An Analysis Of The Ratings Of The Most Popular Indie Games Of The Year

The popularity of indie games in recent years has been steadily increasing, with many gamers praising the unique and creative experiences they offer. Each year brings a new batch of titles that stand out from the rest; however, which ones are truly worth playing? This article aims to analyze the ratings of some of the most popular indie games released this year and assess just how great these titles really are.

In order to capture an accurate picture of players’ opinions on each game, we will be examining reviews from a variety of different sources. These include both professional gaming sites as well as user-generated platforms such as Steam or Metacritic. By comparing results from multiple outlets, we can build up a comprehensive view of what people have thought about all the top releases so far this year.

Finally, by taking into account all available data points, this article hopes to give readers a better understanding of why certain games have become so successful over others in 2020. In addition to assessing individual games based on their merit, this piece also seeks to identify any common themes present among the highest-rated titles and discuss possible implications for future releases.

Definition Of Indie Games

indine games

It is a common misconception that all indie games are the same – small, low-budget projects made by independent developers. In reality, there is no single definition of what an indie game is, as it can encompass a broad range of genres and development styles. Understanding why certain titles become wildly popular each year and how to measure their success requires further investigation into the criteria for popularity.

The term ‘indie’ was coined in late 1989 when British publication The Games Machine referred to smaller teams or individuals producing software without publisher backing as “independent” studios or developers. Over time, this evolved into its current form: ‘indie’ games created by independent developers who lack external funding from publishers and investors. This allows them freedom over their creative direction instead of having to follow market trends set by larger companies with more resources at their disposal.

Indie gaming has seen exponential growth since then thanks to technological advances such as digital distribution platforms like Steam allowing for easier access than ever before for players around the world, and localized production tools giving small teams greater ability to create complex games very quickly compared to traditional publishing methods which take much longer cycles between idea conception and release dates. As these new avenues open up, so does the potential for unique design philosophy outside of mainstream industry norms, resulting in some truly memorable experiences being crafted on modest budgets competing alongside bigger budget titles on equal footing.

With numerous successful releases across various platforms each year ranging from 2D platformers to first-person shooters, understanding why certain titles stand out amongst their peers requires examining the criteria that make up a popular indie game.

Criteria For Popularity

When assessing the popularity of indie games, a variety of rating criteria can be considered. Ratings are based on both subjective and objective measures including visual presentation, audio design, mechanics, narrative structure, and replay value. These ratings form an overall impression that can determine whether or not players will invest further time into a game.

The trends in the gaming industry also play a role in the success of certain titles from year to year as genres rise and fall in terms of public interest – for instance, many popular releases this year have been 3D platformers with procedural elements due to their appeal towards casual gamers who may not want too much challenge but still enjoy exploring different worlds. This trend has impacted indie developers as well by allowing them to create unique experiences within established frameworks while still standing out amongst their peers.

Furthermore, review scores from major publications such as IGN or Gamespot act as an important indicator of how successful an indie title is likely to be; they often provide detailed breakdowns of what worked and what didn’t which allows potential buyers to make more informed decisions before buying a game even if it doesn’t have tons of marketing behind it. While reviews don’t necessarily reflect everyone’s opinion – no single score can please everyone after all – these numbers do shape people’s perception about specific titles nonetheless.

With all these factors at play, let us now turn our attention to examining some examples of highly rated indie games released this year to see why they resonated so strongly with audiences around the world.

Review Of Top-Rated Games


What makes some of the most popular indie games stand out among the rest? To answer this question, it is important to take a closer look at some of the top-rated titles released in recent years.

One such game is Hades by Supergiant Games. This title has received critical acclaim from both professional reviewers and users alike due to its compelling story, impressive visuals, and tight gameplay. Players assume control of Zagreus – son of Hades – as he attempts to escape from his father’s underworld domain while battling through hordes of enemies using an array of powerful abilities. The dynamic combat system rewards players for their skill and ingenuity allowing them to customize their playstyle however they wish; leading many people back again and again to discover all that this unique world has to offer.

Another highly rated indie title is Celeste developed by Matt Makes Games which follows Madeline on her journey up a mysterious mountain filled with secrets, puzzles, and dangerous obstacles along the way. Through its tight controls, creative level design, and heartfelt narrative, Celeste quickly became one of 2018’s most beloved releases despite not having any big marketing budget behind it – showing how great word-of-mouth can go far beyond what money can buy these days when it comes to indie gaming trends.

Finally, Among Us deserves special mention as one of the biggest success stories within the last year or so for its simple yet addicting party setup where players must work together (or against each other) in order to identify who amongst them is sabotaging tasks aboard an interstellar spaceship. Its ease of use combined with surprising depth have made it into a true phenomenon – especially after being featured on streaming platforms such as Twitch – giving millions around the world something new and exciting to experience without ever needing too much time investment upfront.

The popularity of these titles highlights just how captivating indie games can be when done right; now let us shift our focus onto exploring why playing them could benefit gamers in more ways than one.

Benefits Of Playing Indie Games


Indie games have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their unique perspectives and creative ideas. Playing these titles can offer a variety of benefits for gamers that are not always present with mainstream releases, such as:

  • Increased Innovation – Indie developers often take risks with projects that larger companies may be unwilling to attempt; this leads to new experiences that cannot easily be found elsewhere.
  • More Affordable Options – Smaller game studios typically do not have the same budgetary constraints when it comes to production costs meaning they can often provide more cost-effective alternatives than what is available on store shelves.
  • Support For Independent Creators – By playing indie games you are directly supporting independent creators who are passionate about creating something special within their own vision. This helps create a thriving environment where talent can thrive without being restricted by corporate interests.
  • Unique Perspectives & Ideas – Indie developers tend to explore themes and concepts outside of the traditional ‘AAA’ experience which gives players access to stories and worlds they otherwise wouldn’t get from blockbusters titles alone. These advantages make it easy to see why so many people enjoy playing indie titles; now let us move on to exploring some of the factors that influence ratings for these types of games.

Factors That Influence Ratings

It may seem counterintuitive, but the ratings of indie games are often more influential than those of AAA titles when it comes to determining a game’s popularity. This is due in large part to user reviews, which can give an honest and unbiased perspective on how enjoyable a particular title actually is. In contrast, blockbuster releases tend to be heavily marketed and hyped up before launch – something that does not always translate into long-term satisfaction for players once the novelty wears off.

The affordability of indie titles also plays an important role when it comes to ratings. Many gamers simply don’t have the budget to purchase expensive new releases every month; instead, they turn to smaller projects where their money goes further. As a result, these affordable alternatives often receive higher praise from users who appreciate being able to experience unique stories without breaking the bank.

Finally, there is no denying that indie developers are at the forefront of innovation within the gaming industry. By taking risks with creative ideas outside of what mainstream developers typically offer, these studios provide experiences that many people would never find anywhere else – creating dedicated fanbases that reward them with high scores and positive feedback.

With all this in mind, finding great indie titles can sometimes feel like a daunting task given their sheer number and variety available today…

How To Find The Best Indie Titles

When it comes to finding the best indie titles, there are many different strategies that can be employed. One of the most important is conducting an indie game search with a reliable source. This could involve using platforms like Steam or GOG for their massive selection and active user communities – both of which provide access to reviews and ratings from players who have already experienced the games first-hand. It’s also worth checking out websites such as Metacritic and IGN, which compile scores from multiple sources in order to give gamers a better idea of how well certain titles have been received by critics.

Another useful tip when looking for great indie games is to read up on the developers themselves. Doing some research into studios’ past projects can reveal trends in terms of quality, consistency, and innovation; this in turn helps narrow down one’s options when selecting new titles to play. Additionally, it may be helpful to check out forums dedicated to specific genres or series; here one can find passionate fans discussing various aspects of favorite releases – including any flaws they encountered along the way.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth when seeking out interesting indie games. Ask friends and family what they’ve been playing lately, or even post questions on social media about upcoming releases – you might just discover something unique that nobody else has heard about yet! TIP: Make sure you compare user reviews with critic opinions before making your final decision – this will help ensure you’re getting exactly what you hoped for when purchasing your next title.

Comparison Of User Reviews

When it comes to selecting the best indie games of the year, user reviews are often just as valuable – if not more so – than critics’ opinions. Comparing ratings and consumer opinions is one of the most reliable ways to get a sense of how good a game actually is; after all, who knows better than its own players?

To compare user reviews with those from experts, there are several resources available:

  • Online platforms such as Steam or GOG allow users to rate their experience with each title on a scale of 1-5 stars. By checking out these scores, one can get an idea of which titles have been well-received by gamers worldwide.
  • Metacritic and IGN also compile user critiques for some releases; this provides an even clearer picture of what people think about certain titles.
  • Dedicated gaming forums provide yet another way to read up on industry trends and see what fans are saying about specific titles. Here you’ll find passionate discussions between veteran players that offer valuable insight into any given release’s strengths and weaknesses.

Ultimately, looking at both critic assessments and player reviews will give you a comprehensive understanding of how successful a particular game has been in terms of quality, reception, and overall impact on the game industry. With this knowledge in hand, you’re sure to make informed decisions when deciding which new adventures to embark upon!

Impact On The Game Industry

The indie game industry has seen a surge in popularity over the past decade. The influx of creative, innovative titles with fresh gameplay mechanics and unique stories has helped to create an exciting gaming landscape that encourages exploration and experimentation. As such, it’s important to consider how these changes have impacted the wider game industry as a whole.

Indie games are often praised for their accessibility and affordability – qualities that make them attractive prospects for gamers on all budgets. This is especially true when compared to AAA releases, which can be prohibitively expensive due to production costs and marketing campaigns. By providing players with affordable options, indie developers help level the playing field between smaller studios and larger companies; after all, everyone should have access to quality entertainment regardless of financial situation or platform preference.

Additionally, independent developers often take risks that bigger companies may not be willing to attempt – such as bold narrative experiments or genre mash-ups – allowing for new ideas to get exposure within the market. Through this process of trial and error, trends emerge from small projects that eventually become mainstream staples (such as roguelikes). In short, by supporting alternative visions of what video games can do, indie developers push boundaries within the industry while also giving fans something truly unique to enjoy.

Accessibility and affordability being two of its greatest strengths, the rise of the indie game scene has had profound effects on both players and publishers alike; it’s no wonder why so many people are drawn toward it!

Accessibility And Affordability


The accessibility and affordability of indie games are major factors in their increasing popularity. Indie developers often create titles with a lower cost, making them attractive to players on all budgets. This is especially true when compared to AAA releases, which can be prohibitively expensive due to production costs and marketing campaigns. Through this process, independent studios have been able to break into the industry as well as compete against larger companies who may not be willing to take risks with new ideas or genre mash-ups.

In addition, many indie games offer unique experiences that cater for niche audiences – something that isn’t always available from bigger developers. By giving gamers access to quality entertainment regardless of financial situation or platform preference, indie developers help level the playing field between small studios and larger ones. Moreover, these smaller projects often push boundaries within the industry while also providing fans something truly unique to enjoy; no wonder why so many people are drawn towards it!

Furthermore, by investing in indie game development, publishers benefit from reduced risk since there’s usually less capital needed upfront (in comparison with triple-A titles). Additionally, they gain valuable insight into what kind of gaming experience consumers are looking for at any given moment – allowing them to better adjust their own strategies going forward whilst also helping promote upcoming talent in the industry.

Trends In Indie Gaming

The indie gaming industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years, with the release of popular titles such as Minecraft, Stardew Valley, and Undertale. As a result, analyzing trends within this sector can provide valuable insights into consumer preferences and market dynamics. By studying yearly releases of indie games, it is possible to identify patterns that help explain why certain games have become so successful over time. Additionally, game rating analysis provides an effective way to evaluate the overall quality of these projects – allowing players to make informed decisions about which titles they should invest their hard-earned money in.

In terms of popularity, some genres stand out more than others when looking at the most successful indie games released each year. Action-adventure and role-playing are two genre types that tend to attract large audiences; both offer immersive worlds filled with interesting characters and quests for players to explore. On top of this, strategic simulations (e.g., city builders or turn-based tactics) also remain fairly constant in terms of user engagement levels throughout different annual releases – indicating that gamers continue to have a strong appetite for deep strategy experiences too.

Apart from genre appeal, developers must take into account other factors when crafting their projects if they want them to be well-received by fans worldwide. These include offering a smooth learning curve while still providing enough challenge for veterans; drawing on visual styles that evoke nostalgia amongst older gamers but remain relevant among younger ones; utilizing innovative mechanics instead of relying solely on tried-and-true formulas; and including rich storylines with complex characters who evolve during gameplay sessions – all elements necessary to ensure success in today’s competitive environment where only the best survive!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is The Difference Between Indie Games And Mainstream Games?

Indie games and mainstream games are two distinct gaming genres that have been around since the dawn of digital entertainment. While there is much overlap in terms of gameplay mechanics, visuals, and sound design between these two types of video games, there are also a great many differences as well. To understand what sets indie and mainstream apart from each other, it’s important to look at their core elements. Here are four major points of differentiation:

  • Budget – Indie game budgets tend to be far lower than those of mainstream titles due to smaller teams or even individual developers who lack access to large capital investments;
  • Distribution – Mainstream games often require physical media for distribution while most indie projects can be distributed digitally;
  • Scope – Due to their limited resources and staff, indie games usually feature shorter stories and more focused content compared to larger AAA releases;
  • Audience – With less advertising power behind them, indie titles typically appeal to specific niche audiences that seek out unique experiences.

The contrast between indie and mainstream gaming goes beyond just production value too. Indie developers often use game creation as an avenue for creative expression which gives their titles an edge over formulaic AAA affairs. Similarly, they create titles with greater levels of experimentation than most traditional studios would risk making on a mass-market scale. This experimental approach leads to unconventional ideas being explored through fresh perspectives offering players a different type of experience than what’s found in the majority of blockbusters today.

Overall, the difference between indie games and mainstream ones lies mainly in scope, audience reach, budgeting constraints, and development approaches employed by creators when crafting interactive experiences for gamers worldwide. The results range from small independent passion projects all the way up to massive Hollywood-style productions but no matter how big or small the title may be both genres provide players with enjoyable worthwhile experiences regardless if you choose classic hits or innovative new creations alike.

  • How Can I Get Access To The Best Indie Games?

Finding access to the best indie games can be difficult, but it is possible. Indie games are often not as widely distributed or advertised as mainstream games, so knowing where to look for them becomes paramount in finding quality titles. There are a few key sources available for gamers interested in accessing the highest-rated and most popular indie game releases of the year.

The first source for acquiring indie games is online marketplaces such as Steam,, and GOG which offer a wide selection of both free and paid titles from independent developers around the world. Browsing these stores’ catalogs allows gamers to find their favorite titles with ease, while also discovering new experiences among their expansive libraries. Additionally, many digital storefronts like Apple App Store and Google Play provide an easy way to purchase mobile-friendly versions of certain indie games directly on smartphones or tablets.

Lastly, seeking out physical copies at local gaming shops or conventions is another great option for obtaining coveted indie games. This method offers up exclusive collector’s editions that could prove invaluable over time due to limited availability. Moreover, attending events hosted by small developers gives players direct access to behind-the-scenes conversations regarding development process stories and future projects which further enhances one’s experience when playing any particular title down the line.

In summary, there are numerous ways that people looking for top-tier indie game content can get their hands on whatever they desire with just a little bit of research into what options are available out there today. Whether it’s downloading digital copies from online distributors or tracking down rare physical items at conventions – gaining access to the best indie games has never been easier than it is now!

  • How Do User Reviews Influence The Rating Of Indie Games?

It is widely accepted that user reviews play a major role in the rating of indie games, however, it is worth considering what exactly these ratings are based on. When discussing popular indie games, there are many factors to consider such as graphics and gameplay design; user reviews often provide valuable insight into how well these elements have been implemented. By taking into account public opinion from gamers who have already experienced certain titles, developers can get an idea of where they should be aiming for when designing their own projects.

In this regard, understanding how user reviews affect game ratings is essential for anyone interested in creating successful indie gaming experiences. User perceptions can change quickly so developers must remain aware of current trends and ensure they stay up-to-date with feedback from players. This includes not only looking at review scores but also reading comments posted by users to gain further insight into why people like or dislike particular features within a title. Positive word-of-mouth can quickly spread across forums and social media platforms which contributes greatly to the overall success of any given game.

Furthermore, analyzing user reviews help developers determine areas where improvements could be made in future iterations of their products. This information can then inform decisions relating to marketing strategies such as targeting specific demographics or focusing on certain aspects during development cycles. Understanding how user reviews influence the rating of indie games provides invaluable insights for both fans and creators alike making it an important topic for those involved in the industry today.

  • Are Indie Games More Affordable Than Mainstream Games?

Indie games have become increasingly popular in recent years, and as a result, many people are wondering if they offer better value than mainstream games. In order to answer this question, it is necessary to look at the costs associated with indie games compared to those of their mainstream counterparts.

The cost of an indie game can vary significantly depending on its genre and features. Generally speaking, however, these titles tend to be much less expensive than mainstream games due to lower production costs and smaller development teams. This means that players do not need to invest large amounts of money into the title in order to enjoy it – which is great news for gamers looking for a more affordable option when playing video games.

It should also be taken into consideration that there may be additional costs associated with purchasing indie games such as subscription fees or microtransactions. These extra charges can add up over time, meaning that some players might find themselves spending more on an indie title than they would on a mainstream one. However, despite this potential added expense, many still view indie games as being cheaper overall than their big-budget counterparts.

When deciding whether or not to purchase an indie game, it is important for players to weigh up both the short-term and long-term costs associated with the title before making their final decision. With careful planning and budgeting strategies in place, gamers may well find that indie titles offer them greater financial security over the course of time thanks largely to their affordability relative to other types of video games available today.

  • Are There Any New Trends In Indie Gaming That I Should Be Aware Of?

The current H2 question posed is whether there are any new trends in the indie gaming industry that should be taken into account. Trends in the indie gaming world can include changes to game design, development, and publishers, as well as more general shifts in the overall market.

Indie game design has seen a shift towards larger open-world games with famous examples being Breath of the Wild for Nintendo Switch and Red Dead Redemption 2 for Xbox One. This type of design allows players to explore vast worlds at their own pace without restrictions from level progression or story objectives. Indie game developers have also begun utilizing procedural generation algorithms which allow them to create entire random levels and environments on the fly while still adhering to established gameplay rules. These techniques add replayability and variety to smaller-scale titles like The Binding of Isaac and Spelunky.

On the publishing side of things, we’ve seen an increase in digital distribution networks such as Steam, Epic Games Store, GOG Galaxy, and amongst many others providing easier access for both players and developers alike. Allowing gamers around the world easy access to hundreds of different titles with just one click eliminates any regional limitations previously imposed by physical copies or local storefronts.

Furthermore, partnerships between major corporations (Xbox/Nintendo) alongside independent studios have allowed unique experiences only possible through collaboration between two very different entities further pushing boundaries within the indie gaming space.

Overall, it is clear that there are constantly shifting trends within the indie gaming industry that must be accounted for when analyzing popular games released this year. From developing procedural generation algorithms to building relationships with major companies; indie game designers continue creating innovative experiences every day for everyone around the world to enjoy!


It is evident that the indie gaming industry has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more gamers looking to make their mark on the scene. It is important for players to be aware of how user reviews can influence the rating of an indie game as well as what new trends may be emerging within the domain.

For instance, a case study involving one of this year’s most acclaimed titles – ‘The Last Of Us Part II’ – demonstrates just how influential user ratings are when it comes to affecting game rankings. Despite being generally favored by critics, users have found fault with its narrative structure and character development, leading many reviewers to give it lower scores than initially anticipated.

Furthermore, there is also evidence that suggests indie games tend to cost less compared to mainstream ones; however, these savings come at the expense of product quality and often lack features available in larger-scale productions. As such, players should thoroughly research any potential purchases before making a commitment.

Overall, due to their low costs and high replayability value, indie games present a great opportunity for gamers looking for unique or innovative experiences without breaking the bank. Furthermore, they provide developers with ample opportunities to showcase their creativity while still providing an enjoyable experience for those who play them.