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Best Indie Game of 2021

Best Indie Game of 2021 - Article

by Christian Evans , posted on 14 January 2022 / 3,038 Views

The criteria for what constitutes indie may be up for debate, but such is the quality of these games that the difference between them and their more 'illustrious' AAA brethren is now blurred beyond defining lines. Every year a new batch breaks through that is strong enough to compete against the established industry bests, and they're now seemingly in the conversation for game of the year each and every year - Hades in 2020 being a recent prime example. 

Last year was again no different, and with plenty of major studio releases delayed out of 2021, the indie efforts were afforded greater space to thrive and shine. To highlight how strong a year it was for the indie scene, swapping in a new batch of shortlisted games multiple times over would still leave the list looking formidable. While only skimming the surface, some critically acclaimed games that missed out on the shortlist but which are deserving of a mention include: The Forgotten City, Death’s Door, Unpacking, and Fuga: Melodies of Steel. 


The Shortlist:


Chicory: A Colorful Tale


The Ascent


12 Minutes


It Takes Two


ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights





The Winner:

It Takes Two 

Runner-up: Chicory: A Colorful Tale

A firm favourite amongst the VGChartz staff and with the community, It Takes Two sealed the win, while critic favourite Chicory had to settle for second. Encapsulating everything that’s great about indie gaming, It Takes Two showcases creativity and risk in abundance. Just like Hazelight Studios' previous release, A Way Out, It Takes Two is that rare beast of gaming - an exclusive two player co-op experience. The whimsical nature and variety on show is always a joy, and only more so when played alongside a close compatriot. It’s no surprise to see many outlets shower end of year accolades on this original and imaginative adventure, and it's surely another strong contender for Overall Game of the Year. 

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SuperNintend0rk (on 14 January 2022)

It Takes Two was totally a shoe in for this category but I'm still really glad that it won. Well deserved!

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Jaicee SuperNintend0rk (on 14 January 2022)

Couldn't agree more! Also, I'm glad this category now exists. :-)

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UnderwaterFunktown (on 15 January 2022)

Deltarune Chapter 2 was the clear winner for me, but not shocked it isn't here. Episodic games and yearly awards are like oil and water.

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Jaicee UnderwaterFunktown (on 15 January 2022)

I thoroughly enjoyed Chapter 2 of Deltarune myself, but I tend to judge games as complete projects. To that end, like you're saying, episodic titles that get released over the course of a number of years just aren't part of my calculus in the annualized awards. Or maybe I'll consider it for the year in which the last chapter gets released, you know? That's how I think about those things anyway.

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UnderwaterFunktown Jaicee (on 16 January 2022)

Yea, I'd generally agree, but since it was on the poll it still got my vote. You could compare it to games that are in early access for years before "officially" releasing, so if you HAD to narrow it down it would probably make most sense to consider the final chapter the release year of the "full game".

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Chazore (on 15 January 2022)

Deltarune would have been my choice, but I'm still glad It Takes 2 got what it deserved.

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Leynos (on 14 January 2022)

I really want to play The Ascent.

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smroadkill15 (on 17 January 2022)

The Ascent was one of my favorite games from last year. It's amazing what that small team was able to achieve from a technical perspective.

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LivncA_Dis3 (on 15 January 2022)

Kena wasn't indie enuf hahahah

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BonfiresDown (on 15 January 2022)

I can't imagine any definition under which It Takes Two qualifies as an indie game. It might not be AAA either, but it's AA and it's published by EA.

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Qwark (on 15 January 2022)

Odd that Lena wasn't nominated, deserved winner though

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Jaicee Qwark (on 16 January 2022)

What's Lena? ;)

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

  • +1