The 11 best indie games of 2017: our pick of the must-have indie games that aren’t Minecraft

6. Best indie games 2017: Undertale

Available on: PC and Mac

undertale

Tobyfox’s Undertale takes the traditional RPG and turns it completely on its head. In a genre where level-grinding and experience points mean everything, Undertale has you really think about the morality of your actions.

In battle, you’re given the opportunity to talk to your aggressor instead of automatically wading in for a fight. Depending on your actions, your opponents may decide to not fight you at all, or they may become more aggressive if agitated by your own attacks. Combat is also incredibly novel, mixing turn-based moments with real-time battles in a way you’re unlikely to have seen before.

If that wasn’t enough to pique your interest, Undertale also has a critically acclaimed soundtrack and excellent storytelling mechanics. It’s no surprise that this is an award-winning indie title.

7. Best indie games 2017: Sunless Sea

Available on: PC and Mac

In most games, when you die, you’re dead. That’s it, your hero no longer lives and you either start back from where you came or start afresh with a blank canvas. It was a tactic that worked so well with XCOM: Enemy Unknown, ensuring you cherished each and every squad member, but in Failbetter Games’ Sunless Sea death is really just the beginning.

Sunless Sea is a roguelike where you take control of a steamship captain off on a journey to discover the world of the Unterzee. As you explore, you’ll find new locations, encounter new hazards and deal with moral quandaries at sea. However, by far the most interesting aspect of Sunless Sea is what happens when you die.

Death in Sunless Sea is permanent. However, your actions while alive will shape the legacy you leave behind. Ate your fellow crewmates to save yourself from death? You might just be branded the cannibal captain. Desert your crew at sea and you can imagine the consequences. While this is a survival game like no other, it’s also all about shaping the legacy you’ll leave behind.

Read Next: The best Xbox One games in 2017

8. Best indie games 2015: Nuclear Throne

Available on: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita

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Dutch game developer Vlambeer may have a recognisable art style across its catalogue of games (Luftrausers, Ridiculous Fishing, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter), but it would be a mistake to believe that they’re all similar. With the studio’s latest release, Nuclear Throne, Vlambeer has turned the difficulty up to 11, and revelled in tormenting players as they journey through bullet hell to claim the Nuclear Throne.

It’s been available publicly via Steam Early Access since 2013, but the finished version was only released in December this year. Thanks to continual player feedback and an open development environment, Nuclear Throne is a polished roguelike shooter you’ll find impossible to put down.

9. Best indie games 2017: Furi

Available on: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

If you’ve been waiting for a decent Afro Samurai game, Furi is it. It’s unfair to label Furi as something as base as that, but the comparisons can’t be avoided as Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki came on board to help design the weird and wonderful techno punk characters of Furi’s world.

The result, when combined with Furi’s tense swordplay and bullet-hell sequences, is a game of boss fights that rivals even the best action games out there right now. Throw in a pulse-pounding soundtrack from an eclectic mix of indie dance and electronica artists, Furi is one of the most refreshing action titles around.

Read Next: Mental illness in video games and why we must do better

10. Best indie games 2017: The Witness

Available on: PC, PS4, Android (via Shield TV)

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Just because The Witness was unveiled as a major PS4 title, that doesn’t make it any less “indie”. Braid creator Jonathan Blow returns after spending seven years crafting this excellent mysterious puzzle game. At first you’ll wonder exactly what took Blow’s development team Thelka Inc so busy for that time but, as you gradually solve the line puzzles that populate the island, The Witness’ true genius unfolds before you.

You’ll want to keep a pad of paper and a pen nearby when playing this one.

11. Best indie games 2017: Reigns

Available on: PC, Mac, Android and iOS

Reigns

is best described as diplomacy meets Tinder. Playing as the king, you swipe decision cards left and right to make decisions, all while trying your hardest to keep the clergy, army, treasury and your citizens happy. Let any one of these four meters swing out of check – either positively or negatively – and it’s game over. Thankfully, game over isn’t the end here as you take up the mantle of the successor, dealing with the issues left behind by your father.

Yes, it’s as crazy as it sounds – but that’s what makes it so good.

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