Linux is a free operating system which has seen growing interest from game developers. Major developers, particularly Valve, are making it easier for PC gamers to enjoy games on Linux. The Humble Indie Bundle has bought many major indie games to Linux – and Linux users are consistently willing to pay the most for their bundle of games.
The indie game community and the Linux community have lots in common. They both live happily outside of the mainstream, they’re both forward-thinking, and they are both created and maintained by small communities of developers. So if you like indie games, there’s a good chance that you might also like Linux. If you’re considering making the switch, here are ten indie games you can play on Linux right now.
Minecraft is not only the best indie game for Linux, it’s one the best indie games ever made. It’s almost certainly the most successful. Minecraft’s success makes it easy to forget the game’s humble beginnings, since it began as a solo developer project.
Minecraft has its own culture, and it’s probably the most watched game in history. The variety of custom maps and building projects makes it just as fun to be a spectator as a player. If you haven’t yet played this game, you’re denying yourself the most important game of the last ten years.
2. Faster than Light
In Faster than Light you journey across space on an important mission. You move from sector to sector and each area of space contains a new problem which you will need to deal with. This often means fighting other spacecraft.
The fun lies in upgrading your ship and seeing how it fares against the range of enemies you encounter. Will the shields hold out? Will you run out of oxygen? Will your new laser destroy the opposing ship’s hull? You’ll escape from certain disaster time and time again, and each time you’ll have created a new story. Read a full review of Faster than Light here.
3. Dwarf Fortress
Dwarf Fortress is the kind of game I’d have expected to play on Linux before I knew about Linux gaming. It’s complex, forbidding, and geeky. But once you get past the ASCII graphics you’ll see why so many people are willing to sit through tutorials to learn how to play.
In Dwarf Fortress your goal is to survive. This normally means creating a fortress for your dwarves and helping them to find food and drink. They’ll be attacked by a range of mythical beasts so you’ll also need military protection. The game is very difficult, and embodies the phrase “losing is fun.” Each time your fortress falls you have the opportunity to create a new one, and the fun begins all over.
4. Kerbal Space Program
What’s more fun than flying a rocket? Crashing a rocket! At least, it is for the first few attempts. Kerbal Space Program lets you build and fly space craft around a fictional solar system. It accurately simulates the physics of spaceflight, which makes it difficult but rewarding. Eventually you’ll have to complete missions to earn money for ship building. For now there’s a sandbox mode, which lets you create as many crazy ships as you like. That mode is ideal because you may well be crashing quite a few of them. You can read a full Kerbal Space Program review here.
Click here to find out more about Kerbal Space Program.
5. Dungeons of Dredmor
Character creation is often the most enjoyable part of RPG games. When you make a character, you are free to theorise about what will or won’t work, before being tied down by the realities of the game.
Dungeons of Dredmor realises how fun character creation can be, and lets you experiment with your choices. The game sees you attempt to reach the end of a randomly generated dungeon. The combat can be repetitive but the options for character progression keep the game interesting.
6. Super Hexagon
Games don’t get much more simple than Super Hexagon. You control a small triangle and your goal is to move left or right to avoid incoming lines and shapes. The addictive appeal of Super Hexagon lies in its difficulty. To get it right you’ll need to react quickly and achieve a state of ‘flow’ . The simple controls, throbbing visuals, and heavy audio mean that it’s easy to fall into a trance and forget everything apart from beating your high score.
Warsow is one of many Quake style FPS games released for Linux. The game-play is fast paced, and focuses on smooth and fluid movement.
Of the FPS games for Linux, there isn’t any one particular stand-out. Warsow just happens to be my favourite. It works well and the graphics are relatively unique for the genre. You’d get a very similar experience from any of the indie FPS games on Linux such as Nexuiz, Open Arena or Red Eclipse.
8. Dungeon Defenders
Dungeon Defenders puts you in control of an adventurer who can run around, attack enemies, cast spells and summon towers. Your goal is to prevent enemies from destroying your crystal. You can play on your own, or cooperatively online. Dungeon Defenders doesn’t bring too much new material to the genre of tower defence – this is simple, wave after wave fun.
9. Battle for Wesnoth
Battle of Wesnoth may be the best strategy game you’ve never played. Despite being relatively unknown, the game has an established and dedicated community. Gameplay wise, there isn’t anything especially revolutionary, but Wesnoth is polished and fun. There are a variety of add-ons to download, including a variety of single player campaigns. If you’re a fan of strategy games, give Wesnoth a try.
Anodyne is a top-down action/puzzle game. If you’ve played The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening on Game Boy this game should feel familiar. The graphics and gameplay are a very clear nod in the direction of Nintendo’s classic dungeon explorer.
Anodyne is far from a clone, however. It’s much simpler, with hardly any items to acquire and only one weapon – a broom. The majority of game will have you searching for keys to progress through various areas. This can feel repetitive but the main appeal of Anodyne is it’s strange atmosphere, and interesting locations. The core of the game won’t take you long to get through, but there are a number of hidden extras to keep you exploring.
Why you should switch to Linux
With all these indie games on Linux, and more to come, Linux has never been more tempting for gamers. It’s easier than you think to make the switch – you can even keep your Windows installation.
If you’re already a Linux user, do you think there are any games missing from the top ten? Leave a comment below and let us know which games people should be playing on Linux.
© 2013, The Indie Mine. All rights reserved.