The Best Indie Games of 2018

Game of the Year

Return of the Obra Dinn

Return of the Obra Dinn

The next game from Papers, Please developer Lucas Pope was always going to draw a lot of attention. But Return of the Obra Dinn, which was announced way back in 2014, has made a bigger splash than even Pope himself could have predicted this year.

Transporting you into the shoes of a diligent insurance adjuster sent on a job to assess what happened to the holdings and crew of the Obra Dinn, this murder mystery-esque adventure puts your nose in a book rather than a sword in your hand. See, the thing about the Obra Dinn is, it’s been missing, and for a long time. Declared lost at sea after disappearing for five years without a trace the vessel has now washed back up into port and financially interested parties, understandably, want to know what has become of the 200 tons of trade goods that were aboard including the crew. It’s your job to sift through the crew’s manifest, using a strange artefact that can rewind time, in a bid to discover the truth of this ill-fated voyage.

Return of the Obra Dinn is so refreshingly different in its approach to this endeavour and how it allows the player to solve this grand puzzle. Armed only with the Crew’s Muster Roll book and your strange pocket watch, you’ll have to unravel the events that led to the crew’s demise by studying flashbacks and pouring through notes filling out your findings as you go.

Add to the fact that all this is presented in a striking, one-bit monochromatic style and you’ve got an instant hit on your hands that delivers as much atmosphere and intrigue as some of the greatest murder mystery novels out there.

Return of the Obra Dinn certainly released to high expectations after the success of Pope’s last game and, unsurprisingly, rose to the challenge of bringing something equally as innovative as Papers, Please to the table. It’s the kind of release that exemplifies indie games experimental nature and reinforces the sector’s reputation as a place to play something different. And, that’s why it’s The Indie Game Website’s Game of the Year.

From the snowy peaks of Frostpunk to the depths of The Thin Silence’s caves, 2018 took us on all sorts of journeys. We’ve been playing with everything from apocalyptic sailboats to God-seeking pirate ships, from sinkholes to time itself, and we’ve been flossing the whole way. Here’s to 2018, and a brand new bounty of adventures in the new year!