10 Fantastic Indie FPS Games
Talking about indie games no doubt makes you think of games like Super Meat Boy or Fez; puzzle-platformers with a unique gimmick. Indie is far larger of a genre than that, though, and first-person shooters have been given plenty of attention in the indie world. From the larger offerings like Red Orchestra to the Doom-likes that pepper the Internet, indie developers love to create and play shooters. So here’s the ten best shooters on the indie landscape. They can be confusing, bizarre, and impenetrable, but they also show how acting outside the confines of an established business plan or budget can create some truly innovative work.
EYE: Divine Cybermancy
Imagine the weird techno-future of Deus Ex. Now imagine foreigners made a game aiming to emulate that style, but based it on their own labyrinthine IP. Now imagine they didn’t translate all that well, resulting in a surreal post-cyberpunk world of afro bandits and random swearing.
That’s EYE: Divine Cybermancy.
If you can think of a gameplay system from any FPS/RPG hybrid, EYE probably has it. Sanity? Check. Inventory system? Yup. Dialogue trees and branching narrative? Affirmative. Upgrading weapons over time? You betcha. It’s a hodgepodge of conflicting and confusing systems, but there’s something about how it all fits together. EYE is more than the sum of its (oft hilarious) parts. It also has some incredibly fun co-op play, and competitive modes were just added for the FPS player that loves to gib other people.
Natural Selection 2
Game Front’s favorite indie game of 2012! The best indie multiplayer FPS ever made! Natural Selection 2 is no surprise on this list, but sometimes the safe choice is the best one. NS2 is so beautiful and addicting that it’s impossible not to talk about it.
NS2 pits two assymetric teams against each other in a race to destroy the opposing command structure (hive or command chair). The marines have overwhelming firepower and a technological advantage, but the aliens have the element of surprise and are far more dangerous in close quarters. One player is designated the commander, and must push their team to victory over the ravenous aliens (or genocidal marines). The end result is a game all about getting mauled/blasted, conflicting orders, angry commanders, and endless fun. Leading gamers to victory may be like herding cats, but it’s incredibly engaging anyway.
Vlambeer’s love song to gangster rap and historical FPS design is fantastic. It’s only obtainable through subscription to the gaming site Venus Patrol, but it is totally worth the price of admission.
Gun Godz is incredibly simple: blast your way through Venusian soldiers on your way to the exit elevator. Your goal is to make it to the top of the building and kill the Gun God so that you get your freedom. Thanks to the ranking system (three triangles; get one each for killing all enemies, collecting all items, and finishing under par time), there’s a lot of incentive to replay old levels, and the pacing and level design is incredibly polished. This is Wolfenstein 3D for the modern player.
Oh, and the in-game soundtrack is hip-hop sung in a fictional Venusian language. Can’t get much better than that.