A game's visual aesthetic can be one of its most defining features. Without the benefit of complementary visuals, a game would simply crumble apart. Because of this, we feel it's important to recognize games who've utilized stunning and creative visuals to enhance the player's overall experience.
Before we announce the winner of the best indie game visuals of 2016, we want to highlight the six nominees.
Best Indie Game Visuals - Nominees
Developed by Heart Machine, Hyper Light Drifter showcases a stunning achievement in pixel art. Each color is emphasized, vibrant, and captivating. Each area in Hyper Light Drifter compliments the game's core premise, and transitions effortlessly between sunset hues to vibrant snowy landscapes. Overall, it's not hard to see why so many people admire the art direction in Hyper Light Drifter.
Abzu by Giant Squid Studios feels akin to an underwater successor to Journey. This is buoyed by Matt Nava's influence on the game, as well as Austin Wintory's beautiful musical contribution. Abzu is a peaceful experience, one that takes you through diverse underwater landscapes and mysterious ruins. There's no dialogue, no verbal story cues. You simply swim forward through each area and admire the game's stunning visual presentation.
Firewatch by developer Campo Santo manages to feel both realistic and surrealistic at the same time. Spurred forward by its watercolor visuals and soft textures, Firewatch instantly pulls you in and refuses to let go. You truly feel the time of day within Firewatch and sense the atmosphere of the beautiful Wyoming wilderness. Firewatch is truly a work of art, one shines a bright light on the indie game development scene.
Despite the controversy surrounding Hello Games' space adventure, No Man's Sky, it features some incredible RNG visuals. Sure, you encounter a few odd-looking alien critters every now and then, but there's something innately peaceful about the abstract scenery around you. No Man's Sky may have disappointed with its gameplay, but nevertheless triumphed with its visual aesthetic.
Owlboy by D-Pad Studios brings whisks us back into the realm of classic gaming. The game has a definitive pixel art style, one that fades away and makes you feel as though you're soaring through a drawing. The vibrant colors feel fresh and warm, and the character design is quaint and fluid. Owlboy is a charming game through and
The Witness by Thekla inc. is an explorative puzzle game that boasts some seriously stunning art. In fact, the game's art is one of the main drawing features for gamers. The puzzles themselves are engaging and interesting, but the act of exploring this unique realm is something altogether special. The Witness demonstrates how puzzle games can be visual masterpieces.