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5 Indie Games That Should Have Made It to the Games Awards 2021

November 17, 2021

The Game Awards 2021 has a great line-up of gaming titles from all genres but here are some that I think should have made it to the Best Indie nominees.

It’s that time of year again where everyone argues over social media about the choices made for the most deserving titles of 2021 in the Game Awards. It certainly has been a hard and unpredicted year due to the pandemic which has naturally seen many delays and setbacks but regardless, 2021 has witnessed some of the best indie games up for grabs.

The Best Indie Nominees has finally been revealed and even though all of them are fantastic titles and worthy of being on the list, (special shoutout to Kena: Bridge of Spirits, if you haven’t played it you are missing out!) here are five that I think should have slipped into this particular category.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits | Release Trailer

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Kena: Bridge of Spirits | Release Trailer
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5 Indie Games Worthy of the Games Awards 2021

Unpacking

Maybe the idea of taking items out of boxes and placing them in certain areas could be deemed mundane and unexciting to some but really, this mindful and extremely relaxing title by Witch Beam is exactly what I needed after a long day.

In a time where everything feels pretty overwhelming, chaotic and uncertain, Unpacking hones your focus into what you are doing second by second allowing for a complete meditative experience. In my opinion, this comforting and relaxing game deserves a spot on the Best Indie list if only for granting me a break away from this mad world.

The Artful Escape

We’ve all wanted to be someone else or something greater than we perceive ourselves and in Australian studio Beethoven & Dinosaur debut game, The Artful Escape, you get to do just that as you live out your rock star fantasy.

Filled with incredible psychedelic colours, soulful narrative and a music-filled score that sees influences of David Bowie and The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, The Artful Escape is a worthy contender for best indie of 2021 but unfortunately, it didn’t make the list. That’s not to say it’s not the winner of our hearts, though.

Chicory: A Colorful Tale

Not to still mingle in the pandemic depression but the world has certainly been less colourful since COVID-19, among other things, hit the world. It’s easy to get sucked into the greys and blacks of the world but when an adorable little game pops along that offers players the chance to inject some colour into its world, it seems like a gift from the gods.

Why this gentle and encouraging game about a cute dog called Pancake with a magical paintbrush who restores its world by the joy of colour while making friends didn’t make the list is beyond me.

Eastward

Eastward blasted onto the indie scene in a classic Zelda-like title that is packed with something for everyone. From brilliantly designed dungeons and fluid combat to an enjoyable and beautifully animated world to explore, Eastward hits all the right notes for any indie gamer as well as being a touching, if not quite dark in places, love letter to Japanese RPGs.

This is a wonderful title that most definitely should have made it onto the Best Indie category.

Backbone

First of all, who wouldn’t want to be a Raccoon detective in a noir, narrative-driven world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals? Even if that doesn’t send your curiosity into wanting to know more, the stunningly moody high-resolution pixel art will.

With some of the best written dialogue to show up in an indie title this year coupled with a great score and a gritty undertone, Backbone‘s no-show at The Game Awards Indie category should be classed as a sin.

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Rachael Fiddis
@Irish_Soulful

Rachael (She/Her), who is Deputy Editor & Head of Stakeholder Relations, has been gaming for many years. Some of her favourite video games include The Witcher 3 and The Last of Us but also loves a good indie title. Gaming Culture is where her heart lies and spends many hours sieving through gaming fan art and cosplay displays. Other than gaming, Rachael is a book nerd and music lover.

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