The holiday season approaches and the gaming world is drowning in blockbuster releases. Fallout 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3; the list never ends, but there also exists a swathe of smaller games deserving of your attention this winter.
Luckily we've spared you hours of agonising labour and scoured Steam for the latest and greatest indie games on offer. We'll be adding the cream of the crop from the world's largest game delivery platform each month, ensuring you never have to endure tedious conversations with your loved ones ever again. Prepare yourselves for a long-term vitamin D deficiency as we keep you locked to your screens for the rest of time.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Bombs are no laughing matter except in highly specific circumstances. When you're watching is Wily Coyote or playing Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, for example. The latter tasks you with defusing a payload before the timer goes off and you're blown to smithereens. The catch? Only one person can see the bomb and they aren’t allowed to look at the instructions.
What ensues is a verbal race against the clock as your friends desperately fumble to explain which cut wire leads to ‘phew’, and which leads to ‘kabloo’. It even includes Oculus Rift support to add an extra dimension of stress to the proceedings.
Noct’s aesthetic has clearly been inspired by images of modern warfare captured by attack helicopters. This top-down survival game is viewed through a thermal imaging camera within a satellite orbiting a post-apocalyptic Earth. It’s striking, resonant, and decidedly eerie.
Players find themselves in a wasteland known as the Noct and must fight what remains of humanity as well as a selection of nasty mutant beasties in order to survive. Hotline Miami meets S.T.A.L.K.E.R in minimalistic visual bliss.
Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS
Five Nights at Freddy's 4
Who would have believed that a game about homicidal toys in a fifties diner would become such an overnight success? Five Nights at Freddy’s has become the go-to indie horror experience as players attempt to make it through the night by keeping tabs on their knee-high assailants.
Number four in the series moves the action into the bedroom and ditches security cameras in favour of peeking around corners and nervous glances under the bed. Parents everywhere should keep this one under lock and key lest it confirm to their children that monsters are real, they’re evil, and they will kill in your sleep.
If you're like us, after watching Joss Whedon's Firefly you proceeded to spend the next 10 years dreaming about your own starship. Sadly, that's a dream that most games publishers no longer wish to indulge since space sims started struggling for popularity.
Enter the soothing space-tonic that is Rebel Galaxy. Take charge of a spaceship and trade, battle, mine, and mingle with the population of an open world galaxy. At US$19.99 it's more expensive than most of the games on this list, but its reception from fans has been rapturous. Quit dreaming about that corvette covered in lasers and grab yourself a copy.
Compatibility: Windows, Mac