If you’re anything like me, you have many fond memories of surfing the web and occasionally discovering a ground-breaking yet humble indie game. I don’t mean to come off as a video game hipster, but back in the day before Minecraft, Bastion, and all the media coverage indie developers are currently receiving, we had to dig much deeper to find these hidden indie gems. As I’m sure you know, innovative ideas and brilliant concepts can emerge from even the loneliest, most forgotten corners of the Internet; the trouble merely lies in finding them.
Without getting all sentimental on you, Tiggit is, in my opinion, developer Nicolay Korslund’s opus. The open source game installer is a desktop application that features over five hundred freeware indie games and a few demos. Let me re-cap that for you: Tiggit is an application that lets you play over five hundred free indie games. Although I was initially disappointed with its bland appearance, I became immediately hooked after installing and booting up a few games. I also can’t stress how easy the application is to navigate. Nicolay compares his project to an open-source Steam clone, but his brainchild is simpler to use and requires no login or registration. All you need to do is start up the app and you’re good to go.
I feel it’s important for me to note that the games on Tiggit aren’t as polished as the majority of the games we cover. They aren’t made by big development teams with generous budgets. Korslund even states that his mission with Tiggit is “to help you find all the awesome indie games that exist ‘hidden’ around the internet,” and he manages exactly that. From fully-developed RPGs to addictive yet innovative puzzles, everything is free-to-play and installs with just one hit of the Enter key.
The games library is updated constantly with new titles, and games are separated by genre and release date, so you can browse according to your preferences. You can also arrange them alphabetically, by rating, or by download count. Whenever you highlight a game from the library, Tiggit has a detailed description of it, a dropdown rating list, and the option to open the game’s website in your browser. The latter is a helpful feature because it gives credit to deserving developers, and it gives you the opportunity to access more information on games you like.
I haven’t had the time to go through all 476 games in Tiggit’s freeware library, but of the few I have tried, here are my personal recommendations:
1916 – Der Unbekannte Kreig
This game has gotten significant recognition from review sites, and several Let’s Plays can be found of it on YouTube, but I had to add it to my list anyways. As someone who has played so many of the new Silent Hills and marveled at how such action-oriented titles can still claim the “survival horror” genre, all I can say about 1916 is that it’s a nostalgia-lover’s dream. You play as a young soldier in WWI, navigating trenches and encountering the bodies of fallen German comrades, deadly mustard gas, and, well, glowing dinosaurs. Although the dinosaurs might seem comical at first, I assure you that 1916 is masterfully fearful.
Broken Cave Robot
This game won second place at Ludum Dare 15 and was rated top in the “fun category,” all for good reason. You awaken as a broken robot with a drained battery that has fallen into a dangerous cave system. Your only way of progressing through the game is to explore the caves and draw a map that you feel fairly depicts your surroundings. Since your battery is dying your playtime is limited, but the map you draw is saved for the next time you boot up the game. Overall Broken Cave Robot makes for a captivating adventure, which to me is pretty great for a game conceived from beginning to end in only 48 hours!
This was the first game I ever played on Tiggit, so I won’t lie, maybe I’m a little biased. Depict1 looks like your average platformer at first, except in this game, not everything may be as it seems. The true mystery lies in its narration. It’s hard to get into details without giving too much away, but Depict1 gets very creepy very quickly. Although it doesn’t take long to finish, I was so mesmerized I couldn’t bring myself to pause until I was finished the game entirely and had unlocked both endings.
Okay, now Execution isn’t even really a game. I’d say it’s more of an interactive experiment. Just make sure you play it twice, and be ready to experience its side-effects.
Fetus and suteF
Fetus is a creepy puzzle game that was developed in four days and won third in GameJolt’s Minimal competition. suteF, on the other hand, is its direct sequel. Players must confront the evil fetus that has trapped them in the dark, spooky “Abyss” the game takes place in. The puzzles start off easy, but can get downright frustrating as you progress. Any fan of puzzle games who enjoys horror themes won’t want to miss out on this series.
This Precious Land
“Learn the workings of nature, and make us proud of This Precious Land.” This Precious Land is a small sandbox construction toy that was designed for Ludum Dare 23’s 48-hour competition. Ludum Dare 23’s theme was “tiny world,” and This Precious Land is just that. Even though it’s nothing more than the video game equivalent of a zen garden, playing around and creating your own little environments is both relaxing and calming. I discovered this during my finals, and every time a classmate saw me playing with it they marveled at its attractive pixel art and asked me where they could install it from!
According to its website, Tiggit is still in early beta. Hopefully this means we’ll have improvements to look forward to in the future (although, even in its current state, Nicolay Korslund’s humble little application is almost too great to handle). I currently have no complaints, but I can’t wait to see in which direction Tiggit is heading.