Indie Hell Zone: Game of the Year 2021 Voting

We may not have faith in our democratic institutions. And yeah, the biggest game award show is a glorified advertisement with prestige attached to it that had to be pressured not to treat Activision-Blizzard as just another publisher. But hey, Indie Hell Zone’s an institution is beholden to nobody and I throw the decision of game of the year to you, the readers!

For the month of November, to counteract the problems the past years had with results, I polled for nominations. Anything with a few nominations got in, and it was a good thing I made this nomination system to weed things out because voting was pretty broad. Really sets into perspective how big the indie game sphere can be. Because of that and to avoid influencing the votes, I chose some of the non-nominated games to act as visual aid.

So, with November done, we have our nominations! And so, until December 25th, you can vote on these games in their selected categories:

Best Gameplay

Honorable mention: Boomerang X

For some people, gameplay is strictly what defines their experience with a game, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Whether it’s a unique experience or something familiar that’s really well-polished, this is all about the fun you have playing something.

  • Axial
  • Axiom Verge 2
  • Cruelty Squad
  • Deltarune Chapter 2
  • Get in the Car, Loser!
  • Rhythm Doctor

Best Story

Honorable mention: Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye

There are many ways for a game to tell a story, whether through a visual novel experience or something conveyed through Environmental Storytelling(TM). Regardless of how a story is expressed, I wanna hear what you consider to be the best story this year.

  • Deltarune Chapter 2
  • Gnosia
  • Impostor Factory
  • Inscryption
  • OMORI

Best Art Direction

Honorable mention: Fallow

Best Art Direction doesn’t just mean how good a game looks, but also how well the art is integrated with the game experience as a whole. You know, stuff like Limbo’s monochrome art style helping establish the game’s oppressive tone.

  • Bad End Theater
  • Chicory
  • Cruelty Squad
  • Hypnagogia

Best Soundtrack

Honorable mention: Everhood

Who doesn’t like nice jams? Cowards. Remember the last several times when The Game Awards just relegated their best music category as something to mention in-between other categories with little fanfare? Fucked up.

  • Deltarune Chapter 2
  • Unbeatable
  • Rhythm Doctor
  • Get in the Car, Loser

Most Interesting

Honorable mention: Clockwork Calamity in Mushroom World

So, this is a more wild card category that can overlap with others. Something that is “interesting” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “good.” It could be a game with unique gameplay ideas that aren’t necessarily implemented well. It could cross over a bit with the Story category in that it can be an experience that’s absolutely boring to play through while offering a genuinely engaging narrative that makes playing it worth it.

  • Bad End Theater
  • Cruelty Squad
  • Critters for Sale
  • Get in the Car, Loser!
  • Inscryption

Game of the Year

Honorable mention: UNSIGHTED

You know, the game of the year that’s just The Best.

  • Axial
  • Cruelty Squad
  • Deltarune Chapter 2
  • Get in the Car, Loser!
  • Gnosia
  • OMORI

Take the time to check out the games and lock-in your votes!

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