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Top Five Free Indie Games That Should Be Expanded

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Posted by: David Sanchez

More than ever before, indie game development has managed to take the gaming scene by storm. More upstart developers are taking a shot at making games, and many times, we get to see some really promising ideas turn into awesome titles. Gamers often pay a few bucks to score the latest indie game, but a number of quality titles have also been released as freeware, allowing gamers to enjoy satisfying gameplay absolutely free of charge. There are a number of excellent indie games that have launched on the internet for free, and many of these would make excellent budget releases if they were expanded a bit and possibly offered controller support. Cave Story proved that a freeware title could be marketed for cash. And the original Meat Boy paved the way for the successful Super Meat Boy. Here are five free indie games that should be expanded upon and sold for at least a few bucks.

5. Ikachan

Before Cave Story won the hearts of gamers everywhere, Studio Pixel released another enjoyable game titled Ikachan. Gamers took on the role of the titular hero, a tiny squid, and were tasked with helping several characters in an underwater world. The game was very puzzle-like in its design, but it only lasted about two hours. There's no doubt in my mind that Pixel could easily turn Ikachan into a much bigger project with deeper gameplay elements. As it stands, the game already features minor RPG elements and a diverse cast of characters. With some more objectives and a bigger world to explore, Ikachan could easily become an affordable downloadable indie game.

4. Alex Adventure

Alex Adventure is probably one of the more obscure titles to land on the internet, but it is still a credible side-scrolling platformer with action-adventure elements sprinkled throughout. There are only a couple of levels, and though they're fairly diverse, the game is over way too soon. Alex Adventure is the type of game that would be even more awesome if it featured several stages, additional puzzles, and cool item pick-ups. Currently, the game is a sweet download that costs absolutely nothing. With some additional content and controller support, Alex Adventure could be a solid purchase for fans of side-scrollers.

3. Appy 1000mg

The winner of this year's Ludum Dare competition is also a game that I would truly like to see turned into something special for download platforms. The game won the accelerated game development contest due to its concept, art style, and potential. It is unknown what developer deepnight has planned for the project, but there's no doubt that it could turn into a real gem. The game's art style is wondrous, its gameplay could easily be expanded, and the story element could be built upon to create a wonderfully melancholy title. At Ludum Dare, the game didn't feature any sound, but I can already imagine a pleasingly ethereal soundtrack adding to the world's vibe. Let's hope Appy 1000mg goes on to become a much bigger indie game down the road.

2. Soul Brother

Currently playable on Adult Swim Games, Soul Brother is a stylish puzzle platformer with a killer art style, a trippy soundtrack, and challenging gameplay. Unfortunately, the whole thing is over after about 30 minutes. And though there are hidden collectibles to add to the game's lasting value, Soul Brother is the type of game that could definitely benefit from some additional levels. After I got through the game, I couldn't help but want more. More levels, more puzzles, more deathtraps, more Soul Brother! Like the original Meat Boy, this title seems like a perfect predecessor to something truly special. Will an expanded version of the game ever hit the download market? I don't know, but it would certainly be awesome if it did.

1. Mighty Jill Off

Mighty Jill Off tells the story of a bondage-loving lesbian whose sole purpose is to climb a treacherous tower to get to her queen. The game is inspired by the retro classic Mighty Bomb Jack, and it offers a highly difficult platforming experience that's harsh at times but always rewarding. Mighty Jill Off is, for all intents and purposes, a brutally challenging platformer, but even then it is still over after just a few minutes. If the game was to receive some additional content in the form of even more crazy levels and spike-laden stages, I wouldn't mind giving the developer my hard-earned cash for this truly magnificent title. And I'm willing to bet that fans of tough old school games wouldn't either.

Indie game aficionados always look forward to the next big release from small development teams. There are several free games out there that offer substantially long-lasting gameplay, but there are a few that are quite short yet still incredible in their design. Ikachan, Alex Adventure, Appy 1000mg, Soul Brother, and Mighty Jill Off aren't known for their broad length, so their $0 price tag makes sense. That said, if the developers decided to add a nice chunk of new content, chances are plenty of gamers would drop some coins for these titles.

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