This year hasn’t just been a stellar year for the big developers, it’s also been a blinder for the more modest releases. It’s proved that a bigger budget and a glossy finish don’t necessarily translate into a good game. It’s all about the gameplay baby, so here are five awesome indie games released in 2015.
Quick note to say we’re only pointing out games that are actually finished, else this list would be days long with all the titles on Kickstarter, Steam Greenlight etc etc.
Rocket League is actually the sequel to 2008’s snappily titled Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars and took the Playstation 4 by storm in July when it was released for free by devs Psyonix. After initially being written off as daft, it took literally no time for people to realise that this shit was legit. Taking your micro-machines-esque vehicle, you have to scamper about a half-cage/ half-football field enclosure, attempting to outwit and outscore your opponents. Rocket boosting your car up walls to score glorious mid-air volleys is one hell of a way to pass the time when you should be doing pretty much anything else.
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture
Though a relatively short outing, Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture makes up for its diminutive playtime by packing every inch of the game with head-scratching gameplay. The game trusts you to discover what happened in a sleepy, British village after its inhabitants mysteriously vanish, but never holds your hand while doing so – you’re on your own in this game, and it’s all part of the fun. The only downside is that movement is hella slow. Like, gauge your own eyes out with a rusty spoon slow.
If you’ve ever looked at a prison and thought, ‘yeah, I think I can probably do better’, then Prison Architect is the game for you. Also maybe you need to stop hanging around outside prisons. It’s up to you to build and maintain a functional, maximum security prison, while also turning a healthy profit. A task that’s easier said than done when this prison houses some of the most dangerous criminal minds known to man. Much like Theme Hospital or Roller Coaster Tycoon, Prison Architect has more than enough content to keep you playing well into the new year.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest gets it right where so many indie side-scrollers get it wrong. Gorgeous, lush graphics, a heart-melting score and most importantly, addictive and satisfying gameplay. Playing as the cat-like sprite Ori, you must jump, dash and slam your way to returning the three stolen life-sustaining elements of the Blind Forest. Each interconnecting area offers up a heap of secrets that can be re-visited with new power-ups, and three furiously difficult dungeon levels that re-invent the meaning of rage.
Undertale surpassed 1000% of its original kickstarter goal back in 2013, and dropped off a lot of people’s radars until it properly released this year. Touted as the spiritual successor to Earthbound, it’s 2D RPG that surpassed pretty much all expectations. You play as a little kid who falls down a hole into a world inhabited by monsters, and must rely on whatever you can to survive, be that combat, cunning or your pure humanity. One of the best things about Undertale is by far the game’s humour, poking fun at just about everything that can have fun poked at it.
Mark is the Gaming Editor for UNILAD. Having grown up a gaming addict, he’s been deeply entrenched in culture and spends time away from work playing as much as possible. Mark studied music at University and found a love for journalism through going to local gigs and writing about them for local and national publications.