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Five Indie Games You Need To Try

You owe it to yourself to give these games a shot.

With the deluge of games being released all year long, none of us can complain about not having anything to play.  But therein lies another problem: trying to keep up with all of the great games out there.  The big releases with primetime TV ads are hard to miss, but it’s easy to overlook the little guys that can be just as, if not more fun than their bigger AAA cousins. 

That’s where PixlBit comes in.  We’re here to help you remedy these oversights.  There are honestly hundreds of small, affordable games out there that offer a fun and unique experience.  We’ve highlighted five games that pack a punch but won’t take the piss out of your wallet. 

Let us know what you think of them and share your own recommendations in the comments section below.

Botanicula

Amanita Design / Steam (PC, Mac), Linux / $9.99 / Recommended by: Patrick Kijek

Botanicula is a point and click adventure by Amanita Design. In Botanicula, a lantern and four of his friends from nature take up the task of saving the life to their tree, which is getting sucked dry by eyeless spiders. These spiders have plenty of assistance, like playing a game of volleyball against a fat guy on a chicken in a hut with many of the villagers cheering, and goofy obstacles on almost every screen of the game. While the premise of environmental turmoil from an evil group of villainous monsters might seem tired, the execution and style have allowed Botanicula to become one of the best releases of 2012.

Because the story is so natural and the puzzles during the adventure are so intuitive, the game does not need anything more than crude forms of expression. The only audio cues to guide the player come in the form of cute sound bites such as a scream or grumble, while the only visual cues are symbols for necessary objects. Nevertheless, audio does play an important role in some puzzles, including one where you must make a quartet of frogs harmonize their croaks. This simple, yet poignant expression makes the player feel as if you had learned to speak to nature.

This deeply humorous indie title is rooted in a bizarre sense of unusual sights. Most of the adventure centers around the natural characters Mr. Feather, Mr. Lantern, Mr. Poppyhead, Mrs. Mushroom and Mr. Twig and their quest to rid their habitat of parasitic creatures who have infected their tree. Even though the characters are funny in and of themselves, the comedy comes more from situational humor in how they use their bodies and surroundings to solve puzzles. In some of the tree’s nooks and cranies, you’ll witness penguins that fly and horns with a paper aesthetic that blare heads and stomachs of animals to hybridize an insane species, such as the rare frog headed chicken. In all of the puzzles, you’ll find some part of the spectacle to enjoy.

Botanicula is worth the price of admission, because it will make you smile and giggle more than any other game released this year. Throughout the game, the controls will effortlessly fade from your thought due to the curious puzzle design.  You will have to pull a star out of a maze from a worm that wants to take it back to its cave. You will be asked to complete an overarching goal of finding fourteen captive chickens in the huts of a strange species of dark balls who look suspiciously like poop. While most of these puzzles are well balanced, it can take some time to get used to the logic behind this wacky world. It has a child’s sense of logic; sometimes inserting coins into a machine just make the whole screen flood. Basically, you will point and click through these puzzles with the same sense of wonder and confusion that you had when you first learned about the world. It will never get frustrating, since something throughout this romp has will make you snicker. The gameplay consistently grips you through the many ways each character has to help his party in these puzzles, the many quirks only able to exist in Botanicula, and the childish hopes and joys in each click. You might even laugh more than any other game, depending on your propensity for the adorable.

Dustforce

hitbox / Steam (PC, Mac) / $9.99 / Recommended by: Mike Wall 

Why should you consider playing Dustforce? Two words, Janitor Ninjas!

Dustforce is a 2D Action Platformer that pays homage to the ‘Golden Days’ of platform gaming, which means it's hard –  like hair pulling Nintendo hard. However, don’t let the challenge scare you. With its brilliant learning curve and melodic ambiance Dustforce offers a beautiful contrast between challenge and relaxation that is bound to keep players enthralled.

Adhering to the principle of easy to learn difficult to master, Dustforce is a breeze is to jump in and pick up. All one needs to do to complete a level, is get from one end to the other while trying to collect as much dirt, dust and grime as possible. In fact on its surface Dustforce is actually quite easy, with no fear of death and unlimited attempts, completing a level is no real problem. The true challenge of Dustforce lies with its numerous unlocks.

Initially more than half of the levels present within Dustforce are locked. To unlock them, players must earn keys, and to earn keys players must execute flawless runs. A flawless run consists of picking up every piece of dirt while keeping your combo intact, meaning you must be fast and you can’t be hit by any creatures along the way.

Sure it’s incredibly difficult to achieve ‘the perfect run’, but just know that you’re not alone. Dustforce takes a community approach, allowing players to watch other player’s attempts. Watching other players proves to be an invaluable tool teaching new routes and tricks that bring players one step closer to that perfect run; not to mention the joy of watching your friends misguided attempts.

While Dustforce is undoubtedly a challenge the fulfillment that you get from achieving a flawless run makes the struggle well worth it. Combine that with the games melodic soundtrack and captivating art design and this is one title that no Platformer fan should miss.

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Comments

Anonymous

05/30/2012 at 12:35 PM

Independant ,small and unknown's still can put out fun and some time's better games that don't have the big monnies  

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