Indie games can be some of the most original in terms of what they do in their gameplay mechanics as well as what they do in their storytelling. Most of the time, a very small team is responsible for the production of these games. These teams usually work without pay to try to make their dreams come true by creating a hit game.
This list is meant to show the games that managed to come out and create success stories for their developers. These are not just some of the best indie games that have been made, but also ones that have been associated with some of the best stories to come.
Bastion was Supergiant Games’ first game. If this studio sounds familiar to you, it’s because since the creation of this game, they’ve managed to secure enough funding to create future hit stories like Hades. The team grew from 7 people when creating Bastion to 20 people when working on Hades.
Bastion did a great job of creating an action role-playing game that made players feel like every action they took was part of the story. Most of what the player does is wonderfully narrated down to the smallest level moves. It is very original in the presentation.
Fez was created by Phil Fish who had an extremely turbulent history with the creation of the game. The launch of the game took 5 years and during that time the lead creator had to go through different struggles trying to stay afloat. The game was almost canceled because the developer was almost out of money.
Trapdoor Inc. thankfully saved the game from being canceled by providing funding. They took the game to its final stages and now Fez is one of the most beautiful games to come out. It has a one-of-a-kind perspective system that goes hand in hand with the gameplay. It’s a system that seems to have yet to be imitated. Fez is groundbreaking and life changing for the developer although the world will probably never get a sequel due to the outside drama that caused Fish to drop production.
8 lamb worship
Super Monster Games had developed games before, but never had anything take off like Cult of the Lamb. The company is made up of 5 people who worked to create Cult of the Lamb. The work they put into the game resulted in the game selling over a million copies in just one week.
Cult of the Lamb is a phenomenal mix of city management and roguelike as players tend to their cult while trying to defeat different bosses. The game has a gorgeous design that combines cute and satanic images. The game deserved the attention it received.
seven hollow knight
Hollow Knight was a game that started with a group of friends doing several game jams and building their game into something on a much larger scale than expected. The game had a lot of voice actors that the people who made the game knew as one of their mothers, as mentioned in an MCV/Develop interview with the team. The team made a great game and were wonderful at making sure they were a big part of their community.
Hollow Knight ended up being a massive hit because a lot of love was put into it. It’s a Metroidvania that allows for a lot of customization in terms of how the character is played. The game also offers multiple paths to explore so that no two players’ paths are identical.
This game started as a side project created by a team of 5 people. The game was first released in early access in February 2021, but a month later it had already been very successful as it sold five million copies. The game was exceptional for what it brought to the world of early access games, as its presentation was polished.
The game provided players with a great crafting system. It also had a well thought out survival premise that included intricate dungeon crawling experiences and big boss battles. The game also added an element of a scale that initially seemed unfathomable when players discovered the actual size of the game.
5 The Binding of Isaac
The Binding of Isaac created a roguelike out of elements from the original The Legend of Zelda games. There was a top-down view, but when the player died they had to start over from the beginning of the game. This changed through more strings let’s play with the game when its Wrath of the Lamb DLC came out and blew up the game.
The nice thing about it is that the game was created by two people. It was also a game that lead creator Edmund McMillen made as a reflection of aspects of his heavily religious and somewhat traumatic childhood.
4 Among us
Among Us was originally released in 2018, but it didn’t receive the success it garnered until 2020. It was a game that was created by 3 people and was going to be discontinued, but the base players continued to slowly grow and demand content. , so the team continued to work on it. All of this brought this game to the point where one day the game snowballed and exploded in popularity.
The game took a lot of inspiration from the movie The Thing and the simple gameplay that made it makes people connect in a tense way. It may not be as popular as it used to be, but many people have fond memories of causing internal wars in their friendships by forming complex lies to win a game.
Undertale is by far one of the most captivating games created with one of the best storylines available to media. It was also all done by one person, Toby Fox. Fox wanted to create a game whose fights would feel like part of the story progression. He achieved this and thus created a completely original genre in the turn-based role-playing game model.
Undertale has a story that starts right from the start. Players will be hit with different twists and there are plenty of options here that change the trajectory of the story. Undertale deserves the $26 million plus in sales. Fox made creating video games more accessible even to those unschooled in it, as Fox showed what could be done with an idea, drive, and little to no game-making experience.
Terraria started as a simple idea that expanded into the big game it has become today. The original lead developer – in the team that started with 3 people – was a really smart guy, Andrew “Redigit” Spinks. He made a name for himself by hosting flash sites. He and his team focused on creating a game that would be fun in all aspects of his game.
As soon as the game was released, it was an overnight success, selling 200,000,000 copies in its second week of release. The game eventually continued to be updated and allowed players to venture into a world that expanded as players became stronger and more prepared.
Minecraft was originally developed by Marcus “Notch” Persson until he had enough money to be able to hire more people to help develop it. He created the company Mojang which is probably the biggest success story of independent games. Minecraft’s success worked so well that Notch ended up selling Mojang to Microsoft for a $2.5 billion cash deal. This makes him the richest indie game developer.
The Minecraft game model that mixes survival elements with crafting makes it one of the most enjoyable gaming games out there. It’s the simplicity in the complexity of its design that gives it endless hours of replayability because it’s a sandbox game with endless possibilities.
NEXT: Best Crafting Video Games, Ranked