Indie games have only recently begun to make an impact on the game industry. In the past few years, big producers such as Microsoft and Electronic Arts have included indie games in their E3 conferences. Before this, these independent developers would have to gain traction in other areas.
My First Indie Experience
Starting out as a gamer, I was never into indie games. I saw no point in playing a small game with okay graphics and odd gameplay. They never caught my eye. I was sure that other gamers had the same thought process. Then, I saw a video on a new indie game known as Limbo.
The article praised its gameplay and art style. I watched the few short clips they had of the game which made me really intrigued. If you have never played Limbo, then the art style is very unique with dark grays and blacks setting the scene for every step of the way. You play as a boy searching for his sister on the “edge of hell”. The genre of the game, a puzzle-sidescroller, was something I had never played before.
As my interest grew on this game, I decided to purchase it. I bought it through the store on my Xbox 360. It downloaded in a matter of minutes and began playing. The love for this game I had afterwards was immense. It provided a much different feeling then what a triple A title would normally do. With a large title developed by a big producer such as Bethesda or Ubisoft, the game can be pretty overwhelming. The weight of the game can crush the players attitude toward the game due to the amount of content.
On the other hand, indie games are light and simple. These games can typically be beaten in a single sit through with satisfaction once you beat it. I don’t get this feeling when I beat a big game. When I beat that triple A title I feel relieved that it is over instead of satisfaction. Why is this? It has to be the size of some games today. Some of them are massive with so much to do that I just want to get it over with. Indie games give you a small amount of amazing gameplay and story.
Indie Games are Simple
Not only do bigger games have so much to do, they can cause a lot of stress too. Indie games are short, simple and relaxed. That relaxed feeling you get when playing an indie game is one of its charms. Getting away from that stressful FPS multiplayer or RPG boss is one of the reasons these games are so great to play.
Firewatch is a great example of this. All the player has to do is walk around as the story unfolds in front of them. You will play as Henry who takes a job as a fire watch. He interacts with his boss, Delilah, via a walkie-talkie. Their conversations are what fuel this game’s story as strange things begin to happen in the area. The dialogue between these two is spectacular as you pick what to say to Delilah which shapes the relationship.
The Spirit and Charm of Indie Games
Although dialogue can give an indie game the spirit they so often provide, the lack of dialogue can also provide great spirit. Another great example of this is Abzû. The charm and soul of this game is very much present. With a stunning art styles and amazing visuals, Abzû is one of a kind. It shows that the developers worked long and hard to create such stunning visual scenes throughout the game. If you are looking for a game to relax to, one of the few activities in this game is meditating.
While meditating, players are able to watch close-ups of the different sea life swimming about. I performed this action many times to gaze at the many types of fish that were in the game. Many areas in the game are open for you to explore, each with different ocean life. Abzû‘s magnificent visuals is exactly where the spirit comes from in an indie game.
All together, these games provide the player everything they need for a great experience. The spirit and charm of indie games is the simplicity. Being able to step away from a big game, pick up something much less intimidating, and enjoy what it has to offer is phenomenal.