Game Front’s 2012 Game, Indie & Mod of the Year Nominees

Page 1: Game of the Year | Page 2: Indie of the Year | Page 3: Mod of the Year

Now it’s time to take a look at our contenders for Indie Game of the Year. These titles may have come from small developers, but they had a big impact on us in 2012.

The Nominees for Indie Game of the Year Are:

Hotline: Miami

“Brutal and bloody, trippy like the day after a particularly awful acid trip, it’s as amoral, as ridiculous, and as shallow as the finest ’80s action movie. Yeah, it’s also buggy as hell … and has to be one of the most frustrating games you’ll play in 2012. But it might be the single coolest thing to happen on your PC since anonymous payment was invented.”

Read our full Hotline: Miami review

Mark of the Ninja

“This side-scrolling platformer pretty much nails stealth. It does a phenomenal job of balancing detection systems based on darkness and light, sound emanations and line of sight, and provides a ton of tools that allow creative players to distract and sneak their way through some well-designed and challenging levels.”

Read our full Mark of the Ninja review

Lone Survivor

“In the modern gaming world of three dimensions, Lone Survivor finds the means to be different in using just two. The result is a horror title that hits all the right notes without cheap jump-out scares, and adds novelty by managing to scare you while using the old conventions of Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog.”

Read our full Lone Survivor review

FTL – Faster Than Light

“One of the things I really enjoyed about the 2003 reboot of Battlestar Galactica was how much of the action took place in tense scenes in which everybody stared at a screen, hoping they didn’t die. FTL: Faster Than Light feels like that. … It has a way of consuming your hours without you realizing it, and it packs a serious challenge.”

Read our full FTL – Faster Than Light review


“A deft combination of clever platforming, puzzles, adorable retro graphics and a score that is nothing short of staggering — all of which is still overshadowed by a play mechanic that captures perfectly the mind bending visual motif of Flatland.”

Read our full Fez review

Slender: The Eight Pages

“Your very nature as a human is your doom in Slender, and your only hope is to outrun the fate lurking in the darkness. The game itself is little more than a practice run using the Unity engine for creator Mark J. Hadley (known as AgentParsec on YouTube), and yet, it’s a beautiful little exercise in terror.”

Legend of Grimrock

“Even if you’re unfamiliar with RPGs before The Elder Scrolls, if you’re a fan of the genre at all, put Legend of Grimrock on your list. It’s a role-playing experience that hits all the right notes and for which many have been yearning.”

Read our full Legend of Grimrock review

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

Fusing a unique art style, a fantastic musical score, and hybrid gameplay that melds a classic point-and-click adventure with real-time brawling, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is one of the most unique experiences of 2012. It whisks you away to a fantasy world that you’ll want to pore over every pixelated detail of.

Natural Selection 2

“It takes an investment to learn and an even bigger one to really get good, but NS2 is different enough and fun enough to warrant putting in the time. Highly creative, extremely diverse and heavily reliant on skill, this is the kind of game that reminds us that not everything has to be a clone or stick to a formula.”

Read our full Natural Selection review


Created by the same people behind the spectacular Machinarium, Amanita Design, Botanicula puts a more abstract spin on the point-and-click adventure. Rather than focus on one protagonist, it features several botanical beings, each with unique abilities that you must use in order to solve puzzles. It’s as bizarre as it is beautiful.

Page 1: Game of the Year | Page 2: Indie of the Year | Page 3: Mod of the Year

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24 Comments on Game Front’s 2012 Game, Indie & Mod of the Year Nominees


On December 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Unless it is planned for MMO of the year I find I can not vote as Guild Wars 2 is not on your list.

Additionally, the fact you included titles like Mass Effect 3 is on your list for game of the year makes the whole award process seem like a complete joke.


On December 13, 2012 at 4:50 am

Aedelric – they did it to appease the fanboys. Although having said that, on an objective level 98% of ME3 is really good. So I guess they had to include it in spite of the final 2% being the most ridiculously damaging, incoherent nonsense imaginable.


On December 13, 2012 at 4:53 am


Oh how I love the internet…


On December 13, 2012 at 8:07 am

@GarynDakari “I hate everyone with a different opinion than mine, so I must demean their point of view and in doing so try to give myself some semblance of self-worth.”

I did not say they are invalid, but I do not see any point in voting on anything I do not believe deserves a reward. Only an idiot votes for games they do not like.

What I did say was that the list is a joke, not because it did not include a game I like, but because it has Mass Effect 3 listed. It was by all standards a commercial success, but earning money does not a good game make, it was all those foolish pre-orders. I do not think I need to comment on how negatively the game was received by the average gamer, it has a Metacritic user score of 4.5 out of 10.

If you are going to try and undermine my opinions, at least get your facts right. Oh how I love the internet… it is full of such lovely people like you.


On December 13, 2012 at 8:15 am

Natural Selection 2 and Black Mesa are no brainers. Both are well beyond the quality and the fun factor available in the competition.


On December 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

I agree with Aedelric, ME3 shouldn’t be a nominee, unless there’s a “biggest disappointment” category.

Phil Hornshaw

On December 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm

@Aedelric et. al.

I know a lot of people (us included) were annoyed with ME3′s ending, but I, for one, don’t invalidate the majority of the game experience for those final moments. Some people do; if that’s you, that’s fine. But on the whole, Mass Effect 3 had some pretty incredible moments. I think a lot of the ending trouble comes not only from the weak ending — which sucks, but is not the end of the world — but also bad blood based on the way it was handled by BioWare. We tried not to let the after-effects color the judging, and the fact is, even with its weaknesses, a huge amount of Mass Effect 3 was still extremely powerful gaming. I still look back on the last stand on Earth and shudder.

So. It’s a nominee. It made one cut. However, this is also a list based heavily on the personal experiences of the Game Front crew and our own votes. Our ballots — which were essentially lists of games that we thought deserved nominations, unordered — were rather expansive. But it’s also pretty subjective, as are all things. What’s fun about such things is that they often kick up very interesting discussions, like this one.

Anyway, that’s where we’re coming from. But we’re definitely not appeasing any fanboys, I can tell you that. The Facebook voting poll and our own picks are completely separate.


On December 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm

The Walking Dead all the way. Although I don’t have a PS3 and suspect that were I to play Journey then that might be my pick instead.


On December 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm

You forgot Halo 4.


On December 15, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Sorry guys. You just lost a lot of peoples faith by adding ME3. The game was just ok if you dont count the ending, dog cr-p if you do. You say it’s not to appease the fanboys but that really sounds like your puffin too much of the wacky tobbacy, or you think we’re stupid.
If you truly believe it should be there, well that’s even worse because I am going to have a real hard time trusting you guys judgement. Cuz what tastes like cr-p to us, must taste like steak to you, and thats just too big a gap to justify.
I know it’s all opinion, but to actually show how different your opinion is, is to show us we cant trust your judgement anymore. You may like the taste of liver but most dont, and to think people would trust you enough to spend good hard earned money on a game you recomend, only to find out just how bad it is, well, thats hard to swallow(just like the liver). Honestly, it was the worst of the three, and thats without the ending. Didn’t care for a lot of the mechanics thrown in, and the new graphics look ok but had a lot of glitches. They said they were adding back rpg elements and that was just total BS. No, the game definitely doesn’t belong here.


On December 16, 2012 at 5:35 am

The ending doesn’t need to invalidate the rest of the game. The rest of the game is just as bad as the ending. Both the story and gameplay. The only thing they improved on is the graphics, which got a bit better, but still could use some better textures.

Mike Rotch

On December 16, 2012 at 6:23 am

Mass Effect 3 shouldn’t be on the list. I don’t believe game developers should be rewarded for lying to their customers, regardless of how good the product ultimately is (and it is really, really good aside from the intellectual abortion of an ending). The fact that ME3 is on the list but Hitman Absolution is absent is frankly ridiculous. Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored or Journey has to win it now for the award to have any credibility.


On December 16, 2012 at 10:14 am

Mike Rotch@ Sorry, but if we go by your standards, Sleeping Dogs would be left off to. They lied to there customers as well. They stated in there ads a fully programable keyboard, which many of us know is not even close to being true. They screwed a lot of people over not letting us use the arrow keys for movement. They intern desided to force people to use the wasd setup for better or worse. Sorry but that’s to big a fuc_ up to let them slide. Chech there sites forum. Thousands of angry people flooding there forum with complaints, and they have answered saying there are no plans to correct there mind blowing, anal retentive, boneheaded fuc- up. Bioware did it, and so did they.

Phil Hornshaw

On December 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Man, sorry you guys feel like our inclusion of Mass Effect 3 is so damning. I still look back on the great moments extremely fondly. But even still, having one nominee you don’t agree with invalidates the entire enterprise (and even makes us somehow have terrible judgment)? How does that make sense, guys?


On December 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm

You gotta love the mentality of today’s (average) gamer. Let alone the teens-mid twenties generation we have right now.

I don’t know if it’s because of society, the media, or everyone getting a medal just for showing up these days, but the lack of ability to like and hate something at the same time, to see the good and the bad at the same time, is astounding. There are shades of grey to everything, multiple layers to every experience, nothing is perfect and everything has its pros and cons. But most often all you hear about is “love it” or “f*** it”. You don’t hear about the in between, this was good, this was bad. And when you do hear about it, like in a review or an opinion piece like RANT, you get attacked for pointing out the pros and cons to something.

“Oh, you hated on the endings! Well I love the game as a whole so your opinion is invalid!”

“Oh, you liked the other 98% of the game? The endings sucked! Your opinion is invalid!”

This self serving, all or nothing with me or against me, no In between mentality is juvenile at best and completely barricades any real chances intellectual discussion, argument, or otherwise.

I come here for the intellectual, objective thought process you guys apply to the majority of your articles. Showing the good and the bad, letting me make my own da** decisions with all the information in front of me.

I guess nobody wants to think for themselves anymore. Call it fanboyism, haters, sheep, whatever, it serves nothing but to show the real lack of interest or understanding about the subject. Let alone(as has been stated on this site, i believe in a RANT) it serves nothing to further improvement of the products, make the devs think “oh we made a good game, people like it, but we got a lot of negative on this one part, lets improve that in updates/sequel”, or even the opposite “Oh, our sales are bombing, but we have a cult following, something we did was good, lets listen to the fans, find out what was good and what wasn’t, and see what we can do!”

At this point all i have left really is a question for the writers on this site. With all this unintelligent flak you guys are constantly getting for trying to be INFORMATIVE, y’know, with facts, and not OPINIONATED, y’know, with opinions, how do you/how hard is it to stay true to objectivity? You’ve done an excellent job so far, in my opinion, I just can’t see it being terribly easy.


On December 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm

ZephyrTuvai@ Although I know where you’re coming from, your arguement is slightly flawed. A review is nothing more than one persons opinion. The good they talk about may be someone elses bad. Example: Multiplayer. Some people love it, some hate it. It all boils down to opinion.
Reviewers often leave lots out, usually do to space, time, or they don’t think it’s necessary. I’ve found many of the things left out, I find to be important. So it’s all based on the reviewers opinion. Anyone can make just about anything sound good or bad. It’s all in the wording. What you leave in and what you leave out. Opinions my good man, all opinions.


On December 17, 2012 at 3:35 am

I can feel I’m going to get burned for this, but what the hell:
This is a good list.
And it doesn’t really matter if ME3 is on there or not, because I think we can all say, without any doubt, that the TRUE game of the year is Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor.


On December 17, 2012 at 10:22 am

Well dishonored looks like a good game.I think i should buy it.


On December 17, 2012 at 11:25 am

@TheDog, I agree 100% about opinions, and how someone’s opinon (particularly a reviewer that doesnt have time to nitpick or want it to be tl;dr, even for a review) will will have a large influence on what they do and do not talk about. However objective opinions are hard to come by. Even here they aren’t 100% percent objective(I’d take time to cite a few that aren’t, but i’m on a 15 minute break). But they are pretty damn close in my opinion, which is an amazing start. Also, just because a reviewer marks something as good or bad, doesnt mean I find those things to be good or bad as well. But the fact that they are mentioned, either way, is a big plus for me, as I can come to my own conclusions. I will say, however, after my early stints listening to the likes of ign, game informer, and gamespot, I find my personal opinion quite in line to the reviews on this site. Both before and after purchasing a game. That’s hard to come by, in my experience. I first started coming here because of a link from a friend regarding the whole me3 debacle. And again, if I don’t quite agree with something said, I have my own conclusions to fall back on, as well as user reviews if I don’t quite feel convinced one way or the other(I always read the three best and three worst user reviews when I do that, making my own conclusions).

Objectivity of a review, history of shared opinions, and the ability to actually(OMG) think for myself has led to about 90% game satisfaction from those I did purchase over the last three years. As for ME3. I didnt like the streamlined gameplay(to appease the masses), or the last half hour or so. Loathed them. But after playing 1&2 through right before three came out, I trucked through it and have to say: While I haven’t played it since, for obvious reasons, I fondly remember several of the well written parts of the story to this day. And I even sold it back after I beat it in a week…

Dan Miller

On December 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Witcher 2! Did anybody on staff play it?

I, for one, think it deserves to be on this list over both Dishonored and Tribes. Witcher 2 had a great story, a very challenging combat system, and was truthful to the explicit nature of the source material in a way that few games can pull off. Plus, that source material was fantastic! It was well received, but I haven’t seen it on a single GOTY list, which is a shame because it is definitely more deserving than some of the generic rehashes we saw this fall. It’s a much better game than AC3 and Halo 4, for example.


On December 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm

ZephyrTuvai@ Because reviewers have there personal likes and dislikes, not all reviews are unbiased. I’ve noticed that reviewers that like multiplayer games are more likely to give it a better score if they dont think much of the single player but like the multiplayer aspect of the game, where they will give it a more critical score if single player is good, but they feel the multiplayer isn’t on. Everybodies opinions are prone to lean towards there own preferences no matter how unbias they try to be. The trick is to find someone who tends to think more like you. I use to have a reviewer that I trusted untill they quit.
As for falling back on your own opinion, well that is only truly posible if you’ve already played the game. They didn’t say the pen is mightier than the sword for nothing. Well crafted words can sway unknowing minds to there side. It is not untill we see it for ourselves that we can truly see if it’s what we actually believe.
Reviewers slammed one game, which put me off from buying it. It wasn’t untill I actually read forums with lots of people saying how wrong the reviewers were, before I went out and bought the game. Turns out I loved it
No reviewer can be totally unbiased. I know I couldn’t. We all drift towards what we like and shun things we don’t. I stay away from mmo’s, so in truth, I couldn’t fairly review one. I loved GW 1, hated 2. It wanted players doing more co-op stuff, where I prefer going it alone or with someone I know well.GW 1 did that well, where 2 sucks for single player stuff. Thing is many people love it. I couldn’t unbiasedly review it. For good or bad, it’s still just opinion.

Ron Whitaker

On December 18, 2012 at 5:38 am

@Dan I loved the Witcher 2! Unfortunately, it was released in 2011. It was one of my personal games of the year last year, though. Here’s our review:


On December 19, 2012 at 8:04 am

Log into Facebook to vote? Nope. I avoid the cesspoll that is Facebook if at all possible and not even GameFront will get me to log into it.


On December 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Thank you, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. ! Best comment here so far.

Facebook = The red light district of the internet.