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IGR’s Top 10 Best Indie Games of 2013 and Honorable Mentions

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1. Don’t Starve

Klei Entertainment
Windows PC, Mac, Linux, Steam

And then we come to Klei Entertainment’s little engine that could.

Don’t Starve, as we have mentioned many times here at IGR, began with a chance meeting at PAX 2012 with Klei’s community director standing guard by a pair of PCs showing a working demo of a new survival game. The Edward Gorey style graphics and Danny Elfman-esque score immediately evoked a sense of wonder and mystery.

Klei put the game into paid beta for almost a year through Google’s Chrome store and listened very very closely to it growing audience. Dozens and then hundreds of suggestions were fielded and most implemented, but never in quite the way we expected. The creatures being added to the world were incredibly strange and creative, brimming with style and imagination, and menace. And though the cardboard cutout style was cute, there was always something very eerie and sweat-inducing lurking beneath the surface.

Don't Starve winter screenshot - day 96 Mrs Wickerbottom
Don’t Starve winter screenshot – Day 96 for ole’ Mrs. Wickerbottom

Klei went on to release a whole series of updates, each as fat as a high priced DLC, free to those who owned the game. They added a well implemented modding component and even a free Halloween mod called The Skreecher to showcase just how spooky their machine could get.

But what about the game itself?

What is remarkable about Don’t Starve, is how incredibly well balanced it is for a survival game that adds stealth, tech trees and craftables, combat, time and resource management into a seamless and plausible universe. Remarkably, they never actually really explain what or why, unless of course you elect to forego the endlessly fascinating sandbox mode and jump through Maxwell’s Door into alternate dimensions of increasing difficulty and occult curiosities and a huge, almost entirely separate new game.

There was no other game we found as fulfilling, ceaselessly intriguing, better rounded or more stylishly implemented than Klei’s little experiment gone wild. For all of these reasons, and perhaps to justify the collective 300 hours we played it in 2013, it is IGR’s 2013 Indie Game of the Year.

DON’T STARVE – OFFICIAL SITE

Forward to the Honorable Mentions! ->>

Top 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. HMs HM2 LST

3 comments on “IGR’s Top 10 Best Indie Games of 2013 and Honorable Mentions

  1. “Gone Home accomplishes a remarkable feat – building up a series of narratives in the player’s mind through mere suggestion, but ultimately proving none of them to be true.”

    Gragh! Why would that be the first sentence?! And I can’t let myself read the rest to get any sort of context, so now I’ll be assuming everything goes to pot, and whenever I get around to playing GH, it’ll likely be a niggle in the back of my mind, not allowing me to attach to anything that seems to have gone on. sigh, It feels like single-player experiences are more important to play “day one” than multiplayer, in this digital age. So hard to keep myself away from spoilers (or what I take as spoilers), y’know?

      1. Not to play devils advocate to much here but the game has been out for months and making press every day like crazy AND this is a GOTY article all kinds of red flags flying around if you don’t want spoilers my man 😉

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