5 Small Indie Game Studios With Impressive Work

Gaming is big business, with players becoming celebrities and mobile titles ensuring you're never too far from the fun. While large companies benefit from their established reputations in the industry, smaller studios often can explore lesser-known terrain. Whether you're into classic role-playing games or the latest consoles, here, in no particular order, is a selection of independent ventures creating unique games.

Coming in at #1 is A Thinking Ape. Based in Vancouver, this studio creates engaging mobile games that heavily feature a social element. Some of its more popular offerings include Kingdoms at War, which challenges users to amass artifacts and conquer other players, and Party In My Dorm, a college role-playing game.

As a company, A Thinking Ape values community, offering a convivial work environment for employees and designated virtual spaces for users of its games. Furthermore, it has leveraged the popularity of its brand for the greater good, raising money in the aftermath of multiple natural disasters.

In the #2 spot is Fermenter Games. Run by developer Andrew Armstrong, this independent studio makes games that can be played on computers, mobile devices, and consoles. Examples of its work range from David, which combines physics and boss fighting, to SPINGUN, a two-button shooting frenzy.

The studio also creates browser-based games, like Hair Nightmare and We Scream. For a more collaborative experience, Fermenter Games offers Neighborhorde, a co-op battle for one to four players featuring more than eighty weapons.

In the #3 spot is North Star Games. Led by a small team of creative designers, this studio has developed a number of board, card, and strategy-based games. Its titles include simple fast-paced family activities like Happy Salmon and Funky Chicken, as well as more festive experiences like Wits & Wagers.

One of its more well-known offerings is Evolution, an immersive strategy game that challenges players to survive in a complex ecosystem. Originally developed as a board game, it was later released as a digital experience across numerous platforms, along with a specialized educational version.

At #4 is Snowman. Founded in 2012, this small studio strives to produce meaningful gaming experiences. Working as a developer and a creative partner, it has released a number of titles, including Where Cards Fall, Skate City, and Distant.

In partnership with developer Harry Nesbitt, Snowman created Alto's Adventure, a popular snowboarding video game that received praise from Wired and The Verge. Following this success, Alto's Odyssey was released, a similar mobile and computer game in which a vast desert is explored.

Coming in at #5 is Accidental Queens. Founded by three women, this French studio creates entertaining digital games that explore daily life and social issues. Taking a storytelling-driven approach, Accidental Queens seeks to communicate meaningful messages to its diverse users.

Examples of its work include A Normal Lost Phone, a narrative investigation involving a puzzling disappearance, and its follow-up, Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story. Accidental Queens has also released Alt-Frequencies, an audio mystery game in which the world is stuck in a time loop.