A surrealist adventure in which you play as Lady Love Dies, an investigator pulled out of exile to solve the murders of members of a council of elites. The story is significantly deeper than this, and to be honest I didn’t understand it all that much. Everything in Paradise Killer has its own logic and is tough to decipher, but it’s a great experience nonetheless. You spend your time exploring a large island in a first person view, looking for clues and interviewing suspects. The game has style for days, and lots of fun puzzles and dialogue for you to sort through. It’s one of the most unique indie games to come along in years, and the perfect summary of why we love indie games so much, as no large company would ever take a chance on something as out there as this.
Murder By Numbers
Murder By Numbers combines the gameplay of Picross with a murder mystery adventure narrative. If you’re already familiar with Picross gameplay and are as addicted to it as many of us are, you’ll feel right at home in this game. And fans of Professor Layton or especially Phoenix Wright will love its visual novel style mystery gameplay.
Kentucky Route Zero
In 2011, Jake Elliott posted a Kickstarter for “a magic realist adventure game about a secret highway in Kentucky” called Kentucky Route Zero. Two years later the first episode dropped, and now, after 9 years in development, the final episode has released. The game tells a story of a small Midwestern town with a mysterious other side only accessible by taking Route Zero. It’s a small point-and-click adventure game with no puzzles or challenge of any sort, rather focusing on narrative and world building through abstract imagery and one of the best soundtracks ever made. It’s an unconventional experience that you won’t forget any time soon.
Don’t let Cyberpunk 2077 take all of the Cyberpunk genre attention this year. In Cloudpunk, you play as a delivery driver in the city of Nivalis. It’s a dangerous place and you’ve got one of the most dangerous jobs in it taking care of not-always-legal deliveries. The world is a gorgeous neon lit landscape and has tons to do and explore.
Rogue Legacy 2
This has been a looooooong year. So long, in fact, that before I started researching this article, I had completely forgotten that a sequel to one of my favorite indie games ever had released. Rogue Legacy is a rogue-lite game where you fight your way through a randomized castle in the hopes of defeating every boss. As you make your way through you’ll earn currency to spend on permanent upgrades for your characters, and after every death you will choose a new child from your lineage, each with randomized abilities, some positive and some negative. Playing around with all of these abilities and discovering which ones you like to use best is addicting, and having permanent upgrades insures you’ll make it through eventually and are rewarded for your time investment. Rogue Legacy 2 is currently only available through early access on Steam, with current plans to fully release sometime next year.