Sandbox Selects – Our Favorite Indie Games

Compiled by: Dylan Hardy

Indie games have been on a steady rise over the past few years and for a lot of people, some of their favorite games ever come from this genre. They come in all shapes and sizes – from truck simulators, bright coloured puzzles, to 8-bit dungeon simulators. No matter what kind of tastes you have, there is definitely an Indie game out there for you.

I asked a few members at Sandbox Gaming to give me their favorite Indie Games. Some you might have heard of, but if you haven’t, I suggest you at least give it a look on Steam! Without further ado, here is Sandbox Gaming’s favorite Indie Games.

  1. Thomas Rahal (Committee Member) – The Legend of Grimrock

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The Legend of Grimrock brings back the good ol’ dungeon crawling RPG, hosting plenty of dark and winding corridors and oodles of secrets, riddles, and puzzles. Combined with tense, grid-based combat, party customization – I had an all-bald party of Nappa, Mace Windu, Walter White, and The Last Airbender one time, and a mysterious yet unnerving atmosphere, The Legend of Grimrock pushes all of my hidden wall buttons in all the right ways.

  1. Kyle Heath (Volunteer) – The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth

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One of the best indie games in my opinion is The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth. It’s a rogue-like which means that it’s different every time you play and with over 250 achievements you’ll be playing for a long time. If you haven’t checked it out before then I urge you to do so. Afterbirth is an expansion made for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. This expansion brings in opportunities for more items, new enemies and floors, as well as new bosses to try and defeat. As well as a new mode called Greed Mode which is said to be much harder than the original story. So if you like an extra challenge, this game is definitely for you.

3. Sasha Power (Volunteer) – Don’t Starve/Don’t Starve Together

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Imagine if Tim Burton made an indie survival game, and then decided you could play it with your friends. The result is Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together, a hands-off “old game” hard title from Klei Entertainment. Outside of some light questing elements, the focus of these dark, yet lighthearted games are how you’ll survive. I’ve died in every way imaginable – from enraged Beefalo to swarming spiders, and yet I keep coming back for more.

  1. Amanda Sproule (Volunteer) – Party Hard

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Party Hard is a pixelated game with a simple premise: murder everyone at a party so that you can get back to sleep. Sounds easy enough, but the randomization of the levels keeps the gameplay fresh and interesting. I like it because the traps in the game randomize every time the level is restarted, meaning that your method must be changed every time a level is restarted. Every time you play the game you get something different. There are only 19 levels available in the game, however I like that the Steam Workshop allows for user submitted levels.

  1. Christian Legge (Volunteer) – Guacamelee!

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Guacamelee! blew me away. From the very start it’s fun, fast-paced, funny, and freakin’ awesome. Throughout the game you unlock abilities that let you explore more of the world, but you never feel held back. It’s always exciting to beat a boss or overcome a hard platforming challenge, and with the large number of collectibles there’s always something new to do.

  1. Craig Ryan (Committee Member) – Nuclear Throne 

    nuclear-throne

Nuclear Throne is a top-down 2D shooter with rogue-like elements, developed by Vlambeer. The game features a group of mutants surviving in the apocalyptic landscape, full of terrifying creatures, interdimensional travel, and an overabundance of weapons. Nuclear Throne is brutally punishing, and incredibly frustrating, but still its players tend to go back for more. It definitely invokes “one more run” feelings in its players, and after almost 200 hours, I barely make it to the final boss one in every ten runs. If you’re looking for a fun, challenging experience with lots of weapons, look no farther than Nuclear Throne.

  1. James Reid (Board Member) – Stardew Valley

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Stardew Valley creator, Concerned Ape, took the simple and basic concept of the Harvest Moon franchise and started making his own version of the game. What started out as a simple way to practice game development turned into a 4 year development process, leading to the release of one of the best selling Indie Games of 2016. The gameplay is simple but fun, characters are lovable, music is serene and peaceful and the game design and mechanics are great. This game is so well polished, it’s hard to believe it was made by one man. The amount of dedication he put into and continues to put into this game, more than equals the amount a full team at a major game company can do.

  1. Kate Oxford (Volunteer) – Undertale

undertale

Undertale is my favourite indie game because it keeps me coming back for more. The opportunity to kill or spare key characters can change the course of the entire story. That, plus the HUGE range of secrets there are to discover, makes the game wonderfully replayable. Additionally, the mechanics of saving your game are also a part of the universe, and past playthroughs can affect future games. Most importantly, this pixelated RPG runs through the full gamut of emotions – I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve been genuinely terrified. It leaves you feeling connected to the characters and the world.

  1. Dylan Hardy (Committee Member) – Project Zomboid

project-zomboid

Project Zomboid is a top down zombie-survival RPG game where your primary goal is to survive. However, what makes this game so darn fun is the scavenge and craft system. On top of this system you have RPG elements you choose for your character every time you start. Each decision you make before jumping into the game matters, so you have to choose wisely. Every time you search a house, you never truly know what you’ll find. The fact that this game keeps track of your hydration, hunger as well as health, makes the game feel tense, something that I love in games. Plus, its art style and soundtrack just help make this game more atmospheric. If this is your type of game, I’d recommend you to check it out!

10. Rachel Frederick (Board Member) – Never Alone

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Never Alone is a puzzle platformer game that is based on Alaskan indigenous stories which are the basis of the eight chapters. You play as a young Inupiaq girl or her new fox friend as you try to find the reason for the blizzard storm. With the overlaying story telling that happens within the game it quickly gets you hooked to the story line and leaves you wanting to learn more. It also has a two player opportunity as well. So if you love puzzle platform games, and want one that has beautiful scenery, a great story, or cute characters, this game is definitely a game for you.

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