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 2017. 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 (Founder): Flinthook
I eagerly awaited Flinthook for so long that I feared my expectations may have been too high, but Tribute went above and beyond with this rogue-like beauty. Flinthook takes some of the best elements of bullet hell games and platformers and makes total chaos enjoyable with on-point controls and mechanics. To the casual onlooker, the gameplay may look oppressive or punishing, but Tribute manages to keep the experience fluid, almost dance-like. Without a doubt, some serious hours went into polishing Flinthook into the shiny pixelated gem that it is, quickly making it one of the most stand out titles in 2017.
Read our Review of Flinthook Here.
Jacob Wood (Editor In Chief): West of Loathing
Of all the indie games that I’ve played and reviewed this year, there’s only one I’ve played through, in it’s entirety, three times, and that’s West of Loathing. The game’s stick-thetics and sense of humor are certainly not going to grab everyone, but in my case, the mix of irreverence, references and slapstick I couldn’t get enough of.
Moreover, that game has a staggering amount of content to experience, from multiple story lines, numerous different NPC Companions with there own side quests, a handful of different endings and a plethora of hats to collect. The stick figure minimalism of West of Loathing is remarkably good at hiding what a huge game you’re diving into, full of demonic cattle, ghost pickles and snarky narrators.
West of Loathing is a mad, strange, trip of a game, but I’d wager it’s also the most fun bit of escapism I’ve experienced this year.
Read Our Full Review of West of Loathing Here.
Charlie Jackson (Contributor): Hand of Fate 2
Hand of Fate was among my biggest surprises in gaming as a whole, so when Hand of Fate 2 was announced I was immediately hyped. Despite my high expectations I was pleasantly surprised again – the game is significantly improved in every possible way. Combat feels smoother, you can customize your deck for your missions based on the cards you’ve unlocked, levels each have a unique challenge to them now, you’ve got companions to bring with you and the Dealer is as awesome as ever.
It’s easily one of the most fun, unique roguelikes I’ve ever played, and I plan on playing far more of it. Endless Mode “coming soon” will definitely have me struggling to play other games when it releases!
Read our Full Review of Hand of Fate 2 Here.
Erroll Maas (Contributor): Cuphead
I had been excited for Cuphead ever since I saw the E3 2015 trailer for it, and this year it was finally released. It was clearly worth the wait, and it’s astounding just how much care was put into the final product, from the hand drawn animation and other techniques used, to the retro references featured throughout the game.
Cuphead may not be the easiest game, but a lot of its entertainment value comes from its difficulty. I’ve switched between simple and regular and once i beat the game on simple difficulty I plan on going back to play through it on regular. Often, I feel like a few too many indie games are heavily inspired by Dark Souls, which is fine, but after the release of games like Salt & Sanctuary and Hollow Knight, I felt that Cuphead was different enough to not feel like oversaturation, instead taking inspiration from Contra and other challenging retro games of the past. Cuphead‘s quality, appropriate level of challenge, and satisfying feeling of reward is why it’s my pick for indie game of the year.
Jessica Paek (Contributor): The Norwood Suite
As a wholehearted fanatic of the surreal and weird, The Norwood Suite called out to me at Indiecade 2017. Before even setting foot past the threshold of the hotel, I was positive that it would satisfy my thirst for strange visuals and odd characters. The game is set in the mysterious Norwood Hotel, where you arrive as a stranger who is clearly out of place, and often mistaken for a hotel employee. As you explore the hotel and perform menial tasks for guests, you discover clues and objects to help you reveal more of the story behind the Norwood Hotel and the enigmatic musician the hotel is named for, Peter Norwood.
This first-person mystery adventure game imbues music into every aspect of the game in a unique way. Brass instruments take the place of voice actors, and each room has its own unique feel, which is accentuated by sound and music. Aside from the incredible soundtrack, the game provides an immersive atmosphere with an enticing story that I couldn’t help but lose myself in.
A big thank you to all those who have read, liked, commented and shared our articles and videos over the course of 2017.
A special thank you to our Patrons as well: Jason Godbey, James Johnston, Nick Viner, John MacDonald and Charles Jackson