The best indie video games in Eastern Europe | TOP5

The best indie video games in Eastern Europe | TOP5

The European gaming market has long been the bastion of game development, with the continent’s countries hitting over $20 billion in total revenue this year, according to a 2022 figure. Today’s selection showcases the most spectacular indie video games, from the unsettling world of the post-Soviet era to the narcotic-like effects of a bouncing dolphin.

Samorost 3 | Czech Republic

We start with perhaps the most acclaimed work from the well-known Amanita Design, the third in the series of Samorost, the adorable space gnome-dominated series, released in 2016. The point-and-click, puzzle-style game features a spectacular and detailed visual world.

The main thread of the story is that a flute falls into our protagonist’s backyard, and it finds out where the unexpected object came from through the bumpy path of the cosmos. It explores the environment, solves puzzles, and collects various accessories to overcome the obstacles in its way.

Samorost 3 | App Store | Google Play | Web

PUSS! | Ukraine

From the Ukrainian team COIL, PUSS! is as artistic and visually stunning as it is astonishingly weird. Featuring a unique design with highly psychedelic and surrealistic imagery, the main objective of this game is to save your cat from lurking dolphins and laser-eyed space cats in a maze of tracks.

The mechanics of the game are based on the need to move through the labyrinths without touching them until you reach the exit portal to the next level. Its graphics may remind us of the Ukrainian rave culture and the style trends of Eastern Europe in the 2000s, so it’s a great fusion to commemorate Y2K.

PUSS! | App Store | Google Play | Web

Svoboda 1945: Liberation | Czech Republic

The video game by Prague-based Charles Games recreates the horrors of World War II from the perspective of the fictional inhabitants of a Czech village near the German border but based on real events. The creator of the 2018 Independent Games Festival finalist and highly successful Attentat 1942, Charles Games, has now brought a brand new story for fans of war and European history. The game’s unique feature is that it is a highly authentic depiction of the German invasion of the Czech Republic, thanks to a collaboration between academics and teachers.

The aim of the game is to sensitize the audience, which it does by having them talk to different characters played by well-known actors in their home countries to understand the action. They all share one thing in common, namely the trauma of war or dictatorship. They don’t defy taboos; they remember the Holocaust and genocide in a truly artistic way.

Svoboda 1945: Liberation | App Store | Steam | Web

This War of Mine | Poland

According to a recent estimate by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, the Polish video games market is currently worth €470 million, thanks to creative developers like 11 Bit Studios, a Warsaw-based company that launched its strategy game This War of Mine in 2014, inspired by one of the longest sieges in history.

Intriguingly, the horrors of Sarajevo between 1992 and 1996 are portrayed through the eyes of ordinary civilians and survivors in the war-torn city. Despite the fact that the story almost pushes our boundaries, and the gameplay is set in a kind of oppressive twilight, the game has a beautiful visual world thanks to the richly detailed interiors and vertically cut buildings.

This War of Mine | App Store | Google Play | Web

Battle for Basiani | Georgia

It’s like being transported back to the 90s arcades with Golden Fox Studio’s 2D pixel art game, created in response to the 2018 protests in Tbilisi. After illegal police movements against the Bassiani techno club, the country’s biggest nightclub, the crowd aimed to occupy the former Georgian parliament.

The slogan “Dance for Freedom” became a well-known motto of the uprising and inspired the game. In the plot, players take on the role of a controversial government official who beats up protesters in a wind jacket. Officially quoting the developers, “the game is a parody, it carries no political or social messages.”

Battle for Basiani | App Store

+1 Phonopolis | Czech Republic

This year, the aforementioned Czech company Amanita Design announced its next game, Phonopolis. The studio’s hand-drawn 3D graphics could be their first breakthrough, which would be a refreshing addition to the company’s steadily expanding games portfolio. After previous successes, the focus is now more on manipulation and individualism. The game is in development for multiple platforms, with no release date yet announced.

Phonopolis | Web

Sources: The Calvert Journal, Statista, Cnet, Hetediksor

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