Best Indie Games to Gift Someone
The giftiest of bestiest of indiest games
Indie games are some of the most unique, interesting and often just the most fun games on the market, but due to their nature as indie titles they often get overlooked. I spend a lot of time perusing and playing many of these, and these 10 are some of the best on the market (in my humble opinion).
Enter the Gungeon
Enter the Gungeon is a bullet-hell roguelike, and one of the best roguelikes on the market right now. Taking place within the titular Gungeon, you take the role of one of eight characters in their journey to fight through hordes of the Gundead. Gun puns are aplenty, along with incredibly fun boss fights, creative weapons and synergies and even a nicely fleshed out coop mode with an exclusive character.
The story is a simple affair: journeying through the Gungeon to find the “The Gun That Can Kill The Past”, to fix mistakes in each of the characters pasts. On this journey however, you’ll come across numerous NPC’s with their own little quests, along with additional modifiers and bonuses, such as Turbo Mode and Challenge Mode.
Astrea: Six-Sided Oracles
Astrea: Six-Sided Oracles is a roguelike deckbuilder, yet instead of building decks with cards, you use dice. This, combined with a unique damage system which amps up the risk reward to an incredibly satisfying level creates an absolutely wonderful feeling roguelike. There are 6 highly unique characters which each emphasise different builds and playstyles, highly adding to the replayability and depth.
The story is mysterious, yet intriguing, and, combined with an absolutely gorgeous art style and fantastic sound design leads to one of the best deck-builders on the market currently. The dice mechanics keep the game feeling fresh and manages to stand out incredibly well against an already saturated market.
Ghostrunner is the utterly brilliant combination between Mirrors Edge and Cyberpunk 2077 and makes for an utterly brilliant time. It’s an parkour action game with arcade elements, such as one hit kills for both you and the enemy, along with some of the best feeling movement in a first person game on the market currently. There is also a semi-roguelike wave mode adding unique abilities specifically designed for this mode, which adds an incredible amount of replayability beyond the main story.
The story itself is absolutely not the biggest selling point, but isn’t anything to scoff at either; being the lone remaining “Ghostrunner” you are tasked with climbing Dharma Tower and getting revenge on the “Keymaster”, the tyrannical leader.
Golf With Your Friends
Golf With Your Friends is the perfect multiplayer choice within the indie scene. A highly arcadey golf game developed by Team17. With a wide variety of different maps along with steam workshop support you’ll never run out of courses. Golf With Your Friends also has an incredible variety of bizarrely charming customisation options along with modifiers for each game, from changing the shape of everyone's balls, to low gravity and so much more.
Last Epoch is an indie ARPG currently in early access, yet is without a doubt one of the best in the genre already. Currently set to release into 1.0 in February of 2024. This title gives you an incredible amount of depth to build crafting, with each of the 5 classes having multiple “mastery classes” allowing you to really hone into a build, combined with the skill trees for each individual ability. Deep crafting systems allow you to really target the impressive build crafting and allows you to progres at your own pace, without having to constantly grind for hours and hours mindlessly for the slightest chance at a minor power increase.
The story isn’t a game-changer, yet it does lead to an incredibly fun and interesting setting. Primarily focused on time-travel elements, you travel through a vast multitude of different locations and time periods, so by the time the setting starts to feel a little dry, it entirely changes into a whole new world.
Rimworld is the definitive colony builder and management sim. With a choice between multiple “AI Storytellers”, each time you play Rimworld it will be a completely unique run full of wild stories. Each of your colonists are randomly generated, with their own stats, emotions and behaviours, impacting how different parts of their life and survival journey will play out. You aren’t alone on these planets though: you’re always at risk of running into slave traders, bandits and more, so you must prepare to deal with them in whatever ways you can, whether than consists of building an impenetrable fortress, or taking the fight to them, rescuing slaves to help grow your colony and so much more. The depth of gameplay in Rimworld runs incredibly deep, especially when combined with the games 3 expansions and an ever-expanding plethora of modded content.
Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator
Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator is one of the most relaxing and entertaining indies, with a unique gameplay loop, and fantastic visuals and sound design. As the title would suggest, you take the role of an Alchemist, creating and selling potions to the nearby villagers who come to visit. To do this, you need to move and explore around the “Alchemy Map” using ingredients to move around and find different potion effects. This can be obtained from the garden each in-game day or obtained from travelling merchants. You will later also begin a much deeper mystery, and discover ancient recipes and hidden elements.
Risk of Rain 2
Risk of Rain 2 is an absolutely unrelentingly insane third-person action roguelike, and is without a doubt worth both the time and monetary investment. With a choice of 11 wildly different characters (12 if you also purchase the DLC), it’s hard to get bored of Risk of Rain 2, especially taking into account all the secrets, achievements, unlockable items and coop you’ll have an incredible amount of content to enjoy, and this isn’t even factoring in the fantastic modding scene. The gameplay is simple, you must work through hordes of enemies, finding items and defeating bosses during each stage to progress which all feels relatively simple, but the sheer insanity the game manages with its difficulty scaling and wonderful item synergies makes for a crazy power trip.
Skullgirls 2nd Encore
Skullgirls 2nd Encore is an indie fighting game, and is an absolute blast either with friends, or taking it online against other players. It stands out as one of the most visually interesting fighting games on the market, with a fully hand animated art deco style, which makes it stand out. This, combined with fantastic netcode for the online, along with incredibly unique character design (just look at Big Band…) makes for one of the most unique fighters on the market. The gameplay stands out too, with a strong twist on the 3v3 tag fighter sub-genre, as you can pick 1, 2 or 3 characters and they will scale depending on the number you choose. This adds depth without making things seem needlessly complex, as you are able to choose your own way of learning the game and characters.
Dusk has been a personal favorite of mine as of late, a shooter heavily reminiscent of the classic Quake games, with a touch of occult horror which is an absolutely wonderful combination. For fans of nostalgic boomer shooters there is no better option; with insanely fluid movement, a fun arsenal of weapons and unique level design, there’s nothing not to love about DUSK. While not the prime selling point, DUSK also has a smaller multiplayer mode which, despite having a small player base, there are still people playing! Coming soon is also the DUSK HD update, which consists of entirely remade models and textures, which updates the visuals while not compromising on the art direction.