The 10 best crowdfunded games that you (maybe) helped pay for

These brilliant indie games had humble origins

With next week's release of the rather charming Yooka-Laylee, we're reminded that crowdfunding campaigns really can yield pretty great games.

Granted, there have been misfires (here's looking at you, Mighty No. 9), but among the clutch of crowdfunded games over the past several years there have also been some incredible gems. We're talking about games that rub shoulders with the best in their class, or so unique and unfamiliar that they redefine genres and pave the way for followers.

And, in some cases, you might not have even realised that some of these games had been crowdfunded – because they wind up being so popular that they transcend whatever status or novelty comes with their background.

In fact, much as we enjoyed Yooka-Laylee, it didn't even make our final list: the other games are just that amazing. So here are our picks for the 10 best crowdfunded games... that have actually hit stores.

FTL: Faster Than Light (2012)

Platforms: PC, iPad

FTL finds the absolute sweet spot between punishment and reward, as this roguelike spaceship simulator sends you out into the stars – where you'll encounter threats and opportunities alike.

It can be a grueling adventure, with a permanent death almost assured at some point, but exploring the galaxy with your customized ship proves massively enticing, and the randomised nature means that you can play it over and over and over again. And, if you buy FTL, you probably will.

Funding: US$200,542

Superhot (2016)

Platforms: PC, Xbox One

You've never played a shooter that looks like Superhot, let alone acts like it. Here, time (and thus the game world and your enemies alike) only moves when you do.

So when you're still, so are the foes around you. And if you start sprinting ahead, the whizzing bullets gain momentum and the bad guys start doing bad things again.

This experimental game jam concept became a rather brilliant little one-of-a-kind experience - and there's even a VR edition, too.

Funding: US$250,798

Pillars of Eternity (2015)

Platform: PC

Have a soft spot for old-school, isometric PC role-players? Then you'll probably get a big kick out of Pillars of Eternity, Obsidian Entertainment's exacting tribute to the genre.

This sprawling fantasy adventure holds true to the classic approach of Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, spinning an intriguing narrative alongside engrossing combat and exploration.

It raised nearly US$4 million on Kickstarter and bowed to glowing reviews - while, earlier this year, upcoming sequel Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire topped it with US$4.5 million raised via Fig.

Funding: US$3,986,929

Shovel Knight (2014)

Platforms: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Vita, 3DS, Wii U, Fire TV

Surely available on some device you own (see above), Shovel Knight is a wonderful tribute to 8-bit action games that feels like a misplaced relic from the actual era.

You'll wield the garden tool of the titular warrior, battling baddies by swinging the spade or slamming them from above.

It's massively charming and perfectly designed in the mold of classics such as DuckTales and Mega Man, plus there are now two full bonus campaigns starring other characters.

Funding: US$311,502

Elite: Dangerous (2015)

Platforms: PC, Xbox One

The original Elite laid the foundation for the entire spaceship simulation genre and, two decades later, Elite: Dangerous took the premise into the modern era with a vast galaxy to explore and VR support to boot.

This massively multiplayer experience takes place across the expanse of the Milky Way, which should be plenty enough space for you to expand your own narrative starting with just a ship and a pittance of credits. What will you do to write your name in the stars?

Funding: £1,578,316

1
2