Indie Games don’t get a lot of media attention. At least not from the big guys — IGN, GameSpot, Joystiq, Kotaku. However, every now and then an indie game will “break out” from obscurity and be fully recognized by the gaming press and the masses. When all is said and done I’d say only about ten indie games a year are ever really discussed and played by people outside of the indie gaming culture. Which is a shame because so many great ones come out each year!
Anyways, games like Trine, Machinarium, and Torchlight were some of 2009′s break out hits, but what about 2010? What do we have to look forward to for the upcoming year and what, if any, will get picked up by the mainstream press and the common gamer? Well, while we are no scientific analysts, here’s our prediction of the top 10 break out indie titles for 2010:
These are listed alphabetically, not in order of best to worst.
Clickr, by Ntreev Soft, is a dynamic new puzzle game. In fact, it’s not so much that it’s a genuinely interesting puzzle game, but rather because the game is so bright and so well presented that it’s sure to turn a few heads whenever the developers start really pushing it out the door. This game epitomizes the very reason why iPhone games work. Casual puzzlers are great for spending idle minutes when there’s nothing left to do and, with Clickr, I can see myself spending many an idle minute click, click, clicking away.
No release date has been given, but the game was recently submitted to IGF 2010 so hopefully some version of it will be released prior to that.
Danger Balls, by Pixilati, is almost entirely summed up by its own name. There are balls and they are dangerous. You need to escape from these balls in order to not get killed. The game seems like a lot of fun, and the developers are including some really neat “friends” that will help you continually dodge these evil, malicious balls. What really sets this game apart from other indie games, however, is the style. It’s incredibly cartoony, but also fresh. It’s a game that can easily be presented to the common gamer.
Emberwind, by Timetrap, is a platformer featuring Kindle Elderwood, a stout gnome watchman whose job it is to save the city from a horde of gremlins. While the game looks like a fairly standard platformer — because it is — it’s actually the story and setting that help push this one up to the top. Move over Trine because for 2010 there’s a new alt-fantasy platformer in town.
Emberwood has Gnomes, Gremlins, and plenty of eye candy… can we just start giving out next year’s “game of the year” awards right now?
Furry Legends, by Game Lion, actually looks like a fairly standard platformer. To be released on the WiiWare/DSiWare “soon” the game is full of bright colors and a world that reminds me a lot of the old Sega Genesis Sonic worlds. There’s not a terribly large amount to go on just yet aside from the fact that the platforming looks pretty good which is sure to please many a Wii-owner.
While the WiiWare version is supposed to be released in the fall of 2009, the DSi version is set to be released in 2010. If the devs can at all keep the style and gameplay of the WiiWare version I’ve no doubt that this game will be a breakout hit in 2010.
Joe Danger, by Hello Games, looks to be one of the best stunt-based games since Stunts for the PC was released way back in… I don’t even know when. The game puts you in the shoes of Joe Danger (big surprise right?) and it’s your job to take on any and all stunts of the highest caliber. That’s not even the best part, however, as the game will actually allow you to freeze the game at any point and change/modify/edit your current track in any way. It’s this kind of gameplay that’s sure to send Joe Danger to the top of the charts come it’s release next year.
Thanks to Andy and incolas for finding the Joe Danger videos!
Max and the Magic Marker
Max and the Magic Marker, by Press Play, is a very unique puzzle platformer being released on the WiiWare “soon” (I’m not 100% sure on when this game is getting released). What makes it stand out from the crowd, however, is it’s unique marker-like ability that allows you to draw damn near whatever you want in order to overcome obstacles. It has a very Scribblenauts-like feel to it in both design and style and because of that I can see this game turning a few heads down the road when it gets released.
Mon & Bot
Mon & Bot, by Im Will Games, looks to be next year’s Machinarium. The games aren’t exactly alike but they both portray a robot in a puzzle game and that’s close enough for me. More seriously though, the game’s unique visuals combined with the puzzly-platformer feel look to make this game a true standout in the next year. It has a certain ambient quality to it that only a robotic world can give… hence the immediate comparison to Machinarium.
Puzzle Bots, by Wadjet Eye, is a unique point and click adventure puzzle game featuring, yet again, robots! Although these aren’t so much the serene ambient robots like the one in Mon & Bot. This is more on the cartoon, cutesy side. Not that that’s a bad thing really. There’s still plenty of fun to be had in this game and it comes with a nice perspective from the eyes of the “human overlords.” The game looks great and will hopefully be out before too long. If they market their game correctly this could become one of the bigger indie titles next year.
Shank, by Klei Entertainment, is one of the most bad ass, crime fighting, street brawling 2D fighting games I’ve seen since the original release of Final Fight for the SNES. The game oozes with traditional 2d brawler gameplay mixed with highly stylized, awesome graphics. This game should be played by damn near anybody who loved the original Double Dragon games because it looks to be a sacred homage to an almost dead genre. Please keep an eye out for this game because… well… then they’ll be forced to make more.
Super Meat Boy
Who really didn’t see this one making the list? Super Meat Boy, by Team Meat, is already getting covered by major gaming press and for good reason too. Not only does the game feature balls-to-wall style platforming, but it also plays host to the most original cast of characters I have ever seen. Meatboy? Bandaid Girl? Dr. Fetus? Pure genius, all of them. This game is probably the only one on this list that I know for a fact will be a break out indie game next year. I know I’m excited for it, and honestly, who wouldn’t be? It’s Meat Boy!!
Well that’s all of them. Each game is looking pretty good and I can say without a doubt that I would play each and every one of them were they available today. Some of you guys may be noting that a couple of them don’t necessarily have release dates set in 2010. That’s correct. However, I figured since the year is really starting to wind down now, any sort of buzz from these games will almost have to be in 2010 considering the overwhelmingly large amount of games being released for the holiday rush.
Is my list 100% accurate and factual? Probably not since I can’t predict the future. It’s just my own opinions based on what has happened in the past and the presentation of these games. I make no promises that these games will be fun, or good in the slightest — I do hope though. Hell, I can’t even promise you that these games will even be released.
Enjoy the list and, if you think I forgot something, sound off in the comments below. I’d love to see em!
Check out our Top 10 Break Out Indie Games of 2011