The gaming industry is no longer about high-paced action games alone. No matter how much of an indie person you are, there is something out there as if specifically catered to your taste. Oftentimes, a game’s visual design matters more than the narrative does, and a relentlessly beautiful picture more than makes up for the lack of action. Here are seven games that prove this.
1 Limbo (2010)
Limbo is a must for all players who prefer minimalist designs. You will get to play for a little boy who suddenly finds himself on the edge of hell. The game is equal parts eerie and melancholic, but the coolest thing about it is that everything is monochromatic and beautifully designed. Limbo may not be too action-driven, but it’s uniquely stylish atmosphere makes up for this. Also, the soundtrack is out of this world. Even though Limbo was released over a decade ago, it is still very popular among the fans of both puzzle and platform games.
2 Child of Light (2014)
Child of Light is nothing like Limbo, but what unites them is exquisite visuals. Thanks to its detailed watercolor graphics, the game looks like an animated painting. The world and narrative of Child of Light match the picture: you get to explore the beautiful fantasy kingdom of Lemuria, full of floating islands and ancient ruins. When the game was first released, both critics and the gaming community gave it warm reviews. The overall aesthetics and character designs were praised the most.
3 Apotheon (2015)
If you are into games with an original and well-thought-out art style, Apotheon should be very high on your to-play list. It is one of a kind – the entire visual aesthetics of the game was inspired by the images on ancient Greek pottery. Needless to say, no matter how vast and diverse the video gaming world is, you will not find anything like Apotheon in it. The game’s combat is quite entertaining as well.
4 Red Dead Redemption (2010)
Now, this one may come as a surprise and definitely stands out against the rest of the games on this list. Red Dead Redemption is not nearly as indie as Apotheon or Limbo, but it is no less cinematic (in a Tarantino-ish way). The game is a true blockbuster that is guaranteed to give you an adrenaline rush. As a bonus, Red Dead Redemption is a treat for all gambling lovers – all casino scenes are both thrilling and realistic. And if you find yourself nostalgic for the real thing mid-game, you can always switch from the console to one of the gambling sites in the U.S.
5 Gris (2019)
Gris is the players’ favorite all-round, and rightly so. The game’s artist, Conrad Roset, is an esteemed illustrator who works across mediums; Gris is a perfect representation of his abilities. In Gris’s universe, everything is fluid: what looks like a pile of disjointed lines morphs into a plant, a building suddenly rises from nothing. A player is invited to use their imagination, for nothing is definitive – either narrative- or imagery-wise. The game’s palette contributes to the effect.
6 Tengami (2014)
Tengami’s art style is the love child of origami and watercolor. This is enough to make the game visually stunning and completely unique, even next to other artsy masterpieces on this list. Players interested in ancient Japan will find it particularly interesting. Keep in mind, though, that Tengami is not very eventful; it lacks developed characters and a coherent narrative. It is clear that Tengami’s creators were mostly interested in the visual side of the game.
7 Journey (2012)
No list of visually breathtaking indie games is complete without Journey, an award-winning indie adventure treat. It is set in the desert, which explains the sandy-brown color palette. The game is somewhat similar to Tengami in that it does not have any narrative whatsoever. However, Journey succeeds where Tengami fails: it remains engaging despite having basically zero action.