A topic we haven’t delved into very much on Signals is video games. Everyone has their own preference for what kind of video games they enjoy playing. Some people, myself included, love first person shooter games because they can get right into the action.
But, there’s something to be said about laid-back, simple video games that you can sit back and play with a cup of hot chocolate.
And there are certainly many cool indie games out there that fit the bill as relaxing while still being entertaining.
Best Indie Games to Chill Out With
When I’m looking for a new video game that I can play on a weekend morning or Friday evening after work, I tend to deviate toward games without a plot or story involved. As such, these games need refined gameplay and a simple premise to hold up their end of the deal.
Landscape-building and town-building games are particularly special, and happen to be some of the best indie video games out there.
There are a couple that made this list, which is as follows:
- Luna’s Fishing Garden
- Bad North
Dorfromantik by Toukana Interactive
This is a delightful little game based around fitting hexagonal tiles together to form a vast landscape.
In German, Dorfromantik means “Village Romanticization”, and the game certainly stays true to that theme. Your goal is to create the most expansive landscape possible, connecting fields, forests, villages, rivers, and railways.
You’ll never play two similar games of Dorfromantik. All the tiles are randomly generated, so you can start fresh every game.
This game isn’t without its goals, but they are simple. Certain tiles have challenges associated with them, like pairing up 50 houses in one cluster. There’s a strategy element to it, but nothing overly complex.
Players are rewarded for completing challenges with more tiles to keep the game going. I find myself playing this game for hours at a time, completing quests and aiming for a high score.
Dorfromantik is a must for anyone looking for a cool indie game about building countryside vistas.
Islanders by GrizzlyGames
Islanders is similar to Dorfromantik, but instead of tiles, players are given buildings and farm pieces to place on a randomly generated island.
All the islands are different, and in my five hours of playing it, I don’t think I’ve seen the same island twice.
The goal is to rack up points by placing buildings and farms close to each other. The more points you have, the more buildings you can unlock.
Once you’ve completed fleshing out one island, a new island will appear and you can build that one up from scratch too.
Unlike Dorfromantik, there aren’t any specific quests to complete. The goal is to complete as many islands until you can’t unlock any new buildings.
Islanders is fun, pithy, and something I play after a stressful day.
Gris by Nomada Studio
Gris deviates from the theme a bit because it does have a story. Well, a bit of a story. There isn’t any dialogue, and the minimal plot advances every time the player completes a level.
What I love about this game is its dedication to color. Each time you unlock a new level, the color scheme changes to reflect the character’s emotions.
Gris is short, I think I finished it in about 5 hours. But it’s one of those games you can play again and again, and you can go back after you’ve finished to find all the little trinkets hidden across the map.
Gris has won multiple awards, including Best Indie Game at the Italian Video Game Awards, and Best Art at the Titanium Awards.
For those of you looking for a simple game with a bit of a story, Gris is for you.
Luna’s Fishing Garden by Coldwild Games
Luna’s Fishing Garden pairs the relaxing nature of Islanders and Dorfromantik with a bit more structured gameplay.
You play as a young girl, who was lost in a storm and washed up on an archipelago full of fantastic creatures and characters. The goal of the game is to help rebuild the archipelago by planting coconut trees, cattail reeds, and other plants while also uncovering the mysteries of the archipelago’s inhabitants.
It’s a fun little game with more story than traditional fishing games. This game is great, as is another Coldwild game, Merchant of the Skies.
Bad North by Plausible Concept and Oskar Stalberg
For people interested in cool indie games with an element of combat, Bad North provides! This game is about protecting multiple different islands against Viking invaders.
It’s not super in-depth, more so about leveling up your generals with ancient artifacts and placing them strategically on the island.
If you’re going to play Bad North, I suggest purchasing the Jotunn Edition. This edition gives you the ability to set skills for your characters before you start playing, and it adds fun names and themes for each of your generals.
At times, Bad North can get kind of intense, but visually it’s pleasing and a game I play all the time.
At the end of the day, you can play these indie games however you want. Play them to de-stress or play them with friends! For me, at least, gaming is all about having fun, and I won’t play a game if I’m not going to have fun doing it.
What cool indie games do you like to play? Let us know in the comments down below.
And if you liked this article, check out some of our other blog posts!