Jason Schreier, a game industry writer and Bloomberg journalist, wrote about cool but small indie games to watch.

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is a game about a goose detective who is called into a call center office to identify a lunch thief known as the Salami Bandit. It’s a short, charming game inspired by The Case of the Golden Idol and can be completed in just a few hours.

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The author writes that he was able to take the time to enjoy the story of the duck detective because 2024 is a complete wasteland for big-budget video game fans.

With a few exceptions, such as Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, there have been no real hits this year that have boosted console sales and publishers’ stock prices. 

But if you’re a regular person just looking for new and interesting games, this year actually has something to surprise you. Small teams of independent developers have filled the void with creativity and innovation. With budgets in the six or seven figures, rather than eight or nine, these teams are free to take risks that would otherwise not be approved.

One of the best games of the year so far is Animal Well, a new adventure game that has received wide acclaim from players. The developers do not specify how many copies were sold, but said that sales are enough to “make games on their own terms for the rest of their lives.”

Animal Well has 2D graphics, doesn’t hold the player’s hand, and is full of secrets that are so complex that players solve them collectively online. It’s a long list of reasons why any publisher would refuse to develop such a game. However, this is exactly why players fell in love with the game.

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It is worth mentioning Supergiant Games and their game Hades II, which was played by 100,000 players on the first day after its release .

Other recent indie gems include Minishoot Adventures, a twin-stick shooter with a world exploration like the classic The Legend Of Zelda titles. Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a haunted puzzle game. Songs of Conquest is a modern reimagining of the immortal classic Heroes of Might and Magic III, and Isles of Sea and Sky creates a real sense of adventure with intricate puzzle exploration.

This is an era that would have been unthinkable 15 years ago. Now anyone can create a game that hundreds of thousands of players will love.

So, if you’ve been lamenting the lack of sprawling open worlds with vivid, realistic graphics and lots of towers to explore, you might want to spend the next few weeks immersed in one of the adventures of indie developers.