Photo: 2D Boy
Independent developers work absurdly hard and without the support of a major company to keep the lights turned on.Despite this, they can still build applications that are better than the bigger companies.
We took your votes and a little of our own editorial discretion to put together this list of the 25 companies making the coolest stuff without any outside support.
F5 Games landed on the scene with a bang, putting out an absurdly fun turn-based RPG called Pocket Heroes. We can't wait to see what happens with this company as it updates its current release and puts more out down the road.
Avatron put out an app that lets you use your iPad as a second monitor for your computer. It's a perfect secondary application for your tablet, and it's only one of the company's offerings.
Oculus is developing the Rift, a user-worn headset designed for gaming. Turn your head in the real world and it turns your character's head in-game. It's still raising funds via Kickstarter, but this could quickly change how games are conceived and developed.
Dark Sky has quickly become the only weather app we care about any more. It tells you down to the minute when it's going to start raining. No fancy bells and whistles, just a beautiful radar and a countdown to precipitation.
Mike Bithell's beautiful minimalist game 'Thomas Was Alone' puts you in a world of rectangles and music as you explore and complete each level. The design is thoughtful, the puzzles are engaging, and the music complements the aesthetic of the game perfectly.
Here's an obvious but excellent application -- one that lets you speak words into it and returns a translated phrase. SayHi Translate is something right out of 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.'
2D Boy made a game that caught on in such a huge way that it's been ported to multiple platforms, even the often-ignored Linux. The company was formed by Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel when they left their jobs at Electronic Arts to stick it out on their own, and they've succeeded in a big way.
Ouya aims to remake the world of console-based gaming with its new Android-based hardware. Its homerun Kickstarter campaign has raised $6.5 million to date, and there are still a few days to go. Will it be enough to change the gaming world? We don't know, but such a valiant independent effort deserves to be acknowledged.
doughnut Games has been around for a while, putting out loads of App Store hits (our favourite being Traffic Rush). It's consistently figured out how to create games that appeal to a wide variety of people regardless of their gaming tastes.
It started with Great Little War Game, but Rubicon Mobile has secured its place in the minds of hex-based wargamers with its most recent release, titled (of course) Great Big War Game. Don't let the cartoony style fool you -- strategy is the name of the game in this top-down turn-based battle.
28-year old Irish developer Terry Cavanagh is responsible for numerous well-known indie games, with VVVVVV probably being his best-known effort. It's all at once simple, fun, frustrating, and addictive.
Nicalis released a mainstream port indie mainstay Cave Story, which has since found its way onto computers, consoles, and iOS devices. The company has received loads of awards for its efforts in the gaming business and we look forward to seeing its efforts continue.
We love watching video on the go, and there's no better way to do it than by remotely accessing your video server on your home computer and having InMethod's Air Video stream content to your delight. This novel solution to the limited space on iOS devices has earned the company a big place in our hearts.
Ever wanted a more fully-featured Instagram? Sure, you can apply cool quirky filters to your images, but there's a cool auto-correct feature, a Selective Adjust feature for calling attention to specific objects, and loads of borders that make a cool finishing touch.
Illiger keeps himself out of the spotlight pretty well, but it's OK -- his hit game Tiny Wings speaks for itself. It's one of the most perfect casual games we've ever played, so it deserves all the success it's seen in the App Store.
After the modest but notable success of 'Parachute Ninja,' ZeptoLab stepped up and delivered 'Cut the Rope,' and there's been no looking back ever since. Billing itself as 'an independent team of professionals dedicated to the science of fun,' ZeptoLab somehow figured out how to make a game truly appealing to everyone.
Double Fine's Psychonauts was a huge desktop hit, putting the player in control of a boy with psychic abilities as he tries to run away from the circus.
Double Fine made headlines earlier this year with the runaway success of their Kickstarter campaign, raising $3.3 million for the development of its next game.
Super Meat Boy has become one of the biggest names in indie gaming, and it's all thanks to the efforts of Team Meat. After countless problems getting the game released, it was finally picked up and lightly promoted by Microsoft, but that was all it took to catapault Team Meat to centre stage.
Dermandar has made a name for itself as one of the go-to places to create stunning panoramas using nothing more than your iPhone's camera. The beautifully-designed app lets you share them online afterwards, and people can click and drag inside your photo to rotate it up to 360 degrees.
Arment was the lead developer of Tumblr, but now makes his name as the brain behind Instapaper, the popular service for reading web articles while offline. Instapaper has two million registered accounts and Arment's personal blog, Marco.org, is exceptionally well-read.
Canadian game studio Capybara Games focuses on iOS and Nintendo DS development. It's homerun iOS hit is Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery, winning numerous awards and becoming an App Store mainstay.
Developer Jonathan Blow quit college when he was just a semester away from earning his computer science degree. The payoff came when he released Braid for XBox Live Arcade in 2008. Originally put together as a critique of modern game development (when users die, they can 'rewind' time to immediately come back to life), Braid's popularity has found a home on XBox, Playstation, Windows, Mac, and Linux boxes.