70. Marble Marcher
You’d think a game based on physics and complex mathematics might not be fun but you’d be wrong. Marble Marcher is entirely ray-marched in real time and is played on the surface of evolving fractals. You essentially roll a marble around ever-evolving surfaces as a real-time physics engine ensures everything feels and looks as real as possible. It’s actually pretty cool, promise.
The game features 24 levels all comprised of landscapes shaped by the fractal physics engine at its core. This allows you to speed your marble through rapidly warping environments to some funky beats for some physics-based fun. There’s something quite satisfying about realistic physics in virtual worlds, just ask anyone who’s spent a few hours horsing around with a gravity gun in any of the Half-Life games. Looks like marbles can still be entertaining afterall, even in the digital age.
69. Unreal PT
We all remember Hideo Kojima’s ill-fated horror tittle PT after a tantalising demo dropped on the PlayStation store back in 2014. It was subsequently removed and the game cancelled, but it’s legacy lives on in games like Unreal PT.
Unreal PT is a short psychological horror game based on the original PT demo. It aimed to give fans who missed the original a taste of the atmosphere and gameplay that intrigued players and critics alike. The game was recreated from scratch using nothing from the Guillermo Del Toro directed original. Despite this, the look and feel of the game came very close to the 2014 experience. If you missed PT first time round this might just be your chance to see what all the hype was about.
In all fairness you’ll either get this game or you won’t. If you’re a dog person and have attended your fair share of house parties chances are this game is for you. Imagine the scene, you find yourself at a house party – you don’t know anyone. But, there is one very good boy looking for some attention. You know your mission.
In Pet The Pup At The Party it’s your duty to find pup at the party and pet them. Sounds simple, but time is not on your side. You’ll not only have to navigate through a sea of hipsters, but you’ll also have to do it in a set amount of time. With 52 to different pups to find and a good dog gallery for the best you encounter Pet The Pup At The Party is a dog lovers dream. Get out there and pet some pups!
Where the Goats Are is a touching and thoughtful game about an old woman who lives alone with her goats. This slow-paced, meditative game encourages you to appreciate what you’ve whilst you’ve got it. It’s also a game of routine and tradition about a woman determined to maintain her way of life as the world around her falls apart.
It’s a short experience designed to be played in one sitting although its lasting value and impact go beyond the short story it tells. Ultimately, it’s a tale of loss and change, but also one of habit. Many people find solace in their routines, even in the face of impending doom.
To add to that the art style is also wonderfully colourful and charming inviting you into a world that, although fleeting, is beautiful and alive.
66. The Doll Shop
These days, dolls rarely offer a source of comfort in an indie game. After years of vilification across horror movie after horror movie, they’re far too creepy to just slide into a scene without causing some disturbance. Creepier than the toys in this doll shop, however, is the owner.
The Doll Shop is a gorgeously crafted “half romance, half horror” in which the player lives through the eyes of a mysterious shop owner as he tends to his dolls and travels across his village. It quickly becomes clear that, surprise surprise, this guy’s a little too attached to his precious porcelain. Working with what you’ve got, your two tasks are to guide this young man through everyday social interactions or carefully repair dolls in the workshop. Both are fairly treacherous ordeals. Safe to say this isn’t the light-hearted jaunt through the Japanese countryside the artwork suggests and is rather a masterful exploration of the kind of horror that settles in your bones.
It’s quite difficult to interrogate a robot. Every answer is a set of logic streams delineated directly from your own question, so things can often get quite pedantic. Ultimately, though there’s a charm to your subject’s initially blank understanding of human morality. Following the laws of robotics, your task is to question the robotic Mr Donovan on the case of his role in his master’s suicide.
Electric Tortoise deals with a lot of modern-day ethical quandaries in an immensely streamlined manner. Can an assisted suicide be blamed on the robotic perpetrator if it was not only following the logic of the orders of its master, but also the laws of its existence? Perhaps more disturbingly, as you continue your interrogation, it becomes more apparent that Mr Donovan is expressing feelings and emotions, it is acting as a human and you are responding to it as a human. It’s the only way a player would begin to feel empathy for the robot, after all, if it recognised a shared experience. And yet, if this robot is capable of emotional reasoning beyond the logical, should it, in fact, be held accountable for its actions? I need to sit down, my head’s spinning.
Fingerolympics is exactly what it says on the tin. A series of challenges for your fingers. Line up along the 1-9 keys on your keyboard and get ready to mash. The corresponding numbers appear on screen as tubular blocks with eyes, darting quickly upward when each number is pressed. It’s amazing what developer Ludipe has managed to accomplish with this one simple mechanic.
From fast-paced keep-ups to placing roman numerals in order, each mini-game is surprisingly exciting. One of the best, however, has to be Phone Go, a game in which you must guide a flashing phone to a spot on the screen as fast as possible in order to fill your Pokeball slot on the wall.
No one knows that the best things in life are free better than a thief. Enter your first house in the shoes of this robber and you’ll notice something a little unique, however. You guessed it, this is a very organised thief. As you sneak through each property you have a specific list of items you must retrieve. You’ll have to be thorough but quick, should the owners return home and force you to switch to stealth tactics, raiding as silently as possible. That’s the idea, anyway. In truth, the blind panic of imminent discovery is enough to have you transforming from a sly shadow into a frantic sweaty mess.
The Very Organised Thief takes the tension of stealth genres and adds a shopping list, rendering it heart-stoppingly terrifying.
A meditative stroll through a watercolour dream, Sacramento offers a few minutes respite from the flurry of everyday life. Glass Body’s sound design perfectly complements developer Delphine Fourneau’s whispy memories and abstract colour splotches. As players journey across this artistic landscape, Fourneau hopes they will engage with their own memories of travel and the ephemeral mark it leaves on the mind as she did when creating the experience.
Part mindfulness exercise part immersive art, Sacramento is widely celebrated for its stunning visuals and zen atmosphere.
There’s always something creepy about old stuff. Old books, records, movie reels; they’re all damn creepy. Thanks to Faith, I think we can safely add classic MS-DOS style graphics to that list. That might be helped along by the game’s satanic theming and deceptively simple mechanics.
Telling the story of a young priest returning to a cursed house, this ‘80s tale takes players through a couple of hours of pixelated terror. From horrifying demons to hair-raising clunks in the dark, it’s easy to forget that you’re only witnessing rudimentary visuals. Once your imagination is engaged in this way, you’re in too deep. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.