Since my first time playing Myst, I've been attracted to smaller size games that have complex (and beautiful) world building. I like interesting stories and good characters, but it's always been the game world itself that awed me.
I've put together a list of 5 recent indie games that have incredible world building and equally excellent stories and characters. They are also unique and original. Giant triple-A games often have to have a generic style because they can't afford to take risks and alienate players. Indie games, on the other hand, naturally appeal to those game-players who are looking for some different and unique.
A quick thanks to Alice Bell, a reviewer at videogamer.com, for inspiration.
5. She Remembered Caterpillars (PC/Mac)
She Remembered Caterpillars is a fungipunk fantasy about love, loss, and holding on, told in the format of a colour-based puzzle game. A tale as the bond between parent and child, this lush and bewildering title will have players testing their wits against a variety of challenges, some devious, and others outright nefarious, but all beautiful and very, very strange.
4. Candleman (Xbox One)
Candleman is a distinctive action adventure story entwined with low-light gameplay. Acting as a little candle who can burn for only 10 seconds, venture through an unsettling darkness with challenging levels and a smooth difficulty curve. Struggle to overcome obstacles based on the mechanics of light and shadow, explore a wide range of enchanted environments, and unveil hidden treasure as you seek the distant light.
3. Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor (PC/Mac/Linux)
Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor is an anti-adventure game about picking up trash in an alien bazaar. Play as the Janitor, an Alaensee girlbeast with a municipally-subsidized trash incineration job and dreams of leaving the planet of Xabran's Rock far behind her.
2. THIMBLEWEED PARK ( Xbox One, Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Linux, Mac)
Welcome to Thimbleweed Park. Population: 80 nutcases.
A haunted hotel, an abandoned circus, a burnt-out pillow factory, a dead body pixelating under the bridge, toilets that run on vacuum tubes... you've never visited a place like this before.
Five people with nothing in common have been drawn to this rundown, forgotten town. They don't know it yet, but they are all deeply connected. And they're being watched.
In a town like Thimbleweed Park, a dead body is the least of your problems.
1. Night in the Woods (Windows, macOS, Linux, and PlayStation 4)
College dropout Mae Borowski returns home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs seeking to resume her aimless former life and reconnect with the friends she left behind. But things aren't the same. Home seems different now and her friends have grown and changed. Leaves are falling and the wind is growing colder. Strange things are happening as the light fades.
And there's something in the woods.
In 2017 join Mae on a trip through her hometown and into the dark on the other side.