2011 WINdies [Pt. 1]

Uploaded by Northernlion on 06.12.2011

Hello everybody, and welcome to my year-end list of the best that PC indie gaming had
to offer in 2011. Without further adieu, let's get started.
Best Game No One Played: Lume
With dozens of worthwhile indie games coming out every month, it's inevitable but still
unfortunate that some great titles will go largely unnoticed by most people. Lume is
a point-and-click adventure game that came out early 2011 to little fanfare, and sadly
didn't seem to pick up much of an audience over the course of the year. Which is a shame,
because while Lume may not be a masterpiece, its beautiful, handmade papercraft visuals
made it one of the most artistically stunning games of the year, indie or otherwise. And
hey, the puzzles aren't too shabby either. Seven dollars is still too steep for a game
that's only an hour long, but if you ever get the chance to pick it up cheap, don't
Best Music: Jamestown
While both Sequence and Bastion were strong contenders for this award, in the end I found
myself coming back again and again to Francisco Cerda's sprawling orchestral work for Jamestown.
People often associate indie game music with chiptune, and there's nothing wrong with that,
but Jamestown's music is less Cave Story and more Lord of the Rings, and it provides a
fantastic backdrop for the equally (dare-I-say-it) epic gameplay. Amazingly, all of the music
in the game was composed, arranged, and performed by only one guy, but it feels so symphonic
and powerful that is was hard to ignore it as my choice for best music this year.
Best Free Game: Nitronic Rush
If you saw Tron: Evolution and thought that it looked like like a nice location for a
Sunday drive, then Nitronic Rush is your kind of game. A self-described 'survival driving'
game built by students at DigiPen Institute of Technology, Rush is a surprisingly good-looking,
polished, and fun experience considering it's totally free. It's a little short, but if
they tossed in another few hours of races then this would be a game that people would
happily pay money for. Luckily for us, we don't have to.
Biggest Surprise: Dungeons of Dredmor
A five-dollar roguelike with an uninspiring title I'd never heard anything about? Maybe
I'm just cynical, but given all this, I was very surprised when I booted up Dungeons of
Dredmor and found it to be a funny, addictive, and surprisingly deep experience. On top of
that, it's hard as hell. I still haven't beaten the game, and I probably never will, but there's
no denying that in 2011, it was hard to find more fun for less money than Dungeons of Dredmor.
Coolest Art Style: LIMBO
I'm not going to claim to be an artistic genius, but for my money there was no game this year
where visuals complemented gameplay as perfectly as they did in LIMBO. The buzzword surrounding
this game was 'minimalism', and yes, the graphics are subtle and understated, but what really
stuck out to me was the dreamlike quality of the aesthetics. Parts of the game really
made it seem like you were guiding your character through a hallucination or a bad dream and,
hey, maybe you were, depending on how you saw the ending.
Best Puzzler: SpaceChem
Not only was SpaceChem one of the first indie puzzle games of 2011, but it's remained the
best over the past 10 months since its release. Building step-by-step reactors to turn simple
atoms into increasingly complex molecules may not seem like a lot of fun, but once you
actually get your hands dirty and start working out the solutions, it's extremely addictive.
Sometimes it's difficult to stop playing because it seems like you're admitting that the game
is smarter than you. There's no shame in that though; forget The Binding of Isaac and Dungeons
of Dredmor, Spacechem is the hardest game of 2011.
Be sure to tune into Part 2 for a look at the best games in each genre, as well as the
most addictive game of 2011 and the worst game I played this year. Thanks for watching!