GGRecon's Top Indie Games Of 2021: Here Comes Niko!
One-dev teams are shockingly common in the world of indie development, but for the general video game consumer, it never stops being impressive. When it comes to balancing every minute detail of a video game, from design to mechanics to narrative and beyond, it's almost inconceivable that one sole developer (with the help of some outsourced creators along the way) can create a game that genuinely exceeds expectations - but the indie world is full of stars that can do just that.
Stijn Van Wakeren is one of those people, using their sole vision to create a game that's as brilliant in concept as it is in execution, delivering a genuinely brilliant gaming experience without ever compromising on vision. Here Comes Niko! is a product of this, and is an absolute triumph of indie creation.
Here Comes Niko!: Hop To It
In Here Comes Niko!, you, Niko, are hired as the new professional friend for Tadpole inc., working for your boss (who is a frog) helping residents across six different islands with their menial task, making friends and making bucks along the way.
The game is silly enough to be inconsequential, but it only helps you to engage with the daftness of the gameplay further, hopping, diving, and swimming to your next goal with fervent glee. Each character dotted across the game's islands has their own individual charm, and performing their tasks are worth it for their reactions alone - even with some fishing mechanics and platforming fetch-missions being some of the best parts of the game.
Here Comes Niko!: Ultimate Friend
The choice to make Here Comes Niko!'s characters 2D models on a 3D background might seem like a time-cutting measure, but there's not an element in the game lacking polish, implying that really, there was nothing of the sort during the game's creation. Every corner of the game is gleaming and the subject of unparalleled love and attention - with even the inconsequential elements being unbelievably polished. One example of this is a silly little side-game where if you sit on a bench, you can pull out a Tamagotchi-adjacent toy and look after a digital pet that, frankly, is as passionately built as real-life Tamagotchis.
It's this attention that makes Here Comes Niko! one of 2021's very best games. It's a charming, silly, delightful game that will leave a smile plastered on your face from start to finish, without giving you a single reason to think about anything else. Wade into its waters and relax. Not bad for a one-dev team.