The 11 best indie games of 2017: our pick of the must-have indie games that aren’t Minecraft
In 2017 indie games have moved away from being a subsection of games in their own right. Last year we saw many independently developed and published titles come to market that many players would have simply just thought were standard big-budget studio releases. The idea that an indie game is any less of a game than that of a big publisher is melting away, just look at how insanely popular Minecraft has now become.
So, with more and more incredible indie games coming to market, which are the ones you should really be paying attention to right now? While the below list of our pick of the best indie games of 2017 is far from comprehensive, it’s an excellent starting point for those looking to pick up something a little bit different from the norm.
The best indie games of 2017:
1. Best indie games 2017: Rocket League
Available on: PC, PS4 and Xbox One
Created as the successor to a largely unheard of PC game, Psyonix’s Rocket League has propelled itself into the stratosphere of competitive skill-based gaming.
Taking control of a rocket-powered remote control car, you and a team of up to three others have to take on an opposing team and boost, flip and glide your team to victory by scoring as many goals as possible. On paper it sounds simple enough, but Rocket League quickly becomes far deeper than first thought.
Having beaten FIFA 16, Madden 16 and PES 2016 to win Best Sports Game at the 2015 Game Awards, it’s clear that this indie sports game is incredibly fun to play and master.
2. Best indie games 2017: Her Story
Available on: PC, Mac, iOS and Android
After full motion video dropped out of favour in the 1990s, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’d bet that one of the best indie games around would utilise it. But it’s true, and Her Story provides an excellent case for just how wonderful and affecting seeing a real person on your screen can be.
Created by Sam Barlow (known best for his work on Silent Hill: Origins and Silent Hill Shattered Memories), Her Story is an intimate detective story unravelling the disappearance of a missing husband. Set in 1994, you have to sift through interview video clips of the missing man’s wife (portrayed by Viva Seifert) to piece together the events that led to her husband’s disappearance.
Not only is this a deeply involving game and work of performance art, it manages to make the medium of narrative-driven games incredibly accessible. The only knowledge you need to play Her Story is how to use a search engine – something almost everybody is familiar with.
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3. Best indie games 2017: Hyper Light Drifter
Available on: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One
Heart Machine’s beautiful pixel-art 2D action RPG Hyper Light Drifter captured the world’s attention thanks to its Kickstarter back in 2013. Three years later, it launched on PS4 and instantly became one of the best indie games available on the platform.
Fashioned after the likes of The Legend of Zelda, you take on the mantle of The Drifter – a traveller with a shrouded past and mysterious health problems. Gameplay revolves around traversing a vast overworld populated with environmental puzzles and tough battles.
In a nice touch, Heart Machine opted to leave the game entirely dialogue free so its story is largely told through the environment, gameplay and fantastic Disasterpeace (FEZ, It Follows) soundtrack.
4. Best indie games 2017: The Swindle
Available on: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita, Wii U and PS3
In 100 days the British government and Scotland Yard will unleash a new AI to crush the criminal exploits of thieves across London. This cannot happen.
In The Swindle, it’s your job to burgle your way to riches so you can build up an arsenal to take on Scotland Yard and steal its AI before they flip the switch in 100 days. Every level is procedurally generated and every burglar is unique – with permadeath not only being a way to lose unbanked funds, but also as a way to lose a day with zero gains.
If you’re looking for a tough challenge, The Swindle is definitely up there with the likes of Steamworld Heist, Spelunky and Rogue Legacy – even if it isn’t technically a roguelike.
5. Best indie games 2017: Not a Hero
Available on: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android and PS Vita
Roll7’s Not a Hero is, quite possibly, the most bizarre action game to come from a British indie in years. Its plot makes sense in a weird sort of way; you have to help the time-travelling anthropomorphic purple rabbit known as BunnyLord win the race to become Lord Mayor of Britain so he can save the world from an alien invasion. You may scoff but, in practice, it’s utterly fantastic.
Taking up the role of one of BunnyLord’s freelance anti-heroes, it’s your job to clean up the streets of Britain by taking down crime lords and rival electoral candidates in a hail of blood and bullets. It’s violent, difficult and full of absolutely fantastic British humour. If you’re looking for something to satisfy your hunger after Hotline Miami, this is it.