It's trendy these days to love Indie games. After all, they're the underdogs, and who doesn't like to see the underdog triumph over the big corporate giants?
My problem is that they're the underdog in quality as well as budget.
Now, there are good Indie games out there, games like World of Goo, but in my view these are the exception, not the rule.
Indie games for the most part are shallow affairs where a single core gameplay mechanic, usually a one-dimensional and unremarkable, is combined with an unconventional graphical approach. (Often an 8-bit look that seeks to replace effort and creativity with a cheap nostalgia grab) Add to this some pretentious narrative or symbolism designed to snare artsy snobs into proclaiming it some great work of art, when said narrative or symbolism is almost always just broad ideas (if that) thrown out there so that which people who want to see some profound meaning will concoct their own and attribute more depth to the game than it deserves.
Look at Fez; once the rotation trick gets old, we're left with a directionless, mediocre game. Look at Cave Story; beneath its retro approach it has little to offer. In their pursuit of being stylish and meaningful, they commit the ultimate gaming sin; they are boring.
(You see the same thing in Indie movies, where any wanker with a camera can film some deadly boring, non-eventful half an hour of three working class teenagers doing everyday things and pass it off as some kind of deep existential study of society when it's not worth the film it's recorded on.)
And the nostalgia grab goes beyond 8-bit visuals; in an attempt to gain a similar appeal, they re-introduce flaws that have been fixed since the 1980s; like a lack of direction, cheap difficulty, and unintuitive design, further bringing down the gameplay.
If the same games were released by a big dev, we'd slam them for the rubbish they are. But Indie games get away with being bad because they're held to lower standards. We say, "oh, its just two guys without a big budget, you can't expect Mass Effect." Well, budget and manpower may excuse a lack of technical complexity, but it doesn't excuse a lack of gameplay quality.
Indies get a pass just for being Indie. They and their games are put on a pedestal just for being the "little guy" standing up to the evil "big businesses." Well, until the quality of their games can actually compete with the evil big businesses, I'll hold my cheering.
See "about me" for my currently running bets