The Best Indie of 2017

The best indie releases of 2017!

indie, 2017

It’s award season here at Twinfinite! Let’s look back at the best indie games from 2017. Voted on by our editors, these games stood out as shining examples of the great work indie developers are capable of. Let’s start our top vote-getting honorable mentions, runner-ups, and finally, of course, our overall winner!

Honorable Mention: Hat in Time

Best Indie Game of 2017

A Hat in Time


The 3D platforming collect-a-thon revival is in full swing. To the uninformed, it might appear that A Hat in Time is riding off the coattails of Super Mario Odyssey and Yooka-Laylee, but it was this adorable indie game by Gears for Breakfast that kicked the trend off way back in 2013. And despite being surrounded by those giants of the industry this year, Hat Girl found a way to stand out.

While A Hat in Time lacks the massive sprawling open worlds seen in Yooka-Laylee and Super Mario Odyssey, it more than makes up for it with its charming cast of characters responsible for plenty of laugh out loud moments and scenes that put a huge smile on your face. Most importantly, its built on a backbone of solid 3D platforming gameplay bolstered by plentiful customization options and, of course, things to collect.

If you’re a fan of the genre, A Hat in Time is right there with Super Mario and Yooka-Laylee as can’t skip games from this year.

Honorable Mention: Golf Story

Best Indie Game of 2017

golf story

Golf Story was one of the lesser-known surprise hits of 2017. First revealed during a Nindies showcase, the game quietly dropped on the eShop in September. However, any Switch owner would be remiss not to pick this one up and give it a shot.

Everything about Golf Story feels like a classic Nintendo game. With graphics that evoke nostalgic Mario Golf on the Game Boy Color, and a simplistic story about a young man who pursues his childhood dreams of becoming a pro, it’s difficult not to feel utterly enamored by Golf Story’s earnestness. Billed as a golf RPG, the leveling mechanics themselves are easy to get to grips with, and it’s easy to get hooked on that sense of progression you get when you save up enough money to buy a new club, or raise your stats.

The golfing itself is actually quite good, too. The game makes use of a hit meter system to control your shot, and you can even determine which way the ball spins when it lands. It’s not going to be as deep or complex as some of the other more serious and professional golf games out there, but there’s a kind of fulfilling enjoyment to be had from interacting with the game’s quirky NPCs and showing them what’s what out on the course.

Second Runner-Up: Cuphead

Best Indie Game of 2017


Cuphead deserves recognition, if only for the painstaking amount of time it took Studio MDHR to hand draw its stunning 1930s cartoon visuals. Few games often marry such a joyous art style with such punishing and challenging gameplay. It’s almost trying to deceive the player. Tricking you into thinking it’s going to be a simple walk through vibrant worlds and goofy characters. Then you hit the Game Over screen for the 50th time on the same boss battle and you realize this is one nasty cartoon.

The level of difficulty in Cuphead certainly shouldn’t be understated and if you’re not up for punishing gameplay, it’s probably not your cup of tea. However, for those who do opt to jump in, give it your all and continue to persevere and you’ll find Cuphead rewards you with a great sense of accomplishment. Beating each of its run and gun levels or beautifully-designed bosses feels monumental and gives you a sense of satisfaction that few other games manage to offer.

First Runner-Up: What Remains of Edith Finch

Best Indie Game of 2017

indie, april 2017, what remains of edith finch

What Remains of Edith Finch feels like your typical, narrative-driven indie experience. Dubbed as a ‘walking simulator,’ What Remains of Edith Finch tells a bleak series of tales as you explore the Finch family household. It’s a dark and often emotional story, packed with twists and turns that’ll keep you exploring the nooks and crannies of the house.

Despite being a relatively short experience, What Remains of Edith Finch will stick with you long after you’ve put your controller down. Its characters’ harrowing and often extraordinary stories aren’t easily forgotten. What Remains of Edith Finch is one of the most beautifully-written and touching narrative indie experiences we’ve played in quite some time, and now we can’t wait to see what comes next from Giant Sparrow.

Winner: Night in the Woods

Best Indie Game of 2017

night in the woods, indie, february, 2017

Night in the Woods is a special kind of indie game. It doesn’t try and emulate something that came before it, nor does it try and pride itself on some outstanding mechanic. Instead, it tells the tale of Mae Borowski, a college dropout cat who’s returning home to Possum Springs after some time away. What results is a series of bizarre times spent with Mae’s anthropomorphic friends, uncovering a seemingly dark mystery in the town, and the eloquent discussion and handling of some tough real-life problems.

It’s the way that Night in the Woods manages to naturally combine all of this together, however, that makes it so darn special. With each day that passes in Possum Springs, you’ll take part in some absurd mini-games, work out who Mae should spend her time hanging out with, and engage in some deep and thought-provoking conversations with other members of the cast. It may sound like a pretty eclectic mix of gameplay, and it is, but it feels so natural. Mae and her friends don’t seem like they’re part of an automated routine. They feel real, with their own detailed pasts, secrets, and personal issues that really make up who they are. Learning about them is a treat, and by the time the credits roll, you’ll wish you had longer with them to listen in on their private conversations… or just to play the knife fight mini-game again.

Its Night in the Woods’ blend of the sincere and stupid that makes it so relatable. It captures that crazy and unpredictable ebb and flow of life during your younger years, while casting the spotlight on the character-defining moments and issues that make young adolescence such a minefield to navigate.

Night in the Woods is the most charming and beautifully-written experience I’ve played all year. Its characters are deep and sincere, its story’s mysterious twist helps to move things along during the slower stages, and its filled with humorous little moments you won’t forget.

About the author

Chris Jecks

Chris is the Managing Editor of Twinfinite. Chris has been with the site and covering the games media industry for eight years. He typically covers new releases, FIFA, Fortnite and any good shooters for the site, and loves nothing more than a good Pro Clubs session with the lads. Chris has a History degree from the University of Central Lancashire. He spends his days eagerly awaiting the release of BioShock 4.