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The best indie and alternative video games to play right now

The best indie and alternative video games to play right now

Alternative Indie Video Games

The gaming world has taken an interesting turn these past few years. Suddenly, players are growing more and more distrustful of big game companies like EA and Ubisoft –and rightly so. After numerous pay-to-win controversies and games being rushed out either unfinished or missing essential content, all for an extortionate price. , companies have a lot to answer for. However, this has led to more of a rise in indie games- those created by passionate individuals or small teams on modest budgets, and finding a decent low-budget game is easier than ever thanks to the efforts of smaller companies like Valve and their software, Steam.

Of course, with their rise in popularity and over-abundance in recent years, it can be easy for a few games to become over-shadowed by releases by indie juggernauts like Jonathan Blow and Super Giant Games. That’s why we here at No Majesty have compiled a list of alternative, slightly less well known games for you to sink your teeth into- whether you’re tired of playing triple A clones or are just looking to expand your horizons a little, we’re sure there’s a new game for you.

Oxenfree

  Developer: Night School Studio Released: January 2016 Platforms: Steam, Xbox One, PS4, IOS, Android

Oxenfree

What is it?

Oxenfree is an adventure game that puts you in the shoes of blue-haired-heroine Alex, as she and her friends venture to an island for a party, only to encounter some spooky goings-on. Possibly not the most original idea you’ve ever heard of, but as always, it’s what Night School Studio does with the platform that makes it such an interesting game.

Oxenfree is a point-and-click adventure that focuses on its unique choices, both big and small. In each situation, Alex has four responses; three speech bubbles and the option to not say anything, all of which will cause some sort of reaction with the supporting cast.

Why should you play it?

For starters, Oxenfree looks beautiful. The characters may look simplistic, but the backdrops and visual effects are stunning. Combine this with the fantastic voice cast, perfect delivery and exceptional writing, and you have a living, breathing world that is a joy to play over and over again, and with a staggering amount of player choice and multiple endings, each and every play through is a complete joy.



Scanner Sombre (VR)

 Developer: Introversion Software Released: April 2017 Platforms: Mac OS, Steam (VR)

Scanner Sombre

What is it?

Scanner Sombr, by the same craetors as simulation Prison Architect and war-strategy DEFCON, is a first person adventure game, and, while it is not necessary, one of the few games I would recommend to play in Virtual Reality over the regular, vanilla version.

Players awaken in a cave, and find, in a sort of meta twist, their own VR headset, and explore a large cave full of secrets, and a dark past. The VR headset illuminates the whole area in a brilliant, beautiful, multicoloured glow, as you work to uncover the mystery within.

Why should you play it?

While Virtual Reality is still in it’s infancy, I’m sure the number of people reading this who actually own a headset compatible with Steam is relatively small, those of you fortunate to own one should certainly think about picking this one up.

While there is no focus on action, it’s Scanner Sombre‘s atmosphere that makes it worthwhile, as you follow the jaw-dropping trails, full of vibrant colour that is painted in by your trusty scanner. There is an element of genuine fear when playing in VR, that could only be replicated by big budget games like Resident Evil 7, but Scanner Sombre achieves a genuine sense of unease and a haunting atmosphere that beautifully contrasts with it’s vibrant colours.

 

What Remains of Edith Finch

 Developer: Giant Sparrow  Released: April 2017 Platforms: Steam, PS4, Xbox One


What Remains of Edith Finch

What is it?

Another ‘Walking-Simulator’ on the list, but the difference between here and Scanner Sombre, is a unique use of separate, entertaining mini-games that come together to tell a beautiful, and ultimately quite tragic story.

Why should I play it?

What Remains of Edith Finch both looks and sounds incredible, the delicate and beautiful score encapsulates the desolate and mysterious atmosphere perfectly, but it’s the narrative that really sets it apart. You wander around the massive Finch family home, unravelling the mystery that surrounds the family and their ‘curse’ by interacting with memorials and shrines, which lead to exposition, cutscenes or one of the fantastic mini-games that are used to tell the story of each of the Finch children and their fates. While not a game with any sort of action, What Remains of Edith Finch is an emotional and fascinating story to explore.

 

Westerado: Double Barrelled


Developer: Ostrich Banditos  Released: April 2016 Platforms: Steam
 

 Westerado Double Barrelled

What is it?

A simple, but incredibly fun and unique action game, Westerado began life as a free flash game, which can still be found here, before being published by Adult Swim back in 2016. In Westerado, you play a gunman in a homage to Spaghetti Westerns of old, searching for the person who killed your family to enact revenge. But here is Westerado’s dirty secret- it’s a random NPC, that’s different every time you play.

There is complete freedom in Westerado’s world, you can go anywhere, talk to anyone, and of course, murder anyone or everyone. Completing side-quests helps you find details on the person you’re hunting, and enables a huge amount of re-playability.

Why should I play it?

Westerado is fast and frenetic, with total freedom, beautiful animation and often hilarious dialogue. Each play-through is completely unique, with plenty of incentive for multiple play-throughs. For those who love fast-paced action with unique story elements, and those who just can’t resist the charms of Spaghetti Westerns and 8-bit games from way back when.


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The Swapper


Developer: Facepalm Games  Released: May 2013 Platforms: Steam, PS3, PS4,Xbox One
 

 The Swapper

What is it?

The Swapper is a metroid-vania style game, with a unique 2D look and focus on puzzle elements through the usage of your trusty clone-gun. No, you didn’t misread that, you have a gun that shoots out clones of yourself, and these are primarily used to solve puzzles and circumvent locked areas.

Why should I play it?

The Swapper has a beautiful Sci-Fi aesthetic, and a desolate atmosphere that perpetuates a mysterious and interesting story, and asks interesting questions about life and humanity. For those who love brain-bending puzzles and beautiful Sci-Fi backdrops.

 

NEO-Scavenger


Developer: Blue Bottle Games  Released: December 2014  Platforms: Steam, Mac, Android

NEO-Scavenger

What is it?

NEO-Scavenger is an old-school rogue-like set in a post-apocalyptic setting. With an emphasis on survival and trial-and-error, NEO-Scavenger is punishing but rewarding, despite it’s simple presentation and a UI that takes some practise, there is a huge amount of depth to be found.

You’ll begin each game awakening from a cryogenic centre and exploring the desolate ruins, scavenging weapons and food, while avoiding enemies and making sure you don’t freeze to death. Repeatedly.

Why should you play it?

For those who crave a challenge similar to older post-apocalyptic games like Fallout and Wasteland, or those who love hard-as-nails survival sims, NEO-Scavenger has a deep combat system with plenty of variety and a fun and rewarding loot system. For those who can perservere past the constant death and injury, you’ll also find a long and interesting narrative, complete with paranormal elements.

 

Lisa


Developer: Dinaling Released: December 2014 Platforms: Steam, Mac
 

Lisa

What is it?

Possibly the game with the most notoriety on this list, Lisa is a 2D adventure game in a brutal world. You play as Brad Armstrong, searching for his adopted daughter, Buddy. Not Lisa.

Lisa utilises an RPG system in combat, with recruitable party members, which you will quickly find that when they die, they die. Forever.

Why should I play it?

Although possessing a dreary atmosphere at times, Lisa also contains a huge amount of dark humour, which occasionally alleviates the oppressive feel of the game, and occasionally hits the heart strings like a freight train.

But perhaps the shining star in Lisa’s arsenal of qualities are is the choices you make across your journey. Sacrificing party members for your own greed, deciding who lives and who is brutally murdered result in heart-wrenching moments, or physical changes to your character and the world as a whole. Brad may start the game as a broken man, but depending on who you play, he could end up as a scarred, armless, broken man. There is definitely an Earthbound or Mother 3 vibe here, if you’re looking for a game to scratch that itch.

Abzû

Developer: Giant Squid  Released: August 2016 Platforms: PS4, Steam, Xbox One

Abzu

What is it?

Yet another game with a de-emphasis on action, Abzû borrows heavily from the amazing PS3 adventure game Journey, not just in feel, but also the same art director. Similar to Journey, you play an unnamed character exploring a quiet and almost desolate world, however, opposite to Journey’s expansive desert areas and warm colours,  Abzû in a massive, vibrant ocean.

As you swim through each uniquely coloured and themed area, you will unravel the past of  Abzû‘s world, which, while very subjective due to the lack of real dialogue, is profound and interesting to watch unravel.

Why should I play it?

Ocean levels and worlds are nothing new to games, but there is nothing quite like  Abzû out there. It is such a joy to traverse the beautiful, intricately crafted ocean, interacting with realistic marine life and exploring sunken ruins. Each area has it’s own motif, colour and personality, and you’ll experience a wide range of emotions exploring it-from wonder and awe to elation and terror (depending on how afraid you are of the ocean). It is relaxing, beautiful, and a true joy to play, despite it’s short but concise length.

Of course, there are hundreds of Indie games out there, some more or less well known  than these, Have any favourites we should have included? Be sure to let us know!

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