Indie games are the hidden gems of the gaming community. There are so many underrated and creative titles hiding under the shadow of your favorite AAA games. With little to work with but everything to show for it, indie game developers have built some amazing games you definitely don’t want to miss.
If this genre is something new for you, then don’t worry. In this list, we have compiled some indie titles that are the best games to play with friends or even just by yourself.
Best Indie Games You Are Probably Sleeping On
Oxenfree is a uniquely-styled supernatural coming-of-age indie game. It is an adventure story centered on making the right choices. You play as Alex, a girl attending a bonfire with friends in the seemingly haunted Edwards Island. After a mysterious incident has everyone waking up in different parts of the island, you must reunite the motley crew and get out. The catch? Edwards Island is riddled with ghosts from a tragic accident years before, as well as time loops. You will find yourself replaying the same scenes over and over again but achieving different results.
The game has some sci-fi elements reminiscent of Netflix shows like Stranger Things. If the mystery doesn’t keep you playing, then the heart-wrenching story and character dynamics will. It almost plays out like a movie, which is something backseat gamers will love. The eerie atmosphere combined with the claymation-like graphics brings us a fun and spooky game you’ll want to keep repeating, or may even have to.
Untitled Goose Game
If you’re looking for a game that is both pure insanity and a lot of fun, Untitled Goose Game is perfect for you. In this quirky indie game, you play as a goose wreaking havoc in a small town filled with interesting characters. There is a series of tasks you must accomplish to unlock new settings and even more tasks. These include things like stealing fruit from the store or trapping a little boy in a telephone booth.
While the premise seems simple, the chaotic tasks you have to accomplish make for a hilarious gaming experience. On top of this, the game has impeccable graphics and amazing sound effects. It isn’t at all fast-paced, so you can play at your own leisure. It is a game better experienced than explained. So if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a goose, then you should definitely check this out.
This black-and-white slice-of-life game is a love letter to vintage video games. With its pixelated art style and retro musical score, this charming and meaningful game has won over many a game critic. Cart Life centers on three main playable characters: Melanie, Andreus, and Vinny (the latter if you have the full version). Each of these characters has to operate a cart business of some sort. Coffee for Melanie, newspapers for Andreus, and bagels for Vinny.
Managing each cart has you completing a bunch of tasks such as typing, doing math, and much more. And while it may seem simple enough, the forefront of this game is its heart and story. For each of the characters, the “cart life” is merely one aspect of their day-to-day lives. What gives them depth is their motivation for running it. Each character’s story will give you a reason to keep returning to this deep and philosophical game.
Jet-setting around the world, having access to cool gadgets, defeating bad guys? Being a spy sounds like a lot of fun. But it’s definitely risky. Plus, you’ll most likely die. Our solution? This tactical sci-fi puzzle game that will have you living out your espionage dreams in no time. The game lets you infiltrate the enemy stronghold as you control a bunch of spies that must navigate through minefields and risky decisions.
At the beginning of the game, you get to pick a team of spies, each with their own specializations and weapons. With each level you unlock, a completely new map and mission are set out for you. Here, you are in a race against time. With the looming threat of getting caught, you must think and act fast to accomplish your mission. This game of wits and perfectly-timed moves is the closest you can get to real-life espionage.
If you have an appreciation for classic Disney and complicated game mechanics, you might want to check out Cuphead. Cuphead is most notable for its unique, 1930s-like hand-drawn animation. The game’s characters and overall art direction induce such a nostalgic feeling. Cuphead is mostly a side-scrolling shooter game where you play as, well, a character with a cup for a head.
You can play Cuphead as a co-op game, where you can choose to play as Cupman or Mugman. These two brothers must traverse the Inkwell Isles to collect souls for the Devil. As the players progress further into the game, the harder and harder it becomes. While the run-and-gun mechanics sound pretty simple, there seems to be a little something added with every new environment. All in all, it is a beautiful game you will love to get lost into.
The hauntingly beautiful world of Hollow Knight introduces us to a vast open-world made for curious minds. The creators of Hollow Knight have designed an intricately mapped out underground kingdom filled with adventure in every direction. It also houses lore much deeper than it seems on the surface.
Hollow Knight follows you, the Knight, as you travel through Hallownest and explore the dying, plagued kingdom. If you’re not enchanted by the beautiful art style or the score, you will definitely love the replay potential in this game. Because there are many hidden hallways to explore in the game, there is no one way to play Hollow Knight. This is good news for us because it only gives us an excuse to play it again.
Red Rope: Don’t Fall Behind
Set in an underground labyrinthine world, this co-op game is as intriguing as it is fun. In Red Rope, you play as a couple who are connected to each other by a red string. You must work together to navigate the labyrinth, and unlock various parts of the story in the process. The game is best experienced as a two-player, but you can opt to play on your own as well.
The vast underground city in Red Rope is filled with a colorful cast of characters and deep lore you would not expect. It is also created in a pixelated art style to give it that classic video game feel. All of this is layered on top of a game that attempts to answer existential questions about the meaning of life and what the afterlife is like.
The Stanley Parable
We often play games to escape the daunting reality that awaits us. That said, a game about a man’s adventures in his corporate office may not be what you expect to go to on your off days. But do not be fooled, Stanley Parable is such a quirky and fun game you definitely don’t want to miss.
The game is simple enough. You, Stanley, are surprised to discover that everyone in your office has mysteriously disappeared. Guided by a self-aware and snarky narrator, Stanley must explore every corridor in the office to piece together what has happened. It is a witty and surprisingly fun game with a unique plotline.
Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods is a quiet and inspiring game about going back to your roots and reconnecting with people. You play as Mae, an anthropomorphic cat who has just dropped out of college and has to return to her small hometown. You have control over dialogue options depending on who you interact with and how it will follow a unique storyline.
Not only will you be at awe with the beautiful environments and art design, but you will also love the meaningful conversations and each character. There are also fantastic dream sequences from Mae that will blow you away. All in all, it’s a game that reminds us that, no matter how old you are, you can always find your way back home.
Get lost in a twisted version of Alice Through the Looking Glass, as we follow the story of Ib, a little girl who visits an art museum and wanders off on her own. That is until a sudden power outage causes her to be transported into a distorted alternate world. A world filled with the living manifestations of the paintings that threaten the lives of Ib and her newfound companions as they try to escape the haunted museum.
This free psychological horror game contains a mixture of straight-forward puzzles and adventure-type gameplay. But apart from that, Ib is also a choice-based game, making the small decisions you make affect the survival of Ib and the friends that she makes along the way.
Mutazione is another great indie title that will definitely warm your heart. Many fans have described this as a game like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, only stripped down and much more soulful. In this quietly beautiful game, you must move to an island inhabited by mutants and reconnect with a grandfather from whom you are alienated.
As you explore the town, you get to interact with each member of the community and learn more about them. With each interaction and accomplished task, you learn more about the town and your grandfather as well. The game design is exquisite, with graphics in warm tones and music in beautiful tunes.
One Shot is a puzzle adventure game that lets the player guide Niko, a cat child, through a post-apocalyptic world without a sun. The goal is to restore the sun and get Niko back to his home. However, Niko isn’t the only playable character in this game. You are, too. The game continuously breaks the fourth wall to make you feel as if you are also a part of this beautiful and magical journey.
The world of One Shot is subtly crafted with a quiet yet whimsical atmosphere. As you explore the world, you must solve various unique puzzles scattered all around the areas you go through. The catch, however, is that you need to play it correctly in one run-through. Failure to do so will take you right to the beginning all over again. Overall, you will grow to love the world of this interesting game and each character you encounter. But remember, you only have One Shot.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Fall Guys is one of the newest battle royale-like indie games in the market. You play as a customizable bean-shaped character that must get through multiple obstacles and be crowned the winner. The goal is to be the last remaining survivor after four rounds of various mini-games.
If you want to experience Wipeout without getting wiped out, then this game is perfect. But does that mean you won’t be frustrated with it? Absolutely not. The combination of four mini-games is chosen at random. From there, you can play either solo or team mini-games, trying to outlast the 60 other players you started with. Some of our favorites include Perfect Match, Jinxed, and Fall Mountain.
Fall Guys will have you literally clamoring to get to the top and will most definitely bring out your competitive side. It’s a fun and mindless game with tons of replay potential.
Dream Daddy is a stunning and hilarious visual novel game from the creative minds of the Game Grumps. It is a “dad-dating simulator,” and if that doesn’t have you hooked, we don’t know what will. You can even customize your own Dad avatar and pick out your own name. (Pro tip: if you change your name to “Dad,” you can make “Hi, I’m Dad,” jokes all you want. You’re welcome.)
Jokes aside, the game is definitely one of the most unique in its genre so far. It has an interesting storyline, and even more interesting characters. Everyone, from the lovable Amanda to the slightly unnerving Joseph, has a unique and distinct character design to make them unforgettable. But perhaps its most noteworthy quality is the parent-child relationship you cultivate with your daughter, and the heartwarming feeling it induces. Plus, did we mention the other dads are very attractive?
This wouldn’t be an indie game list without mentioning Undertale, a cult-classic indie title beloved by many for its soul and charm. In this beautiful tale, you play as a human child that has fallen into what seems to be an underground world filled with monsters. As you progress through the game, you discover that all these monsters simply wish to rejoin the surface. And the further along you get to going back to the surface, the more you wish you wouldn’t leave.
The game is filled with such unique and colorful characters that each has its own storylines and quirks. This also affects how you interact with them. Everything, from the charming town of Snowdin to the magnificent yet lonely castle of Asgore, comes with unique design, characters, and even music.
Forgotten Fields is a peaceful and gorgeous game that deals with creative burnout and finding inspiration again. In this slice-of-life indie game, you play as Sid, a man who is pressed for time, trying to submit a grant application by sending in a short book summary. However, with so much riding on this, Sid feels uninspired and lost. So, he sets off on a journey back to his hometown, hoping to find more inspiration.
This is surely the case for Sid, as we see him develop his plot based on the various tasks we have to do around the town. As he interacts with old friends and finds old haunts, we also get to choose how this affects the story of the girl with the magic powers. The overall ambiance of the game gives off a warm, cozy vibe. The peaceful fields of Sid’s hometown, coupled with the warm colors of the graphics, makes you feel as if you, too, are reminiscing. Forgotten Fields will make you nostalgic for a time in your life where you felt the most curious, creative, and inspired.
Kind Words is a sweet and wholesome game that helps you send and receive anonymous letters all over the world. The game is set inside a warm, well-lit room. Your character is sitting on a desk by the window, where a magical deer delivers all of the letters through. As you write and answer letters, light, lo-fi beats play in the background, giving you a sense of peace and calm.
The Kind Words community is very helpful and understanding, and you will indeed be greeted by kind words from each pen pal. Much like real pen pals, you get cute stationery and stickers to decorate your letters with. You get sticker packs in the game, which you can collect and exchange with other players.
The developers of Kind Words created this game with mental health in mind. And with a subtle, quiet, and calming atmosphere, it surely is the game we need the most when the outside world gets too fast and too intense.
Inside is an existential horror-adventure game from the developers of Limbo. This game focuses on a boy’s slow journey through a dark, dystopian world overrun by zombies and corporate greed. The boy has to avoid detection from watchmen and dogs that seem to be corralling other humans up for experimentation. Aside from this, the story tells us next to nothing, but the players can come to their own conclusions.
The game is eerie and quiet, with no dialogue nor combat scenes. This makes for an unsettling, spooky atmosphere, wherein we don’t know what is going to come for us next. The minimalist art is hauntingly beautiful, perfectly depicting a desolate post-apocalyptic world that might not be far from reality.
Cyberpunk fans, it’s time to grab your best VR headset and prepare yourself for the wild ride that is Low-Fi. In this sci-fi cyberpunk game, you are thrust in an open world of high-rise buildings, neon lights, and cyborgs. The world has descended into a lawless, chaotic world, and you play as a cop being transferred to a new block. As it is an open-world game, you can explore any area of this futuristic world at your own risk. Your goal is simply to gain more credits to progress through the game.
Thanks to the nature of this game, you will be fully immersed in your role. You have complete and total control of your actions in this game. Will you be a good cop, or a bad one? The game has not yet been released, but the hype surrounding it is understandable. With a ton of support on Kickstarter, this game promises to help you live out the sci-fi world of your dreams… or nightmares.
Deliver Us the Moon
Frustrated astronauts can now live out their childhood dreams in this cool indie game, Deliver Us the Moon. In this first-person RPG, the Earth has lost most of its natural resources and remains dependent on a power source that only comes from the moon. This changes, however, as the supply mysteriously and suddenly stops.
You play as an astronaut who is part of the mission to figure out what is going on at the moon base. The game is not combat heavy, and, much like most indie games, relies heavily on puzzle-solving and mini-games. It is almost cinematic in itself, with stunning scenes and settings. The game delivers not only the moon, but also an interesting storyline to captivate any space-lover.
Best Platforms to Publish and Buy Indie Games
Part of the charm of indie games is stumbling upon it when you least expect it. That said, not many indie games can be found so easily. If you’re wondering where to get these awesome titles, or even discover some of your own, here are a few sites to check out.
Steam is a popular game download site where you can get any game for your PC or consoles. Steam’s game library is vast and widely known by many gamers. It is also a great platform to showcase any indie game imaginable. Steam even allows you to share your Steam library with multiple users.
Learn how to download Steam games and get your hands on some great hidden gems in no time.
Google Play Store and Apple App Store
The best way to test out any mobile game is to get it on the App Store or Play Store. With smartphones becoming more and more powerful, mobile gaming is enterprising more than ever. If you are an indie game developer, it is much cheaper and easier to get your game on any mobile app store. It will also give you reach to non-console gamers, which is always a plus.
Kickstarter is one of the most notable crowdfunding platforms available online. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how crowdfunding works, then this is the best place to start. For gamers, this is also the best place to find many underrated indie games to introduce you to the genre, as well as support independent developers. With Kickstarter, there are options for beta-testing and reviewing these indie games right before they grow and become popular.
Itch.io is home to many on-the-rise indie games. The website houses thousands and thousands of games from many developers all around the world. It’s a great platform to both find and sell your indie games on. From horror games to visual novels, Itch.io caters to any kind of gamer. If you are new to the indie gaming scene and want to try to find something right up your alley, you will most likely find the best one for you here.