GameReviewPad’s Top 10 Indie Games of 2018 (Unranked)
2018 was a surprising year, as I played many indie games that opened my eyes even wider than they already were to the great world of indie gaming. GameReviewPad launched the Indie Game Discovery Roundup midway through 2018, giving me the opportunity to discover many hidden indie game gems that I otherwise would not have heard about. I was not able to play every game in those roundups, but based on the big number of indie games I played in 2018, it was very difficult for me to narrow down my indie game experiences to a generic top 10 because there were so many good games.
The list below is in alphabetical order with a short description of why it made the list. The platforms listed only represent the platform the game was played on.
Book of Demons (PC)
This was a late entry into my library, but a game right up the alley of any isometric ARPG player that mixes that kind of enjoyment with a card element perfectly. The game also has a “flexiscope” that helps tailor the game experience just for you, try it and you will see! You will have to peel yourself away from the keyboard because it’s very addicting.
Cultist Simulator (PC)
This game definitely falls under the category of a game I discovered through the Indie Game Discovery Roundup series. Also a game I had no idea what I was getting into, Although the universe of the game was unfamiliar to me, I was quickly wrapped up in the story unfolding before me using cards to craft more cards to tell my story. This is a truly unique storytelling experience using cards that makes this a standout game of 2018.
Dead Cells (PC)
This is a game I’ve been playing since Steam Early Access, and also a game that serves as a good example of how to use Steam Early Access ethically. This is an addicting game that you can easily spend many hours getting lost in without noticing. The game has the right touch of difficulty, enough to unlock, and the perfect ‘carrot on a stick’ to keep you coming back for more.
FAR: Lone Sails (PC)
This may be a short experience, but it is a very quality rich experience that serves as a reminder of how a game can tell a story with just atmosphere, art direction, and sound. This has some of the best sound mixing I’ve ever played in a game, which is why I recommend using headphones if you can.
Guacamelee! 2 (PS4)
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this sequel, but the graphics on the PS4 were so crisp and colorful that it looked like a totally different game than the previous one. The addition of “Pollo Power” definitely enhances the experience, because who doesn’t enjoy fighting as a chicken? The game has challenging platforming and the right touch of difficulty to give even older 90s gamers like myself some satisfaction when completing sections.
Into the Breach (PC)
Another late entry into my library, because I do love turn-based strategy games. From the same developers that brought us FTL: Faster Than Light, you will notice similar kinds of frustration, but also similar types of satisfaction when completing a section. This is another challenging game, but once you figure out the move mechanics for the units the game suddenly opens up in your mind because you are able to do so much more with your units for success.
Pool Panic (PC)
This game was another late discovered game, and what fun this was! This is a very fun take on pool where you play as the cue ball and contains a ton of levels with different layouts, plus different modes. The amount of creativity in this game is astounding, putting you in pool scenarios you never even considered!
Shift Quantum (PC)
This is a game that took me by complete surprise. Puzzle games are usually relatively tame in production value, but this game took it up a few notches. Not since Portal 2 did I have as much fun playing a puzzle game. The game features platforming, color shifting between black and white blocks, and moving around different kinds of blocks that blends into a pretty fun puzzle experience. Not to mention the game has creation tools to share your levels you create across platforms.
Two Point Hospital (PC)
This game was announced at E3 2018 and quickly had my attention. Although I never played the game it was based on (Theme Hospital), I found this game to be really accessible. The game does a really good job explaining how to manage your hospital, as well as breaking the experience down into different areas with different advancements. The greatest part of the game is seeing all the wacky illnesses play occur and get cured in front of you with the different machines.
This game took me by complete surprise, as I had never heard of this game as late as the week before I played it. Playing as a wandering bard, a unique character choice, I was skeptical but shocked about how well the game pulled off the experience. The game is rich full of characters, in a very interesting story that takes you through a journey with surprising gameplay involving rhythm and interesting platforming mechanics.