We asked a few Indie Game Website editors which single indie game stood out for them personally in 2019. Here’s what they had to say. Just want to see what takes the number one spot? Go here to discover our overall Game of the Year…
Jon Calvin – Editor
There was something about Yuppie Psycho that gripped me from the moment I picked it up. Maybe it was the intersection of corporatism and the occult or the vibrant pixel art backed-up by a genuinely fantastic soundtrack. Either way, I couldn’t put it down; it was truly gripping. The gameplay was frantic, weird and downright challenging in parts but it never lets you get comfortable, it never settled on one way to tell its story, and I liked that.
Playing the ill-fated Brian Pasternack on his first day on the job at megacorporation, Sintracorp, he finds himself in quite the predicament. He’s not going to be filling reports or typing up resumes, he has to kill a witch, one that has been tormenting the building and staff since a deal went wrong.
Navigating a dystopian future where huge corporations dabble in the occult, Yuppie Psycho gives us a glimpse into the dangers that out of control mega-companies present. Through the eyes of a low-class citizen, we see how the average worker is used and abused to serve the corporation’s ends.
Blind servitude has the denizens of the building oblivious to the evil that resides there, it’s just a normal day in the office for them. For you and Brain, it’s a spiralling tumble down the rabbit hole into a world of witches, demons and wizards and what a ride it is watching it all fall apart.
James Sheppard – Deputy Editor
Hotline Miami is a classic amongst indie games, for good reason. Its top-down action is violent and thrilling. Anything can happen in a split second. Ape Out apes these principles but mixes them up so significantly, it’s an entirely different beast. In more ways than one – because, y’know, you’re an ape.
You begin locked in a cage in a research facility. Your goal is to break out of there through any means necessary – these means typically involving the gratuitous scattering of the blood and limbs of the countless armed guards in your way. Of course, as a simian, you won’t be wielding guns yourself but rather punching, grabbing and throwing anyone foolish enough to get close.
What else really sets it apart from Hotline Miami is the procedural generation of not just its levels, but the music too. That’s right, the soundtrack responds dynamically to the action on-screen, descending into a wild cacophony when things really heat up. Its abstract style looks bloody brilliant, as well. Ape Out is a must-play for action fans.
Tabitha Baker – Features Editor
Sayonara Wild Hearts
I was shocked by how much I enjoyed Sayonara Wild Hearts even from that very first track. I’m not normally one for scrolling collect ’em all’s but taking the gorgeous music and hypnotic mechanics all under the wing of a beautifully told story made this my favourite indie game of 2019. Every scene, level, and new mechanic introduced perfectly replicated the goosebumps I felt from that very first opening track and I was gripped by the evocative, mysterious experience that overtly said very little but spoke volumes through its soundtrack.
It’s rare to find a game where so many of the elements fans have fallen in love with centre themselves in the music, but Sayonara Wild Hearts took that synergy between rhythm and flow in gameplay and perfectly transposed it into a thriving selection of tunes. Sayonara Wild Hearts is the epitome of an indie game’s ability to produce an experience through a simple premise that does far more for a player than millions of dollars ever could.
Kate Fanthorpe – Associate Editor
Superliminal came swooping into my best of the year list at the very last moment, and in the process knocked the much-fabled Disco Elysium off my top spot. A puzzle game that prioritises player perspective over anything else, Superliminal feels like falling into a giant playground – if that playground was set up by Stanley Kubrick.
While I don’t always have the patience for puzzles, this game’s unique use of perspective, which sees objects shrink or grow according to how close you’re viewing them, had me engaged from the first moment. Set in a dream-therapy hospital of sorts, the protagonist is undergoing treatment within their own subconscious. As you can imagine, things get weird very quickly. The devolution into the chaos of our protagonist’s mind is creepy and hilarious in every measure. Turn a new corner and a new delight awaits.
It’s absolutely impossible to get bored of the silly smart game that is Superliminal, and that’s why it’s my game of the year.