9 Indie games that will change the way you look at blockbuster titles in 2014

No Man's Sky Screenshot - 1158031

Destiny, The Evil Within, Watch Dogs. These games and more will all grace our consoles/PCs in 2014. And while it's understandable to be super excited for big budget, AAA titles from big studios, it's also important to remember that indie studios are making some amazing, if not more impressive, titles coming out this year.

From exploring the galaxy, to solving puzzles on a gorgeous island, indie fans have a lot to look forward to, and big budget studios might want to take some notes on originality and creativity.

So without further ado, let's dive into some of the sweetest looking indie games of 2014 that might make you go "Destiny who? Watch Dogs what?"

No Man's Sky

We're starting this list off with a bang, a Big Bang that is. No Man's Sky from Hello Games (the studio behind the Joe Danger games) are bringing gamers an entire universe to explore. And since every planet will be procedurally generated, there will be near infinite planets to discover and explore. Where Destiny also promises to have players explore planet sized levels, No Man's Sky's ambitious goal of a fully explorable universe is intriguing.

Of course outside of the short glimpse we got at the 2013 VGX Awards, not much is known about the game, namely its release date. With two floods in their studio, things were looking bleak, but Hello Games is still very much committed to making sure the game sees its planned (secret) release date.

The Witness

Jonathan Blow blew minds when gamers played and understood Braid, and I'm sure many are hoping, or even expecting, The Witness to do the same. The Witness will have players solve various puzzles without much guidance on a fully explorable island.

Puzzle games are certainly the indie industry's forte, and not to mention Jonathan Blow already proved that he can think outside the box with Braid and its time rewinding mechanics. This is definitely one to look forward to.

Routine

This game was originally slated for 2013, but since that year already came and went, we can only hope it's slated to come out in 2014. Routine's trailer reveals a unique setting to horror titles; space. Games like Amnesia and Outlast all present creepy houses, or dark asylums, but Routine dares to take it to an environment where no one can hear you scream. Terrifying right?

There is also something very menacing, and quite different, about trying to survive deadly killer robots, instead of the same old paranormal entities, slendermen and zombies. Routine can't come out soon enough.

Below

Revealed at E3 2013 during the Microsoft Xbox One Press Conference, Below is intriguing for many reasons. Firstly, its minimalist art style looks absolutely gorgeous, especially considering the system it will live on. It's also set to be difficult, which for fans of games like Dark Souls or more minimalist games like Super Meat Boy, should welcome with open arms. Did I mention permadeath?

There is also a multiplayer component that Capybara hasn't really elaborated on, but apparently they have a unique approach to it. So yeah, intriguing is the right word here.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Dear Esther was an atmospheric game that wasn't exactly all that interactive, and its story was left for interpretation. The Chinese Room wants to change this with their latest title, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture.

In this post-apocalyptic tale, players will have to piece together various clues to move the story along, thought this time around, won't have to do it in a linear fashion, like in Dear Esther.

Invisible, Inc.

Klei has one of the most diverse portfolio of games. From action brawlers like Shank and Shank 2, to wonderfully crafted stealth game Mark of the Ninja, or the  survivalcraft horror game Don't Starve, you're getting a different experience in each one. Enter Invisible, Inc., a turn-based tactical espionage game.

If you're tired of fantasy tactics games like Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics, and aliens just don't do it for you in XCOM, Invisible, Inc. is certainly looking to offer a fresh take on the genre. And if Klei's quality of previous games is telling at all, Invisible, Inc. will certainly carry on that legacy.

Rime

Evoking a sense of Ico, Rime looks to be one of the PS4's prettiest downloadable titles thus far. Not much is known about Tequila Works' project, but we do know that there will be gorgeous open world to explore, puzzles to solve and graphics with smooth frame rates to drool over.

Rime should easily be on every PS4 owners radar.

Transistor

Supergiant Games hit it out of the park with Bastion; a unique Action RPG with a sweet narrator that added a new interactive layer not previously seen in video games like this. Transistor will continue this trend but it has some tricks up its sleeve.

Players can play the game as a standard Action RPG but for those that like their battles a little more tactical, can pause the action and plan their attacks ahead of time, and then watch as their executed. It also helps that Transistor looks absolutely gorgeous.

SpyParty

SpyParty is a unique title, in that you'll get the most enjoyment out of it when playing with multiple players. Here, one player holds a sniper rifle while the other tries to blend into a crowd of NPCs at a party. It's one of the most unique scenarios where the player who is hiding actually has to pretend to act like the NPCs around him, in order to conceal his real identity.

The trailer attached is a look at the new art style of the game, which is much improved over the polygonal graphics the game had before. But even if the game didn't go through such a massive graphical overhaul, it already possessed a strong enough gameplay experience to keep people hooked.

Charmander
Mike Splechta GameZone's Editor-in-Chief, retro game enthusiast, savior of kittens. Follow me @Michael_GZ
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