The 10 Most Definitive Indie Games of the 2010s: #10 – #6

The 2010s gave us the greatest crop of indie games ever made, and we’ve compiled a list of the most important ones. Here’s the first half.

Back when this decade started, indie games were a firm niche of their own with a passionate, but small fanbase. Over the decade, the means to create indie games have expanded and improved, and we’ve seen games emerge from all corners of the world. Even as the borders between what is indie and what isn’t have blurred, we’ve consistently seen the indie space explore with the video game medium to create new experiences.

With the games below, we’ve crunched numbers to go to space, and we’ve managed farmsteads back. We’ve blasted gangster brains onto walls, and we’ve survived both the wilds of space and Earth. These games defined the 2010s as a decade of indie games with their varied experiences.

Check out entries #5 to #1 here.

#10 – Hotline Miami (2012)

Hotline Miami

Even as a thread of indie games was leaning away from the violence typically associated with video games, Hotline Miami from Dennaton Games chose to go all-in. Its top-down view and pixely graphics do a lot to hide it, but the ultraviolence of Hotline Miami never really lets up. It’s a game where sheer brutality is honed into a practised and elegant ballet.

You enter, you kill, and you get killed. Repeat over and over, until you get it just right, and you feel like an absolute legend. If ever you wanted to know what its like to be in John Wick’s head, it’s here.

#9 – Kerbal Space Program (2015)

It’s one thing to make a game about space that’s fun, and it’s another to do it with realistic physics. Mexican developer Squad managed to do both with Kerbal Space Program, in which we shot off the green Minion-like “Kerbals” into space and hoped to a dear green alien god that they will survive the trip.

With deeply technical gameplay, Kerbal Space Program can be considered both educational and fun, accomplishing a task that most ‘educational’ games fail at. It even attracted the attention of the scientific community at large, and it remains the only major game to let your run a space program from the ground up.

#8 – Don’t Starve (2013)

Don't Starve

Don’t Starve wasn’t the first or most popular survival game even when it came out, but it certainly won widespread attention and it remains the most recognisable game from the talented Klei Entertainment. With its distinctive art style and tough survival gameplay, Don’t Starve not only survived a hectic indie market, but went on to thrive beyond. Its range of expansions and ports attests to its enduring success.

#7 – FTL: Faster Than Light (2012)

FTL: Faster Than Light

While many competing games had you trying to survive earthly dangers, FTL: Faster Than Light took you in a completely different frontier. Subset Games’ space survival game had you assigning your very limited resources to run a spaceship and make it out of a harrowing gauntlet alive.

Its unpredictable roguelike gameplay meant that even when you lost (and you certainly lost a lot), you couldn’t wait to dive back in for another go. Maybe this time you’ll get the right combination of factors and finally make it out.

#6 – Stardew Valley (2016)

Stardew Valley screenshot indie game

What do you do when you’re feeling nostalgic for a classic video game and want a new version of it, but you just don’t get it? Developer ConcernedApe decided to make Stardew Valley, and he ended up with a game that not only hit the highs of Harvest Moon, but according to many, even surpassed them.

Its charming graphics and relaxing gameplay won it a lot of praise, not only from Harvest Moon fans, but also new players willing to live a peaceful life in the boondocks. With indie games like these, who needs to beg the big companies for sequels?

Also have a look at the Into Indie Games Awards for the best games of the year. Still looking for something to buy for the Holidays? Have a look at our Christmas guide.

This Article was written by: Rahul Shirke

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