AAA vs indie darlings
Microsoft proved that indie games could have an audience on consoles when it published Braid on the Xbox 360 in 2008. Fast forward nine years and the landscape has changed quite a bit. The Nintendo Switch is increasingly becoming the home for niche titles, and PlayStation’s selection of blockbuster tentpole games grows with every trade-show Sony attends.
Since purchasing this blocky freeform building game in 2015, Microsoft has drastically upgraded its graphics (while retaining the game’s lo-fi charm). Just as important, it unified nearly every version of Minecraft, allowing people on disparate platforms to play together. Surprisingly, the game didn’t lose its soul in the process.
Playdead’s follow-up to its macabre debut Limbo shows what’s possible when a studio keeps it simple. Inside is a haunting physics-based platformer that follows a young boy on his journey to, uh, get inside a research facility. As compelling as the game mechanics are, your primary motive for pressing onward should be the game’s narrative.