Independence Day is many things -- a long weekend; a chance to grill meat, drink beer, and enjoy colorful pyrotechnics; a classic sci-fi blockbuster; but first and foremost it's a celebration of that American spirit of thumbing your nose at the Man and striking out on your own. What better way is there to honor that than kicking back this weekend with some awesome video games by small, independent developers? Much like the original 13 colonies, these developers decided to change the status quo. Here are 10 great indie titles for a variety of platforms.
Seek vengeance for your slain father in this thrilling stealth platformer. Pausing whenever you want to plot out your next leap or sword strike makes combat less about twitch reflexes and more about precise planning. Many observers have compared Ronin to Tom Francis' fantastic Gunpoint, but Francis himself finds the similarities only superficial, and in any case is only flattered.
A masterclass in forward-thinking nostalgia, Axiom Verge is a retro-styled platformer that draws inspiration from classics like Metroid, Contra, Blaster Master, and Bionic Commando. You play a lone scientist who wakes up on an ancient, alien world after suffering a grave injury and must uncover its mysteries. A wide variety of weapons, upgrades, and secrets gives the game immense replay value.
Affordable Space Adventures
It has taken way too long for developers to start using the Wii U gamepad in interesting ways. Take command of a tiny spaceship, navigating 2D environments with the gamepad serving as your engineering panel to do things like divert power between systems or vent the engine. With up to two friends on Wii remotes or classic controllers you can divide up responsibility between a pilot, engineer, and science officer to create your own, budget Star Trek bridge.
Josh DeBonis & Nik Mikros
Digital distribution platforms like Steam, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network have been one of the main drivers of the indie game explosion over the last few years, making this arcade-exclusive that much more of an oddball. Two teams of five face off on two massive, opposing arcade cabinets. Divided into different roles, teams win by either collecting a sufficient number of berries, riding a huge snail into a goal, or killing the enemies' queen three times. This unexpected fusion of different mechanics gives the game surprising strategic depth, and has led to thriving competitive communities in the locations where you can play.
This War of Mine
11 bit studios
Most war games cast you as the heroic soldier, blasting your way through enemy troops. This War of Mine flips that script, charging you instead with managing a group of civilian survivors, trying to get by from day to day in a war-torn city. Snipers prevent your people from leaving during the day, giving you a chance to craft, cook, and care for your people with the meager resources that you are able to gather while scavenging at night. Inspired by the Siege of Sarajevo, this is an ethically-muddy, challenging, and thought provoking strategy game.
A follow-up to Supergiant's fantastic debut, Bastion, Transistor is a sci-fi action RPG that uses an interesting system of recombinant weapons and a hybrid of real-time and planned combat. You are Red, a famous singer in the city of Cloudbank who lost her voice and the life of a dear friend, while also coming into possession of a mysterious sword-like weapon called the Transistor. Most of all, this game stands out for its absolutely gorgeous artwork and soundtrack.
Described by creator Brianna Wu as "Heavy Rain meets Mass Effect", this adventure RPG is hugely ambitious for iOS. In the near future a special forces team of four women is sent up to a wayward orbital weapons platform to try and reestablish control and avoid war between the US and China. Gameplay involves exploration, choice-driven dialogue, and real-time combat, striking a balance between depth and accessibility. Perfect for anime fans looking for a deep and cinematic mobile game.
Upper One Games
An atmospheric puzzle platformer, Never Alone was developed in conjunction with the Cook Inlet Tribal Council to celebrate the culture and stories of indigenous Alaska. You play as an Iupiaq girl named Nuna and her Arctic fox companion, swapping between the two as the situation dictates. Thoughtful and beautiful, Never Alone stands out as one of the few examples of a non-European or East Asian culture's stories being explored in gaming.
This is one of those games that must have made countless developers slap their heads and say "why didn't I think of that!" A fast and brutal 2D action games, Apotheon stands out for its visual style based on ancient Greek black-figure pottery. In a plot not unlike the popular God of War games, you play an ancient Greek warrior, Nikandreos, who decides to take on the Olympian gods who have turned their back on humanity. A variety of weapons and abilities discovered over the course of the game allows you to unlock and explore additional areas, Metroidvania-style.
You Must Build a Boat
A sequel to the award-winning tile-sliding puzzler 10000000, You Must Build a Boat combines match-3 and RPG mechanics into an addictive blend. As the title indicates, you own a simple boat that is steadily upgraded with materials and populated by allies found in dungeon delves. Each run is short and rewarding, making this a perfect morsel for idle thumbs during down time throughout the day.