10 Most Difficult Indie Games Of All Time, Ranked
When the home video game market rebounded in North America after the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System, third-party publishers were quick to jump on the bandwagon. However, the limited hardware required some major creative concessions, and NES games, in order to compensate for their brevity, were often extremely difficult.
In the years that followed, AAA games generally adopted a more approachable mindset. However, some nostalgic indie studios still adhere to 8-bit era philosophies, delivering extremely tough budget games capable of testing the mettle of any gamer.
ten The Binding of Isaac: Repentance (2021)
A collaborative effort between development studio Nicalis and freelance writer Edmund McMillen, The Binding of Isaac: Repentance is the latest full DLC iteration of The Binding of Isaacan indie flash-based roguelike that first appeared on the Newgrounds website in 2011. The sordid story of a young child desperate to escape the clutches of his fanatically devout mother, is full of all kinds of horrors and grotesques that may shock new players.
It’s also brutally difficult; featuring permadeath, arcane mechanics, multiple branching paths, and a host of extremely grueling end-game bosses, seeing all there is to see in isaac could take hundreds of hours for some players.
9 Cutting Head (2018)
The result of a years-long development process that sought to authentically replicate the look and feel of early cartoons created by pioneers like Walt Disney and Otto Messmer, Studio MDHR’s run-and-gun indie game Cuphead was easily one of the most talked about titles of 2018. Extremely addictive and extremely difficult, it took more than a casual appreciation of classic anime to get through Cuphead‘s bosses gauntlet.
Although its final levels are undoubtedly difficult, CupheadSimple controls and unmistakable style make it uniquely accessible, and fans of the game are looking forward to it. The delicious last disha DLC offer scheduled for June 30, 2022.
8 Super Hexagon (2012)
Combining short but thrilling bursts of arcade gameplay with a groove that made games like audio surfing and Osu!, Super Hexagon was a hit indie title from 2012 that challenged gamers to prove their quick reflexes and ability to focus.
Playing a little backwards from the 1996 title Storm 2000, Super Hexagon requires players to steer a triangle through a piece of geometry while avoiding oncoming barriers. While it sounds simple on paper, the game’s ever-increasing speed requires outrageous precision, and beating all six levels is a feat accomplished only by a proud few.
7 Celestial (2018)
A tough 2d platformer, Celestial carries on the tradition of vertically-minded acrobatic outings such as Super meat boy, VVVVVand hollow knight. Challenging double jumps and precision-executed platforming maneuvers, Celestial requires a bit of patience and practice to conquer.
However, getting to the end credits is only half the story of this indie title; with notoriously difficult bonus stages and hidden collectibles scattered throughout, Celestial challenges players to go the extra mile and complete some of its toughest tasks.
6 Furi (2016)
Furi is a visually stunning indie title that boasts an easy-to-digest control scheme and forgoes any kind of weapon customization or upgrades, forcing players to level up their skills rather than their gear. A hellish boss gauntlet that requires precision and an almost inhuman level of concentration, FuriSimplistic controls betray a surprising level of difficulty.
Even though it’s become a complete cliché, Furi could be compared to From Software dark souls, as both games require players to recognize and adapt to a boss’ patterns in order to outmatch them. Really, Sekrio: Shadows Die Twice may make the most apt comparison, as From’s 2019 title ditched Soulsborne’s traditional leveling system to put more emphasis, as fans put it, on “gud gitting”.
5 Hotline Miami (2012)
Much of the indie gaming boom of the early 2010s, Hotline Miami was a top-down, neon-drenched shooter that was as fast-paced as it was brutal. Both the player and the enemies die in one shot, which means that each level is a kind of trial by fire in which players must slowly develop an optimal strategy until they can pull off a perfect run.
With blasts of pixelated gore galore and heavy themes of manipulation and psychosis, Hotline Miami is a truly daunting experience, but it should be on every indie gamer’s must-have list.
4 GTFO (2020)
Developed by independent studio 10 Chambers, 2020s GTFO is an ultra-challenging tactical FPS title that sees teams of up to four players delve into the depths of an abandoned research facility in pursuit of various derelict scientific devices. These tasks are inhibited by a collection of monsters known as Sleepers which can cause serious problems if triggered.
But GTFO allows players to choose their own weapons and equipment, they are constantly beset by a severe lack of resources. Arriving on the other side of one of the GTFOThe constantly updated missions require careful planning and nerves of steel.
3 FTL: Faster Than Light (2012)
FTL: faster than light is a roguelike strategy title that offers an almost endless range of possibilities, although nearly all end in failure. Brutally difficult, the game requires the spatial foresight and immense intelligence of star trekCaptain Picard to master, and even getting to the easiest difficulty level requires a fair amount of practice and know-how.
Require players to manage a small battleship as they sail the stars while fleeing a nefarious rebellion, FTL: faster than light is a game about the conservation of limited resources and the prudence of sacrifice in the name of an ultimate goal.
2 Devil’s Daggers (2016)
A little like Super Hexagon, Devils Daggers is an extremely demanding experience in which the difference between success and failure is determined by a micro-adjustment that happens in a fraction of a second. The gameplay, however, couldn’t be more different. An arena-style shooter that evokes the mid-90s FPS classic earthquake, Devil Daggers is a frantic shooter that challenges players to hold out as long as possible against the warped legions of Hell.
A game centered on the high score of a race not often seen, Devil Daggers is ruthless to a near-fault, and those striving to complete the title likely exude sadomasochistic tendencies on par with what is seen in the hellraiser movies.
1 Getting over it with Bennett Foddy (2017)
An atypical indie hit that went viral after its release in 2017, Getting over it with Bennett Foddy was a sort of passive-aggressive platformer that required players to grapple with its clumsy controls in order to scale the most menacing mountain ever.
Filled with pitfalls, dangers, and traps meant to ensnare newbie players, Getting over it with Bennett Foddy could be compared to rage-inducing titles like i want to be the guy or any of the other nearly impossible browser-based titles popular in the late 2000s. In fact, Bennett Foddy himself admits in-game that To recover was meant to be a sort of homage to those annoying old games.
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