It is that time of the year again, when I write from a place of pure joy and fun. It is time for Saint Killjoy’s Top Ten Indie Games of 2015. This year was incredibly hard to narrow the list down to just 10. So many great and exciting indie games came out in 2015. I decided not to do honorable mentions this year, because there would just be too many to mention.
Black Friday is just around the corner, and these are the games I think you should pick up this holiday season. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!
10.) Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide
Released: October 23rd, 2015
Developed & Published by Fatshark Games
Genres: Action, Co-op, Indie, RPG
It’s been six years since a proper Left For Dead style game has been released. Not only is it great to have a newer, up to date game, but to also get a game that adds to the genre. That is exactly what Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide does–better melee combat, rewarding co-op play, RPG elements–all wrapped in a Games Workshop bow.
Very rarely does one game incorporate two fan bases, but Fatshark Games married the Warhammer Fantasy universe with a Left For Dead style gameplay into one fantastic title. Finally, a game that also showcases the Skaven in all of there underworld glory to boot. Don’t even question if you should get this game, just get it!
9.) Shadowrun: Hong Kong
Released: August 20th, 2015
Developed & Published by Harebrained Schemes / Harebrained Holdings
Genres: Adventure, Indie, RPG, Strategy
I love Shadowrun. I love Harebrained Schemes. I feel pretty harebrained myself at times. Shadowrun: Hong Kong shows how far that Harebrained Schemes has come as a video game developer. I think you should play every Shadowrun game that they created, but you should especially play Shadowrun: Hong Kong. Also, the game is standalone, so feel free to start with this title if you’ve never experienced any of the games that Harebrained Schemes has to offer.
I know a lot of people wonder how this developer is able to grasp the Shadowrun universe and bring it to life in video game format. It is simple; they are the makers of all Shadowrun properties, not just of the video game properties. I wish more companies would take control of their own properties and release the video games that they want!
8.) Warhammer Quest
Released: January 7th, 2015
Developed & Published by Rode Games, Twistplay / Chilled Mouse
Genres: Indie, RPG, Strategy
I’m even surprised that this iOS port to Steam PC was able to remain on the Top Ten list and secure a spot that wasn’t even number 10. Warhammer Quest comes in at number 8, because in order to 100 percent the game in one play through, I had to invest 98 hours into the game. Not only did I invest those 98 hours, but repeatedly I kept wanting to play it again.
The only thing that stops me from playing it yet again is because of the insane amount of games that I cover. That says something though, that I want to revisit a game that initially I obtained just for review purposes. They nailed the Warhammer Fantasy Lore. The gameplay is simple, but I feel Warhammer Quest is very special.
7.) Blood Bowl 2
Released: September 22, 2015
Developed & Published by Cyanide Studios / Focus Home Interactive
Genres: Indie, Sports, Strategy
I love Blood Bowl. I’ve been playing it in table top form since the 80’s. However, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Cyanide Studios, mainly because some of their business decisions are very anti-consumer in my opinion.
That said, they are trying to make Blood Bowl 2 an official eSport. My hat is off to them if they can make that happen. As a fan and master of Blood Bowl, if it became an eSport, I would actually throw my hat into the ring and participate.
6.) Rebel Galaxy
Released: October 20th, 2015
Developed & Published by Double Damage Games
Genres: Action, Adventure, Indie, RPG, Simulation
Rebel Galaxy came completely out of nowhere this year. It absolutely took me by surprise. I was looking for a trading game–not necessarily a space trading game, but give me space trading, and I’m even happier.
I was interested in Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen. However, I was not interested in the price tags of those games. The in-game microtransactions of Star Citizen alone are a nightmare for consumers. Rebel Galaxy offers me the experience that I want to have from those other games, but at the price of $19.99. Anyone that personally knows me knows that I can’t wait for the PS4 release of this title.
5.) Warhammer 40,000: Regicide
Released: September 8th, 2015
Developed & Published by Hammerfall Publishing
Genres: Action, Indie, Strategy
Warhammer 40,000: Regicide comes in at a solid number 5. The only reason why it didn’t score higher was because there are some balancing issues with the game with which I’m not entirely thrilled. How does one go about trying to balance the Warhammer 40K universe though? That is a tall order, especially for an indie developer.
The game is great, especially if you can play it with friends. The only word of warning that I have is that some of the pieces can be exploited, and of course in online play with randoms you will see those exploits a lot. I got so tired of seeing it, that eventually I just uninstalled the game. I recommend this game, I just recommend with your own group of friends that you regularly enjoy playing with, or played locally.
4.) Tales From The Borderlands
Released: November 25th, 2014
Developed & Published by Telltale Games
Genres: Adventure, Episodic, Indie
Another developer that I love and hate is Telltale Games. What I have discovered, is that when it comes to episodic games, I am not a very patient person. That is a testament to how great Tales From The Borderlands is. The fact that I became angry and ticked off, only because I had to wait for the next episode, speaks to its allure. The other problem I have: why do you only give me four save slots? I need more!
I love this game. Even though I bought it for PC, I also plan on buying it for the PS4. When I own a game that I consider purchasing twice, then at the very least everyone should at least purchase it once, right? If that’s not how it works, that’s how it should work!
3.) bit Dungeon II
Released: December 15th, 2014
Developed & Published by KintoGames
Genres: Action, Adventure, Indie, RPG
bit Dungeon II I love you. It’s the first game I played this year that caused me to want to stream speed runs of it. I wasn’t really all that into speed running until I started playing this game, and it was like opening up the flood gates. I played a few more games this year, just based upon dabbling in a game with the speed running community.
bit Dungeon II is only $4.99 on Steam. Why do you not already own it? Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, all of you are dabbling a bit in indie games right now. You need to add this title to your gaming libraries. Make it happen!
2.) Fantasy Life
Released: October 24th, 2014
Developed & Published by Level-5 / Nintendo
Genres: Action, Adventure, Indie, RPG
I love my Nintendo 3DS. However, I love one game more than all of the others. That is Fantasy Life. I’m not usually all that into a game with quick time events (QTEs), but I absolutely love the in depth crafting system in this game. The game also has a great deal of content for those fans of Action, Adventure, RPG, and loot!
I’ve invested 90 hours into Fantasy Life. I still do not have this game at 100 percent. Plus, there is DLC that I still haven’t started playing yet. There just isn’t enough time in the day for all of the games that I love.
Released: September 21st, 2015
Developed & Published by Frictional Games
Genres: Action, Adventure, Indie, Sci-fi
I’ve never had an interest in exploration games..until now. I didn’t really understand them. They just didn’t make sense to me. Why would you play a game where you can’t attack? Why play a game that you are stumbling around in, trying to figure out how to survive? Why play a game where essentially, you’re nothing more than just a regular human? Enter SOMA. If you’ve not played this style of game, start here.
I love Phillip K. Dick. He is one of my favorite authors of all time, and I consider him to be the grandfather of the science fiction genre. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, SOMA is a love letter to Phillip K. Dick.
That’s it for the Top Ten this year. I can’t wait to see what adventures 2016 will bring. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope it helps anyone that is feeling a bit indecisive on their purchases this holiday season. Happy holidays everyone!