While the New Year is in full swing, we’d wager there are plenty of indie games from last year which went under your radar. Welcome to get indie gaming and in this video, we take a look at 10 indie game hidden gems of 2019, you might not not have seen but are well worth playing.
At number 10 in our indie game hidden gems of 2019 rundown, Pilgrims’ came out in early October for iOS and Home PCs via Steam. Coming from the makers of Samorost and Machinarium, the visuals, colorings, audio and sound designs are unmistakingly Aminata Design all children’s colouring book with the quirky animations and overall presentation really standing out.
With multiple branching storylines it’s unlikely you’ll see everything Pilgrims has to offer in your first play though and given the short run time of around an hour, it really is worth going back into the world of pilgrims at least two or three times.
Up next at number 9 Astrogolaster which came out in May via Steam and iOS. Set in late 16th century London, you play as a character loosely based on the case notes and studies of a chap called Simon Forman, a serial ne’er do well of sorts who died in 1611.
In this game, you offer help, give hints and advise a magnificently diverse cast of characters who’ve arrived on Forman’s doorstep hoping to find guidance and counsel. It’s caustic wit and delicious characteristics had us thinking this would make our end of year hidden gems rundown within moments of its beginning.
8. Stone Story
At number 8 and something we expect to be darn right polarizing simply because of how it it looks we have Stone Story.
Stone story is a really an RPG mixed with an auto running where you’re not in total command of the characters movements. That said, what you can do is shape how the character is built up or put together and in doing so, optimise its build to create what’s essentially a set of rules or lets call it simple AT to get you from point a to b while not being killed off by the various enemies and bosses you come across.
Stone Story came out in early access in August with the usual statements of the full game being bigger and better with more levels, an expanded quest system more bosses and generally more of everything. Stony story has more than enough of the perculiary oddness about it which we so love to see devs experiment with.
7. Kind Words
Our number 7, Kind Words essentially boils down to a super casual multiplayer with almost none of the traditional mechanics usually associated with video games.
It’s just you at home in a smallish room with you writing and receiving letters from other people while accompanied by laid back lo-fi beats and while odd on paper, it’s absolutely delightful. And was one of the revelations of the year and you can see our review here.
At number 6, Spaceland came out in late September onto home PCs, the Nintendo Switch and Apple Arcade. Putting us all here at Get Indie Gaming firmly in mind of the board game Space Hulk from back in 1989.
We suspect that’s very much by design as much of what Spaceland has to offer is so very much tinged with old school design facets, it’s probably one of the reasons we as a collective enjoyed playing it as much as we did.
Up next at number 5, Grindstone was one of the standout launch games on the Apple Arcade early in Q3. While Grindstone is similar to below, the developers previous game, as much as it features a plot with a warrier making their way through a cave while fighting monsters, they are poles apart.
While below is so dark, Grindstone is joyful, colorful and like all really good puzzle games it’s deceptively simple while at the same time giving a deliciously fun and addictive repetitive gameplay loop.
At launch well worth the cost of the Arcade service alone Grindstone is a delight and should in time become a classic of the platform.
4. Hypnospace Outlaw
As much as we loathe to admit we know and have experienced it first hand, Hypnospace Outlaw creates an almost flawless visual and aural representation of the web from around the turn of the century with dial up modems, AOL disks on the front of every computer magazine and when all things internet were just that little bit slower.
While it delivers a mountain of nostalgia, it’s a fine piece of satire in a similar fashion of say Papers Please and Orwell. It’s also a testing puzzler that’s frankly tough as nails in places.
3. Bleak Sword
At number 3 and one of the games alongside Grindstone we had the most fun with on Apple Arcade launched. You can find a full review here.
Bleak Sword is a retro-looking classical hack and slash brawler does somehting no other mobile game has yet done. What it does so very, very well, is to offer is a brutal mix of action with the most challenging and fun boss battles ever on mobile.
The controls are perfect and so beautifully simple – you attack, dodge and use your shield by way of swiping or tapping the screen. To dodge you swipe in the direction you want to go. A short tap on the screen enables you to parry attacks and a longer hold while then swiping towards an enemy means you’ll attack in that direction.
Sure it doesn’t look overly pretty and yet that doesn’t matter. The nine levels where you can build your character’s abilities as you progress all feel measured with a fine difficulty progression from start to finish.
We’re holding back from making the obvious comparisons with other games although if you do go play this one, prepare to die oh so many times and like similar games, once you recognise the enemy movement patterns and strike signals, you can get working on taking care of business.
For a game designed for mobiles. There’s nothing to rival it.
2. Sky: Children of the Night
Our runner up and yet another mobile centric offering, Sky Children of the Light landed towards the middle of the year. If you didn’t know already, it’s the follow up to that game company’s journey where it builds upon the multiplayer wordless communication aspect, while adding far more complexity.
Some will and have already suggested it really is too much like Journey to get that excited about and for us it doesn’t reach the same ethereal high points, there’s still something so very magical about going about the ingame world either alone or with a few anonymous companions as you work together to solve the environmental puzzles.
A Short Hike
At number 1, in our indie game hidden gems of 2019 countdown, A Short Hike sees you play as a bird called Clair who while out and about in the relative wilderness with her aunt May, decides there and then she really needs to find a signal for her phone.
Having set off, you come across a number of characters who all seem to have forgotten something or need help to be able to go about their own business.
Given you seem ever the obliging lady you naturally come to their aid had having done so, you’re rewarded with items or skills that boost your overall abilities.
The most enjoyable parts of a short hike comes within the flying sections. Like the rest of the game these are stress free allowing you well just to have while out flying across the landscape.