2022 TechRaptor Awards Indie Game of the Year

2022 TechRaptor Awards - Indie Game of the Year

Published: January 12, 2023 12:00 PM

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Indie games are where risks are taken, where cool ideas a pursued that may not pan out financially. That means we all get to be surprised by fresh ideas or new twists on the familiar, and 2022's class of indie games deliver on innovation in a huge way. 

Here are the nominees for TechRaptor's Indie Game of the Year for outstanding creative and technical design from outside a large studio.

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Check out here for our other award categories and nominees.


Readers' Choice Winner - Stray

Developer: BlueTwelve Studio | Release Date: July 19th, 2022

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So many people play games to get lost in a world. Sometimes we just want to vibe, soak in the scenery, and enmesh ourselves in something alien to our day to day life. Stray does that perfectly. Oh, and you play as an adorable cat, too. It is a gorgeous game, with a wonderfully crafted world to explore. No wonder it resonated with our readers.

Fifth Place - Stray

stray game

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Developer: BlueTwelve Studio | Release Date: July 19th, 2022

Written by Austin Suther

Stray is a deceptively simple game that executes its concept wonderfully. It tugged at players’ heart strings as they took control of a cat, exploring a mysterious, dilapidated world filled with robots and alien-like pests out to get you. Though linear in nature, the overall quality and polish of Stray helps make it a memorable experience. 

Stray is a particular standout for its incredible visuals, creating absurdly detailed environments that really elevate the immersion factor. Along with its graphical fidelity is an exceptional physics system, and there are so many interactable elements within Stray’s world that portray the whimsical and impish nature of a cat. For example, knocking a fresh can of paint off a building with your paws spills it all over the ground and a frustrated robot has to clean it all up. You can track your footprints through the paint and create even more chaos. With so many more interactions and a fun mystery to explore, you’ll find a lot to love with Stray

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Fourth Place - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

tmnt shredders revenge

Developer: Tribute Games | Release Date: June 16th, 2022

Written by Austin Suther

TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge captures the classic arcade experience for a whole new generation. With crisp spritework and varied environments to fight your way through, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is a blast to play with friends. While it doesn’t necessarily change up the formula from previous arcade titles featuring the half-shell heroes, it includes a few fun features that’ll keep players coming back for more.  

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With a roster of seven characters, including our eponymous heroes as well as April O’Neil, Splinter and Casey Jones, they all have different move-sets. Characters can be leveled up to unlock even more abilities, giving you a strong incentive to try out new characters and go for another run through TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge’s crime-filled streets, malls, zoos, and more.  

Third Place - Neon White

neon white

Developer: Angel Matrix | Release Date: June 16th, 2022

Written by Austin Suther

Neon White’s dozens of levels feature cards that act as weapons that are used to eliminate demons from Heaven. Discarding these weapons allows the main character, White, to perform special movement abilities like double jumps or long dashes across the air. Your aim is to kill all these demons, but more importantly, do it fast. You might be surprised by what amazing feats you, as a gamer, can perform in Neon White.  

What a game Neon White is. Such a simple concept turns the entire first-person shooter and platforming genre on its head with high octane, addicting gameplay that brings out the speedrunning fiend in all of us. Neon White has certainly made some waves since its initial release earlier this year, but it’s not hard to argue that it deserves even more attention. 

Second Place - Tunic

tunic game

 

Developer: Andrew Shouldice | Release Date: March 16th, 2022

Written by Samantha Plaisance

Tunic is a delightful action-adventure game that features a small fox who has gone on one very big adventure. With its cute and bubbly graphics and sound effects, it is not a surprise this game came in second in our Indie Game of the Year vote. Being quite similar to Zelda, its no wonder gamers gravitated to the game when it was released.

The story is wholesome even though it is quite minimalistic. It has the ability to capture and immerse players within moments of arriving onto the first island, and is a great example of "less is more" in terms of gameplay.

Though it might not be the most in-depth game, don't assume it isn't extremely challenging. Figuring out all of the puzzles alongside attempting to defeat hardcore bosses is not something to scoff at. Tunic takes skill to master, but is extremely rewarding once you get into the swing of things.

Winner - Vampire Survivors

vampire survivors

 

Developer: Luca Galante | Release Date: October 20th, 2022

Written by Samiee "Gutterpunk" Tee

If there was a word that could be used to describe many of 2022’s breakout indie hits, it would be “digestible”; bite-sized content designed to be enjoyed in short bursts of unfiltered mechanical perfection and quick, satisfying loops. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge exemplifies this in its retro callbacks, Neon White showcases it in abundance with its speed-running gameplay. In the end, however, it was Vampire Survivors that came swinging out of the gates from Early Access this year.

With tens of hours of content to substantiate several quick sessions, and a constant stream of lights rewarding the player with its combinatory gameplay involving different weapons and effects, Vampire Survivors is primitivism that easily surpasses complexity. The kind of stimulation that sees simplicity branch out with the kind of brief satisfaction other games emphasize in end-game content. Here, the gameplay is the end-game. All killer, no filler in a genius concept which perfects the “numbers go up” design to a T.