Well, Post-Launch Reviews' indie month is done. It was a bit more work than I expected -- since I'd never before played any of those games (with one or two exceptions) I couldn't just fall back on writing a review for a game I played a while ago. Due to the Christmas holidays, I actually have four reviews ready to go for the next few weeks, but for a while I was worried I wouldn't finish all my indie reviews.
One thing I noticed with most of these indie games is that they're not in the same league as the big AAA games. Some of you might say "well duh", and others might be pretty upset with me for saying so. But the fact is, AAA games have hundreds of staff and millions of dollars to work with. How can an indie studio with a couple of guys and their hobby money measure up to that?
Most indie games tend to be very well presented and work off of one mechanic or trick, and many feel like they could've been made ten years ago. Sure, if they had, they wouldn't have looked as nice or run as efficiently, but most indie games aren't too complex. In fact, lots of these games tend to win awards at indie game festivals, and you might hate me for saying so, but I get the feeling that some of them only win awards because they're indie games. I mean, would Cogs have ever been considered for awards if it had gone up against Batman: Arkham Asylum, CoD: Modern Warfare 2, Uncharted 2, or Left 4 Dead 2?
This is not to say that indie games aren't worth playing. Most of them are, and you'll have a lot of fun with them. The difference is that you shouldn't necessarily expect to be able to play those games for hours on end in the same way you could with Skyrim or World of Warcraft.
Most indie games tend to fall more into the "casual" category rather than the "hardcore" one. They're games that you play for a few minutes or an hour, when you're killing time or in transit or whatever. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just a different kind of experience. One of the great things about these games is that they tend to be a lot cheaper than the big AAA releases, so you can get more games for your money, or buy games more frequently with less guilt.
Another great thing about a lot of indie games is that indie developers are far more likely to provide a demo of their game than the big names are these days. It sucks to spend $60 on a new game only to discover you don't really like it. Lots of indie games let you try them out for free, so I totally recommend trying out all the demos you can, and buying what you like for the full experience.
Some of my favourite games are indie games. Minecraft and Magicka are incredible games in their own right, and have received tons of support from both developers and fans. Limbo is one of the best-looking games I've ever seen, and it's from a small studio that had to take out loans to get their game finished.
So don't count indie games out because they're "casual" or because they're not as fancy-pants as the big-name titles. You might find something you like a lot more than the latest big release.