So most of my articles are on indie games – I would say that 50% of my gaming library is made up of indie games, and when I’m looking for a new game the first place I will turn to is the Indie section!
I find myself browsing Kickstarter more and more to see what people are developing and what is popular, and what may be coming out in the future. More and more I am seeing the Nintendo Switch as an option for indie game release on backer-run projects and I am honestly excited for this. Here is why I love indies and specifically why I love them on the Switch.
First and foremost the best thing about buying indies is I can take them anywhere. Previously indie games were kind of restricted to home play only, unless you wanted to struggle through a mobile game. Being able to play these games anywhere now makes the Switch my first port of call for new indies.
Indies are usually under £20 – Yes, you aren’t getting the AAA gameplay so of course it’s cheaper, but some indies like Stardew Valley have hours and hours and hours of gameplay, although I’d expect the average £15 indie to offer about 20 hours. Furthermore the indie sales on the Switch are insane. I have picked up £15 games for as little as 89p… So there really isn’t much excuse not to pick up one or two from time to time.
Often indies offer different, beautiful and unique art styles. They don’t have the budget for hyper realistic graphics, so character design is really something else. I’m seeing a move towards a lot of 8-bit and 16-bit games, like Celeste and Stardew Valley, and whilst these can be beautiful in their own way and have an appeal, I’m more interested in games with an Agatha Knife or Night in the Woods aesthetic. I like to see someone’s unique look on the world and how they interpret that. I think especially because I am unable to illustrate anything to save my life, this really intrigues me and I have a lot of respect for it. I get plenty of games recommended to me as well based on their pure beauty… For example Ori and the Blind Forest or the Garden Between. Plus there are just so many in the store that look downright beautiful!
I feel like there is a lot more depth to the characters and storylines in indie games. I think this is because indie developers are often unafraid to take greater risks with their style, gameplay and themes. Some indies really dive down to the core of human existence and question everything; for example, Far from Noise is a game based on the main character being stuck in a teetering car on a cliff edge with a deer for company. The game contemplates life, death and loneliness… Or What Remains of Edith Finch, which explores family history and deaths… And I know I rant and rave about it, but the characters in Stardew Valley are so much more complex than I thought… Shane for example; my beautifully flawed and troubled Shane… Oh how I wish you give you a chicken farm… I also think that there is a lot more passion and love in and indie. The game isn’t made with big bucks in mind. It’s made as a self-expression or an exploration of the world or just to tell a really good story. You can see a lot of love and creativity in indie games that you don’t always see in the AAA (FIFA, COD, I’m looking at you).
With the ever-increasing price point of both consoles themselves and AAA games, I feel that indies are, for me, the way to go. I know I can get something that’s going to take me on a journey, visually emotionally or otherwise. I’m going to get something that is someone’s true passion. Something that is a little different from everything out there. Indies are where I can challenge my own world views and perspectives, and with the portability and the affordability of the Switch, I think that indies are such a huge and important part of the future of gaming… Especially for those of us with a lower budget or for those of us who want a more intimate experience.