Indie Games Do It Best

Indie Games Do It Best

By Angelica Cullen, Feature Editor Originally published in Issue 7, Volume 33 of The University Register on February 12, 2021

Over winter break I was finally able to get a Nintendo Switch after they had been sold out in many places for a good portion of 2020. This was a serious upgrade from my previous console, a cherry red Wii from 2008 (New “Super Mario Bros” included). The primary reason for wanting a Switch was, of course, to play the newest installment of the popular series “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” However, while looking around for some more affordable options after the hefty $60 price tag of “New Horizons,” I discovered several other games at varying price points - including free - that I found enjoyable as well. Some are more well-known titles such as “Among Us” and “Super Mario 3D All-Stars,” while others are smaller indie games like “Monster Prom” and “A Short Hike.” I enjoy having a nice selection of indie games, both for the lower price and for the greater variety of gameplay. Here are some Switch games, many of which are multiplayer-capable, to check out if you’re looking to expand your library:

A Short Hike: One of my personal favorites on this list, “A Short Hike” is a cute indie game about the journey to the top of a pixelated mountain. You play as Claire, a 20-something penguin who is visiting her aunt - a park ranger - for the summer. While the primary goal is to reach the peak of the mountain, the real fun is all of the side quests and bonus activities you can get into along the way. You can go fishing, dig for treasure, fly around the island, and even help a fellow penguin pay off their college tuition. If you like “Animal Crossing” but want a bit more adventure and plot, then this is the game for you! “A Short Hike” is currently available on the Nintendo E-shop for $7.99.

Dadish: What is a dadish? Exactly what it sounds like! This charming game about a dad (who is also a radish) evokes a classic Mario-like feel. It is a platforming-style game where you - as the dadish - have to find and recollect your children - also radishes - who are scattered around the area. Each level comes with its own enemies with a kid at the end of each level. I would recommend this game if you are looking for something casual and cute with some more challenging puzzles as you progress through the world. “Dadish” is currently on sale for a limited time - the original price was $4.99 - on the Nintendo E-shop for $2.49.

Good Pizza Great Pizza: A game about purely making pizza seems fairly simple and repetitive, but “Good Pizza Great Pizza” manages to keep it interesting and fun. The basic premise of the game is still to make pizzas, but customers will often tell you their pizza order in unusual ways. It’s up to you to figure out what they mean and make their pizza accordingly. There are also some upgrades and items you can receive such as a plant that you can water daily to gain a new ingredient, more toppings, cooking upgrades, and even decor for your pizza shop. There is also a slow-going plotline threaded throughout the game involving the competing pizza shop across the street. If you liked the “Papa’s Pizzeria” games, you will most likely enjoy this game. “Good Pizza Great Pizza” is currently available on the Nintendo E-shop for $9.99.

Monster Prom: XXL: This multiplayer-capable dating sim allows you - and up to three friends - to take one of eight different monsters to prom. Pronoun and dating preferences are built into the game, as well as generated stats based on a personality quiz taken at the beginning of the game. You have three weeks to win over a character of your choice and help solve problems involving them in various scenarios around the school. There is a large amount of content in this game, with 1300 possible events that could occur during a game and 47 secret endings, many of which allow you to date background and side characters. The main dateable characters have a wide range in both appearance and personality, some of which include: a party ghost, a hipster vampire, a perpetually angry fire demon, and a friendly library computer-turned-robot. This extended edition adds two more dateable characters from the original six, as well as some new content. “Monster Prom: XXL” is currently available on the Nintendo E-shop for $15.99.

Not Tonight: Take Back Control Edition: “Not Tonight” is a management game set in an alternate version of England where Brexit has already happened, political tension and anti-immigrant sentiments are high, and a mysterious new party known only as Albion First is taking over the government. You play a British person with European heritage, known only as “#112” who has their citizenship revoked due to new anti-immigrant laws. The only way to be able to stay in England is to work as a bouncer for various clubs and events. You have one month to make as much money as you can to pay for a temporary work visa. The gameplay style is very similar to the game “Papers Please’’ that came out several years ago and several references to that game are in “Not Tonight.” As the year goes on, more political events unfold in the background, including a resistance group that you can choose to help. You will have to make difficult decisions, such as whether to pay a heating bill or rent, and resting for your health, or working another shift. It is an overall enjoyable time management game with an intense, yet interesting story. “Not Tonight: Take Back Control Edition” is currently on sale for a limited time - the original price was $24.99 - on the Nintendo E-shop for $2.49.

Pikuniku: This game of Japanese origin centers around the titular character Piku, a strange red creature who finds himself in an even stranger world. There are some multiplayer features with the second player controlling Niku, a similar-looking creature in orange, through various mini-games. “Pikuniku” is a self-described puzzle/exploration game with a cast of brightly colored characters in varying shapes and sizes. The plot appears silly and superficial at first, but deepens the further you progress through the game; it involves a pink creature named Mr. Sunshine who is going to various villages around the area and giving them free money in exchange for their ‘trash’ - also known as their crops and valuable resources - for an unknown reason. The physics and controls of the game are innovative and fun to explore. The dialogue is enjoyable and many of the characters are memorable. This is a great game for those who are newer to Switch games/video games in general, as it is easy to learn the controls quickly and the platforming is not too difficult. “Pikuniku” is currently available on the Nintendo E-shop for $12.99.

Untitled Goose Game: One of the more chaotic games on the list, “Untitled Goose Game” is indeed a game where you play as a goose in a small English village. Your main mission, unfortunately for the villagers of this game, is to cause as many problems as possible. There are several levels with each taking place in a new area of the village and a checklist of problems to cause along with a secret checklist that you have to discover for yourself. You can do tasks like stealing vegetables from a garden, playing a harmonica (also stolen), disguising yourself as a goose statue, and even getting on local TV. The open world nature of this game makes exploration especially fun. Personally, I prefer this game in multiplayer mode, where a second player can join in as a slightly different goose and you can cause chaos together. “Untitled Goose Game” is currently available on the Nintendo E-shop for $19.99.

Image on top courtesy of Pocket Gamer