/ LISTS / Award Winners / Great Single Developer Games
/ Search Database Or Try Advanced Search
Video games are complicated. The era of a lone developer making a hit game in their bedrooms is long gone. Or is it? We have found a swath of amazing games that have been driven into existence by just one person. These games often stand out because of their singular vision and focused scope. Although, as the discussion surrounding this list has uncovered, almost all games have some contribution from other people. Coding, designing, creating art, writing music, recording dialogue. Still, these are games where there has been a single driving force (auteur) willing their creation into existence. This list aims to highlight these games not to hold up the ideal of solo development (which can lead to unhealthy work-life balance) but to uncover this deep pool of fascinating games with a singular vision.As Lewis Procter tweeted, it's exciting to realise that "you can make a game without needing permission or support from a big company, and many great tools are readily available." But, as he continued, in reality, "games are almost always at some level a collaborative effort."The games we are including here are those that were created by a single person. Sometimes this is in a final form, sometimes a single developer's vision was released and has subsequent versions that expands this with more people. This is our thank-you to all these tireless individuals who have created something singular and pure that we now enjoy. This list includes 20 games from the last 20 years, with 1,155 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play games created by one person.
Release Date: 05/04/2019, updated in 2021
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Open World, Pixels and Weather
A Short Hike is an adventure traversal game where you play the penguin-like character Claire, who needs to climb a mountain in a beautiful national park to receive an important phone call. Presented in cute pixel graphics, the game invites you to...
Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018
Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid, Open World and Pixels
Stardew Valley looks like a farming simulator. That’s partly what it is, but you also develop relationships with the other townsfolk and delve deep into the mines. Its quirky labyrinthine attention to detail is inviting for young players to try their...
Release Date: 25/06/2013, updated in 2017
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
TowerFall Ascension is a running, jumping and archery game where each player selects a pixelated knight and fights to eliminate opponents by shooting them with arrows or jumping on their heads. Play is about quick reactions and second-guessing what your...
Release Date: 18/04/2013, updated in 2014
Out Now: PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On
Thomas Was Alone is a jumping and puzzle-solving platform game where you control different-coloured rectangles. It sounds boring and derivative but each of the distinctly coloured shapes comes to life in the game as a character embroiled in this escape...
Release Date: 29/09/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Spelunky 2 is, like the classic Spelunky, a running and jumping game where you explore mysterious caves on the moon looking for your missing parents. On your journey, you will find unique environments, treasure, and people to join you as you delve...
Release Date: 15/09/2015, updated in 2021
Undertale is a 2D adventure game where you don't have to kill anyone. Providing you with unique ways to avoid combat, from dancing with a slime to whispering your deepest secret to a knight. However, you could just ignore this option and rain...
Release Date: 08/08/2013, updated in 2017
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita and iOS
Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds
Papers, Please is a narrative puzzle game where you play the role of a border-crossing immigration officer in the fictional dystopian Eastern Bloc-like country of Arstotzka. You review each immigrant’s and returning citizen’s passports and paperwork...
Release Date: 14/12/2017, updated in 2018
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On, Grid and Hand-Made
Gorogoa is a puzzle game where you rearrange and resize tiles to make a singular picture. It appears to be simple, but to solve the puzzles you need to play close attention to how they interrelate. This Matryoshka Russian-Doll puzzle combines with...
Release Date: 10/11/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Weather
The Falconeer is an action game where you play a pilot who flies a weaponised falcon through dramatic locations. You battle the rivalling factions to uncover the secrets of long-forgotten gods and ancestors. Although the gameplay is all flying and...
Release Date: 06/08/2008
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Braid is a platform game, not dissimilar to Mario World, that appears simple but has a twist. The movement of your character is connected to the progression of time in a mind-bending manner. The resulting puzzles are fascinating and connected to a story...
Release Date: 12/09/2014, updated in 2014
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita and PS4
Nidhogg is a fast two-player duelling game whose simple visuals belie the skill required to defeat your opponent. The novelty is that upon death you reappear on the next screen. The player to advance through the most screens wins.
Release Date: 23/07/2014, updated in 2019
Out Now: Android, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 3D First-Person
Five Nights at Freddy's (FNaF) is a series of puzzle horror games with jump scares rather than blood and gore. You play the night-guard at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza and have to survive the night while in your office, checking the cameras and closing the...
Release Date: 18/09/2020
Out Now: Mac and PC
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Phasmophobia (Phasmophobia VR) is a horror survival game where you and your team investigate paranormal activity. It focuses on creating a realistic world built to get your heart racing, through interactive ghost-hunting equipment and teamwork.
Release Date: 10/06/2013, updated in 2019
Out Now: Switch, Web and iOS
Components: Open World and Text
A Dark Room is an adventure where you try and survive in the wild. The world is depicted with just text but leads you into a dense narrative with intriguing visitors and a steadily expanding world. It has a simple start – a single option to stoke a...
Release Date: 08/07/2014, updated in 2020
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person, Open World and Persistant World
Unturned is a strategy survival game where you are in a Minecraft and Roblox-style world filled with zombies. You have to carefully explore the world, gather resources and craft weapons. You might go in guns blazing, sneak around making use of...
Release Date: 15/12/2017, updated in 2020
Out Now: PC and Switch
Components: 2D Side-On, Open World and Pixels
Boot Hill Bounties, following on from Boot Hill Heroes is a comedic adventure into the Wild West. It combines spaghetti western gunslinging, outlaws, brave lawmen, and the untamed wilderness with a role-play experience.
Release Date: 20/12/2004, updated in 2018
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, DS, Mac, PC, Switch and Wii
Cave Story is a running and jumping game styled after classic Metroid and Castlevania games of the 1980's. Unusually, it was initially overlooked until it gained popularity on the internet and then received widespread critical acclaim. The simplicity,...
Release Date: 31/03/2015, updated in 2017
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Wii U and Xbox One
Axiom Verge is a series of running, jumping and fighting games where you play as Trace, a scientist who wakes up in an unknown ancient world. It's similar to retro games like Metroid and Contra where you explore levels, collect items and progress your...
Release Date: 23/09/2015
Out Now: Android, PC and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Cards and Grid
Concrete Jungle is a city-building puzzle game. It's the follow up for MegaCity. Rather than manage resources like a traditional city management strategy game, here you place cards to create buildings, parks, amenities and services on each square. The...
Release Date: 30/11/2022
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Astronite is a running, jumping and shooting game where you control a brave explorer working through challenging zones full of hidden secrets, enemies and big bosses. Play combines action, exploration, puzzles and jumping. It stands out for it's simple...