There's no denying that the PlayStation 4 has made a comfortable home for blockbuster games and their developers. Every year there is a seemingly endless stream of huge titles, but what about the little guys? Independent developers are just as capable of creating amazing and engaging games as the big guys. Here are just a few of the very best independent titles that PS4 has to offer.
★ Featured favorite
Celeste came to the PlayStation 4 in the very beginning of 2018 and it made a huge impact. It is properly difficult, similar to titles like Super Meatboy and Hotline Miami, but Celeste happens to also be beautiful and thoughtful. If you're looking to collect the best platforming experiences of the past decade, then you should certainly look into picking up a copy of Celeste. It's well worth the time and money.
Alluringly dark and intensely emotional. The creators of Hellblade: Sauna's Sacrifice have worked hand in hand with neuroscientists as well as people who have experienced psychosis first hand to create a gripping journey into a broken mind. Be prepared for an evocative an atmospheric experience as you follow the warrior-protagonist's down a path of myths and madness.
The quirky RPG
You likely have heard mention of Undertale; the surprise smash hit for being such a simple game on the surface. The charm of its characters capture the heart of player as they are thrown into an underground world of monsters. This RPG has branching narratives depending on what level of blood lust you have simmering below the surface. Just remember that in any case, your actions have consequences.
An awesome puzzler
After the success of Braid, Jonathon Blow went on to develop The Witness, another outstanding puzzle game that will make you feel smart for completing the simplest of tasks. Set on an island, you'll explore several distinct regions and solve over 500 puzzles. If you really want a game to test your intellect rather than your reflexes, you can't do much better than The Witness.
All about the mood
If you're looking for a fantastic storytelling experience bolstered by gorgeous visuals, then developer Giant Sparrow has you covered. What Remains of Edith Finch may not be for everyone, but if you're enticed at the idea of having your heartstrings tugged and you enjoy a meditative gaming experience, then it's certainly worth a few hours.
A haunting tale
After Playdead released the immaculate puzzle-platformer Limbo, it was hard to imagine how the studio could top that experience. It did so with INSIDE. Despite having no spoken or written dialogue, INSIDE tells an incredibly thought-provoking tale in an eerie environment full of diabolical puzzles that you won't soon forget.
The studio behind Amnesia showed its versatility with SOMA. Yes, it's still survival horror, but it focuses heavily on a narrative that explores themes like artificial intelligence, consciousness, and what it means to be alive. Not into survival horror? You can take the "survival" out of the equation by playing it in its Safe Mode. Be warned; it's still plenty scary, but at least you won't have to hide from horrifying monsters.
Take a beautiful walk
Don't overlook Firewatch. Set in Shoshone National Forest after the Yellowstone fires of 1988, your character begins to witness strange events happening during his time as a fire lookout. While exploring the beautiful environment, which was designed with the help of artist Olly Moss, you'll work at building a bond with your only contact, Delilah, as you both attempt to solve the mysteries around you.
Third person puzzler
Stunning and gorgeous are completely apt adjectives to use when discussing RiME. Developed by Tequila Works, it's a third person puzzle adventure game wherein you control a boy who's been stranded on a deserted island. Imagine the spirit of games like Ico and Myst, with a touch of sadness and you'll have a decent idea of what's in store for you.
If you are a fan of farming games and you yet to try Stardew Valley, drop everything and buy this game right away. Developed with palpable care by a single person, Stardew Valley is a the spiritual successor to the Harvest Moon games. One would think that a farming sim shouldn't be this much fun, but it most decidedly is. If you're looking for an insanely charming time sink, then Stardew Valley is a no-brainer.
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One of the truly great things about the PlayStation 4 is the sheer volume of top-tier independent titles. Indie games can offer such a depth and breadth of experiences that you just can't get from some of the more major games. Larger studios are just a lot less likely to spend time and money on a game like Celeste even though it is one of my favorite independent titles released on the PS4.
Hellblade: Sauna's Sacrifice goes to show us that small companies like Ninja Theory Ltd. can produce AAA quality games with Indie sized teams. The world of Indie games has been expanding and might begin to challenge the AAA theory that bigger is better. I encourage all PS4 users to get out there and explore the vast world of indie games.