10 Great Indie Games You’ve Never Tried

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10 Great Indie Games You’ve Never Tried
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You've probably heard of "Call of Duty." And "Tomb Raider." And "World of Warcraft." Games like these get distributed by major game studios with major marketing budgets, which is why they're household names. But just as independent moviemakers offer refreshing alternatives to mainstream Hollywood, indie game developers create some wonderful playthings. The trick is finding them. Problem solved: Here are 10 great indie games you're sure to love.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Image courtesy Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

If you never thought a computer game could scare the bejeezus out of you, think again. "Amnesia: The Dark Descent" packs more jump-out-of-your-seat frights than a midnight screening of "The Exorcist." As Daniel, you wake up alone in the dark of a desolate castle, where you must solve various puzzles as you search for a way out -- hopefully before the creep-fest drives you insane. Dare you to play with headphones on.

"Amnesia: The Dark Descent"

Auditorium
Image courtesy Auditorium

Auditorium

Is it a game? A puzzle? A concert? "Auditorium" somehow manages to be all three and more. Your task is to fill one or more music "containers" by manipulating river-like streams of light. It sounds easy, and it is at the beginning -- but gradually the challenges get tougher. By then, you're hopelessly addicted to this beautiful work of game art, which is free to play in your browser.

"Auditorium"

Braid
Image courtesy Braid

Braid

When was the last time you saw an in-game hero dressed in a coat and tie? Believe it or not, that's the least surprising thing about "Braid," a lavishly illustrated platform game that lets you bend, warp and even reverse time to better accomplish your goal: rescuing the fair princess. But don't let the cartoonish style or familiar plot fool you: "Braid" gives you a serious mental workout and plays with your emotions like few other games.

"Braid"

Defense Grid: The Awakening
Image courtesy Defense Grid: The Awakening

Defense Grid: The Awakening

For the strategy-minded player who loves a good battle, nothing beats a tower-defense game. The goal: deploy a limited supply of weapons to fend off endless waves of attackers. It's the same in "Defense Grid: The Awakening," but with positively gorgeous graphics and incredible gameplay polish. It's easy to learn and crazy addictive. Whether you're already a tower-defense fan or new to the genre, don't miss this one.

"Defense Grid: The Awakening"

Element4l
Image courtesy Element4l

Element4l

What crazy genius thought this up? In "Element4l" ("Elemental"), you move through beautiful silhouetted landscapes as an element: air, ice, fire or rock. And you can instantly switch between them as the situation warrants. As air, you can float. As fire, you're propelled forward. Ice slides, and rock smashes. The challenge lies in switching to the right element at the right moment -- and it's harder than it sounds. This amazingly inventive game will leave you breathless.

"Element4l"

Kentucky Route Zero
Image courtesy Kentucky Route Zero

Kentucky Route Zero

Based on the fictional road of the same name, "Kentucky Route Zero" is like an old-school adventure game crossed with a choose-your-own-adventure book, all coated in stylish, evocative colors and backed by an original bluegrass soundtrack. As Conway, you click your way through a spooky story that unfolds as you go, choosing snippets of dialogue you think best suit the occasion. It's over far too quickly, but take heart: Act II was just added to the game.

"Kentucky Route Zero"

Limbo
Image courtesy Limbo

Limbo

A young boy searches for his lost sister. That's all you know as you embark on this remarkable journey, which is insufficiently described as a platform game and more accurately as a breathtaking, emotional, frequently unsettling adventure. "Limbo" employs stunning black-and-white visuals to great effect and relies on basic physics to keep the game accessible: running, jumping, pushing and pulling. Imagine waking up in a film-noir nightmare: That's "Limbo," a game not to be missed.

"Limbo"

Orcs Must Die!
Image courtesy Orcs Must Die!

Orcs Must Die!

The title says it all: It's your job to stop the rampaging, bloodthirsty orcs before they trample a peaceful village. At your disposal are various weapons you must deploy strategically before the hordes attack, but plan wisely: You have limited resources, and only certain weapons will stop certain kinds of orcs. It's a fun (and often funny) twist on the tower-defense genre, allowing you to jump in for some hand-to-hand melee if the battle isn't going well.

"Orcs Must Die!"

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

Yep, that Van Helsing -- the famed vampire-hunter. In this action-packed role-playing game, however, the titular character hacks and slashes his way through monsters of every stripe, earning new skills and upgrades as he beats back the dark forces of mad science. Colorful, richly detailed and surprisingly humorous at times, these Incredible adventures will definitely appeal to fans of monsters, magic and mayhem.

"The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing"

World of Goo
Image courtesy World of Goo

World of Goo

One of the all-time indie greats, this physics-based puzzler challenges you to build towers, bridges and other contraptions using cute little balls of, um, goo. But you have a limited supply, which limits how you're able to architect your structure. It's a thoroughly clever and original game backed by a wonderful musical score and increasingly challenging levels. They don't come much better than this.

"World of Goo"

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