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5 Overlooked Indie Games That You Should Play
With indie games skyrocketing in popularity, there may be some gems that you may have missed. Here are 5 overlooked indie games that are worthy of your attention.
Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent
These days, Telltale is extremely well-known for its specialization with adventure games, almost single-handedly reviving the near dead genre with games like Tales of Monkey Island and Sam and Max, and garnering unprecedented levels of success with The Walking Dead. But one of the most unique games in its library is 2010’s Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent, a quirky puzzle game that spins a surprisingly dark and creepy story. You play as Nelson Tethers, an agent in the one of the most mundane divisions of the FBI, the Puzzle Investigation Division. But when a puzzle related problem arises in the cold, isolated town of Scoggins, Minnesota, Nelson Tethers is sent out on assignment to resolve any issues the city may have. It’s a lovably cute and peculiar story that’s punctuated with some scary moments that took me by surprise. The puzzles you have to solve are most reminiscent of the Professor Layton franchise, and if you’re a fan of that series, you might enjoy the eccentric game that is Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent.
ilomilo might be almost too cute for its own good. The almost sickeningly pleasant nature of the game might start to make you nauseous, but once you get past the ridiculously cute exterior, you’ll experience a surprisingly deep and challenging 3-D puzzler. In each level, ilo and milo and separated from one another, and you must manipulate the level so that the two best friends can finally be reunited. You control both ilo and milo, and switching between them to open up different pathways in the level is the crux of the game. But don’t let the charming appearance of this game fool you; ilomilo ramps up the difficulty and adds a bevy of new mechanics later on that makes the game more complex than you might think.
When I reviewed The Bridge back in March of last year, I was disappointed to see that this unique 2-D puzzler get somewhat forgotten. Sure, it may have not been the longest game, but The Bridge has enough brain stimulating challenges that makes this a perfect game to pick up on a Steam sale. The MC Escher motif that is utilized is stunning as well, and I love the pencil drawing aesthetic the game implements. With its clever physics based obstacles and a hauntingly beautiful art style, The Bridge is a great game for puzzle enthusiasts.
I can sum up Outland with one simple mathematical equation: Ikaruaga + Metroidvania = Outland. Outland takes the two color switching mechanic of Ikaruga and infuses it into a 2-D Metroidvania platformer, and the result is a demanding, gorgeous, and often overlooked game. Like Ikaruga, constantly switching colors to survive will get dastardly difficult, but the satisfaction of deftly switching colors while simultaneously jumping on platforms and taking out enemies is unmatched. The game also looks gorgeous, with its use of shadowy figures that bring memories of Limbo, while combining it with highly contrasted primary colors that make the entire package look visually striking.
Not only is VVVVVV one of my favorite game titles of all time, but it also is one my favorite challenging 2-D platformers in the last few years. The super difficult 2-D platformer genre has been back in vogue recently, and I believe that VVVVVV is still one of the best. Rather than having a jump button, you can only invert the gravity, allowing you to flip between the ceiling and the ground. The game manages to get great mileage out of this singular mechanic with its intelligent level design. The upbeat chiptune soundtrack is excellent as well, and it’s still something I listen to nearly 4 years after its release. Also, the soundtrack for VVVVVV is called PPPPPP. Seriously, just type in 6 P’s into Google and see what you get.