Sony's PlayStation platform is in a good place right now, with the PlayStation 4 having a solid lead over the competition and the PlayStation 3 still going strong. Sony's decision to reach out to independent developers and help them to bring their games to PlayStation 3, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita is a big reason those platforms have a wide variety of content. AAA games may be a console's meat, but indies offer up the veggies. They're a part of a healthy console lineup.
So, I've taken it upon myself to find some of the best indie games on PlayStation Network. The smaller games you can play in-between your Skyrims, GTAs, and Assassin's Creeds. Don't cry for your hero, gentle readers, because in the end I do it all for you.
As pointed out by the readers, I missed a few games in the original list. The first one up is Spelunky, the rogue-like platformer that grabbed the hearts and minds of players everywhere. The controls and basic mechanics are simple, but the challenge comes in the randomly-generated caves you explore. How you get to the end of each cave is up to you and every one is full of traps and monsters hoping to end your run. Spelunky is painfully-hard, but that's why you'll feel that since of triumph when you do slightly better than your last run.
Super Stardust HD/Delta
This is essentially two different versions of the same title, with HD being the PS3 version and Delta being an improved port with Vita-specific features. Either way, Super Stardust remains one of the best PlayStation-only gaming experiences. It's a twin-stick shooter that puts you in orbit of a planet, one you must protect from incoming obstacles. Super Stardust is fast, bright, and plays perfectly; it's a game that relies on perfect execution, not wild innovation.
If you dig Super Stardust, you might also try out developer Housemarque's other twin-stick shooter, Dead Nation.
This crazy murderfest is a stylish throwback to 80's crime films and TV shows. You'll rush into nightclubs, crack houses, and high-rise office buildings to dispatch all those within. Beat them, smash their heads in, shoot them, stab them; just make sure that you're the last man standing. Hotline Miami is a surprisingly brutal game despite it's 8-bit style. It takes a little time to wrap your head around the controls, but once you do you'll be sending fools to meet their maker.
Thomas Was Alone
Thomas Was Alone was the breakout game for developer Mike Bithell, who created an amazing platformer with a great emerging narrative. Take control of the world's first AI - a group of sentient colored quadrilaterals with special abilities - and help them find freedom. When a game that plays well meets a game with a compelling narrative, the effect is pretty magical. Who knew the you could empathize with colored blocks?
Shatter starts with your average brick-breaking game and adds the intuitive ability to draw the ball towards you or push it away. Together, these simple mechanics add a ton of control and options to an otherwise simple genre. Shatter also breaks away from simple square arenas and switches it up with circular levels. Sure, it doesn't sound groundbreaking, but it's a ton of fun. Shatter is well-worth the asking price.
Before creepy disturbing games about lost children became more common, there was Limbo. The game is a 2D puzzle platformer, placing you in the shoes of a young boy in search of his sister. The world is presented in a beautiful monochrome that hides the dark terrors out to kill the boy. You'll die a lot playing Limbo, and you'll have to do things that little children shouldn't be doing to survive. It plays well, it's haunting, and it's emotional; think of Limbo like Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee with the darkness turned up to 10.
Sportsfriends is a collection of local multiplayer mini-games and it's a must have if you have people over on a regular basis. Every game can be controlled via Dual Shock 3/4 and one of the titles, Johann Sebastian Joust, is enhanced when you happen to have a set of four PlayStation Move controllers. The four titles - JS Joust, BariBariBall, Hokra, and Super Pole Riders - don't even have single-player modes; this is for friendly gatherings only and it shows. Sportsfriends is the best fun you can have when it's party time.
Retro City Rampage
Retro City Rampage looks like a game inspired by the first Grand Theft Auto, but the city you play in hides a wonderful secret. RCR is a loving homage to the 80's and all the games that came out during that era, including callbacks to Metal Gear, TMNT, Contra, Saved By the Bell, and Back to the Future. Just don't turn to this game for the challenge, because the point here is the journey, not the difficulty. The missions are fun and the writing is full of great humor. If you're a child of the 80's Retro City Rampage is one of the best trips back to your childhood that you'll ever have.
Klei Entertainment has created a brutally hard survival experience in Don't Starve. Your Gentleman Scientist is trapped in the wilderness, it's up to you to explore and survive. Trial-and-error is the name of the game; you'll venture further from your starting point to find what you need to survive another day. What will kill you? What makes you stronger? Every map is randomly-generated, so every playthrough is different. The most important thing is to stay near light and shelter, because darkness always kills. If you're just a bit masochistic, Don't Starve is the game for you.
I've written about Guacamelee a few times , but let me restate my feelings: this is one the finest Metroidvania experiences in recent memory. Control Juan and Tostada, two magical luchadores, as they seek to keep the dead in their own dimension. Guacamelee is one of the few games that can put me in zen-like state because every move in the game can be used via controller input; there's no menu screens to trip you up here. It's worth noting that the PS4 version is actually Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition, which is why it's exempt from the whole Cross-Buy system.
The Swapper is puzzle game that relies on your ability to make clones of yourself and move your consciousness between them. You'll use your power to navigate through a dead world, discovering who you were, what happened on the planet, and what the cloning device truly is. The puzzles are are all great, but they're really just the bread that fills you up between the narrative. The Swapper will have you asking yourself some deep existential questions as you casually throw your clone bodies away. Don't get too despondent though, you need to throw them away to reach the end.
Proteus isn't for everyone. While other titles on this list are games with clear objectives, Proteus is not. Instead, Proteus is about exploring an island all alone. It's a tranquil, relaxing experience. The colors are simple, the music is enchanting, and there's no obstacles getting in your way on the island. It's the kind of thing you load up after a frustrating moment in another game. It's free for a limited time for PS Plus subscribers, but I understand if you're not jumping to grab it right now. If you have the time and money though, it's worth trying out.
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