Your senses come under constant attack as you race through the complex and quite ingenious rhythm puzzles, violently executing sharp turns and timed button presses to damage the huge creepy boss at the end of the level. In a year devoid of any interesting rhythm games, Thumper takes a refreshing approach in both design and sound. You may have played similar games before, but never one this captivating and violent. It’s a game you need to experience instead of reading about, preferably with a VR headset.


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