Indie games are great. They can be enormously entertaining, they’re usually outspokenly original, and above all, they’re cheap. Dirt cheap.
The only pitfall to this last point is that indie games are so wonderfully inexpensive because of their small budget – a budget, most likely, that does not include room for anyone with art skills beyond those of a toddler. The result? A depressing mix of questionable images, unfortunate font choices and unintended hilarity.
10. A Kitchen Sink War
Is it the title’s garish, inappropriate blue font that makes it hideous? The disembodied kitchen sink pasted and copied from some Google image, or perhaps the name of the developer carelessly slapped up top in all its rectangular glory? It’s hard to pinpoint the worst defining quality of this one, so let’s just call it a day and say it’s one big hunk of ugly.
9. omg cats game@#$
When it comes to cats on the Internet, there is a fine line between “wtf great” and just “wtf.” omg cats game@#$ tripped over this boundary somewhere around the blue ball the second cat is precariously balanced on. By the time the close-up lava lamp shot background comes into view, it’s clear the creators just decided, “screw it,” and put the game out to market.
8. Fish Listening to Radio
We’re going to ignore the grinning, green Hot Pocket they’re playing off as a pantalooned fish and instead just ask who let their third grader design the cover.
But still…that fish is wearing pants.
7. Relic Raider
If you’ve always dreamed of taking on the role of a one-nubbed, Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones-rip-off meat-sack, here’s your chance. Relic Raider’s coat-flying cover promises to deliver not only a healthy dose of mummies, but sassy girls in bikinis. We’d stop to ask what bikinied girls are doing in ancient pyramids, but we’re too busy trying to solve bigger mysteries. Such as…isn’t that the Duck Tales font?
6. Amazing Wizard
Let’s all take a moment to participate in the Comic Sans collective shudder. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time to throw Amazing Wizard under the creative design bus.
Lumpy the moon-faced wizard does not impress us with his teal garbage bag dress or his unhealthy radioactive glow. His upward gaze only draws the eye back to the aforementioned shudder, and now once again it’s all we can think about.
Is it just us, or did this cover just turn into a hopeful children’s story about a kid with one leg and no parents?
5. Toad Man’s Bizarre Quest
Toad Man’s Bizarre Quest is the indie cover artist’s answer to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure – if Bill and Ted somehow ran into pre-teen Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen along the way. Let the psychedelic color scheme and the size of Toad Man’s pupils stand as a cautionary tale. When asked to design an indie game cover, maybe lay off the toad licking for a few hours.
There’s nothing we can say about LOL Runner that it hasn’t already said about itself. The creepy faces peeking out of the title letters with lopsided grins; the nonsensical conga line of characters at the bottom; hell, even the name of the game…we couldn’t possibly do more damage than it already has.
Hell-bent on delivering advanced, cutting-edge 3D action adventure graphics, Alderman got a little lost along the way. Maybe it’s the bland, action-less fields or the lack of eyeballs on either cover character, but something tells us he’s charging off the wrong way. In fact, the only real activity taking place is Alderman and his trusty steed slowly toppling to the ground.
But hey, who are we to judge. You’d fall off your horse too if your 3D action adventure lance was that big.
SpeedMath’s cover is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. If you can tear yourself away from the blank, wide-eyed, soul-eating stare of the kid on the cover who, coincidently, looks like he’s on speed, you might start to notice a few other disturbing details. Just beyond his chop-top head, past all those floating math problems, is a mushroom cloud. In a game where the hardest equation is 5×5, why the hell is the solution backed by a mushroom cloud?
Despite what SpeedMath may play itself off as, it’s obviously not a harmless math teacher as much as it is a game bent on lobotomizing youth with simple equations and preparing them to bring the apocalypse. Speedily.
1. World Molder
World Molder describes itself simply enough: “You are a supreme being capable of molding the land like clay, use it to help you traverse the levels, and solve puzzles.” The shapeless gray blob on the cover, from what we can make of it, is most likely this so-called “supreme being,” meaning you play as some kind of three-balled penis monster (also known as the mythical thresticle).
We like to think of this gray blob as kind of an inkblot for gamers: what you see reflects upon your psyche and mental condition. As for Piki Geek, our bet is still on dick ship.