Small… But Per­fectly Formed

Mono mas­ter­pieces: the five best black-and-white indies

Games Master - - Indiemaster -

Can­a­balt

Adam Salts­man’s min­i­mal­ist clas­sic is not only a pixel-art re­cre­ation of the best ac­tion movie set-piece never made, but pop­u­larised a new genre: the end­less run­ner. Yet none of the thou­sands of copy­cats has come close to match­ing its raw thrills, nor its pitch-per­fect touch­screen con­trols.

Limbo

Play­dead’s side-scroller might have been usurped by its fol­low-up In­side, but it’s still an eerie plat­form-puz­zler, blend­ing hor­ror and jet-black com­edy to riv­et­ing ef­fect. Its open­ing act has lost none of its power – that spi­der re­mains one of the most ter­ri­fy­ing videogame en­e­mies we’ve ever en­coun­tered.

Cart Life

A sym­pa­thetic de­pic­tion of the lives of three street ven­dors, Richard Hofmeier’s award­win­ning man­age­ment sim is grip­ping and mov­ing. It casts a light on tough lives with­out com­ing across as preachy, and while it’s not fun in a tra­di­tional sense, there’s real sat­is­fac­tion in over­com­ing hard­ships.

Shi ft 2

Antony Lavelle’s Flash favourite is a puz­zler built upon the most ba­sic in­gre­di­ents, as your avatar – and each room’s sur­faces – change po­lar­ity at the push of a but­ton. The level de­sign dis­plays stag­ger­ing in­ge­nu­ity, wring­ing ev­ery drop of cre­ativ­ity from its sim­ple con­ceit. A witty script is the ic­ing on the cake.

Th e Grave­yard

This short game from Tale Of Tales is a touch­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. You con­trol a frail old woman, your goal be­ing sim­ply to walk to­wards and sit on a bench. In its ten-minute run­time, it man­ages to cap­ture some­thing of the fragility of life, and its in­flu­ence is felt in Un­charted 2’s mem­o­rable vil­lage scene.

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