Earth Day is an annual, worldwide celebration of Mother Earth, protecting the environment, and reflecting on ways to keep the planet healthy. In honor of Earth Day, check out this list of Indie video games that focus on connecting with nature and highlight the beauty of our planet.
This platform game produced by Hitbox Team is a lot of fun to play. Take on the role of an acrobatic janitor and rid the world of dust and debris. This game is deceptively difficult and will require watching your own replays or looking at YouTube videos to get through some tough spots. That being said, gameplay mechanics are flawless, and you can string together some pretty impressive--not to mention beautiful--combos. Dustforce also has multiplayer modes and level editors. Oh, and the original soundtrack is absolutely amazing.
Let's take things down to a microscopic level. In Microcosmum, take on the role of a microorganism fighting to survive in a cell eat cell world. Eat, grow strong, conquer enemy cells, and thrive. All things considered, gameplay is similar to Agar.io, but much, much prettier. The game is very relaxing with atmospheric music to accompany your journey to create the strongest microorganism and take out your opponents.
flOw started as a game to accompany designer Jenova Chen's master's thesis and was reworked into PS3 game by the development studio thatgamecompany. Float through a surreal biosphere as an aquatic organism and evolve as you explore the abyss. I absolutely love watching my microorganism grow as I chase down smaller aquatic life forms. You can play solo or chomp on your friends in multiplayer mode. It's a great game to wind down with after a particularly stressful day. This game is only available on PlayStation consoles, though you can get a taste on the developer website.
Although this isn't technically an Indie game, I'm going to sneak it on the list because it is a wonderful ode to the environment (and a classic). The premise of this game is rooted in Japanese Shinto beliefs and folklore that focus on respect for nature and reverence for divinities thought to manifest in multiple forms of nature. In this game, play as goddess of the sun turned wolf, Amaterasu, as she launches on a journey to help people and restore the world to its natural beauty. The game is animated using classic Japanese ink wash painting, and the score is influenced by classical Japanese work. This game is a gem, and worth replaying if you have it in your collection.
No Earth Day list would be complete without a solid farming game. Hailed as the newest fix for Harvest Moon fans, Stardew Valley is a fantastic game centered around turning overgrown fields into a thriving, industrious farm. The fun doesn't stop there, you can go fishing, make donations of artifacts and minerals to the local museum, raise animals, fall in love, and get married. Stardew Valley has a lot of heart and has received rave reviews. You won't regret checking it out. If you need tips, tricks and guides, we have everything you need right here. This game is only available on PCs.
Needless to say, thatgamecompany is focused on innovative games that carry meaning. In Cloud, your dreams of flying become a reality. Play as a bed-ridden child who daydreams of flying in clear blue skies. While you're up there, make shapes out of clouds and use rain to cleanse the world. This game is free to download and available, here.
What better way to appreciate nature than becoming a part of it? In the game Shelter, play as a mother badger protecting her cubs from the natural perils of nature. From finding food, to protecting your babies from being snatched by birds of prey, to threat of forest fires, this short survival game will test your animal instincts. The game has a paper collage feel that provides a cute layer to conceal a very dangerous world. Badgers not your thing? In Shelter 2, you can play as a mama lynx protecting her cubs.
Though some call this game an interactive story (isn't that what all games are at their core?), Deer Man is a compelling tale about a man's deep love for wildlife. I won't spoil the ending, but the twist will make you stop and think. The piano-based soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful and is a perfect companion to the black and white theme. It's definitely worth checking out.
The Plan is a short, and free to play, game where you play as a fly. That's right. You get to experience some of the trials and tribulations of one of the most commonly swatted insects. As stated on the developer's site, "A fly ascends to the skies, pondering the pointlessness of its brief existence." At first, the buzzing of the fly may be a bit annoying, but if you stick with it and see the game through to the end, it turns out to be a beautiful and dark tale. Developed as a side project by Killbrite Studio, The Plan is free and will take you less than 10 minutes to complete.
Hands down, this is one of my favorites. Also produced by thatgamecompany, Flower invites you to explore the surrounding environment as a strong gust of wind. Interact with flowers and collect petals to adorn your breeze as you navigate the scenery. The game is so damn pretty, and so damn relaxing. It's easy to while away an hour or two with this ode to nature. This game is only available on PlayStation consoles.
Is there a game we missed on this list? Add your favorite in the comments section below!