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26 indie game developers you need to follow

Dejobaan Games

If nothing else, you probably know of Dejobaan thanks to the title of its most recent game: AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity. But in addition to having a crazy and unpronounceable name, did you know that the game was actually awesome? So are some of the studio’s previous games, like The Wonderful End of the World. And it looks like the follow-up to Aaaaa! will be just as crazy. Titled ooo! ooO! oOO! OOO!, the game has you falling through procedurally generated tunnels shooting at and collecting things, just in case you didn’t get enough of falling from Aaaaa!


Hello Games

Remember when videogames were fun? The quartet at Hello Games does, which is why they made Joe Danger. The game brings back an arcade sensibility with a focus on high-scores, crazy stunts, and collecting stuff. It’s also just plain fun, playing like a cross between Tony Hawk, ExciteBike, and Super Mario. While we’re eager to play what the team is working on next, in the meantime, we’re seeing some awesome updates to Joe Danger. We hear they’re adding monkeys.


Hemisphere Games

Osmos on the PC was amazing, there’s no denying that. But somehow, Hemisphere Games managed to make the surreal, relaxing bubble merging game even better with ports to the iPad and iPhone. Not bad for a first release. And given the quality and originality of Osmos, we can’t wait to see just what the studio has planned next.


Jason Rohrer

Jason Rohrer is looking to change the way people think about games. And with titles like the touching Passage and the innovative Sleep is Death, he’s doing a pretty good job. Heck, the guy was even profiled by Esquire magazine. Not bad for an indie dev. While his games may never be blockbusters, they instead push the envelope of what the medium has to offer. His next project is a DS title about the blood diamond trade in Angola.


Klei Entertainment

If you like awesome 2D animation, there’s a lot to like about Klei. After getting started with titles like Eets and Sugar Rush (as well as lending a hand on the XBLA version of N+) the Vancouver studio is finally making a name for itself with Shank: a ridiculously violent Western ninja action/adventure. It’s a game where you can use grenades, knives, and chainsaws all in one single combo. And then you can shoot the guy in the face. All the while enjoying the game’s gorgeous, cartoon-style visuals. We’ve hassled the game for its crassness, but we’ll admit it’s still a looker.


Kloonigames

Petri Purho, who creates games under the Kloonigames label, makes a lot of games. Like really a lot. He creates new prototypes on a nearly monthly basis, and the breadth and variety of his creations is pretty astounding. How many other developers can boast a library featuring titles like Choke of my Groundhog, YOU ROBOT BASTARDS or Cancer Wars. One of his prototypes eventually turned into the excellent PC title Crayon Physics Deluxe. Here’s hoping Choke on my Groundhog gets similar treatment.


Metanet Software

This two person studio from Toronto is best known for creating the brilliantly addictive free game N, which would eventually go on to become N+. Though the much anticipated and long in development Robotology has been put on hold, the duo is currently working on yet another project, the bizarre Office Yeti. Described as “a single-player action/puzzle/simulation game in which players assume control of a yeti who works in an office,” the game will most assuredly be out when it’s ready, and not a day before.


Mommy’s Best Games

If you gave a seventh grader with ADD a bunch of heavy metal album covers, gallons of neon paint, stacks of anime and a couple pounds of Psilocybin, they’d likely try in vain to create something like the games this husband-and-wife company churn out. It started with Weapon of Choice, a take-no-prisoners acid trip of a run-and-gun shooter with branching paths, spider-leg backpacks and colossal boss monsters. Then came Shoot 1up, a chaotic homage to Japanese scrolling space shooters. Soon, we’ll see Grapple Buggy, which may actually graduate from the Xbox 360’s community games store to XBLA proper.

30 comments

  • FreedomPhantom - February 16, 2011 11:36 p.m.

    I probably spend just as much time with games by these devs as I do with much bigger titles. Excellent choices GR!
  • CH3BURASHKA - February 16, 2011 11:38 p.m.

    I've heard of a majority of these developers. I'll most definitely be checking out the ones I haven't (heard of). One indie dev you seem to have missed is Giant Sparrow. However, that's completely understandable: they haven't released their first game, the Unfinished Swan, yet. In fact, they haven't had an update in over 4 months. I can only hope they're still working away at their game, because I'm absolutely stoked for it. For those unaware, check them out: www.giantsparrow.com Also, Eric Ruth has been in the gaming news quite a lot for his numerous demakes of famous games. He's responsible for the 8-bit versions of DJ Hero, Halo, L4D, and others, as well as a few originals. Check him out: http://ericruthgames.weebly.com/ PS Whadda ya know, Giant Sparrow updated just recently.
  • TheFlyingFishey - February 16, 2011 11:51 p.m.

    Hmmm...some preatty good choices here, but id really like to see Taleworlds.
  • PimplesInYourAsstista - February 17, 2011 midnight

    Wheres Notch?
  • crossed23 - February 17, 2011 midnight

    Awesome article guys. I love to see the Indy guys get some much deserved love!
  • JohnnyMaverik - February 17, 2011 12:05 a.m.

    Surprised to not see Johnathan Blow's name pop up on here somewhere, not nessesarily all that bothered seeing as there were bound to be people/teams forgotten/left off, and he isn't the only one, but still surprised.
  • NotBraze - February 17, 2011 12:28 a.m.

    I've played several of these games after hearing good things through word of mouth, but Machinarium was a fantastic game which caught me completely by surprise. I purchased the most recent Humble Indie Bundle primarily for Braid which I had already fallen in love with, and World of Goo, which I had heard great things about, but I had never even heard the name Machinarium before, and when I launched the game it was love at first sight. In terms of story it's not incredibly deep or sophisticated, but the puzzles, the art style, and just the sheer amount of charm makes this hame a must play.
  • jazxsora - February 17, 2011 12:39 a.m.

    Sweet, my uncle (thatgamecompany) made the list. Sucks I can't play his games though, as I don't have a PS3.
  • miningguyx360 - February 17, 2011 1:17 a.m.

    SuperGiantGames should be on this list....
  • ChipTheExecutioner - February 17, 2011 1:55 a.m.

    where's notch/mojang? with how much minecraft news you guys post I figured they would be up there without a doubt
  • Risonhighmer - February 17, 2011 2:23 a.m.

    Shank was a crock of shit. It was a glorified flash game, that played worse than most of them these days. I hated the animation style, the dialogue was downright childish, and the controls were piss. However, all of the other titles and developers on this list are fantastic. Amanita Design's title Machinarium is by far my favourite adventure game of all time. And ThatGameCompany's Flower was absolutely brilliant and I can't wait to try journey. Meat Boy was platforming perfected. Sleep Is Death is hardly a game and is often pretty lame, but when it works, it works astoundingly well. As for AaaaaaAAaaaaAAAaaaAAAAaaAAAAAa! I loved the shit out of the demo, never got around to getting the full game (due to lack of funds) and their new game looks even better!
  • richtaur - February 17, 2011 2:25 a.m.

    Don't forget Lost Decade Games … … … anybody? ;)
  • JLThatshilarious - February 17, 2011 2:32 a.m.

    Where is Frictional Games? Why hasn't GR done ANY coverage of Amnesia? It comes out on retail the 22nd (feb). I expect there to be a review then Gamesradar, or I will be VERY unhappy.
  • Mike657 - February 17, 2011 2:46 a.m.

    I know this has been said already, but where the HELL are the creators of Minecraft? I can't believe they didn't make this list, did some stupid technicality keep them off?
  • Rub3z - February 17, 2011 3:25 a.m.

    There are some devs of note I'd like to add. You guys have checked out the indie games section on XBLA, and a couple guys from there that I think should havee made the list are Ska Studios (creators of the absolutely fantastic and wonderfully titled I MAED A GAEM WITH ZOMBIES 1NIT!!!111!! and the less known but still pretty cool ZP platforming/twin stick shooter online fragfest titles) and the creator of the radiangames series, whose name escapes me (pretty sure the dev is in fact called radiangames, not sure though), but most all of the radiangames - JoyJoy, Crossfire, fluid, Inferno, and the final one... the mind-bogglingly chaotic and beautiful Ballistic - are works of pure, distilled gameplay awesomeness. You owe it to yourself to try them. I really do hope those devs have more goodness to offer in the future.
  • heartskuppy - February 17, 2011 3:53 a.m.

    the lack of nifflas on this list makes me sad. :(
  • Montag - February 17, 2011 4:11 a.m.

    Amanita Design did a great mini game for the band Polyphonic Spree, very much in the same vein as Samorast... http://www.questfortherest.com/
  • Crimmy - February 17, 2011 4:21 a.m.

    Where's Uber Ent.? I <3 them. Monday Night Combat has devoured a lot of time (seven hours being cloaked as assassin alone is just scary) and that will just continue to grow. Oh wait MvC3 just released. THAT is going to be my new time killer.
  • Shuuvuia - February 17, 2011 5:18 a.m.

    I love thatgamecompany. They're definately one of the best indie developers out there. Flower is a masterpiece of modern gaming that just hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. I can't wait to see what the company does with Journey.
  • borutp - February 17, 2011 7:52 a.m.

    Check out Haunted Temple Studios' Skulls of the Shogun: http://skullsoftheshogun.com/

Showing 1-20 of 30 comments

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