Ten Emotionally Charged Indie Games You Must Play

Please note – massive spoilers for many games are going to follow. You have been warned. Also these are in no particular order, each one is special in its own right.

Emotionally 12

Video games can create so much emotion. It’s one of the major reasons we’re so attracted to gaming. It has to the power to make you feel even if that feeling is one of utter sadness. Think of the some of the most emotional moments in other media. Then think about some of the most emotional moments in gaming. How do they stack up?

When we think of emotional games and moments it’s hard not to think of some of the most famous ones. We’re talking Aeirth’s death in Final Fantasy VII, Dom finding his wife in Gears of War 2, Lee’s end in Telltale’s The Walking Dead, The Last of Us, Final Fantasy X’s ending or this one:

“Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong”

Emotionally 1

Moments that everyone who experienced them remembers which considering they’re Triple-A titles, is a lot of people. Which got us thinking about the lesser known games with deeply moving stories and/or moments. Indie games that have had a profound effect on us by making us feel. So we decided to come up with ten. That’s ten indie games that gave us some of the best emotional experiences ever and why.


Candleman (Liam’s Choice)

Emotionally 2

Candleman managed to make me feel extremely sad about a candle, a damn candle. It never speaks, it’s just a candle. However, the game has a lot of heart. The candle just wants to burn as bright as the lighthouse! Sorry, going to cry now.

Read our review here.

Undertale (Carl’s Choice)

Emotionally 3

It has to be included on any list of emotionally affecting indie games. If there is one game out there that will convince you to be a better person, to be nicer to people…it is Undertale. Only as you reach the end do you release how your decisions have impacted the world and it can be incredibly heart-breaking. One of the most layered games on this list.

Read our review here.

Unravel (Liam’s Choice)

Emotionally 4

Clearly, I have a thing for innocent beings that experience great hardships. I was immediately endeared by Yarny. The concept of Unravel and the meaning behind its story is something we can all relate to. Unravel tells a sincere, heart-warming story with a voiceless protagonist. It’s all about the strands of life and the struggles that can come with it. The scattered memories within the game and the photo album are truly beautiful to look at. It provokes thought in a way that very few games manage to accomplish. It’s hard to choose a specific moment. The thought of the game and its splendid score fills me with emotion.

Read our review here.

Little Inferno (Carl’s Choice)

Emotionally 5

The moment you realise that there is a story in Little Inferno and it’s not just about burning things in a fireplace is astounding. Up to that point the game is all about dragging and dropping items into the fireplace and setting fire to them. Occasionally you’ll get the odd letter from your neighbour but she’s so hyper it seems irrelevant and nothing more then a nicety. Then you get a letter where she talks about staring into the fire and wanting to be part of the flames. To go up the chimney and be dust in the wind.

Even writing it sends chills down my spine. It’s an incredible moment that both excites and terrifies. It eventually leads to your own characters freedom from the fire and the sense of anticipation that comes from the realisation that you’re about to blow your house up is incredible.

…and then the game continues and we see how the world may be ending. Don’t burn your free hug coupon, it’s a minor thing but adds a touching moment at the end of the game.

Read our review here.

Journey (Liam’s Choice)

Emotionally 6

It took me a long time to finally play Journey but it didn’t disappoint. It is one of those rare experiences in video games. It’s the type of game that gives you a feeling that I can only describe as complete euphoria. The graceful and effortless nature in which the character slips and slides their way through the absolutely stunningly glistening desert is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever had the pleasure of observing in any game. That combined with an award winning soundtrack gave me all the feels.

Read our review here.

Dust: An Elysian Tail (Carl’s Choice)

Emotionally 7

Fucking Dust. If you’ve played it to its conclusion then you know exactly what I mean by that. Is there a better redemption story out there? I don’t think so. Gorgeous to look at with characters that are unforgettable and some of the best video game music ever. Even before its devastating but beautiful climax, it’s one of the most awe-inspiring stories and it will take a strong-willed person to not tear up at the sacrifice made.

Read our review here.

Rime (Liam’s Choice)

Emotionally 8

Rime really took me by surprise. I went into playing it knowing very little and I came away having experienced something truly special. Some of the music in this game has the ability to turn me into an emotional wreck. There are a number of moments that stick with me but the ending just about wins. Coming to the realisation of just what it all meant is truly devastating. Play this game, it’s magical.

Read our review here.

Thomas Was Alone (Carl’s Choice)

Emotionally 9

I cite this as the best indie game I’ve ever played and years later it still thrills and chills in equal measures. The personalities given to shapes, the stories told over the levels and the realisation that Thomas and friends are as living as you and I. Incredible narration by Danny Wallace and music that is simply phenomenal just adds to the whole experience.

There are two moments that I’ll always remember from Thomas Was Alone. The first is when Thomas connects to the Internet for 12 seconds and sees the wonder of the world. This gives him purpose and a goal. The second comes from that goal and hit me like a ton of bricks. Thomas knows what he and the rest have is a gift. A gift they can share with others but they’ll have to die to do it.

Read our review here.

Ori and the Blind Forest (Liam’s Choice)

Emotionally 10

Like many of the games on this list, the soundtrack plays a big part. Ori & the Blind Forest is a game that is bursting with emotion. I vividly remember the trailer that was presented at E3 2014. The opening cutscene to the game has to be one of the saddest ever. It’s hard not to care for Ori and the difficulties he has to endure throughout the journey, there’s more than a single occasion in which the narrative will tug at your heartstrings.

Read our review here.

Love You To Bits (Carl’s Choice)

Emotionally 11

A wonderfully smart, funny and emotional puzzle game that tells the story of Cosmo and Nova. She is an android being pursed by her evil creator. The game opens with her and Cosmo under attack. Before they can escape, a massive explosion hits and destroys Nova, shattering her into pieces and scattering her across planets.

It’s now up to Cosmo to find her pieces and put her back together. The story is heart-felt but Love You to Bits expertly lays on the emotion with hidden pickups that show you short animated movies of Nova and Cosmo’s life together up to this point. They are in love and nothing will keep them apart.

What’s the last part of Nova you must collect? Her heart. That all of this comes after a shockingly devastating end-game revelation makes it even more heart-rendering.

Read our review here.

What indie games have effected you emotionally?