My Terrible Luck with Indie Games

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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My Terrible Luck with Indie Games

Normally I like to talk about the news when I handle End Game pieces, but today I figured I'd take the opportunity to talk about an issue fairly dear to my heart. It's about indie games, and why so many of them turn out godawful in the end.

I've tried quite a few indie games, mainly on Xbox One but also Xbox 360, over the last few years, and more often than not I've proven disappointed at the end. I've had some great times with indie games, make no mistake, but there have also been some serious problems.

For every Stardew Valley that I couldn't get enough of--I'm actually still playing my first farm, and it's almost approaching year five--there's been a Kill All Zombies that turned out to be nothing more than a poorly-scripted wreck where I shot everything in sight.

I was abundantly happy by the concept of Crypt of the Serpent King when I first heard about it--a first-person fantasy adventure in the vein of Skyrim? I'd been wondering why more places weren't trying to make Skyrim knockoffs!--then I played it. It turned out to be a sluggish, disastrous game so repetitive that I began to realize that each level was essentially the same.

While I loved Zelda-style shooter The Binding of Isaac--which told its story largely in cut scenes--I suffered through the barely comprehensible depths of Earthlock: Festival of Magic in which I quickly discovered that I needed to do some level grinding to take on a final boss despite the fact that I'd had minimal trouble fighting to reach said boss.
There were even some games that gave me heartache and joy in the same title: "7 Days to Die" introduced me to the huge open world of Navezgane and set me loose to wander, which was all fine and well until I discovered that there was virtually no overarching plot and a lot of bizarre rules that I didn't know about until I died as a result of them.

I'm not sure what exactly would help here. Maybe a few more demo versions available might help me winnow out the godawful from the joyfully exciting, but then some of these games going demo would pretty much destroy any chance they have of sales. Considering many of these games cost less to buy than a five-night rental of a triple-A title might have, I figure I got off light.

Still, looking at my games and apps page, with some truly great stuff like State of Decay sharing space with clunkers like The Solus Project--I'm actually not more than a couple hundred feet from where I started on that one before I just got fed up with it--I know I've had plenty of exciting indie game experiences. I do wish there was a better way to find only the good stuff rather than suffering through the kludges that never should have seen daylight to begin with.

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