The Game Awards’ Best Independent Game nominees list has problems. Dave the Diver is not indie, as the developers themselves have said; it was created by a subsidiary of Nexon. Because The Game Awards qualifies indies as being “outside the traditional publisher system,” instead of by budget or team size, it’s unclear if Annapurna’s games qualify by the letter of the law.
Let’s take a quick look through other wonderful indie games that came out this year, that deserve to be nominated for Best Indie Game (or perhaps even Game of the Year).
Book of Hours
Book of Hours is the follow-up to 2018’s Cultist Simulator. In a world that’s not quite ours, in an interwar era that’s almost what we remember, a librarian washes up on the shores of an island with an unkempt library. What else is there to do but to care for its books, and discover its secrets? This game eschews the (quite literally) table top perspective of a card game, setting the player loose on a map with more secrets than you may expect. Deep, dreamlike, and with an unerring drive, Book of Hours is startlingly largely the work of two people, the recently married Alexis Kennedy and Lottie Bevan.
En Garde! is a shockingly gorgeous and fun homage to swashbucklers, but especially those half-hour adventure series of the 1950s: you feel the influence of Walt Disney’s Zorro and Richard Greene’s Robin Hood every moment, and the structure takes from the unerring flow of those 30-minute dramas. Each adventure is a dramatic half hour. The swordplay is fun, asking you to duel and use the environment in your favor, and the characters are charming. The entire world is cast in watercolors, and the landscape and physics objects in the distance fall away into paintings. En Garde! is one of the best games of the year, and unjustly overlooked.
Moonring is developed by one of the leads responsible for Fable, and presents one of the most fleshed-out fantasy worlds and systems in gaming. A deep world, with significant roleplay options, in a striking, beautiful neon style. One of the most unforgettable games of the year, as well as one of the best.
World of Horror
World of Horror recently exited early access and entered wide release. A 1-Bit game, part adventure game and part dungeon crawling RPG, World of Horror takes you deep into Japanese horror and the Cthulhu Mythos. Inventive, striking, and surprising, World of Horror is one of the most unique games of the year and one of the best horror games. As one of the rare true horror RPGs, it deserves particular notice. You can check out our review of World of Horror here.
What indie game stood out to you? Let us know below!
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