Chapter 5: Indie


Lesser known to wider gaming audiences, Indie games stand out for their lack of budget, team size and project scope.

Builder Book

link Cuphead

"Well, Cuphead and his pal Mugman... they like to roll the dice."
Cuphead theme

Combining classic cartoon art style with brutal difficulty, Cuphead is an instant hit. The game's opening lulls players in, with cartoon cutscenes. Cuphead is akin to Mickey Mouse and the era of cartoons in the 1930's, also known as Rubber Hose Animation.

Beware of this game, as each encounter is blink-and-you-die difficulty. The boss battles are trial by fire, each battle gains difficulty as you progress. The game nearly strikes a balance between challenge and insanity, but tends to lean toward the latter.

With that being said, the game is filled with references to bygone eras. One of the first bosses, a duo of frogs, are a reference to Ryu and Ken, from the Street Fighter series.

Cuphead features a ragtime jazz soundtrack. Each of the game frames are hand-drawn, meaning every milisecond of gameplay was drawn from scratch.

Cuphead prompts players to "roll the dice," taking risks to overcome boss encounters. Above all, it teaches players the best lesson: Don't Deal with the Devil!

Builder Book

link Honorable Mentions

  • Hollow Knight
  • Stardew Valley
  • Terraria