I think I originally discovered Indiepocalypse when Boston Indies mentioned it right before the pandemic started and I’ve been a huge fan since then. I’ve always loved looking for experimental indie games and a monthly zine that does a lot of the work for me and gives me a new batch to check out is such a joy for me. Indiepocalypse has been a huge inspiration for my own projects. The Locally Sourced zine was modeled after it and it motivated me to organize some co-op bundles on Itch with other local Michigan game developers as well.
Even if it wasn’t a big inspiration, it would still be important to me as a great way to discover new games every month. There’s absolutely no way I could rank my ten picks and even choose my ten favorites was very tough and probably changes every week. Just consider this a list of ten very good games that you should check out and support by picking up some issues of Indiepocalypse.
Chesstris 2000 (Indiepocalypse #21)
Chesstris 2000 is a puzzle game inspired by the numerous Tetris clones that came out during the 90s. Players clear levels where they navigate a chess piece attached to a tetris block to an exit square on the board. The levels are well designed and I loved how it sounds and looks. The Itch page cites inspirations like Tetris for Philips CD-i, Tetrisphere, Myst, educational software, which all result in this game having a vaporwave/utopian scholastic aethetic that I really enjoy.
He Fucked the Girl Out of Me (Indiepocalypse #9)
By Taylor McCue
If you follow me on social media you’ve probably seen me mention this game a billion times already but He Fucked the Girl Out of Me was one of my favorite games of last year. This is a game about the developer’s experiences doing sex work and the trauma that came from that. I thought the writing was incredible and loved the colors used in the Game Boy game. Making a Game Boy game of something Nintendo would never approve for their platforms was an interesting choice too. The game lists the content warnings so please read those before playing.
10 Mississipi (Indiepocalypse #12)
By Karina Popp
10 Mississippi is a game by Karina Popp that uses stop-motion animation to go through a day’s routine. The Itch page describes the game as “10 Mississippi is a game of uncomfortable, creeping intimacy.” It’s very short but I’ve thought about it for a long time. The use of stop motion animation for people is an approach I’ve only seen in one other game, the 2000 game Bad Milk. It’s a unique look for a game and I wish we saw more experiments with photography in games.
Winter (Indiepocalypse #15)
By Freya Campbell & Elliot Herriman
Winter is a short interactive fiction game about sex and trans insecurity. The game was commissioned for Indiepocalypse #15 and created by Freya C and Elliot Herriman. It’s fun seeing that Indiepocalypse is helping fund games for my favorite genres, interactive fiction and adventure games. Like everything else created by these two authors, the writing is fantastic and a must read.
When There is No More Snow (Indiepocalypse #19)
When There is No More Snow is a visual novel created in ZZT, a game creation system created by the company that would later become Epic Games. I’ve hosted a few game jams about making DOS games so I loved that this used an older game engine and shows that old game engines can still be very useful. As a resident of Michigan, I was also very interested in it being a semi-autobiographical story about the developer’s experiences living in rural Michigan in 1995.
Spirited Suites (Indiepocalypse #22)
By Team Canned Gluten: Brendan Roarty, Marissa Borowski, Sarah Kosco, Dillan Murillo, James Cannizzaro, Thomas Hamilton, Mads Pappas
Being engaged with my local game development community in Detroit means that it’s always a joy when I see games from the community pop up elsewhere, including Indiepocalypse. Spirited Suites by Canned Gluten is a 3D puzzle-platformer with a nice black and white art style. The game features an incredibly funny and unique mechanic where you play as a ghost who must drag their corpse around to solve various puzzles.
Give Me Strength (Indiepocalypse #23)
By James Poole and Laura Ryder
Give Me Strength is a short (10-15 minute) game described as an interactive thought by the game’s designer. I loved this game about the creative process which features a great art style and soundtrack, and it’s lovely to see that it has been recognized not just in Indiepocalypse but also places like AMAZE. It’s a beautiful game and I’m looking forward to seeing what the designer creates next..
By the World’s Wind (Indiepocalypse #29)
By the World’s Wind is a top-down open-world game where you sail around and explore various islands and caves. It’s very relaxing and it was just very pleasant exploring the world without anything in the game that could stress me out. The game has some very nice in-game tools for mapping out the world instead of doing it automatically, which made it a more immersive experience for me as well.
Marissa Is Now Idle (Indiepocalypse #27)
Marissa Is Now Idle is a short visual novel set in 2003 where you have one final conversation with a friend in a MMO you’re playing together before the game shuts down for good. Each playthrough of the game is only 60 seconds long but the game is meant to be played a few times. As someone with an interest in old technology and dead MMOs this was a game that fits my interests very well but I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in great storytelling.
Manglepaw (Indiepocalypse #26)
Manglepaw was a first-person adventure game commissioned for Indiepocalypse #26. I loved how strongly it was inspired by 90s adventure games that came up after the massive success of Myst. But like Myst and other first-person adventure games of that era, you can also have fun from just exploring the world too. The game has good puzzles, surreal environments, and some really fun character design.