Graciously Gaming: 10 Indie Video Games for Thanksgiving Break


Artwork of the Oxenfree game published by Game Informer

Sarah Hoag, Copy Editor

Medina in autumn is a wondrous thing, with the beautiful colors of crisp leaves and the lingering scent of rain. The skies are overcast, the apples are ripe, and the seasonal foods and drinks are unbelievably tasty.

Sometimes, though, you might prefer to stay inside a dark and cozy room, immersing yourself in a virtual fictional world.

Thanksgiving Break is around the corner, which means family gatherings and plenty of social events are about. To commemorate our introverted students, here’s 10 single-player indie games that you’ll be emotionally attached to in no time (in alphabetical order!).

1. Abzû

If you enjoyed the 2012 hit Journey, you’ll love what its art director cooked up. Dive into the 3D underwater world of Abzû, where you play as a diver reviving life in the oceanic environment. A compelling soundtrack, hidden story, smooth controls, and peaceful scenery make up this breathtaking work of art. Discover the beauty of aquatic wildlife, and figure out the story of nature and machines.

Play it on: Xbox One, Playstation 4, Steam (Microsoft Windows)

2. Bastion

Nope, we’re not talking about the robot from Overwatch. The first published game from up and coming studio Supergiant Games is a colorful RPG, combined with 2D graphics and an isometric point of view. Awaken as “the Kid,” fight monsters in a post-apocalyptic world, and meet new friends along the way to rebuilding society. Only you can decide the fate of you and your allies.

Play it on: Playstation Vita, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Steam (Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux)

3. Celeste

You’d think a game about climbing a mountain would get boring after a while, but Celeste brings something different to the table. Embark on a quest as Madeline, whose goal is to reach the top of Celeste Mountain. Created with classic pixel animation, bouncy gameplay, and fun characters, Celeste is sure to draw you in. Be warned: not everything you see on the mountain is real…

Play it on: Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Steam (Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux)

4. Hollow Knight

Immerse yourself in the realm of Hallownest: a ruined kingdom with only remnants of its glorious past. This Metroidvania game has a unique and dark art style, with over a hundred enemies to battle and NPCs to talk to. Alongside Hollow Knight are four content packs: Lifeblood, Hidden Dreams, The Grimm Troupe, and Godmaster, all included with one purchase of the game. Explore the depths of infection-ridden Hallownest, and unearth its many secrets.

Play it on: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Steam (Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux)

5. Hyper Light Drifter

Inspired by Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Hyper Light Drifter is a 2D pixelated action-centered RPG that tells the story of the Drifter: a hero plagued with a terrible illness. Join the Drifter on his quest throughout a desolate land, fighting against difficult foes and finding the memories of dead eras. The gorgeous soundtrack and unique method of storytelling will surely give the player an experience to remember.

Play it on: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Steam (Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux)

6. Night in the Woods

Battling enemies is a blast, but have you ever tried going to college? Join Mae Borowski: a college sophomore who returns to her hometown of Possum Springs for unknown reasons. In this visual novel, interact with Mae’s family, friends, and neighbors as she falls back into her day-to-day life. Mae just wants to be normal, but strange events around town are telling her otherwise. Nothing ever happens in Possum Springs though, right?

Play it on: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, IOS, Android, Steam (Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux)

7. Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition

An aesthetically beautiful game about love, hope, and despair, this will surely tug at your heart strings. You are an orphan destined for heroics, and you must fight a dark entity to save the forest of Nibel. Listen to the orchestrated score as you traverse through hand-painted scenery, and the Definitive Edition conjures even more content, story elements, and abilities than ever before. With this creation, Moon Studios have truly outdone themselves.

Play it on: Xbox One, Steam (Microsoft Windows)

8. Oxenfree

If you’re still in the mood for something spooky after Halloween, then hop on the ferry to Edwards Island: an abandoned military base with a dark past. Join Alex and her friends as they struggle to leave the haunted island, and discover something bigger than themselves. With a creepy yet enticing soundtrack, a unique art style, and fabulous voice acting, this 80s horror-esque visual novel is to die for.

Play it on: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, IOS, Android, Steam (Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux)

9. Rain World

You are a creature called a slugcat, dropped in an unforgiving world filled with dangerous enemies and torrential rain. Utilize stealth and agility in this survivalist platformer based on 16-bit classics to avoid predators and seek shelter before the rainfall drowns all life. Explore the landscape of a forgotten civilization on the quest to find your family before it’s too late.

Play it on: Playstation 4, Steam (Microsoft Windows)

10. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

Feeling nostalgic? Adventure into the world of Shovel Knight, created in the retro 8-bit style to steal your breath away! Treasure Trove is the full edition that includes three campaigns that could be games all by themselves: Shovel of Hope, Plague of Shadows, and Specter of Torment, with a fourth campaign coming soon as a free update. Play as Shovel Knight, Plague Knight, and Specter Knight and discover the meaning of justice!

Play it on: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, Playstation 4, Wii U, IOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Steam (Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux)