There have been many great indie games released the past few years. With the Steam Holiday Sale on the horizon I decided to put together a top ten indie wishlist of games for our readers. These are games I played and personally enjoyed during 2014. I also included two honorable mentions, because, well, REASONS! Open up your Steam, sit back, and relax. It’s time to add games to that wishlist!
10.) Dungeon of Elements
Released: 6/12/2014 – Developed & Published by Frogdice Inc.
Genres: Casual, RPG, Strategy
I was completely taken by surprise when I installed Dungeon of Elements. I had no expectations and did not realize the treat that was in store for me. Welcome to a modern day RPG/strategy cross that hearkens back from the days of Dr. Mario.
You start the game by creating your own unique character. Then, you are taken to a mission map that contains 3 continents and 45 dungeons. Once a dungeon is selected you get a top down view of it. Colored capsules are going to slowly drop from the top of the screen to the bottom. You have to use the colors to create chains on top of colored monsters and bosses. When you finish a level, you go back to your character screen where you can create items, weapons, armor, and pets.
One great added feature to this game is the black holes that are found on the map. If you get a capsule that you would rather throw away instead of use, down the hole it can go never to be seen or heard from again!
Dungeon of Elements is regularly priced at $9.99 on Steam and will be a great casual addition to anyone’s library.
Released: 4/16/2014 – Developed & Published by Frogdice Inc.
Genres: Casual, Match 3, Tower Defense
ReignMaker was my introduction to Frogdice Inc., which quickly became one of my favorite indie developers of 2014. It is a unique play on the tower defense genre.
You are given a game board. Approaching monsters enter the map from the opposite side of the board. You then have to use the match 3 element to create your defense. Sound simple? Wrong! You have to generate the match 3 on the game board from the same lane that the monsters are approaching. It also includes a lite kingdom simulator, beastiary, and dynamic political choices that you must make that will affect your city for the remainder of the game.
ReignMaker is regularly priced on Steam at $14.99. As much as I love and enjoy this game, the price is a little high for what it is. If you can find this for $9.99 or lower, then it is a justified addition to your library.
8.) 100% Orange Juice
Released: 9/10/2013 – Developed by Orange_Juice & Published by Fruitbat Factory
Genres: Anime, Board Game, Multiplayer
100% Orange Juice caught my attention one day randomly on Steam when a 4-pack was selling on the cheap. Before this purchase I knew nothing about developer Orange_Juice and publisher Fruitbat Factory. Now I own a lot of entities from both. When a game introduces you to an entire new game catalog, it’s something pretty special.
Why did Orange_Juice create this video board game, and how did they ever come up with this cast of characters? Simple. They wanted to make a game that included characters from their other games and bring them all together in one. Thus 100% Orange Juice was born (hence the title).
100% Orange Juice is an excellent board game adventure that includes PVP and PVE battles. It also includes a fun little card mechanic that adds to the random factor even more.
100% Orange Juice is available on Steam at the regular price of $6.99. The 4-pack is $14.99. You will want to play and chat with your friends for the absolute best game experience. I’m more than pleased by its regular price, but if you can get a 4-pack on the cheap, you’ll be the hero of your gaming group for at least a day.
7.) The Red Solstice
Early Access: 7/10/2014 Developed by Ironward & Published by Nkidu Games Inc.
Genres: Action, Co-op, Survival
The Red Solstice is a game that has raised the standard of Steam early access. I wish more developers would look to games like this or Interstellar Marines as what early access should be. While The Red Solstice was in its early Alpha state, I played it for about a week or so heavily and sent a lot of feedback to the devs. I had listed complaints, bugs, and a wishlist of things that behaved differently to what they were originally doing. One week after I had submitted these, the devs patched the game, and all of my complaints and concerns had been addressed. They did that in a week–impressive.
If you’ve ever played any version of Starcraft or Warcraft you know there is a strong modding community associated with those games. One mod I played a lot in 1997 to 2000 was Operation Raccoon City. If you were to take a mod like that and create an entire game concept from it, The Red Solstice is what you would get.
The Red Solstice is a survival challenge of epic proportions. It also has quests that will make you explore the entire map, venturing into ever more ominous areas to progress.
The Red Solstice is an excellent team co-op experience that reinforces why it is dangerous to go it alone. It offers a lot of content for its regular price is $19.99, but if you can obtain this title for $14.99 or lower, don’t hesitate to pick it up.
Early Access: 8/26/2013 Developed by DoubleDutch Games & Published by tinyBuild
Genres: Competitive, Multiplayer, Racing
My final early access recommendation for the year is SpeedRunners. Even though this game is currently in a Beta state, I’m not convinced that there is much left to do before it will be released. This competitive game is an excellent to play with your friends. This title is also trying to join the Esports professional competition, which is a statement of how great and competitive it can be.
Pretend you’re a super hero. You like to go fast. You’re racing against other super heroes. Who is going to win? That is the question that SpeedRunners presents. The answer: the gamer wins, that’s who. While you’re racing you have to avoid obstacles and weapons at full speed. If you fall behind and off the map, you are eliminated; you have to go fast!
SpeedRunners is available on Steam at $9.99 or in a 4-pack for $29.99–another great 4-pack game to pick up during a sale and distribute to your friends. A word of warning, though–frantic gameplay coupled with a microphone may cause you to make statements to your friends you would not regularly make in a game.
Released: 10/28/2014 Developed & Published by Targem Games
Genres: Action, Arcade, Racing
BlazeRush is a competitive isometric racer. At anytime you can go from last to first, or first to last at a snap of your fingers. It has 16 unique cars that all feel and play differently. Find the best car that goes with your play style for maximum efficiency. Weapons and speed boosts will fall from the sky onto the track. Run over them to pick them up. You can play with mouse & keyboard or controller, depending on your preference.
Just think of the single player campaign as one giant tutorial offering you challenges to use the weapons and speed boosts you have available as well as getting acclimated to the tracks and various modes. The only things that the single player offers you beyond that is you can unlock achievements and four additional cars by completing the campaign. Those are pretty much all the reasons to play it solo. Getting mic’d up and competing with your friends is where the magic happens. Why did it do better then SpeedRunners? SpeedRunners is for 4 friends; BlazeRush is for 8. Double the fun, carnage, and excitement!
BlazeRush is available on Steam for $9.99 or in a 4-pack for $29.99. I would recommend getting a group of friends together and having your group buy it individually any time it is on sale for $6.99 or lower.
4.) Risk of Rain
Released: 8/8/2013 Developed by Hopoo Games & Published by Chucklefish
Genres: Action, Platformer, Rogue-like
When Risk of Rain first came out, I looked at some of the reviews, screenshots, and game footage. Graphically it did not appeal to me at all, which baffled some of my friends because they know how much I love rogue-like games.
I was blown away by the depth, detail, and everything that was put into Risk of Rain. The level of difficulty this game presents is amazing. It is challenging, but in a good way. It drives you to want to do better. It drives you to want to beat it. The gameplay is simple yet surprisingly addictive! It is a side scrolling platformer with procedural generation and randomized items that really makes this game feel unique each playthrough.
Risk of Rain is available on Steam for $9.99. It is a great buy at that price, but if you can get it on sale, even better. One warning, though. Getting the multiplayer to work is very challenging but rewarding once you figure it out (Google it).
3.) BattleBlock Theater
Released: 5/15/2014 Developed & Published by The Behemoth
Genres: Co-op, Comedy, Platformer
I had completely dismissed BattleBlock Theater, since it is a platformer. I hate platformers. I hate jump puzzles. I loathe that genre. Now if you can take a genre that I haven’t enjoyed since Super Mario Bros 3 and make me fall in love with your game, that is simply amazing! The humor in this title is great; it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that is part of its charm.
There is a narrative story teller, and it does this classic style puppet show that is just pure genius. Bring a friend, because Co-op gameplay is highly recommended. A level editor has also been included in the Steam edition of BattleBlock Theater. Create challenging levels for your friends and see if they can conquer your level. There is just a lot of opportunity for great community interaction with this title.
BattleBlock Theater is available on Steam and regularly priced at $14.99 for one or $24.99 for two.
2.) Full Mojo Rampage
Released: 5/8/2014 Developed & Published by Over The Top Games
Genres: Rogue-like, RPG, Twin Stick Shooter
Full Mojo Rampage can be played with mouse & keyboard or controller, but I have to say this has been one of the best twin stick shooters I have played in recent years. Amazing Rogue-like permadeath goodness with lots of drops! Assault Android Cactus is a pretty remarkable twin stick shooter in its own right. However, Full Mojo Rampage outshines it because it has excellent 4 player online co-op! This title consists of a campaign, survival mode, a daily quest mission, and 7 game difficulties. For an ambitious indie game, this one certainly delivers.
Full Mojo Rampage is regularly priced on Steam for $12.99. The 4-pack is $39.99.
1.) Space Hulk Ascension Edition
Released: 11/12/2014 Developed & Published by Full Control
Genres: RPG, Strategy, Warhammer 40K
I can sum up Space Hulk Ascension Edition with one word: “redemption.” Developer Full Control has proven to be like a Timex watch metaphorically. They can take a lick’n and keep on tick’n. The “video game” version of Space Hulk that people cried for last year has finally arrived! Thank you Full Control for not only listening to your community but also responding back to it in such a positive way. Excellent effort! What a great way to accept criticism and fire back with results! I cannot wait to see what game they create next. I hope it’s Gorkamorka!
Last year Full Control took a beating in the reviews and hearts of many Games Workshop loyalists. Why? They created a very faithful adaption to the board game. The masses have spoken, and evidently a board game wasn’t what they wanted. Full Control stepped back, regrouped, and listened to the community, which is why they are my top indie pick. Any number of developers could have or would have handled this any number of ways. What did Full Control do? They made the RPG/strategy/turn based game that everyone was hoping Space Hulk would be.
Now I know what you’re thinking–they just reused assets from Space Hulk and placed them into Space Hulk Ascension Edition, but you would be wrong. Some of the maps are reappearing but in an altered condition. Also, air ducts have been added to all the levels. The AI is better. Normal even feels challenging. I’ve had a chance to play this before release, and Full Control made sure they delivered a much more polished experience compared to the bugged mess they gave us in Space Hulk at its launch. While Beta testing, I did catch a few bugs, but Full Control responded and fixed them straight away. Now I’m on a bug hunting mission, but I’m having difficulties finding them!
Space Hulk Ascension Edition is available on Steam for $29.99.
Two Honorable Mentions…
Warhammer 40K Regicide
4th Quarter Release 2014 Developed & Published by Hammerfall Publishing
Genres: Action, Chess, Strategy
I am really excited for Warhammer 40K Regicide, which is currently in the development process. I have been following it very closely for an extended period of time. It is slated to be released before the end of 2014.
Warhammer 40K Regicide is being developed using the Unity engine, and I hardly believe my eyes. The models look so amazingly detailed that I cannot begin to believe this is Unity. Below is a picture of a model in its actual in game asset condition. You can also watch the game trailer, which uses actual in game assets.
If you sign up on the Warhammer 40K Regicide website, you also get a bonus army known as The White Scars. This bonus will be available until 30 days after the launch. Then they will be locked away in a vault. The game will contain two game modes: classic and regicide. Classic will be the Chess that men and women have played throughout the centuries. Regicide will be an RPG/strategy/turn based contest with a leveling system. Definitely keep your eyes open for this title!
Manga Maker ComiPo!
Released: 3/7/2014 Developed by ComiPo! LLP Published by Degica
Genres: Animation & Modeling, Anime, Design & Illustration
This is not a game; this is software, but I’m having an amazing amount of fun with it. It also comes with a commercial license. If you have no drawing ability whatsoever, but have an interest in making your own manga comic strips, then this is a program you may want to look into.
The comic images I have created on this page and in other reviews or stories on the EDG website have all come from Manga Maker ComiPo!, most extensively showcased in “The Good Within Blood Drive at Quakecon 2014” story that I posted on this site.
Manga Maker ComiPo! is available on Steam at $49.99. However, that’s just the base program. It has a lot of DLC with new content being added regularly. That is why I feel it is an honorable mention. Even though it’s not an indie game, it is indie software, and if you want to collect a lot of the DLC, I recommend doing so when it’s on sale. Just a word of warning though–Manga Maker ComiPo! is limited in assets, poses, and character options. If you’re looking for a manga creator to do it all for you, then this might not be the product you are looking for. You can import objects, pictures, and even 3D assets into this program. You are only limited by your creativity, and you’re going to have to get creative to get full use of this product.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this list. What did you think? Was an indie game not present that you feel needs to be mentioned? Feel free to share your comments and thoughts with us on Twitter @EverydayGamers! Have a great day everyone. Happy gaming!