2016 oprainfall Awards: Best Indie

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

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Editor’s Note: This is the first year we have run the “Best Indie Game” award.

oprainfall AwardsBEST INDIE GAME

I’ve always been a firm believer that indie games are the heart and soul of gaming. Low budget gaming fanatics create their own work to tell their own story. While indie games are almost always great, there can only be one best. Here are the nominees for best Indie Game

Salt and Sanctuary2017 Oprainfall Awards | Salt and Sanctuary

NA Release Date: March 15, 2016

Platform(s): Steam, PlayStation 4


If you love Dark Souls then this is the game for you. An unforgivable, yet rewarding game filled with plenty of great visuals, music, and brutal, but memorable enemies. This is an unbelievably great game, made only better when you realize this was made by a team of only two people.

Pharaoh Rebirth+

2017 Oprainfall Awards | Pharaoh Rebirth+ Jeep Jump

NA Release Date: March 17, 2016



A Metroidvania style game where you play as a…rabbit? Indeed, you play as a treasure-hunting rabbit on a quest to find the 7 Holy Grails of Egypt, in order not to be killed by an ancient curse. The bosses are outlandish but are also very challenging. It really is hard to find anything to dislike here.

DubWars2017 Oprainfall Awards | DubWars

NA Release Date: July 19, 2016

Platform(s): Steam


DubWars is a Dubstep/EDM rhythm game under the guise of a top-down shooter. In it, you try to survive against waves of enemies, with only the power of music by your side. The clever gimmick here is that you only fire when the beat from the music dictates, so there is a level of planning and reaction there as well. It’s a really unique concept that works in every sense of the word.

VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

2017 Oprainfall Awards | VA11-HA11-A

NA Release Date: June 21, 2016

Platform(s): Steam


This game is a Visual Novel/Simulation Game hybrid set in a cyberpunk world. Each character is unique and has at least one interesting draw that makes you want to learn more about them, and every character in the game has their own story. The gameplay is also very fun, in that you make drinks for the people who come in. The only problem is that they sometimes are either very vague or tell you the “wrong” drink. There’s a lot of careful planning that goes into what you need to do.

Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus

2017 Oprainfall Awards | Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus

NA Release Date: March 29, 2016

Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Steam, Wii U


A sequel to Finding Teddy, this game is a 2D puzzle-platforming game in which you attempt to help a king protect his kingdom. What makes this game unique is that there is almost no English explanation for what is going on. Instead, you have a Musicom that helps you decipher the runic hieroglyphs that are everywhere throughout the game. This game truly is a unique and different experience.


VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

2017 oprainfall awards | VA-11 HALL-A

To anyone who’s played this game, this should come as no surprise. It’s clear that the stories were all well thought out and came from the heart, as they were all very personal and emotionally driven. Not only that, but the gameplay is also really complex. Instead of making them the drink they ask for, you may have to make them a stronger drink or whatever else the game may call for. You have to look through the hints in their dialogue to get different dialogue or even branch off into another ending path. This game is really fun, keeps you interested all the way through, and has a lot of replayability to it. In my mind, this is without a doubt the best indie game of 2016.


About Dalton McClain

A gamer at heart, and a creator by trade. As a shy kid who grew up in a small town, my only solace was with the games that I enjoyed playing. That being said I enjoy just about every type of game, but more than anything I love playing horror/unique games. I look forward to sharing my knowledge of the strange and unusual with the world.

  • Shadowstrike

    No Shantae? I would assume you guys here would love that type of game.

    • Mr0303

      My guess is that this is due to the end of December release date for the game and it was nearly a stealth one at that.

  • Panpopo

    Agreed 100%, but I thought another game would win considering the review. VA-11 HALL-A is rad as fuck, like something out of PC-98 era. Made by a couple of weebs from Venezuela, you can definitely see that influence in the story. This release made me realize that video games can still surprise me.

    Also surprised at no shantae, but I know there is a large amount of games to look at.

  • Mr0303

    My indie game for 2016 is Shadow of the Beast. It had great combat, creature design, immersive world and some decent Metroidvania elements. Sony did publish it though, so I’m not sure if it is strictly an indie game.

    My second choice if the above doesn’t count is Shantae Half-Genie Hero. It looked amazing, the gameplay was tight and the music was awesome. It also gets extra points for being a Kickstarter game since most of those end up as disasters. Overall it is the best platformer released in recent memory.

  • MusouTensei

    I havn’t played any 2016 indie release I think, and if I did it wasn’t memorable enough. Also don’t think I’d like the winner, Papers Please was one of the most boring pos I’ve ever played.

    • Panpopo

      This game is nothing like Papers Please. That game is a work simulator – just not for me.

      VA-11 HALL-A is more of a visual novel, and is well executed imo.

  • Klagmar

    Hmm, Finding Teddy 2 came out in 2015, though, they just changed the name in 2016. And it’s unbelievable Hyper Light Drifter wasn’t even considered. That game is fantastic! And probably the highest profile indie release of the year. Good final pick, though.