As 2019 comes to a close, gamers have no doubt caught up with all of the heavy hitters that launched this year. However, for every Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Resident Evil 2, a wealth of quality indie games can also be found. These five titles may not have had the marketing blitz of this year’s AAA juggernauts, but they are absolute must-plays.
5 Best Indie Games of 2019 You Must Play
Turning the 2D arena-based shooter on its head, Yongjustyong’s Gunkid 99 tasks players with collecting guns rather than simply blasting away enemies. There are countless foes that need to be taken down, sure, but having players constantly switch up their weaponry to get ahead keeps things fresh. The air of randomness is never unfair, and the amount of guns at your disposal ensures that each playthrough is unique. For those looking for an arcade title on the wild side, this one’s for you.
You can read our review of Gunkid 99 here.
The time-tested Contra series recently saw a less-than-stellar entry with Contra: Rogue Corps, but run-and-gun fanatics can wash that bad taste out of their mouth with JoyMasher and The Arcade Crew’s Blazing Chrome. It’s not just the 16-bit aesthetics that are on point – all players that fill the shoes of Marva and Doyle will experience larger-than-life baddies, intense action, and enough firepower to make Rambo proud. Though this title launched during the summer doldrums, there’s no time like the present to blast away this evil scum.
You can read our review of Blazing Chrome here.
In a genre rife with cliche moe and anime stylings, Watercress and Somnova Studios’ visual novel Arcadia is a refreshing take that fuses the unlikely worlds of tech and jazz. This fantastic read has a novel setting, great art, and a surprisingly mature tale that excels in a fair amount of worldbuilding in just a short amount of time. Those with a passion for what the future holds or possess a keen ear for silky smooth tunes should check this one out.
You can read our review of Arcadia here.
Lethal League Blaze
Though it came out for the PC in 2018, Reptile Games’ Lethal League Blaze jump to consoles this year marks the best combo since peanut butter and chocolate. In what is arguably the best multiplayer title this year, its ball-whacking action is easy to learn but hard to master. Tying things together is a truly excellent audio and visual package that is at the top of its game – players will just know they’re in for a good time when they hear Frank Klepacki and Hideki Naganuma’s tunes amidst the over-the-top action.
You can read our review of Lethal League Blaze here.
The shmup genre might not be as prevalent as it used to be, but Newt Industries’ Risk System is a much welcome addition that can stand toe-to-toe with Cave and Treasure’s classics. The amount of polish that went into this one is unreal – aesthetics are at the top of their class, and narrowly dodging enemies and attacks to fill up your B-Meter for a Barrier Breaker attack is an absolute thrill. Those unacquainted with the genre will get Cs for days, but those looking for a challenging yet rewarding title will not be disappointed with this one.
You can read our review of Risk System here.