January 2016 was dominated by the indie scene. Some might bemoan the fact that there weren’t any huge releases, but that shouldn’t take away from what was a very underrated crop of very unique games this month. Each game tackled different themes and genres, from the realities of battling cancer to the mental traumas of fighting against the abominations of underworlds. The genres spread across a wide spectrum with a few RPG’s, an epic open world puzzle adventure and a couple narratively driven adventures. Many of the games on this list have a chance to be in the conversation for best indie game 11 months from now, which is a great sign of things to come for the rest of the year. Here are the best games of January 2016.
Pony Island - PC - January 5
Pony Island is not what you would think it is at first glance. It is described as a “suspense puzzle game in disguise” by Developer Daniel Mullins. While the game starts innocently (and blandly enough) taking a few pots shots at conventional game business practices along the way, it quickly becomes apparent that all is not as it seems. Turns out there’s very little “Pony” in Pony Island and instead, you are trapped in a malevolent arcade machine that is after your soul. So far the game has been very well received by the Steam community with a 96% positive rating and at a meager $4.99 price tag, curiosity is worth the admission alone. You can check out Pony Island on Steam
That Dragon, Cancer - PC - January 12
Some of the biggest news of the month sadly had to do with the passing away of two beloved celebrities, David Bowie and Alan Rickman, which made That Dragon, Cancer’s release all the more appropriate. The game is the real life story of toddler Joel Green and his 4 year battle against cancer. The game is an interactive narrative that gives players an inside look at the hardships of being the parent of a child with cancer while exploring themes of faith, hope, love and ultimately heartache. The game was a Kickstarter success story back in December of 2014 and has garnered attention from many in the industry, earning awards from the IndieCade Showcase and Independent Games Festival. You can check out That Dragon, Cancer on Steam