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

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2013 Indie Game of the Year – Honorable Mentions

Guacamelee!

DrinkBox Studios
Windows PC, Steam, XBOX 360, PS3, PS4, XBOX One

Set in a vibrant fictional Mexican-themed world in which luchadors are the ultimate warriors, Guacamelee! is a slick and intelligent Metroidvania platformer that also seamlessly blends in a combo-heavy combat mechanic.

Guacamelee screenshot
Guacamelee! screenshot

The humor is sharp, spoofing pop-culture and giving knowing winks to a ton of great indie games. There are plenty of unlockables to keep the obsessive types occupied, and the allure of stringing together the ultimate combination of grapples and throws will thrill leaderboard enthusiasts. ~ Callabrantus

GUACAMELEE! – OFFICIAL SITE

King Arthur’s Gold

Transhuman
Windows PC, Mac, Linux, Steam, Desura

Let’s start right off saying that KAG is a treat; no other game allows you to build a castle, actively fight off invaders, and then jump onto a catapult to be flung over the walls of your rival’s castle to claim its inner sanctum as your own.

King Arthur's Gold screenshot
King Arthur’s Gold screenshot

Envision that iconic scene in Lord of the Rings where the Orcish Sapper runs into a wall with a giant bomb strapped to his back. Legolas tries to shoot him down before he gets too close, but fails and the entire wall crumbles at the blast. You can pull off such tactics in this game, and yes, as the Sapper! ~HappyWulf

KING ARTHUR’S GOLD – OFFICIAL SITE

Forced

BetaDwarf
Windows PC, Mac, Linux, Steam

Forced shows us that the old genre of arena survival is not yet exhausted of new fun ideas. Built as a 4-player Arena co-op, the game adjusts very nicely when you have less players, or even fly solo. The dynamic of the 4 types of weapons and how players work together to stack on combo points and unload damage dealing special attacks, it all flows beautifully into frenzied combat that makes the core game mechanics sing ~ HappyWulf

Forced solo campaign screenshot
Forced – solo campaign – leaving the Hall of Trials screenshot

FORCED – OFFICIAL SITE

The Stanley Parable

Galactic Cafe
Windows PC, Mac

Somewhere between and Terry Gilliams’ Brazil and Peter Wier’s The Truman Show, a man named Stanley mindlessly completes tasks as they are presented to him in office 427. One day, the instructions stop coming, and Stanley is forced to make some big choices. Should he listen to the soothing voice of the narrator, and follow his orders, or will he strike out on his own, and see what life is like off the hamster wheel?

The Stanley Parable - office screenshot

Regardless of your choices, reality starts to come apart at the seams, and Stanley gets a look at the world that exists behind the façade. Or does he? With a great deal of choices available, it’s hard to say what is real, and what has been crafted to keep you at your tasks. You can bring down the machine that controls us all…or is that exactly what the powers-that-be want you to do?

“Vacillating between whimsy and terror, the game never fails to present a novel way to meet your demise as it coaxes and goads you onward like a lab rat, commenting on your every move like GladOS’s twin brother. What makes this somewhat less morbid is that this same omniscient presence is quite sure that you will immediately resurrect and repeat your dash through the experiment; the island compelling Desmond Hume to keep pushing his godforsaken button…

“But most importantly, The Stanley Parable, while not exactly sailing through uncharted waters, (as the sampling of my above cultural references demonstrate) does successfully port that dialogue into the gamespace very successfully, and reveals that the gamespace may be perhaps the most ideal medium yet in this form of self-examination. And we are only just beginning to explore it in earnest.”

THE STANLEY PARABLE – OFFICIAL SITE

TowerFall

Matt Make Games, Inc.
OUYA

OUYA – the Kickstarter indie console that could – has become almost synonymous with the game TowerFall by Matt Thorson, and for good reason; this ridiculously fun “archery combat platformer for up to 4 players” is an ever-shifting, crumbling, exploding work of pixel art that even a five-year-old can whomp you with within minutes of picking up a controller. (I know, I tested this theory).

Towerfall screenshot
TowerFall screenshot

Super Smash Bros. comparisons aside, TowerFall has a terrific sense of humor and features little touches like instant replays after every kill that make victory so much sweeter. The game is a perfect match for the console it launched on – OUYA is tiny and portable, requiring nothing more than an electrical socket and an HDMI port to get going, and you can use any controller you may have on hand, from your XBOX 360, PS3 or equivalent.

It really is the best local co-op or pvp combat/party indie game of the year.

TOWERFALL – OFFICIAL SITE

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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