It’s International Women’s Day and while it shouldn’t require a special day to celebrate the success of women, it’s a good time to check out some excellent indie games made entirely by women.
“Games made by women” is an odd search term because virtually every game had numerous women on the production team. Many AAA games also have female leads. But now let’s look at games that have been made solely, or at least mostly by women. We’ve picked four of the best indie games – all tried and tested by us – either by a single woman or by a small female-led team.
Happy International Women’s Day to women around the world. Be powerful, do great things, and don’t let outdated gender stereotypes hold you back. With love from a woman who makes a living writing about video games on a website she helped create.
Cibele by Nina Freiman
Cibele is a game about “love, sex and the internet,” according to the Steam description. It was created by Nina Freeman and is partially autobiographical based on Nina’s own experiences of being online as a 19 year old. Players have the opportunity to explore Nina’s computer, browse her files and emails, and play the RPG game she’s obsessed with: Valtameri.
You play most of the time Cibele spend in Valtameri’s world where you take control of Nina’s avatar and engage with other players that Nina has befriended. We said so in our review Cibele “is equal parts funny, embarrassing and devastating, and that’s largely because it’s so relatable.” As far as indie games made by women go, they don’t get much better – or more real – than this one. If you are a woman and have used the internet, you will relate to so many things Cibele.
Read our review of Cibele
A normal lost phone by Accidental Queens
In their own words, Accidental Queens is a “French video game development studio originally founded by three women from the gaming industry”. The team now consists of Diane Landais, Miryam Houali and Simon Bachelier, and their first game was A normal lost phone.
A normal lost phone lets you explore the phone of an unknown person you just found on the street. Your goal is to find out who owns the phone by searching texts, photos and files. It’s an intimate glimpse into someone’s life – and while it’s simple in premise, it manages to weave many intricate, sensitive themes into its gameplay. A normal lost phone has often been compared to Your historySo if you enjoy learning about the intricacies of a character while piecing together evidence, this is a game worth playing.
Read our review of A normal lost phone
Before I forget by 3-Fold Games
Comprised of two women, Claire Morwood and Chella Ramanan, 3-Fold Games is a studio based in South West England. Your first game is Before I forgeta beautifully narrated narrative experience that tells the story of a woman living with Alzheimer’s disease.
As Sunita, players explore a house and the objects within to try to piece together a life. Whether reading notes or looking at photos, you’ll get a glimpse of Sunita’s past. At the same time, you will also struggle with Sunita’s present as she struggles with an illness that makes it difficult for her to separate the past from the present. It’s a brief experience, but one that stays with you long after the credits roll.
In our review we said: “a sensitive, beautiful and emotional insight into life with Alzheimer’s disease, Before I forget feels as important as it’s excellently executed.” So if you’re looking for one of the best indie games made by women this International Women’s Day, don’t miss this one.
Read our review of Before I forget
If found… By Dreamfeel
Last but not least is the beautiful and moving If found… by Dreamfeel. This is the first major release from Dreamfeel, a studio headed by Dublin-based Llaura McGee. She didn’t create If found… albeit all alone – the team also included Liadh Young, Eve Golden Woods, Brianna Chew and Tim Sabo. The result of her work is a powerful and emotional story about a young transgender woman named Kasio. In the course of If found…players will learn more about them and cover topics such as self-exploration, queer togetherness, relationships and family ties.
When we checked If found… In 2020 we called it “Something Very Special” and “Unique, Provocative and Wonderful”. In fact, it got a 10/10 from us, which is reserved for the very best games. Well, if that doesn’t convince you if found…is one of the very best indie games made by women, we don’t know what’s to come.
Read our review of If found…