best indie games of 2016

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It’s that time of year again, and IndieHangover’s staff and contributors  wanted to share the indie games that they felt were the Best Indies of 2016. Totally subjective selection process: quite simply, which game we liked best this year. We’ve also picked three honorable mentions. 

Got your own favorite indie game of the year? Tell us what it is and why in the comments below!

 

Seven DeBord (Owner and Creator): DARKEST DUNGEON

 

From its bleak beginning to the bitter end, Red Hook’s Darkest Dungeon oozes with style and a relentless attention to detail. Each moment exists to reinforce the overarching theme of despair, sense of urgency, and psychological stress as your characters descend to the depths of the dungeon in search of answers and wealth. Red Hook unapologetically launches you into a terrifying piece of gothic horror with a brilliant pairing of Wayne June’s voiceover work and Chris Bourassa’s art direction.

Yeah, it sounds terrifying and depressing; having to manage the physical and mental health of a broken crew of adventurers as they crawl through horrific dungeons filled with unspeakable evils, but Red Hook managed to craft a unique and unforgettable experience. Darkest Dungeon‘s gameplay is immediately easy to grasp, and yet it offers so much strategic depth that it never feels repetitive or tiresome, two problems that often plague other rogue-like systems. With combat that feels very much like a classic pen and paper encounter and a metagame that puts most other RPGs to shame, Darkest Dungeon provides one of the best adventures in 2016.

“The Crimson Court” DLC is coming to Darkest Dungeon in 2017. Learn More Here.

Honorable Mentions: Brigador, Burly Men At SeaStardew Valley


Jacob Wood (Editor-in-Chief): DUSKERS

 

If there is one game this year that stood out to me for doing something different and knocking it out of the park, it was DUSKERS. Tim Keenan’s scifi horror game should go down as one of, if not the best, marriages of mechanics and atmosphere, perhaps in the history of gaming. For the majority of the game, you are interacting with the environments, your drones and the unknown enemies via a command line which immediately and effortlessly puts you into the world DUSKERS

This creates one of the most nerve-wracking and tense game’s I’ve ever played, and I had to step away from it from time to time when the “Nope’s” started flowing a bit more freely from me than normal. But don’t let this dissuade you: the game is a triumph, and deserves to be experienced. In addition to the command line input, the hazy fluorescent graphics, near lack of music and sound, and wonderfully mysterious corrupted ship’s logs do a fantastic job of setting the atmosphere and selling the experience.You’ll be engrossed by this derelict world you have to explore and terrified by just how real it feels.

Check out our full Review of DUSKERS here

Check out our Interview with DUSKER’s Developer Tim Keenan here.

Honorable Mentions: Knee Deep, Headlander, Burly Men At Sea


Danielle Mesa (Contributing Writer): KATHY RAIN: A DETECTIVE IS BORN

 

 

From 2016, Kathy Rain: A Detective is Born by Clifftop Games was one of those titles that had me at the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens next. An underrated gem taking place in the mid-1990ʼs, it is an adventure game influenced by classics such as those of Sierra Online and LucasArts, and its story, retro graphics, voice acting and puzzles are exactly the qualities fans of this genre seek.

The titular character is a strong female protagonist who confronts the struggles of her past while solving the mystery behind the deaths of her grandfather and a teenage artist. As a character, Kathy is written as a clever, down-to-earth college student who makes straightforward comments when she is suspicious of someone and their actions. Players also see her vulnerable side when family issues arise, making her a very relatable character. If you like retro styled adventure games and/or games with solid character development and plot, Clifftop Games founder and solo indie dev Joel Staaf Hasto has made the type of game youʼve been looking for.

You can read more about Danielle’s take on Kathy Rain on her blog here.

Honorable Mentions: The Witness, Stardew Valley, Honey Rose

 

A big thank you to all those who have read, liked, commented and shared our articles and videos over the course of 2016. We’ve got some big things planned for 2017, in addition to the Weekly Indie Dev Interviews, Reviews, and News coverage from the world of Indie Games and Indie Game Development, so stay tuned!

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