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Great Single Developer Games

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 developers 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 19 games from the last 18 years, with 796 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.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 16
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to MA 15+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Brain Game, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Rhythm, Role-Play, Shooting, Simulation, Stealth and Strategy
Total Likes: 796
 

 

Five Nights at Freddy's (Series)

Release Date: 23/07/2014, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

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...

Stardew Valley

Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Stardew Valley looks like a farming simulator. That’s partly what it is, but you must also develop relationships with the other townsfolk and delve deep into the mines. Its quirky labyrinthine attention to detail is as inviting for young players to...

Nidhogg

Release Date: 12/09/2014, updated in 2014

Platforms: 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 in the next screen. The player to advance through the most screens wins.

Gorogoa

Release Date: 14/12/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

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...

Braid

Release Date: 06/08/2008

Platforms: 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...

Towerfall

Release Date: 25/06/2013, updated in 2017

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Each player selects a pixelated knight and fights to eliminate opponents by shooting them with arrows or jumping on their heads. The arena is a single shared screen. What makes it so competitive is the limited resource of arrows and the ability to dodge...

Papers, Please

Release Date: 08/08/2013, updated in 2017

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita and iOS

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 citizens’ passports and paperwork according to an increasing list of changing...

Undertale

Release Date: 15/09/2015, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Undertale is a 2D adventure game where you don't have to kill anyone. Providing you 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 destruction...

A Short Hike

Release Date: 05/04/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

In A Short Hike you play 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 explore the park, help other animals, find...

Phasmophobia

Release Date: 18/09/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

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 the interactive ghost hunting equipment and teamwork.

Unturned

Release Date: 08/07/2014, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

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...

Thomas Was Alone

Release Date: 18/04/2013, updated in 2014

Platforms: PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Control different-coloured rectangles in this simple running, jumping and puzzle solving platform game. 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 story...

A Dark Room

Release Date: 10/06/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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...

The Falconeer

Release Date: 10/11/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

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 game-play is all flying and...

Boot Hill Bounties (Series)

Release Date: 15/12/2017, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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.

Spelunky 2 (Series)

Release Date: 29/09/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Spelunky 2 is, like the classic Spelunky, a running and jumping game where you exploring 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...

Cave Story

Release Date: 20/12/2004, updated in 2018

Platforms: 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,...

Axiom Verge 2 (Series)

Release Date: 31/03/2015, updated in 2017

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Wii U and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

Concrete Jungle

Release Date: 23/09/2015

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Pieces: Cards

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...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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