As the year nears its end, IndieHangover’s staff and contributors wanted to share the indie games that they felt were the Best Indies of 2018 with our audience.
This is a completely biased and totally subjective selection process: quite simply, we each asked ourselves which game we liked best this year. Maybe it was the aesthetic, maybe it was the gameplay, maybe it was something else, but these were our faves. (We’ve also picked three honorable mentions, because who can choose just one indie game!?)
Jacob Wood (Editor-In-Chief): Wandersong
Wandersong was such a breath of fresh air this year. First and foremost the game’s art, animation, humor and ultimate message were uplifting, funny, thoughtful and just plain fun! In a year that felt like it was decades long, Wandersong was a bright, colorful and cathartic experience dealing with creativity, depression, purpose and a host of other damn important things while also being full of zany characters, weird locations, and more songs than you could possibly shake a stick at.
Wandersong also stood out to me because of just how many tropes and things that we expect out of adventure games it turned on their head. It’s not just mechanics and memes either, as a big part of the game revolves around the examination of what a hero is, and what makes someone heroic. Ultimately, I think it was Wandersong’s uplifting and hopeful message, along side it’s musical mechanics and fantastic comedy, that cemented it as my favorite indie game this year.
Charlie Jackson (Contributor): Moss
Moss on PSVR is one of the most magical experiences I can remember in the last decade, let alone in 2018. Peeking behind objects to look for secrets is terrific, and the sense of scale is astounding. There’s nothing like seeing a tiny, adorable mouse running around while gigantic deer peek over at what’s going on.
The game’s mechanics are also terrific, with Quill (the mouse hero) waving at you, giving you a high-five after a great segment, and even giving you tips with what to do by pointing, spinning around, or imitating enemies you need to use. It also has one of the most epic endings to a game that I’ve seen in a very long time, and I managed to feel all the feels throughout this adorable experience.
Erroll Maas (Contributor): Into The Breach
There’s not that much I can say about Into the Breach that I haven’t said in previous articles, but for me it was definitely a surprise hit. I was never a fan of either Subset Games’ previous title FTL or strategy games in general, and prior to learning about Into the Breach, strategy games had always intimidated me as I incorrectly assumed that they were all difficult to learn and made specifically for those who enjoy and excel at games like chess. Once I learned about Into the Breach and how it was inspired by Pacific Rim — one of my favorite sci-fi action movies — I decided that it was finally time to give the strategy genre a try.
Turns out, it was easy to learn and I ended up enjoying it so much that I wrote a spotlight on it not too long after release, got the chance to interview programmer and co-designer Matthew Davis at GDC, and was overjoyed when it was announced for immediate release on Nintendo Switch during this year’s Nindies showcase. While there’s no word of official additional content for it yet, Into the Breach is one of the few games that I find myself going back to often. Into the Breach even managed to increase my interest in other strategy games like Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden and Vestaria Saga, as well as classics like Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Advance Wars, games that I wouldn’t have even tried otherwise. I think Into the Breach absolutely deserves the best strategy game award it won at the 2018 Game Awards, and I’m glad that it inspired me to expand my horizons.
Ochidee Stachelig (Contributor): Super Daryl Deluxe
Super Daryl Deluxe caught my attention from the 1st message they sent my way before GDC 2018. Some RPGvania action in a high school setting with monsters, and visuals giving me a strong 90s cartoons vibe looked like a must-play – and it was that! (A Reptar bar I got at the demo meeting just added up to the overall experience :). The game turned out to be an excellent one to stream: the story of a schoolkid trying to get their spot in the sun probably hits close to home for most gamers…then add some mystery, action and combat to it! And hitting enemies with a rhino hammer (yes, you read that right!). The game’s pace is just right to both enjoy it and keep the chat going. Works with backseat gaming too! Another appealing feature for the “explorer” type of player that I am is that you don’t have to complete the story, but can discover secrets.
Super Daryl Deluxe is now available on Switch, so can be taken with you anywhere. What’s even better? Since our meeting at GDC, the devs have added local co-op to the PC version of the game, and plan to roll it out on consoles. Definitely something to look forward to, taking into account that all my gamer friends live far away, and being able to bring the game to play with them sounds like a wonderful perspective.
A big thank you to all those who have read, liked, commented and shared our articles and videos over the course of 2018.
A special thank you to our Patrons (Jason Godbey, James Johnston, Nick Viner, John MacDonald and Charles Jackson) and all those who supported us through Kofi and Social Media.
We’ll be back with our Most Anticipated Games of 2019 on January 2nd, as well as a bunch of new things to look forward to on IndieHangover in the new year!