By: Devonte Griffiths
With the steady uprise of Indie games over the past few years, I want to give credit to some of the more unique experiences that I’ve had. In venturing out from beyond my own country, the United States, there are tantalizing experiences abroad for me to partake in. After playing dozens of games, I have selected these five as representations of how other countries approach diverse game genres.
Country of origin: Netherlands
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Rating: E for Everyone
This game is built around the fact you are stuck in a cycle where you die every sixty seconds. Despite the constant death, I find that it’s actually a really fun, quirky adventure. It harkens back to classics like the Legend of Zelda with its simplified black and white aesthetic and 8-bit style pixel art. Minit allows the player to find new ways to advance within a very small allotted time frame. Sure, the game is really short, but that’s kind of the point.
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac
Rating: E for Everyone 10+
This game directly affirms that using assets from the public domain works and it can result in something truly brilliant. Developer Sketchy Logic uses both artwork directly from J.J Grandville and music from Camille Saint-Saëns to create an entertaining, intriguing story. Aviary Attorney takes several key aspects from the Ace Attorney: eccentric characters, wacky humors, investigation scenes, courtroom trials, etc. However, one distinct difference is that the game will advance regardless of the verdict reached in each trial. This allows the game to have multiple endings, possibly extending the game from five hours to around seven to eight hours. If you want to play a quirky game filled with tons of animal puns, this is the game for you.
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
Country of origin: Brazil
Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Rating: T for Teen
The Momodora series has always been an obscure entity that is influenced by Super Metroid and Cave Story. Developer Bombservice takes the series from a cheerful collection of simple platformers to a macabre, story-driven, more streamlined game. In this prequel to the other games, the player is a young priestess who fends off creatures with a maple leaf. In Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, the pixel art is astonishing as its simplistic beauty. This metroidvania game has breathtaking environments which tell stories of their own. Despite all of this, the game is eerily dark and filled with despair, compounded by the harsh level of difficulties and how the enemies will relentlessly hunt the player down. The game has various points of levity throughout its six hours of playtime, but it’s never enough to break the cohesion. If you want a cute hybrid mix of Super Metroid and Dark Souls, this game is for you.
Country of Origin: France
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows
Rating: M for Mature
Typically, the most exhilarating parts of any video game are the bosses, acting as a refinement of the skills learned previously. Furi decides to skip the fluff and gives you ONLY boss fights. You play as an escaped prisoner breaking out of his elaborate incarceration, consisting of ten guardians each in different environments for you to fight in. The game oozes with style utilizing bright neon colors and outstanding character designs by Afro Samurai artist Takashi Okazaki. The musical choices are excellent and make every moment, from conquering a boss to solitary reflection, entertaining. The bosses all vary in difficulty levels and have unique personalities. These distinctive characteristics allow the player only a sword, laser gun, and their reflexes to defend themselves. If you long for a difficult (yet fair) and stylish boss rush game, I highly recommend Furi.
Country of Origin: Finland
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Linux, Wii U, Mac
Rating: E for Everyone 10+
Despite this game being the best on this list, I find it incredibly hard to recommend. This game focuses on an astronaut involuntarily sent to a mysterious, desolate space station. The game is an atmospheric puzzle platformer that focuses on creating clones of yourself and “swapping” your consciousness between them in order to progress. The puzzles start simple but, by the midpoint they border on esoteric with how much they require of the player’s ingenuity. Additionally, the game’s mood is unapologetically dreary and continually supplements that with its often chilling lack of music. Its few pieces of music are used to further establish the bleak tone of the game. If you can endure all of that, you’re in for one of the most thought-provoking interactive experiences in the last decade.
I believe that all of these games are worthwhile experiences. These games were ranked according to how much they engaged me into their unique worlds and how they were created. This top five list also shows how distinct these games are from the usual games produced or developed within the United States.