Shack Chat: For Independence Day, what's your favorite indie game you've played this year?

Celebrate American independence by playing great indie games.


This is the week that we celebrate our Independence Day. The Shacknews staff can think of no better way to do so than by taking a look at the grand landscape of indie games and picking our favorite that we've played this year. It's been a big year for indie games and we'd like to put the spotlight on the ones that excelled in our eyes, so here's what we've played.

Question: For Independence Day, what's your favorite indie game you've played this year?

Little Kitty, Big City - Ozzie Mejia, Senior-pendence Day Editor

Source: Double Dagger Studio

I'm so basic sometimes. I'm sure there are better indie games out there. (I'm pretty sure Balatro is going to get its hooks into me once I pick it up later this summer.) Of course, this is an election year and you can't throw a rock without hitting something that's going to put you into an existential malaise, so I just want something to make me happy.

That's why I was so happy to jump into Little Kitty, Big City. Sometimes, you just want to be a cat and cause random mischief across a bustling city. It's wonderfully relaxing and always good for a smile.

Crow Country - TJ Denzer, Senior Summer Horror Appreciator

Source: SFB Games

Crow Country was on my radar for a pretty long time as I watched its development, and geez did it deliver in every way when it finally launched. This game is a throwback to classic PS1 horror games like Silent Hill and the first Resident Evil. It follows the story of a young female investigator coming to a crow-inspired theme park to try to unravel the mysteries that led to its sudden closing. It’s full of characters, choices to make that could lead to their survival or death, and plenty of monsters to shoot and puzzles to navigate.

In true classic form, you don’t want to fight everything in this game. What’s more, it’s the type where you’ll need to keep some memory of the clues you come across in case you need to use them to solve a puzzle later. The weapons, combat, and puzzle-solving all fit a vibe that I’ve been missing from those late-1990s games. This is a great riff on survival horror and may actually figure into my decisions for voting on Horror and Classic Throwback when it’s time for Shacknews Awards 2024.

Bubbletron - Asif Khan, Shacknews CEO/EIC/EIEIO

Unlike the U.S. stock market, Bubbletron is open 24/7/365. I can’t think of anything more patriotic than playing our first official Shacknews video game on this Independence Day.

Hellblade 2 - Bill Lavoy, Diamond Angler

I’m going to go with Hellblade 2 for this one. Mostly because the first game caught me by surprise with how good it is and, even in early access, the second one is an improvement upon that experience. The Hellblade games aren’t normally something that I would enjoy, but Hellblade 2 is a game that I think is so good it can draw people into the a genre they wouldn’t normally find themselves in.

Glyphica: Typing Survival - Sam Chandler, Shape Dissector

Source: aliasBLACK

I’ve not had the pleasure of playing a ton of indie games this year, despite how many terrific titles have been released. However, I have just recently dabbled in some demos on Steam, and Glyphica: Typing Survival captured my attention. It’s like if The Typing of the Dead, Asteroids, and Vampire Survivors had some sort of trifecta baby. Plus, it’s a great way to get your touchtyping and words-per-minute up!

You are a little ship in the center of the screen, unable to move, as shapes come toward you. Each shape will have a word, and typing that word will shoot a few bullets at the shape. Things begin to ramp up as some shapes require multiple words, shapes shield each other, and you earn XP to unlock fancy new weapons and skills. It’s really neat!

Hades 2 - Donovan Erskine, Demigod

Source: Supergiant Games

As someone who was extremely late to the original Hades, I made sure to jump on Hades 2 as soon as it was available to play. Even in early access, it’s undoubtedly one of the best games of 2024. Supergiant has once again delivered a roguelike that’s equal parts challenging and addictive. Not only are the new abilities fun to use, but the game is expanding on the lore of the original Hades in fascinating ways. It’s hard to imagine a world where this doesn’t end up on my top ten at the end of the year.

Those are our picks. Give us your favorite indies games by joining the conversation in the comments below. You're also welcome to give us your recommendations in the Official Shacknews Community Discord.

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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