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Previous Winners
2016: VA-11 HALL-A
2017: Cuphead
2018: Dead Cells

*Cracks knuckles* I’m back, baby! While Marisa did a great job of writing up the category of Best Indie last year, I covet the opportunity to cover it as often as possible. Cause I’m frankly an indie fanboy, which is why I’m also the person that reviewed all of this year’s contenders. I love how much creativity is always on display from indie games and developers, and find they do a wonderful job of keeping this hobby fresh and relevant. Just look at some of our previous winners, there’s a lot of talent on display from those three alone. Sure, not every indie is created equal, and I surely don’t love them all, but on average I’d say indie games make gaming more satisfying. Which brings us to today. We have 3 very talented and super cool nominees for Best Indie from different genres – SRPG, action platformer and run & gun. Keep reading to see which one took the gold!

Blazing Chrome

Best Indie | Blazing Chrome
NA Release Date: July 11th, 2019
Platform(s): PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

If you had told me that Contra was gonna get revived by a small Brazilian studio, I would have called you crazy. At least until I played Blazing Chrome. This tremendous retro throwback was the perfect love letter to Contra fans, pitting you against a robot apocalypse armed only with your grit, your muscles and your giant guns. It not only did a wondrous job of reminding fans like myself why we grew up loving these games, but it managed to innovate in several ways, including some helpful evasion moves. Best of all, Blazing Chrome was a challenging yet fair adventure, and has some actual replay value. I thoroughly enjoyed playing it, but was this old school inspired gem enough to claim Best Indie?

Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX

Best Indie | Luminous Avenger iX
NA Release Date: September 26th, 2019
Platform(s): PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

One of my favorite indie developers and publishers of the past several years is Inti Creates. Their passion for flashy, over the top and fun adventures has cemented them as key to the indie industry. One of their recent series that sparked my interest was the Azure Striker Gunvolt series, which is why I had to jump in on the offshoot – Luminous Avenger iX. Unlike the first two Gunvolt games, this one is all focused on Copen, and seems to take place several years after the events of the second game. You fight against another sinister corporation that’s trying (and succeeding) at using Adepts as their personal weapons, and criminalizing those without powers. Honestly though, I don’t play this series for the plot as much as I do for the gameplay, and it’s outstanding. This is the most fluid and fast paced game yet from Inti Creates, and I can only see it as a sign of things to come. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll take the coveted Best Indie award.


Best Indie | WarGroove
NA Release Date: January 31st, 2019
Platform(s): PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

I may not be well versed with Chucklefish as a studio, but I am very familiar with Advance Wars. Which is why WarGroove delighted me so much – it’s essentially the spiritual successor to that wonderful SRPG series. Sure, this one’s not by Intelligent Systems, but it’s clear Chucklefish understands what made those games great, and managed to both emulate it as well as flex their own creative muscles. WarGroove is not only a well made game full of content, but it also has awesome features such as making your own maps and even campaigns. Plus, they recently updated the game with additional content adding an entire new co-op campaign for absolutely free! I keep singing the praises of the game, but you really have to play it yourself to understand. This is easily the best SRPG in a decade, and I’m a bit shocked that it didn’t take the gold for our Best Strategy category. The question then is, was WarGroove able to trounce the competition as Best Indie?

And the Best Indie award goes to…

Best Indie | Luminous Avenger iX Win

Luminous Avenger iX!

I can’t even pretend I’m mad about this win for Luminous Avenger iX. Sure, it may have gotten the lowest review score of the three, but I still found it to be a wonderful experience. It’s proof positive that Inti Creates knows how to craft great indie games. However, both the other nominees are also highly recommended, especially if you like the genre they represent. With that said, I can only hope the next entry in the Gunvolt series is even better and more fascinating than this year’s big winner!

Josh Speer
Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.