Here is our ranking of the independent games that marked our year 2021 and that we consider as video game nuggets on PC and consoles.
At the end of 2021, we have invited you to come back to the best games released in 2021, as well as our biggest disappointments. But there is one area that particularly surprised us, and about which we hardly speak. These are indie games, which are often full of unsuspected and underrated nuggets. We therefore review all the unwanted nuggets that marked our year 2021 and to test urgently.
Available on PC and Nintendo Switch.
One of the things that makes the world of indie video games so interesting is that it is full of innovations that have sprung straight from the unbridled imagination of an army of sorcerer’s apprentices. And at this level, the prize for the best “concept game” of 2021 undoubtedly goes to Road 96. This unexpected nugget signed Digixart is presented as a road-trip simulator punctuated by meetings, discussions and various and varied interactions. As these stages progress, we see a surprisingly gripping narrative unfolding, served by an atmosphere with small onions.
And how not to mention the sound design ! This one is simply exceptional, from the dubbing to the soundtrack. Ultimately, Road 96, it’s an original storytelling experience, refreshing and full of poetry; the kind of breath of fresh air that the video game industry desperately needs right now.
Buy Road 96
It Takes Two
Available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, and PC.
Latest production from Hazelight Studios, It Takes Two is a little game with a big heart that we think is one of the essentials to have in your library. If it seems to be a rather simple game and even childish in appearance, it is actually an extraordinary adventure that will take you to the guts as much as to the heart.
The game tells the story of parents who can no longer find themselves as a couple, and who are therefore challenged to find passion again through a particularly intelligent magic book. With the help of small dolls, which serve as substitute bodies for the heroes, they must go back to their memories, understand each other but above all cooperate to get out of this happy mess.
Visually, there is nothing wrong with this colorful, well-made and endearing universe, as for the characters who inhabit this fantastic game. But on top of that, It Takes Two has a huge variety in terms of gameplay in addition to being asymmetrical which prevents boredom from setting in.
Buy It Takes Two
Kena Bridge of Sprits
Available on PS4, PS5 and PC. Our score: 8/10 – Our test
Released on PlayStation and PC in September, Kena Bridge of Spirits is a dreamlike adventure that transports you to the border between the world of the living and the world of the dead. In this title, you play as Kena, a young woman whose role is to appease the souls of the dead and bring them to the afterlife. You are helped by mystical little creatures called Rots.
Whether by its narration or its visual atmosphere, this is a title that has convinced us of the expertise of Ember Lab. Its ultra simple and uncluttered gameplay is accessible to all types of players, who can therefore enjoy the spiritual stories of the characters in the fabulous world of Kena. From this point of view, the game succeeds brilliantly in combining beauty, poetry and action, because yes, there will be some enemies to beat along the way.
Available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, and PC. Our score: 9/10 – Our test
This nugget, like the next one, is still a Microsoft exclusive for now, so you’ll only find it on Xbox or Windows PC. 12 minutes is a game created by Luis Antonio that uses the concept of the time loop to serve as a convoluted detective story. The genius of this game is to have known how to dose and disperse the clues so that exploration and strategy are put forward.
As in every time loop, death is part of the journey, and we take all the more pleasure in dying as we always learn useful things for the next rounds. In addition, it’s a game that is literally played against the clock, so we don’t have time to be frustrated with the little time we have left, we already leave with almost nothing.
Available on Xbox One, Xbox series X / S and PC.
Death’s Door is an isometric sight adventure game like it is hardly ever made (especially good ones). Released on Xbox and PC, the title lets you play as a crow, whose goal is also to collect the souls of the dead (cuckoo Kena). However, he encounters many obstacles, starting with some awkward and really hideous monsters.
Apart from these freaks, the rest of the game has a very original artistic direction and really pleasing to the eye. The gameplay is admittedly a bit tough at times, but well worth the detour. And from the point of view of the narration, we find a somewhat strange universe, but endearing and populated by characters that we like to watch evolve. The puzzles are the icing on the cake that always makes us come back to the game with impatience.
Available on PC.
It is impossible to talk about indie games without mentioning the nugget signed IronGate. If some studios abuse the term “Early Access” to offer half-baked titles, this is not the case with Valheim, a game full of charm that follows his ideas. It starts with its flattering graphic style, which clearly stands out from the thousands of other low-poly titles with bland designs.
And it’s not just the graphics that Iron Gate has hit the nail on the head. As in any self-respecting survival-sandbox, it is possible to carry out a multitude of actions such as hunting, cultivating, building, fighting .. and unlike many representatives of the genre, Valheim achieves the feat of aiming right every time. All the mechanics are consistent, well balanced, and participate in the immersion in this playground that smacks of Nordic mythology.
A particularly tasty recipe that will occupy fans of the genre for dozens of hours, and which even turns into a small masterpiece in the company of a few friends!