The Ninjabot

The 5 Best Indie Games of 2013: Publishers Optional

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 9:01 am by Victor Chaves

We’ve covered the highs and lows of gaming in general this year, but I felt there should be a more specific shout out to the best in indie games of 2013. Every year, indie titles grow more and more impressive as the technology and development funding become easier for smaller studios to access, giving us a wider range of games to choose from outside of major titles. Here are a few of what I think were the best indie games of 2013.



This first-person shooter is the most realistic shooting simulation I have ever played. What Receiver brings to the table is instead of pressing “R” to reload, the action requires several different key presses to complete. Say you need to reload your M1911 pistol. You would need to unholster the gun, eject the magazine, insert one bullet, repeat insertion until the magazine is filled, reinsert the magazine, release the slide lock, pull the slide to chamber a bullet, and finally toggle the safety off. Each action requires a myriad of steps, and can be overwhelming at first, especially when you have to reload while an enemy is coming at you.

However, the game truly shines when you become comfortable learning the ins and outs of the weaponry. That moment when you reload from memory and save yourself from a rushing drone is one of the best feelings I’ve experienced in a game. This feels like a real gun, and when you go back to shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield, you’ll come to understand how much you’re actually missing.


Kerbal Space Program

Anyone who doesn’t giggle when their first rocket crashes after five seconds needs a psyche evaluation. Kerbal Space Program allows you to build rockets which will hopefully reach space, the moon, and even Mars. The game proceeds mostly with pure trial and error, forcing you to understand details like a slight vehicle imbalance or badly timed fuel phases. Although it can be frustrating at times, finally seeing something you made reach space and land safely back is a thing of beauty. The game definitely has a learning curve since it’s not particularly user-friendly at the outset, so I often referred to wikis and forums to get a better idea of what I needed to do. Once I started just messing around on my own, I became completely enamored with Kerbal Space Program. Even though it’s still in development, it’s definitely worth picking up.


Rogue Legacy

This game has so much to love. Want a speedy 2-D Castlevania game? You got it. Want a game that has you uttering, “Just one more.” That’s here in spades! Need a solid rogue-like experience? This game will have a new level for you each time you die. Rogue Legacy is a fantastic game that has you tackle a randomly generated castle through multiple generations of heroes, all with their own quirks and abilities. Each hero will have an odd quality that can either hinder or help the player during each play through. Some have a potty-mouth, irritable bowels, see only in 2-D, have monochrome eyesight, and so much more. With quality humor and extremely fun gameplay, this is a must-try title for everyone.



A platforming puzzler at its finest, Gunpoint has you launching up buildings and hacking security to steal intelligence for clients. You’re a private detective who gets involved in corporate espionage, hired to erase information that can devastate when placed in the wrong hands. With this power, you often have the option to choose who gets your stolen intel, leading to amusing banter between characters and new levels or clients altogether. While the puzzle gameplay is a fun head-scratcher, and the platforming can get pretty tense, the story is what really shines here. I can safely say that this is one of the most solid games of 2013.


The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable is not your typical game, and it often left me wondering whether I was even playing a game at all. Walking through hallways, making choices, and listening to the hilarious rantings of a narrator hell-bent on controlling you make for some of the most entertaining hours I’ve spent on a game all year. Sure there are titles that are just better at being games, but nothing hit me in quite the same way as The Stanley Parable did in all of 2013. Read my review right over here, while you’re downloading it on Steam.

Those are my picks for the best indie games of 2013, but obviously I missed a ton of other deserving titles! After the recent Steam sale, I may need to rewrite this in a month or so (I’m looking at you Long Live the Queen). For now, go out and get these fine games. I guarantee that you’re going to get as much out of these as the $60 retail titles, except at a more reasonable price.

Each game is available on Steam.

Follow Victor on Twitter @fake_brasilian to see a man descend to madness.

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