Welcome young traveler, come in and have a seat by the fire. I know what you must be thinking, “He’s too old to know anything of our world.” An astute observation, but wrong. I may be old, but I have seen more of this world than you could ever dream. While you have been mapping out uncharted lands and racing towards new horizons, I have been deep within the dark unknown, cataloging and sorting all those things you’ve never seen: mechanical wizardry that spies on those it swears to protect, refugees fleeing from the apocalyptic end of their world, a band of brothers serving food to fight off the world eater, an ammunition themed death dungeon and a dance with the devil on a serrated edge.
Don’t panic if you’ve not played these yet, because there’s still time!
First, a tale of government surveillance and social media’s role in invading our privacy. Orwell is set in a fictional surveillance state, where you have been selected to utilize its newest tool. This massive data sucking apparatus intelligently feeds you relevant information for rooting out terrorists and their associates. In much the same way that real world Intelligence analysts do, you must sift through all of the information you can find online and submit the parts you find relevant in order to catch terrorists….or at least who you think MIGHT be a terrorist, and have them brought to justice. Deciding what information is important to your investigation is the most important part of the game, as the authorities will use your findings as evidence or as basis for an arrest to be made. Or perhaps that woman’s post condemning the government on social media was just her blowing off steam, and not the signs of her being a terrorist….you decide.
The Banner Saga 2
How do you decide between rescuing a village, or preserving the dwindling food stocks of your band of refugees fleeing from the end of the world? In Banner Saga 2, a beautifully drawn and animated indie title, you’ll do just that, as well as make many more agonizing choices in what seems like a fruitless effort as more and more of your charges perish on the road to….safety? Traveling with your convoy of peasants, villagers and warriors across the scenic and terrifying landscapes plays like Oregon trail, where you are presented with a series of decisions and combat encounters, while each day your food stocks dwindle. Combat takes place on a grid, and can be compared to something like Final Fantasy Tactics, where each character can move a certain distance, and their placement matters. It is a fantastic game, and while it is a continuation of the first game, you can play it without having played the first one.
Speaking of the apocalypse…this next game finally addresses the spaghetti monster religion and really acknowledges their deepest fears of angering their God. Overcooked is a harrowing tale of time travelling amateur chefs, who must travel back in time to perfect their culinary skills, in order to appease the gargantuan hunger of the Beast! This game for 1-4 players is a fantastic and goofy co-op romp through time where you work as a team to pump out as much food as possible and thus prepare for the coming apocalypse. Grab your ladle, its time to get cooking!
Enter The Gungeon
If you’d rather fight evil the old fashioned way, then Annie grab your gun and Enter The Gungeon! This gun toting roguelike is a fast and frantic bullet hell where you fight against….bullets….no seriously, everything is gun and ammo themed, so yeah you are fighting against ammo of various types and flavors. There are several playable characters each with different skills, and abilities to use while tackling the gungeon, and while this game is another derivation of the roguelike genre, the bullet hell nature of it, and aesthetic make it a great joy to play. Even after a grueling death, you’ll want to reload immediately, and pull the trigger on another round in the Gungeon! Eh? Eh? Did you see what I did there? Bull’s eye!
Now for something awful. Awfully fun that is, IF you can handle a trip to hell! Devil Daggers is an insane fight with hordes of demons and nightmares. Your goal is to survive. It seems simple, but quickly you will be sweating and panting as you try to evade demonic hordes while utilizing the magic of the devil daggers to destroy them. The game has a global leaderboard which will prey on your desire for fame and infamy and keep you strapped to your seat as you slip into madness. But hey, they know you there right?
So in short, by only paying attention to the rich and prettiest games, you will miss out on the deep and intelligent ones who if you really got to know them might be exactly the kind of person you’d want to be with if you would just give them a chance….oh, sorry…where was I? Oh yeah, these are great indie games, and they are just a few of the really trans-formative and fun experiences you can have for less, so if you missed out on them during the year, take a chance on one and take a ride on the indie side.