Once again, the PC has been the place to be for indie games. Where else could you have stepped into the shoes of an Eastern-bloc border official or enjoyed a family story that, god forbid, was about everyday people and made a mockery of violence ad action and choice and consequence, or found a game like The Stanley Parable, which still somehow defies explanation. Just play it already.
So, yeah, 2013 was just like every other year, really -- a damn fine one for PC fans.
Antichamber is amazing. It throws players into a world of Euclidean, mind-bending puzzles, delighting and purposefully frustrating, challenging players to think in weird and wonderful ways. It's enormously rewarding, hair-tearingly obscure in places, but there are some absolutely fantastic eureka moments to be had here.
"Desktop Dungeons is magnificent and terrifying; expertly mixing the most compelling parts of RPGs, roguelikes, puzzlers and browser games into a monstrously moreish and ferociously challenging package. I can't help but recommend this satisfying thief of time, but I'm so very sorry, dear reader. I may have just ruined your life, and chances are I won't be able to sleep tonight knowing that. Then again, I'll just be playing Desktop Dungeons anyway."
Gone Home did something a bit special this year, in telling the story of the Greenbriars through environmental means, gentling tugging the strings of numerous, interweaving, delicate narratives and crafting a moving, engrossing, and enormously real story about an everyday family. Dripping with authenticity and emotional significance, Gone Home was one off the most quietly impressive games to emerge this year.
"MirrorMoon EP is a uniquely compelling take on space exploration, a gorgeous lonely infinity of brave new worlds and stars to discover for yourself. Like real space travel, some frustration and tedium is to be expected, and it's certainly not for everyone. But if this abstract masterpiece grabs you, there really is nothing else quite like it out there.
"My God. It's full of stars."
"An incredibly elegant game when it comes to both the game design and the mechanisms that power it, Monaco is a glorious gem of a game that manages to capture both the sophisticated strategy of planning the perfect heist along with the frantic, delirious fun of the crime caper. A unique co-op marvel in the right hands."
"It shouldn’t work, it shouldn’t be fun, but what Lucas Pope has crafted with Papers, Please is a pixelated triumph that blends point-and-click mechanics and a charming artstyle with increasingly fiendish observation puzzles. This is one indie game you should not miss. Glory to Arkstozka!"
"The Stanley Parable is one of the bravest, most anarchic, funniest and worthwhile games you'll play this year; as incisive, cutting and profound as you want it to be. An unpredictable recursive gem in which player agency is both supremely important and entirely non-existent. Once you've experienced it, you'll never look at videogames - or play them - in quite the same way again."
Best PC Indie Game 2013 | The Stanley Parable
We could tell you exactly why The Stanley Parable is one of the most thought-provoking, insightful and genuinely hilarious games of recent years, but that would seriously undermine your enjoyment of this mod-turned-standalone-download.
Instead, you should read Jon's masterful review. Or not. Better yet, play the free demo first to see if it's your cup of tea. Then pay the whole game. Then read Jon's review. And then vote The Stanley Parable in as your game of the year. Or not. The choice is yours.