March 20, 2023
A lone explorer looking a desert in kenshi (image via Lo-fi games)

5 Indie Games With The Best Open World Design

Over the past decade, indie games have seen a huge resurgence in popularity, primarily for their open-world design. Who can deny the freedom of being able to go anywhere or do anything while exploring vast and mysterious worlds. However, this genre has become oversaturated in recent years and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find games that live up to the hype. Indie games can offer a new take on this genre by focusing on what makes them truly unique.

An open-world game, as the name suggests, is one where the world is fully explorable almost from the start. Players can venture wherever they want, regardless of the scenario. That said, here are five indie games that have a really well-designed open-world environment.

Note: This article reflects the views of the author.

Top 5 Indie Games With An Amazing Open World To Explore

5) Frequently

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Kenshi is set 1000 years after an apocalyptic event that no one remembers, as society is thrown back into a technological dark age. Venturing into this world is very dangerous as it is full of bandits, slavers, beasts and cannibals.

Players will need to learn to deal with all of these dangers as they go out and explore various ruins that are teeming with loot or stumble upon bases housing some of Kenshi’s most dangerous outlaws.

It can be easy to miss noticing Kenshi’s beautiful wastelands due to the constant threats players will face. Environments feature twilight pouring over desert dunes, the blue waters of the Leviathan Coast, and the eerie but haunting wildlife of the floodlands. However, the sights themselves become a reward for players after learning how to deal with the dangers of these lands.

4) The Pathless

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As important as the world of an open-world game is, so is how players can traverse it. Think Link’s glider or the great car physics and variety of vehicles in GTA V. These features can make exploring and getting from point to point in an open world a whole lot more fun, and it is where an indie game called The Pathless shines.

The Pathless’ biomes stretch far and wide, with target points dotted across them. These points give players a speed and stamina boost. Players are rarely meant to stop in The Pathless. Instead, they are meant to enter a state of flux as they glide across the map and move from objective to objective.

This state of flux can often be so entrancing that players often forget they’ve reached their location. The only time the gameplay stops is when solving puzzles or encountering bosses, both of which are used as boost mechanics.

3) The outer wilderness

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In Outer Wilds, players are given a starship to pilot, and they are free to explore the far reaches of space powered by their curiosity and their jet engines. This game does not have a traditional story. As players travel through space to discover locations, solve mysteries, and meet people, they’ll set up a vast, interconnected story that feels less like a book than a puzzle. As they uncover pieces and put them in their place, players will begin to uncover the bigger picture.

2) Hollow Knight

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Hollow Knight is a challenging 2D action-adventure indie game with a tightly interconnected world that slowly becomes available to players as they unlock more power-ups. Hollow Knight areas are designed to provide players with a unique exploration experience.

Most areas of the game have multiple entrances or exits, secrets and bonuses to find. Players also do not receive the map of an area as soon as they enter it. Instead, they must find Cornifer the Cartographer, who gives them a rough sketch of the land. Only when they sit on a bench do they get a correctly drawn map. The world also has several unlockable doors, elevators, and other pathways that first require traversing tricky areas to unlock them. This interdependence, along with the grueling difficulty, is why Hollow Knight’s gameplay is often compared to that of Dark Souls.

1) Subnautical

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Subnautica has everything you could want from an open world survival game. It features a complex crafting system, custom base building, and a beautiful underwater world with over 30 biomes to explore. It’s almost hard to believe this is an indie game.

Similar to Hollow Knight, in Subnautica players need upgrades before they can explore more biomes and deepen the game world. However, instead of finding these upgrades by exploring the world, players will need to collect resources and manufacture them.

As players progress deeper, Subnautica begins to let the true horror of the ocean take hold. Unknown creatures lurk in the darkest parts of the water, and dark shadows appear in the distance. All of this is complemented by beautiful underwater environments that no other indie game has even come close to creating, making Subnautica an experience like no other.

Edited by Siddharth Satish

#Indie #Games #Open #World #Design

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