Journey is well known for its soaring soundtrack, emotional themes, and stunning visuals, but it’s also the perfect game to unwind with. Without a defined narrative you’re left to enjoy the shimmering desert sands at your own pace, leaving you to piece together your own theories on the meaning behind the physical and mental journey your robed figure undertakes. It’s an effortlessly beautiful indie game, and perhaps the most relaxing experience on PS4.
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Another indie game with a unique twist is Old Man’s Journey. Initially this delightful game appears to be a simplistic point and click adventure in which you must direct the old man to his next landmark, but clever obstacles along the way keep this journey feeling fresh and innovative. Whilst the old man’s story may be slow, it’s effortlessly touching, and joining him on his travels is a wonderful way to spend any afternoon.
Oxenfree sees six teenagers purposefully strand themselves on the mysterious and eerie Edwards Island for a night of partying. So far, so typical teen horror movie. Except this is anything but. What unfolds instead is a deep musing on the turmoil that family tragedy can incur on young people. This is a ghost story with a profound message at its core, a game that subverts expectations and leaves a lasting impression on anyone who plays it all the way through.
Planet of the Eyes is a story about a machine in the midst of a crisis. Stranded on a strange planet, you play as a robot following the trail of the mysterious scientist who created and then abandoned him. It’s one of the shortest games featured on this list but every minute is jam-packed with ingenious puzzles, charming sound design, and an intriguing narrative. What is this planet? Where is your creator and why is he leaving sound recordings for you to find? Planet of the Eyes is a game every bit as engrossing as it is deceptively simplistic.
What Remains of Edith Finch may seem like just another walking simulator but hiding under the surface is a narrative that is one of the best in the indie genre. Giant Sparrow’s story-focused adventure delves into the secrets of the mysterious Finch household, and in the shoes of Edith Finch you will uncover the lost stories of her family members, and the secrets they carried to their graves. There is a reason why this game picked up a BAFTA for Best Game at this year’s show.
Have you played any of these games? Are there any gems missing from this list? Let us know in the comments section.