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

5 Indie Games With The Best Open World Design

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In the last decade or so, indie games have seen a huge surge in popularity, mostly because of their open-world design. Who can refuse the freedom to go anywhere or do anything while exploring vast and mysterious worlds? However, this genre has become oversaturated in recent years, and it’s getting harder and harder to find games that live up to the hype. Indie games can provide a fresh take on this genre by perfecting what makes them truly unique.

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

Note: This article reflects the views of the writer.


Top 5 Indie Games With An Amazing Open World To Explore

5) Kenshi

Kenshi takes place 1,000 years after an apocalyptic event that no one remembers, in which society regresses into a technological dark age. Venturing into this world is very dangerous as it is teeming with bandits, slave traders, beasts, and cannibals.

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

It can be easy to overlook the beautiful wastelands of Kenshi due to the constant threats that players will have to face. Environments feature twilight spilling over desert dunes, the blue waters of the Leviathan Coast, and the strange but fascinating wildlife of the floodplains. However, the sights themselves become a reward for players after they learn to deal with the dangers of those lands.


4) The Pathless

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

The biomes of The Pathless are spread far and wide, with destination points dotted throughout them. These points give players a boost in speed and stamina. Players are rarely meant to stop at 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 mesmerizing that players often forget that they have arrived at their location. The only time the game stops is when solving puzzles or encountering bosses, both of which are used as pacing mechanics.


3) The Outer Wilds

In Outer Wilds, players are given a spaceship to fly and are free to explore the far reaches of space powered by their curiosity and jet engines. This game does not have a traditional story. As players travel through space discovering places, solving mysteries and meeting people, they will piece together a vast interconnected story that feels less like a book and more like a puzzle. As they uncover pieces and put them in place, players will begin to uncover the big picture.


2) Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight is a challenging 2D action-adventure indie game with an intricately interconnected world that gradually becomes available to players as they unlock more power-ups. Hollow Knight’s areas are designed to give players a unique exploration experience.

Most areas of the game have multiple entrances or exits, secrets, and power-ups to find. Players are also not provided with the map of an area as soon as they enter it. Instead, they need to 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 paths that first require going through challenging areas to unlock them. This interconnectedness, coupled with the grueling difficulty, is why Hollow Knight’s gameplay is often compared to that of Dark Souls.


1) Subnautical

Subnautica has everything anyone 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 that it’s a standalone game.

Like Hollow Knight, in Subnautica, players need upgrades before they can explore more biomes and delve deeper into the game world. However, instead of finding these upgrades while exploring the world, players will need to collect resources and craft them.

As players progress deeper, Subnautica begins to let the true horror of the ocean set in. 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 come close to creating, making Subnautica an experience like no other.

Edited by Siddharth Satish



#Indie #Games #Open #World #Design

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