This was a hotly contested category for the SA Gamer team with a three way tie for runner up and several honourable mentions. I think we are extremely lucky to have such quality and quantity of Indie Game Development currently, and the little gems that pop up are always astounding – especially when you hear the developer say something along the lines of “I made it by myself with a family of three and two jobs in a freezing basement”. Indies are so full of their developers passion, and I really hope it rubs off on larger corporates who also make some of our favourite franchises, so they can bring the joy back to the gaming community at large.
I want to mention Xbox Game Pass here, which has given so many developers the audience they never would have had if their game wasn’t offered on the service. I discovered so many new games on my Xbox App every day, and now, just like books, I have a “to be played” pile that I am a little ashamed of. Overall though, the SA Gamer team decided on one Indie that took our breath away, collectively:
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is one of the most polished indies to cross my console in some time. It was a heartwarming story, told somewhat linearly, but with no lack of effort and passion on the developers part. The scenes are beautiful, gameplay is smooth, combat is wonderful and exciting, and the little “Rot” are used so cleverly as a companion mechanic, that I had Kena: Bridge of Spirits as my personal runner up GOTY.
Runners-up: Unpacking, Loop Hero, Dodgeball Academia
Honourable Mentions: B.Ark, Chicory: A Colorful Tale, Death’s Door, Boyfriend Dungeon