2014 Video Game Power Rankings (Indie Edition)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 12:00 PM Written by 

Now that you’ve digested, and agreed or disagreed with my 2014 Power Rankings (non-indie edition), it’s time to recognize the little guys. Indie titles have been making a bigger splash each year, with notable titles like “Gone Home,” “The Walking Dead,” and “Journey” receiving honors.


This year looks to continue that trend with high-profile indie games releasing for PC, and current-gen consoles. Both Sony and Microsoft seem to recognize the strength of this sub-genre, as they look to have more and more of these titles available for their platforms.


PAX East is always a great showcase for upcoming indie games with its massive Indie Mega-booth. This list will likely change after I get hands-on with the games of this year. In fact, I could probably extend this list to 100 indie games that deserve attention. But for now, these are the ten best looking indie games of 2014. These rankings are based on trailers and news.

10. Skullgirls Encore (Xbox 360, PS3)




“Skullgirls Encore” isn’t exactly a new game, but it is an anticipated re-release of the popular fighting title “Skullgirls.” As a bonus, owners of the original PSN titles will receive the re-release for free. “Encore” will be available later this month.



9. Octodad: Dadliest Catch (PS4, Steam)




This follow-up to the 2010 original looks to bring the series to the mainstream. “Octodad: Dadliest Catch” follows the happenings of Octodad, an octopus who is masquerading as a human being. Follow his life and his handling of everyday tasks, while trying to fit in with the human world. Check out some of the trailers for a good laugh.



8. Hotline Miami 2 (Steam, PS4, Vita)




“Hotline Miami” was a surprise hit of 2012 that wasn’t on my radar until I had it in my hands. The memorable, thumping soundtrack, and semi-retro controls made it a favorite of mine on every platform in which I played. The sequel looks to revisit the mystery of the original along with the jarring violence.



7. Super Time Force (Xbox One)




“Super Time Force” looks like a brilliant concoction that is two parts “Contra” and one part “Braid.” This side-scrolling shooter that throws in time control is one to look out for this year. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. You can check out the trailer here.



6. Rime (PS4)




It’s hard to tell exactly what some of these indie titles are going to be like. Many of their trailers show off beautiful imagery, and well imagined game worlds, but leave the rest of the game’s experience up to the viewer’s imagination. That’s the gist of “Rime.” You control a single person on an island that resembles something out of “The Wind Waker.” Here’s a link to the trailer.



5. Hyper Light Drifter (Steam, PS4, Vita, Wii U, OUYA)




Retro-style is the new black, and “Hyper Light Drifter” is exhibit A. This awe-inspiring, top-down adventure title demolished its Kickstarter goal of $27,000 by raising $645,158. If it indeed comes out in 2014, this will be one to keep on your radar. Here are all of the details from its Kickstarter page.



4. Below (Xbox One)




Here’s yet another indie game that draws from retro inspirations, but Capybara Game's “Below” appears to blend the old with the new. Will it focus on exploration, or combat? I don’t know, but the trailer is enough to intrigue me. Plus, having more indie games for the PS4, and Xbox One is a wonderful thing.



3. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (PS4)




Speaking of indie games for current-gen consoles, check out “Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture” from The chinese Room and Santa Monica Studio.  This title is the rare breed of indie that strives for realism. Controlling from the first-person perspective, “Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture” takes place in a post-apocalyptic universe. The apparent goal is to explore, rather than kill. Immersion is at its forefront.



2. Transistor (Steam, PS4)




“Transistor” had such a long line at PAX East throughout the entire weekend that I never was able to get hands-on with it. Supergiant Games’ follow-up to “Bastion” looks to be a fan favorite before it’s even released. The game looks heavily influenced by “Bastion” while mixing up the direction and gameplay to stand alone. No word yet on exactly when in 2014 this will release. Here’s the trailer.



1. The Witness (Steam, PS4)




Jonathan Blow’s first game since the indie smash “Braid” received applause when it was shown at Sony’s PlayStation 4 reveal last year. This game looks like a dream come true for puzzle fans. Blow revealed some details about the game’s development on the PlayStation Blog last year. What was originally seen as an eight-hour game became a 25-40 hour behemoth. Puzzles in a massive and beautiful open world? Sign me up! Find more of the game’s details on its web page.


This is just a small taste of what’s to come on the indie front of 2014. With PAX East just a couple months away, prepare for more news on all things indie. This list will be altered after I get some hands-on time with some of these games at the event.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.