While the big games of the year got their share of the limelight, we at SoQ thought it would be nice to list up our personal favorite indie games of 2017. Below, you’ll find a list of the games we just flat out loved. These typically don’t get quite the same amount of attention, so we hope our readers will enjoy browsing through these staff picks and discover some new gems. Rather than compile a Top 10, we’re just listing out our fave picks for everyone to enjoy.
Pick: What Remains of Edith Finch
“One of the better Indie games this year, if I’m being honest.”
Picks: Tumbleseed, Subsurface Circular, What Remains of Edith Finch, Heat Signature, Dujanah, Butterfly Soup
“I honestly only played a few hours of TumbleSeed, but what I played was unlike any other rogue-like I’ve played. The method of control is totally unique, based on an old arcade game called Ice Cold Beer, as you roll a tiny ball up a hill by tilting the edges of a platform it rests on. It’s tense, slow, and grueling, yet the world it inhabits is wonderful and strange. All the mechanics are simple and elegant. It’s honestly one of the smartest rogue-lites I’ve played in a while, and one of the few that actually feels like it benefits from the procedural generation! I heard that the team that made this can’t fund their next game from this, which breaks my heart. Honestly I think this game deserves some love. Maybe it’s too unique for its own good.”
“Subsurface Circular is a short little cyberpunk mystery about stressed out robots and subway cars. It’s kind of a text adventure, though perhaps more a visual novel, but the puzzles (while somewhat easy) can be super clever! The writing and the world are engaging and unique; it’s got this cool ship-in-a-bottle storytelling, as you solve an entire conspiracy without leaving your seat on a subway car. The art is dope. The story is nothing revolutionary (though, it deals with revolution), but it’s super interesting. It deals with labor politics (something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately) and I love that it’s willing to be a short, sweet story. Tom Bithell has said that it’s a “Bithell short”, and this is a concept I wholly support. I want to support small developers, regardless of the size and scope of the game!
“Dujanah is a short game. It’s a weird game. It’s a game I don’t understand. I don’t honestly know how much I like it. But I came away knowing one thing: Dujanah is utterly singular and unlike any other game I’ve ever played. It’s like Trout Mask Replica or the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat; I don’t know how much I like it or understand it, but it needs to exist. They say things that are unique and subversive in ways I cannot expect other art to be. They are polychromatic, shocking, often beautiful and repulsive in the same breath. Jack King-Spooner (the creator) also made Beeswing, which is a game I can love without confusion, but Dujanah confuses me and upsets me, but I cannot help but respect it and look at it with utter fascination and respect.”
“If you look in any forums, reviews, or even talk to another person playing Heat Signature, you will probably hear a wild, adventurous story of trials and tribulations. The game generates these stories by design. Suspicious Developments has created a dynamic toy box for players to jump into and play. They wanted players to come and make their own adventures, and to share them with each other. Which is why what I’m about to suggest might seem strange: if you want to play Heat Signature, you should probably avoid reading any of these stories. Because making your own adventures is probably the best part of Heat Signature. Heat Signature is a game about infiltration, but it’s also about experimentation and discovery. It presents you with a little sandbox of toys and lets you just have a go at it. You can kind of lose direction, but by managing to discover it in Heat Signature, I stumbled onto an exciting and blossoming world of dynamic death-defying capers that is totally engrossing and full of stories.”
“Butterfly Soup: I don’t usually ascribe general emotions to solar revolutions, but 2017 was the worst goddamn year in years. Everything is falling apart in America (my home) and those in power are happy to see the world burn. I can’t read the news. I have too much anxiety. I have never been able to, and this year is no different. It’s worse. 2017 was the worst. Butterfly Soup was, for a few hours, a panacea to those anxieties. It was an escape. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s sad, it’s cute, it’s nostalgic. It was a soft, adorable, warm, wonderful excursion into a small corner of a world I’ve never been in. It’s seriously inspired me to start trying to make games. I’ve always had an aversion to sports, and this made me want to go pick up a baseball! (Good thing I don’t watch sports anime. Or bad thing?) I normally cannot play visual novels, because I am an antsy person and I have trouble focusing on anything. But Butterfly Soup sucked me in and made me smile, giggle, blush, and tear up. I am so glad it exists. It was what I and so many others needed in 2017. Thank you, Brianna Lei. Thank you.”
Pick: Milkmaid of the Milky Way
“Milkmaid of a Milky Way was great! Particularly because the dialogue was rhymed all the time, from the beginning to the end.”
Picks: Space Pirates and Zombies 2, Monster Slayers
“Out of the indie games released in 2017, Space Pirates and Zombies 2 has my vote for the best one I’ve reviewed ( on our Top 10). I think it’s the only Autosave I’ve given for 2017-released games. Monster Slayers is excellent, too. If I were reviewing that now I’d give it an autosave; the developer has addressed the small issues I had with it at review. A special mention for Wrongworld even though it is in EA.”
“I’m seldom able to comment on how a game moved me. Yet Rakuen, made by Laura Shigihara, hit me so hard with it’s emotional storytelling that I outright cried. If you have ever known someone who is/was very sick, this may open up some old memories that are difficult to bear. However, the journey and love in this game is something you honestly may only come across a few times in your life. Well worth playing and the only indie game I rated as an Autosave in 2017″
Picks: Icycle: On Thin Ice, The Signal From Tölva, Dead Cells, Dusk, Dead Drop, Goatpunks, Think of the Children
“My game of the year is Icycle: On Thin Ice. This year was prolific for good games, so I had to scratch my head for a while until I singled out one of them. I picked the platformer Icycle, because it consistently brought a smile to my face with its levels that constantly morph and amaze. The difficulty is just right, and the crazy art style brought fresh and beautiful visuals that made this short journey a delicious treat both for my eyes and my fingers.”
“This year I also particularly enjoyed The Signal From Tölva. I am not very much into open world games, so it’s impressive that Tölva managed to pull me in with its robot outposts to conquer. The story did not do anything for me, but I have strong memories of unscripted battles between several waging factions of robots on a single battlefield . Dangerous lasers filling the screen, explosions illuminating the rocks, and a tense battle for survival and domination.
“Special mention to Dead Cells which is still in early access thus it can’t be my game of the year yet (at least not in 2017, perhaps in 2018?) but it already convinced me with its fantastic combat systems. Overall it feels like the best action platformer in the vein of Castlevania since Hollow Knight, while streamlining the roguelite flavor. Another contender for my game of the year 2018 might also be Dusk which also receives a special mention. Its first chapter brought me back to the era of Blood and Quake with a creepy atmosphere and meaty gunfights, and I was thrilled by the level design which mixed open arenas and claustrophobic tunnels.”
“2017 was also a good year for local multi-player games. My best memories were in the 1 versus 1 spy game Dead Drop, the King of the Hill mind-game fueled Goatpunks and finally the cooperative Think of the Children that will make you think twice about parenting.”
Picks: Hand of Fate 2 , Battlechasers : Nightwar, Sky Force Reloaded,and Dead Cells
Pick: Thimbleweed Park
“Thimbleweed Park is definitely one you should consider picking up as it offers almost everything you came to love from the old classic [adventure game] titles. ”
Picks: Hob, Space Tyrant and Son of Scoregasm.
“Son of Scoregasm is brilliant and I can’t stop playing”
Picks: Tangledeep, Low Magic Age, Darkwood, Draw Puzzle
“If i was to pick one for this list it would be Tangledeep, which comes out of EA in Jan/Feb. There are constant updates on Steam and a Switch port is also in the works. I will be doing a revisited review. ”
Picks: Battle Chef Brigade on Steam and on the Nintendo Switch, The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, & Severed on the Nintendo Switch
Picks: Hob, Space Pirates and Zombies 2