At the moment, indie games are my go-to games; there’s something about them that keeps me coming back for more. I think it’s the retro graphics (and not just because it’s my name), the polish, the gameplay, and the constant stream of (usually) free updates. However, for the handful of truly awesome indie games, there are indie games that absolutely suck, so let me take the burden of finding indie games worth your time into my hands – let me show you the best indie games that are out now:
Disclaimer: Everyone likes different games, if your favourite indie game isn’t in the list then please don’t cry like a baby, tell me to check it out in the comments and if it’s worthy (in my opinion) I will add it. This list is also continuously updated as more epic indie games are released.
Platforms: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One, Coming soon to mobile
We mention Stardew Valley a lot on this website. It’s easily the best farming game that’s ever been released, unless, of course, you’re looking for a real life simulation farming game, in which case look no further than Farming Simulator. 9 out of 10 people aren’t looking to drive a tractor around a field though, they want to manage a farm and have fun in a colourful world full of character and charm, and that’s exactly what Stardew Valley allows you to do. There’s also a dungeon included for when you get bored of tending to your crops.
You can play Stardew with friends in the new(ish) online Co-Op mode and there are constant updates being made for the game thanks to the developer ConcernedApe AKA Eric Barone, who’s very passionate about Stardew Valley and respects all of the Stardew community. He’s probably one of, if not the, best indie developers out there.
Platforms: PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4
I first mentioned Moonlighter on my “10 Best Nintendo Switch Games Out Now” list that I published not so long ago, and here it is again making another list. Moonlighter is a great game with tons of content to keep you going back, it’s a dungeon crawler game created by Digital Sun that sees you trawling through dungeons in search of artifacts to sell in your shop. It’s your responsibility to set the prices of all of the loot that you sell in your shop and there’s a bunch of upgrades that you can make to your shop which will help you sell more items and ultimately make more money. There’s also plenty of upgrades for your weapons and armour which will allow you to venture further into the dungeons and into the more difficult dungeons which contain even better artifacts for you to sell.
The game combines two of my favourite genres of games – dungeon crawlers and tycoon games. Sure, the tycoon aspect of the game is very basic, but the two combined are like a dream come true for me.
Platforms: Switch, PC, Xbox One, PS4
Celeste is an annoying platform game that will see you die many times over, it might even make you delete the game on occasion. However, with great challenge comes great rewards, and Celeste is an example of that. The game is great, and when you manage to get past a section of the game that you’ve been stuck at for a while there’s a great sense of achievement. However, if you’re the type of person that rages a lot and can’t handle a challenge you might want to give this game a miss or you might end up breaking things IRL.
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Cuphead reminds me of a cross between Mario, Sonic, and Metroid, it’s just a bit more difficult. Cuphead is a run and gun action game with some great boss fights that was met with both consumer and critical praise upon release. The graphics will take you back to the 1930’s as the developers have based the graphics on 1930’s cartoons, and they’ve hit the brief perfectly. As a bonus, Cuphead is still being updated with a new DLC due to release this year which will include a new playable character, new levels, and new weapons.
Platforms: Switch, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One
Don’t Starve is a survival game that sees you crafting various items to survive the night (and day). You’ll be tasked with exploring the map in search of materials and items during the day and hiding at camp next to a nice warm fire during the night. Once you’ve gathered the required items needed for crafting, you’ll need to craft said items from an extensive list in order to upgrade your weapons, as well as unlocking new items that will let you explore further and stay alive longer. The aim of the game is to survive as long as you can, but there’s also a story mode which will explain the game to you and let you in on some of the lore.
As well as Don’t Starve there’s also ‘Don’t Starve Together’ which lets you team up with friends and, again, survive as long as you can. As with most games, Don’t Starve is best played with friends, and it’s also a great game to introduce to your girlfriend to get her into games!
Platforms: Switch, PC, Xbox One, PS4
Prison Architect is one of my all-time favorite strategy/building games, there’s just so much to do here. Not only do you have to build your own prison but you also have to run it effectively by ensuring that inmates are happy enough to not riot and that you’re making enough money, both via the inmate capacity (and grants from each inmate) and by putting your prisoners to work in the prison workshop. As well as the standard sandbox mode there’s also a story mode which is great, and the game is still getting updated even though it was released way back in 2015, with a multiplayer update being added at the end of 2018.
As well as all of the above, Paradox Interactive—the company behind the epic city building game ‘Cities Skylines’—have just purchased the IP to Prison Architect, which means they are now responsible for the game updates and DLC. If Cities is anything to go by, Prison Architect has a very bright future under Paradox.
Into the Breach
Platforms: PC, Switch
If you’ve been following this website for any amount of time (or have read my previous article ‘10 Best Nintendo Switch Games Out Now’) then you’ll know that I detest turn-based games. However, Into the Breach is an exception to this (really it’s only turn-based RPG’s that I hate, not turn-based strategy games). Into the Breach sets itself apart from other turn-based strategy games by making things smaller and introducing an 8×8 map which keeps things moving at a good pace. It’s also different to other games in the same genre because you know what your enemy is going to be doing on their turn at all times – this makes the game sound pretty easy, right? Wrong, it’s hard, very hard. You see, although you know what your enemy is going to do, sometimes they push you into a corner and you have no outs, sort of like when you’re facing checkmate in chess.
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Not all indie games have retro graphics and Subnautica is a great example of one of those games. In fact, Subnautica’s graphics are beautiful and would hold their own against any triple A game. Subnautica, as you may have guessed by the name, is mostly set underwater where you’ll encounter a plethora of marine life, some of which want to kill you. As you travel into deeper waters this threat only becomes more prominent.
Subnautica is a survival game that sees you having to craft many different items, not only to survive and upgrade your equipment but also to make your crashed ship operational again. While doing this you’ll have to take care of yourself by keeping your food and water reserves in check. At first the game can seem a little daunting, but once you’ve mastered the basics everything becomes a little easier to understand.
Platforms: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One (depending on game)
When I first wrote this list I included Bastion, which is an amazing action adventure game by Supergiant Games. The problem with that was that every game developed by this incredible indie studio is superb. They have, so far, released 4 games which include Hades, Pyre, Transistor and the aforementioned Bastion. Each game is different from the last and each deserves a place on this list; I understand that it’s a bit of a cop out, but if you’re a fan of indie games then you really should check out all 4 of the games that Supergiant has to offer.
Hades is a rogue-like that will see you die a lot, but grow stronger with each death; Bastion is a story-driven action adventure game; Prye is a party-based RPG which closely resembles a sports game (sounds strange, I know, but it’s great); and, finally, Transistor is an action-RPG that will see you trawling through a futuristic city taking down bad guys. As I said previously, they are all great and if you like one Supergiant game you’ll most likely love the others too. If I had to pick out one that you should start with it would, of course, be Bastion.
Platforms: Xbox One, Switch, PC, PS4
Hollow Knight is a side-scrolling metroidvania game developed by Team Cherry. It’s the type of game that will make you rage on occasion, but in the end you’ll be left with a happy feeling in the pit of your stomach. When you first drop into the game you’ll feel a little lost as there’s no tutorial per se, but once you die things will start making sense. No, dying isn’t bad in this game, it’s just something that happens, sort of like a rougelike game.
You’ll spend your time in Hollow Knight navigating a huge underground maze, killing enemies on the way to refill your soul orb while making awkward jumps—which, if missed, will land you in a spike pit—all with the end goal of defeating the Hollow Knight. It’s a charming game with beautiful graphics and somewhat repetitive gameplay which manages to never actually feel repetitive or boring.
This is the most ‘out there’ game on this list. For starters it’s only available on PC, which rules it out for a good chunk of the people reading this (I presume), and secondly it’s a bit more niche. However, I fucking love it. As you might have guessed by the name, you’re tasked with building a factory; to do this you have to gather natural resources such as coal, copper, and stone and then transport it to various machines to process the material until it reaches its final stop where it’s made into something of use. But it doesn’t stop there; for example, you might use these raw materials to create Microchips, and you’ll then need to transport these chips to another machine in order to create something even more advanced, and the cycle continues.
Eventually what you’re left with is a massive network of conveyor belts transporting various materials and items all around a massive map. Oh, by the way, you’ll be doing all of this on an alien planet, so as well as building and maintaining a factory you’ll also have to stave of attack from aliens that want to banish you from their world (like your job wasn’t hard enough already ffs). To do this you can use some of your materials to build machine gun turrets or you can take out the aliens yourself. Overall, Factorio is a great game and it’s highly addictive. (As a side note, if you do enjoy Factorio then you should also checkout the upcoming game on the Epic Games Store called Satisfactory, it’s essentially the same game just played from a first-person perspective with better 3D graphics.)
Super Meat Boy
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Super Meat Boy was one of the first high-selling indie games. Well, it was the first big indie game that I can personally remember. It’s a platforming game where you’re playing as a cube of meat (sorry Vegans) that’s trying to save his girlfriend. The difficulty ramps up after the first few levels and you’ll soon end up ripping your hair out, however, if you can get past the stress of seeing the game over screen so much you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of it.
Platforms: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Dead Cells is a roguelike, Castlevania-inspired action-platformer game developed by Motion Twin. It’s a game full of ups and downs, but it’s mostly downs as you’ll be face down on the floor a lot. That said, the difficulty of the game coupled with the randomness of each run that roguelikes are so well known for makes for a great partnership. Even if you die in Dead Cells it doesn’t feel like wasted time, because you’re always learning something new or unlocking something that will help you on your next run. If you’re a fan of games like Hades or even Hollow Knight then you should get on well with Dead Cells.
When you look at the RimWorld store page on Steam (or even on the RimWorld website) you’ll think it doesn’t look like much. In fact, you’ll probably think it looks a bit rubbish, but when you scroll down and read the reviews your mind will be torn; sure, screenshots of the game don’t look great, but if you play the game you’ll find out that it’s a great survival/strategy game. In RimWorld you have to manage a colony of survivors who crash landed on the planet. You’re in charge of building homes for everyone, mining resources, defending your base, and feeding your colonists, as well as repairing/building a new ship to get home in. It’s a great game with a lot of intricate details that you could get lost in for hours on end.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch (TBA)
Terraria is often called the 2D Minecraft and that’s a fair description, though there are still a lot of differences. In Terraria you’re tasked with building a base big enough to house NPC’s that you find on your travels, and these NPC’s act as merchants that you can buy items from. There’s a bigger emphasis on exploration in Terraria and to travel effectively you’ll need to craft various items such as the grappling hooks. It’s a wonderful game that is worth way more than the £6.99 price tag.
Platforms: PC, Switch, PS4 (coming soon to Xbox)
Guacamelee! 2 is yet another platform game (indie developers love platform games) but this time things get a little bit funky, the colour palette alone makes you happy. As for the gameplay, if you’ve played the first Guacamelee! then the fundamentals haven’t changed, everything’s just better. If you haven’t played Guacamelee! before then it’s a metroidvania platform game with exceptional level design, tonnes of upgrade options to make your journey that little bit easier, a great soundtrack and some light hearted humor to boot. It also supports multiplayer with up to 4 people spawning in at once to take on the bad guys, which is a lot of fun. It’s a little easier than, say, Hollow Knight or Dead Cells, but at the same time it also involves more fun and less raging, so if you’re having a hard time with the other metroidvania games on this list then check this one out.
The Forest is another game that proves that indie games don’t need to be based on retro/pixel graphics. The Forest’s graphics are in line with a triple A release and the way the development team have brought the forest to life is something even the biggest game studios still can’t do. The Forest is set in, well, a Forest, where you try to survive against the odds with a society of cannibalistic mutants (AKA zombies) trying to eat you. As well as the ‘zombies’ you’ll also have to keep yourself from starving, which means scavenging or hunting for food and, of course, you’ll need to find somewhere to lay low during the night where, you guessed it, the zombies are even more deadly. The game features an extensive crafting list which will have you crafting new weapons and gear in no time, as well as your very own base to keep you safe at night. You can build your base as small or as large as you like – the forest is your oyster, as they say.
This list will be continuously updated as and when new indie games are released and remember, if we’re missing your favorite indie game let us know in the comments!