It’s been quite a year for indies. At E3 last year Sony showed that they would be embracing indie titles like never before and ever since they have certainly followed through. Indeed, every one of our top 12 games are on PlayStation platforms or scheduled to be in the not-too-distant future, and some of them have even been in PlayStation Plus, such as Towerfall Ascension and even our indie game of the year.
The biggest draw of indies is the ease with which they can explore things that don’t tend to appear in AAA releases. Whether it’s pixel-y retro games or weird octopus simulators, there’s always something to tickle your fancy somewhere in the vast expanse of the indie scene.
Stumbling into third place this year and no doubt leaving gory footprints in its wake is The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, a ground-up remake of the original Binding of Isaac that released way back in 2011. Redone in a 16 bit aesthetic with content and features that were cut from the original release due to the limitations of its engine, as well as new rooms, enemies, items, and bosses. Isaac is a deeply disturbing dungeon crawler that delves into a variety of unpleasant issues, from child abuse and infanticide to how religion can affect children. It’s not the faint of heart but should you have the stomach for it you’ll find a thoroughly entertaining shooter with an entirely unique design.
It won’t come as a surprise that Transistor performed rather well in this year’s vote. It shares a few things in common with Supergiant Games’ previous game, the sublime Bastion, such as an omnipresent voice and an isometric perspective, but brings a gorgeous scifi aesthetic and a strategic planning mode. Called Turn(), it freezes time so you can choose your attacks, then unleash them all at once with (hopefully) devastating results. You must then wait for to recharge before attacking again however, creating a nice balance between the risk of using Turn() and attacking in real time.
Equally unsurprising considering its popularity here at TSA Towers is Velocity 2X taking the top spot. Originally appearing as a PlayStation Mini back in 2012, Velocity captured TSA’s heart quite quickly thanks to its fast-paced, teledashing shooting that consists of finding your through space and various enemies in a teleporting ship called the Quarp Jet. Velocity Ultra then released on Vita, PS3, and Windows the following year but this was more a visual update than a sequel.
Finally, Velocity 2x, a fully-fledged sequel, released on Vita and PS4, not only updating the ship-based gameplay we already loved but adding a whole other element – sections where Kai, the protagonist, gets out of the Quarp Jet to run and gun on foot. FuturLab managed to transition the gameplay from ship to foot exceptionally, creating a notoriously challenging shooter than truly deserves thecrown.
Velocity 2X is TSA’s Indie Game of the Year 2014.