Eastward weaves a collage of homages so large that it forms its own beautiful image. Some see the spirit of Quintet in its combat and world-trekking scope, so call it a Zelda killer. Others take note of the in-game Earth Born arcade game that links disparate folks, even in the post-apocalypse, which plays and looks more like Dragon Quest than EarthBound, further complicating things. Main characters John and Sam form a dynamic reminiscent of Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us, down to their grim gun-toting and pan-thwacking. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but zoom out far enough, you will see it is more than the sum of its parts. Eastward stands alone in the richness of its towns, characters, and in the sheer brazen scope of its storytelling. It’s our indie RPG of the year for selling us a journey in screenshots and following through.
by Anthony Fowler
Runner-Up: Impostor Factory
Few properties out there can boast an excellent trilogy. Even the most laud-worthy series have a shaky second or third movie or book. Not so with Impostor Factory! While To the Moon is hard to top, each entry in developer Kan Gao’s trilogy has earned legendary status in storytelling and music. Impostor Factory once again sticks the landing with a tale that continues to make us question what’s actually important in life, if regrets and mistakes deserve as much attention as our heart gives them, and how silly “what if’s” can be. Plus, it has Ricebot.
by Bob Richardson
Readers’ Choice: Best Indie Game
Runner-Up: Loop Hero
Wrapping up with 40% of your votes, Eastward was as much of a favorite of yours as it was ours!