If there’s one sector of the games industry that consistently tries to do something different, it’s the Indie gaming scene. As 2013 draws to a close, it’s an area which is seeing greater and greater coverage, recognition and support, with all of the major manufacturers looking to get more of these games onto their newest platforms.
With that in mind, the top results of the staff vote might be a little surprising. Rather than pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a game, the top three have gone in the opposite direction, distilling, refining and perfecting their gameplay. Each delivers a quintessential example of their given genre.
Velocity Ultra wins the category, as Futurlab returned to their excellent PS Mini, Velocity, and gave it a graphical retrofit for the PS Vita release earlier this year. Since then, Curve Studios have since helped them bring the game to PS3 and PCs, leaving you with fewer and fewer excuses not to play it, while Futurlab themselves focus on the rather good looking Velocity 2X for next year.
In a close second place comes the exceedingly well polished Resogun, from Housemarque with all its voxel-based graphics and dazzling physics effect tied to an easy to play but brutally difficult to master arcade shooter. If you have a PS4, then you quite likely have this game already, bundled in as part of every PS+ subscription.
However, there’s a fairly big gap back to third placed Guacamelee!, also on PS+ right now, which saw Drinkbox Studios take our hero in a luchador mask on a Dia de Los Mueros-infused, Metroidvania-style adventure.
It’s only after this that we see some of the more odd-ball games, with fireplace simulator Little Inferno tied for fourth spot with border control simulator Papers, Please. The latter, of course, deserving recognition as possibly the only game that Channel 4’s Jon Snow thinks sounds interesting, though he’d still probably claim it’s too violent.
Gunpoint then heads up SteamWorld Dig, Surgeon Simulator 2013, Slender: The Arrival, Proteus and Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine. All of which are fantastically diverse games, and worth taking a look at.
Velocity Ultra is TheSixthAxis’ Indie game of the year.