With the decade coming to an end in a few short weeks, we have time to look back at everything that we have accomplished over ten years. The 2010s were not only great for video games, but even more so for indie video games. Maybe it was the need to step away from triple A games and give love to indie developers. Or maybe (and most likely) indie games were simply fantastic and a joy to play. Either way we are taking a step back into the past to look at our favorite indie game from every year in the last decade.
Released on July 21, 2010 from indie developer Playdead, Limbo is a puzzle platform game that reminded us that even though a game is dark and slightly terrifying, it can still be beautiful. It was praised for its puzzles and trial by death game style. Honestly, my favorite part was never knowing if I was currently working on a puzzle or if the game was just honestly messing with me. The story, while rather simple, tells of the journey of the nameless main character as he progresses through limbo in search of his sister.
2011 The Binding of Isaac
The Binding of Isaac was a must play for every gamer in 2011 and still is today. Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl released the game on September 28, 2011 on PC. The rouge like action shooter game features randomly generated dungeons and monsters to make every play through different. The items gained through play helped to super boost Isaac and create very different play styles. The story is loosely based on the biblical story with similar elements and pulls on the heart strings left and right. With multiple endings this is a game you can play over and over again.
The Binding of Isaac can be found on PC through Steam.
Might and Delight released one of the biggest Halloween gifts in 2012 with their platformer Pid. The art style and musical soundtrack is what really draws players in, but it is the story line and puzzles that kept people playing. The story follows Kurt as he explores the stranded planet he has found himself on and must find his way home. While the ending may have left others wanting, this game is really more about the journey and the atmosphere.
Pid is available to play on PC through Steam.
2013 Don’t Starve
I find that me playing Klei Entertainment’s Don’t Starve is the house on fire this is fine meme in real life. And I loved every minute of it. The wilderness survival game is by far one of the best stressful situations in a video game. Released on April 3, 2013, Don’t Starve let players control Wilson as he must learn to survivor and eventually escape the world he has been trapped in. The game has been praised for its no hand holding game play forcing players to really think and learn during their experience.
Don’t Starve is available on PC through Steam, PS4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch.
2014 Five Nights at Freddy’s
Scott Cawthon brought us the game that would become a cult classic in the form of Five Nights at Freddy’s. On August 18, 2014, the unsettling animatronics came to life to torment the new overnight security guard. The games simple yet super suspenseful mechanics really help to set the mood and as the nights go on, the fear of that jump scare from any one of them might just send you over the edge!
Five Nights at Freddy’s is available to play on PC through Steam, PS4, iOS and Android devices.
In 2015, the Undertale sensation took over the indie video game scene. Toby Fox developed the entire game, building a world in which the main character needs to progress by either fighting monsters or pacify them and let them live. Every choice in game affects the outcome and as created so many different challenges played throughout the community. The game is a reminder that you don’t need an entire studio to make a terrific game.
Undertale is available to play now on PC through Steam, PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.
2016 Stardew Valley
Who new a farming simulator could be so good? Clearly Eric Barone and Sickhead Games did when you released Stardew Valley on February 26, 2016. After inheriting your grandfather’s old farm, you get to spend the rest of your days living off the land. The peaceful gameplay leads to hours just tilling the fields and not having a care in the world. There is more than enough content within the game to keep you playing with never ever feeling overly grindy.
Stardew Valley is available to play now on PC through Steam, PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.
Studio MDHR Entertainment hit gold when they released Cuphead on September 29, 2019. The 1930s inspired run and gun action game has great mechanics yes, but what really makes it amazing is the art style. Every single piece of visual and audio material in game was created the same way it would have been in the 1930s. It was honestly a true labor of love.
Cuphead is available to play now on PC through Steam, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.
Celeste is a narrative driven single player adventure that made me fall back in love with platformer games. Released by Matt Makes Games on January 25, 2018, it went on to win The Game Award for best Independent Game. The mechanics are simple yet as the game continues on the challenge increases greatly. The story itself hits home everyone as Madeline struggles with her adventure towards self discovery.
Celeste is available to play now on PC through Steam, PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.
2019 Untitled Goose Game
The indie video game for 2019 was a hard choice, but finally it comes down to the goose. From House House and Panic Inc, we have the Untitled Goose Game. Look at this beautiful village and the people who are working hard to clean up their yard, organize their yard sale, and just looking to relax. Now realize that you are the goose, ready to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting citizens with only your beak and your honk.
Untitled Goose Game is available to play now on PC through the Epic Game Store, PS4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch.