The year 2019 was rather quiet in the area of triple-a games, but there were countless great game concepts and fun grenades in the colorful world of indie games. An angry goose that drives a small town crazy? 22 minutes of free fun in the depths of space that (Majora's Mask greetings) keep repeating? Or concentrated and over-staged 2D action, in which we become serial killers through the tempting tongue of a banana? 2019 was a festival for indie fans and in this special we show you our ten highlights of the year!
Outer Wilds (Developer: Mobius Digital, Publisher: Annapurna Interactive, Release: October 29, 2019)
To avoid confusion: No, we don't mean The Outer Worlds, which is also very good. The name neighbor Outer Wilds is a game that presents you with a non-linear and customizable space adventure, in which one thing is particularly in the blaster's sights: Explore. As a small youngster who finally rises to become a full-fledged astronaut, our first task is to prepare our journey from the planet "wood-burning fireplace" into the vastness of orbit. The galaxy is at your feet there – at least for 22 minutes. After that there is a spectacular explosion of the sun that devours all of life. That means? You start your adventure fresh and all over again! Greetings from Majora's Mask.
My Friend Pedro (Developer: DeadToast Entertainment, Publisher: Devolver Digital, Release: June 20, 2019)
My Friend Pedro offers everything a side-scrolling action heart desires: neat driving sounds, exaggerated splatter, a good amount of humor and ingeniously staged action battles. A banana seduces you to the murderer and a little later you find yourself in a brutal encounter with cosplay nerds, haters and bounty hunters ?! Admittedly, the story about a masked man and his Best Buddy Pedro fits on a banana peel, but the quality of the game doesn't matter. But on the contrary! My Friend Pedro scores with crazy ideas and unique action.
Source: Devolver Digital
Untitled Goose Game (Developer: House House, Publisher: Panic Inc., Release: September 20, 2019)
Who does not know it: How beautiful life could be, our only task would be to make the everyday life of a small community a sugar-sweet hell. And that as a goose! In Untitled Goose Game, for example, we torture the farmers by activating the irrigation system or stealing carrots. A lot of charm and humor, thinking outside the box, different solutions and stealth elements make Untitled Goose Game rightly one of the most interesting titles of 2019.
Source: PC Games
Disco Elysium (developer: ZA / UM, publisher: Humble Bundle, release: October 15, 2019)
Disco Elysium was the winner of the Game Awards 2019. The old school detective RPG won four awards that evening and let it be said: completely deserved. Disco Elysium combines classic role-playing elements from the Pen & Paper universe with a grand story and a freedom in character development that we have rarely seen. We decide whether to play a drug- and party-dependent disco detective or slowly try to go back to a decent and profound personality. We were particularly impressed by the brilliant dialogues that are otherwise found in the literature. If you are fluent in English and have a heart for RPGs, you actually have no acceptable alibi.
Source: ZA / UM
Children of Morta (developer: Dead Mage, publisher: 11 Bit Studios, release: October 15, 2019)
Despite of the old school pixel look, Children of Morta shines with a modern game design and a thick amount of story lining. The rogue-lite tells the serious story of the Bergson family and a fantasy that is swallowed more and more by the dark. The family would like to prevent this, of course, and with all six members we have the opportunity to change the fate of the world for the better. Children of Morta is very beginner-friendly and forgives more than the competition, only there is a problem with long-term motivation. For the price of just under € 20 for 15-20 hours of play, this can be forgiven.
Source: PC Games
Blasphemous (Developer: The Game Kitchen, Publisher: Team 17 Digital Limited, Release: September 10, 2019)
Blasphemous is rock-hard 2D action food wrapped in a beautiful pixel look. Admittedly, that doesn't sound incredibly original, but Blasphemous does a lot differently and above all: a lot better than genre colleagues. After we wake up with our nameless hero in a hall full of corpses, we find ourselves in a diverse world with snowy landscapes, drainage channels and barren wasteland, all of which are presented in a great way. The level design is clever, the fights well staged and the bosses creative and challenging.
Source: Team17 Digital
Katana Zero (Developer: Askiisoft, Publisher: Devolver Digital, Release: April 18, 2019)
The neon trip Katana Zero had quite a bit of dust in 2019. In terms of gameplay, the violent orgy offers an appealing mixture of puzzle, responsiveness and precision, and the world and plot are also impressive. We play a nameless samurai between cyberpunk skyscrapers and neon signs, which through the time travel drug Chronos mutates into the ultimate contract killer. This is administered to us by a shady therapist. But why? And why do we keep cutting CEOs, DJs and petty criminals all the time? The gameplay convinces effortlessly and the real-time dialog system allows several options that lead to different ends. In addition, oppressively good synth electro? Always bring it on! "
Baba Is You (developer: Arvi Teikari (Hempuli Oy), release: March 13, 2019)
The unusual puzzle game Baba Is You simply uses sliding puzzles. The trick is that we have the opportunity to fiddle with physical and playful rules as we like. In order to be successful in one of the more than 200 varied tasks, we have to adapt the rules for our situation as the game requires. The brain cells are strained. The desire to experiment is motivating and the feeling of success rewarding! Sometimes the most absurd ideas lead to the solution and create such a great puzzle experience as it has not been for a long time.
Source: PC Games
Wargroove (Developer: Chucklefish, Publisher: Chucklefish, Release: February 01, 2019)
Who still remembers Advance Wars released for Game Boy Advance in 2001? The strategy game was not a huge sales success, but it still has a loyal fan base to this day. The guys and girls behind the popular Starbound released Wargroove earlier this year, which is reminiscent of the 17-year-old model with a checkerboard-like map, four factions and different units and terrains. The British developer studio wraps all of this in a beautifully drawn 2D retro look. Above all, the 32-chapter story campaign, which comes up with great characters, dialogues and great attention to detail, can convince with ease. Not only worth a look for long-established Advance Wars fans, but also for everyone who can get something out of the strategy genre.
Source: PC Games
Sayonara Wild Hearts (Developer: Simogo, Publisher: Annapurna Interactive, Release: September 19, 2019)
Sayonara Wild Hearts is difficult to describe. The high-speed trip is an interactive music album to play with, which makes the heartbeat quake especially on an audiovisual level. The gameplay around collecting points and avoiding obstacles sounds simple at first, but it only unfolds its full power with the appealing neon look and the great synthwave music. But don't worry, story fans will also get their money's worth: Sayonara Wild Hearts is about a broken woman who is gradually trying to find the stony path back to love and happiness. The songs reflect the individual emotional stages of their journey and, when packed together, result in a wild feast for the eyes and ears.
Source: PC Games
Honorable Mention: Kind Words, Afterparty, Lost Ember
These were the best indie games of 2019 – at least in our view. What do you think? And which games were your highlights? Let us know in the comments.
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