Want Games? An In-Depth Indie Game Guide

IndieGames.com is delighted to be partnering with indie game news site TIG Source, which recently posted a detailed guide to '50 Really Good Indie Games', edited by Derek Yu. The list is as close to a canonical countdown of the best independent games that we've seen, so we're pleased that they have allowed us to reprint it here.

The introduction to the list, as it originally appeared on TIGSource.com, follows:

"This is in no way meant to be a "best of" list or any kind of indie gaming canon, although every game in this list is recommended highly. The purpose of this list is to aggregate a diverse collection of high quality independent games, and say a little about the significance of each one... The hope is that both newcomers and those familiar with independent gaming will find something new and interesting to play or think about! The list was pared down from a bigger list of over a hundred favorite independent titles from the TIGForums community."

The Indie Game Guide: (21-30)

Cortex Command (FREE)

Liero, the classic freeware deathmatch game, paved the way for Cortex Command, a jittery, mad-cap game of base defense where physics enable you to shoot off body parts or crush your opponents with rocket ships. Advanced AI, group tactics, and deformable terrain round off a formidable list of features that keeps getting bigger (as the game is still being developed). It also features the artwork of Niklas Jansson, and that's never a bad thing.
Also try: Liero, Soldat

Kingdom of Loathing (FREE)

There are free, web-based multiplayer online RPG's, and then there's Kingdom of Loathing, a game where instead of being a Barbarian or a Wizard, you can be a Seal Clubber or Pastamancer! And gone are the usual Strength, Intelligence, and Charisma attributes, replaced instead by "Muscle, Mysticality, and Moxie." Kingdom of Loathing is a funny and well-written parody of RPG's, but also an entertaining RPG in its own right.

Penumbra ($20)

Penumbra is a first person action game that uses cutting edge technology to immerse the player in its dark universe. The physics engine allows you to manipulate objects directly with your mouse, enhancing the horrific atmosphere... so if you hear something on the other side of a door, then you'll have to put your hand out and push it open yourself! And fighting head-on should be a last resort against the creatures you'll encounter in Penumbra, who will work in groups and take advantage of the game's physics in order to get at the you. It's damn scary.

Chocolate Castle ($20)

Joseph White’s games are always brimming with cute charm, and Chocolate Castle is no exception! Really, as soon as you see that wonderful Lexaloffle logo, you know you are in good hands. Little details, like the windows in the castle that light up as you complete stages, and the way the chocolate gets munched up and leaves crumbs, make me feel like I’ve been stuffed into the warm belly of a Taun Taun after spending hours on the cold, frozen surface of Hoth.
Also by this developer: Zen Puzzle Garden

Tumiki Fighters (FREE)

One of the in-jokes here on TIGSource is that we worship Kenta Cho like some kind of Chaldean god. Okay, it's more of a reality than an in-joke, but our reasoning is sound: this guy produces some really good abstract shoot 'em ups. Tumiki Fighters is one of his more interesting titles, since it allows you to attach your defeated enemies to yourself and use their weapons. Also, the toy theme makes good use of K.C.'s signature art style and gives the game a light atmosphere.
Also by this developer: rRootage, Gunroar

Alien Hominid ($20)

Winner of many, many awards, including three at the 2005 Independent Game Festivals, Alien Hominid is the brainchild of Newgrounds founder Tom Fulp and artist/animator Dan "Synj" Paladin. What began as a fast-paced run n' gun flash game on Newgrounds landed on the XBox, becoming one of the first high profile indie titles to reach consoles. Alien Hominid packs loads of charm and plenty of memorable moments into its sixteen stages, including massive boss fights against communist war machines and pudding monsters.

A Tale in the Desert (FREE)

A Tale in the Desert is a fascinating, cyclic MMORPG that focuses on economics, politics, and socializing over combat and questing. Although the userbase of the game is small, ATITD is regarded highly for the civility of its players and the strength of its community, which is in no small part due to the game's focus on society-building and group dynamics. Players also have an unprecedented amount of power in ATITD, and are able to write and pass laws that can have wide ranging effects, including bans of individuals from the game!
Also try: Blockland

Immortal Defense ($23)

Immortal Defense takes a simple and oversaturated genre and elevates it to an artform. The existentialist storyline is not only compelling and thoughtful, but it's also a great explanation for its "turret defense" gameplay. High concepts aside, however, the game is just plain fun. The points / cache systems and the way it opens up as you play through each campaign are cleverly implemented.
Also by this developer: Missing

Mr. Robot ($25)

"Charming" is a great way to describe Moonpod's Mr. Robot, the story of a lowly service droid named Asimov who's working aboard the interstellar colony ship known as Eidolon. As the ship's onboard AI begins to malfunction, only Asimov can save the 100 colonists held in stasis, as well as the rest of the robotic crew. High production values, tight gameplay, and a loveable, introspective protagonist mark this nostalgic action/puzzle game.
Also by this developer: Starscape (same link as above)

Chalk (FREE)

I balk at calling this game a shoot 'em up, as you never actually shoot anything. Wielding a piece of chalk with your mouse, you destroy your enemies by drawing lines across them to expose their weakspots. It's a great example of how to marry a clever concept with well-crafted presentation and level design.
Also by this developer: Noitu Love
The Indie Game Guide: 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50

IndieGames.com was created by the CMP Game Group.
Thanks to TIGSource and Vincent Diamante for important source material.
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About The IGF

Think Services (producer of Game Developer magazine, Gamasutra.com, and the Game Developers Conference) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers.

The competition, now in its 10th year, awarded a total of nearly $50,000 in prizes to deserving indie creators in Main Competition and Student Competition categories at the IGF Awards Ceremony, held in February 2008 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA, as one of the highlights of the Game Developers Conference.

The Independent Games Festival will return in March 2009 at GDC in San Francisco - look for more information soon. [More information...]

About The IGS

Featuring lectures, postmortems and roundtables from some of the most notable independent game creators around, the Independent Games Summit is a yearly event, with iterations thus far taking place in March 2007 and February 2008 at Game Developers Conference.

Think Services (which curates the IGF and runs GDC) plans to continue and grow the Independent Games Summit in subsequent years. [More information...]