Edit: Sorry about the repost, I was trying (and failing) to figure out how to change the size of the images. If anyone knows if it's possible please explain it to me, I'm useless.
This summer I played quite a few indie games. I started with the more critically acclaimed ones like Limbo and Braid, and fascinated by what they accomplished, moved onto different, maybe not-so critically acclaimed indie titles. This is my experience with them in a short format.
Great atmosphere and level design. It has that kind of puzzles that make you think, but not too much. Cruel and funny at the same time. It's about 4 hours long. I can't recommend this one enough.
This game is just amazing. The story is meaningful and universal, the graphic style is beautiful and unique, but it's in the gameplay where it really stands out. The level design is tricky, making you think outside of the box all the time. Every puzzle is different and brings something new to the table, a new mechanic, a new variable to take into account, multiplying the possible answers and putting the player's creativity to the test. This is a true masterpiece of the genre. The six hours it lasts are of pure gaming joy.
With an interesting Sci Fi setting and an old school look and gameplay, Gemini Rue tells quite an intricate detective story. It plays like a traditional adventure game, but it introduces a few innovations in terms of storytelling and gameplay, letting you change between the two main characters through most part of the game, something that feels fresh and helps you unlock your brain from some of the few tricky puzzles. It lasts around 8 hours.
Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers
If I had to choose a word to describe this game, it would be ''original''. Original and fun. It's physics engine is greatly flexible, enabling the player to move, cut and destroy 90% of the level's structures. The game is quite short (around 3 hours) but if you like exploring and experimenting with the different gadgets it can last a lot more. The graphics, just as the overall feel of the game, are a breath of fresh air, providing an experience very different from games I've played before. The platforming can be a little tricky at parts and the game becomes easy once you've mastered the different abilities, but it's fun and varied nonetheless.
Analogue: A hate story
I've haven't played many text adventures, but I have to say, this was pretty amazing. The sense of discovery and the way the story branches out in different ways is surprisingly dynamic considering the game consists mainly of text entries. The story is original and well developed, presenting themes we hardly ever see in videogames. Overall, a great game and a must play for anyone who can concieve things like reading and thinking as a form of entertainment.
And yet it moves
With a simple concept (changing gravity) a unique visual style and challenging level design, this is a fun, solid platforming experience. The sounds and visuals give it a very unusual atmosphere. Duration is around 6 hours.
To the Moon
Let me start by saying that to me, To the moon has one of the best stories I've ever experienced when playing videogames. It touches themes that few videogames ever come close to and it does so in a balanced, well structured way. It's engaging, it's romantic and it's hard to forget. That said, it has some aspects to it that will probably put off some gamers. First of all, it is really, really story-driven, so if you don't find the story (two people who venture into an old man's memory to make his dying wish come true) and the themes it touches (marriage, disease, love, human relationships, morale...) interesting you probably shouldn't play it. Adding to that, the "gameplay aspect of the game is rather limited; you basically walk, talk and find objects. I don't think this makes it a less worthwhile experience, but some may disagree. The venture into a character's past makes for some fun and interesting exploration.
To make up for some truly depressing moments, the two main characters -and specially Neil-provide a bit of a comedy contrast. Some say this is out of place, but I have to say I disagree completely. After all, it's the kind of stuff they have to go through everyday, so I find it logical that they would joke around to make it less painful. Neil's jokes aren't always funny, but there are some truly hilariating moments.
Personally, I've cried and I've laughed out loud with this game, something almost no other game has ever done, so I'd recommend it to anyone who finds it's main concepts even mildly interesting and wants to experience something a bit different from other games.
Conclusion Indie games are fucking awesome. If you're looking for something different than your average mindless shooter, these are something to have a look at. Next games on my list: SB:Sword and Sorcery, Frozen Synapse, Machinarium, Trine...