best indie games of all time

Best Indie Games of All Time

If we look back through the annals of gaming’s history, it, for the most part, has been dominated by games produced by AAA gaming studios. Back when games were primarily sold on shop floors and the digital age of gaming was a farfetched pipe dream, there was no such thing as an indie game.

Due to the budget, a studio would require to develop a game that could stand up against the games of the era. Not to mention the fact that game developers weren’t as easy to come by as they are now.

There simply wasn’t a clear path for plucky small studios to find a way into the industry. Often leading to these developers becoming an asset to larger studios rather than creating their own projects.

However, thanks to the dawn of the digital age, the platforms like Itch.Io and Steam Greenlight that shine a spotlight on up and coming projects, and the number of self-starter developing platforms like Unity, for example.

We are now pleased with a library of Indie Games, which not only provide a new, innovative wave of gaming mechanics, stories, and innovative features. They also serve as direct competition to the AAA studios out there, often getting nominated for the coveted Game of the Year award across various award ceremonies.

Many would argue that indie gaming is where all of the best ideas within mainstream gaming originate from, offering some of the most incredible gaming experiences around. Yet, so many gamers don’t know what indie games are worth investing their time into. Well, we aim to change all that.

Below, we have compiled a detailed rundown of the best Indie games ever produced. Therefore cutting down your research time and maximizing the time spent getting acquainted with these indie gems. But enough talk, here are our picks for the best indie games of all time.

Interesting Read: Best Indie Games to Add On Your List for 2023.

Selection Criteria

Before we jump into it, we better set some ground rules. We need to assess what defines an indie game, what makes them applicable for the best games of all time list, and how we have come to our decision. So check out our selection criteria:

  • The game must have received a Metacritic score of at least 75%
  • The game must have been developed and published by a small team or individual without major financial backing
  • The game must offer a unique set of features not seen within AAA gaming before release
  • The game must have achieved reasonable financial success. Or, at the very least, cult status.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley

  • Genre: Farming Simulator
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Android, IOS
  • Metacritic Score: 89%
  • Developer/Publisher: Concerned Ape, Chucklefish

Let’s kick off proceedings with an indie game that breaks the mold in so many respects. While you may think that this game is a simple Harvest Moon clone, it’s so much more.

This game is a dungeon crawler, an opportunity for cathartic exploration, a teller of surprisingly dark and poignant stories, and most importantly, a game that is infinitely playable due to a brilliant, addictive gameplay loop.

This game created by the wonderful Eric Barone has found success on just about every gaming platform available, has captivated audiences worldwide, and continues to receive regular updates, all free of charge for the player base, which is a rarity in the world of modern gaming.

Stardew Valley is just about one of the most relaxing, engaging, charming, and rewarding games on the market, and it was all created through one man. It’s remarkable, and it’s well worth your time.

Undertale

Undertale

  • Genre: RPG
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Playstation Vita, PC
  • Metacritic Score: 92%
  • Developer/Publisher: Toby Fox

There are some games that come along and do something completely fresh and new. However, we can’t think of any other game quite as brave as Undertale in that regard.

Understand is an RPG title, modeled artistically on games like the Earthbound series, and decides to tell a unique story that satirizes the world of gaming, teaching you to play differently and throw gaming tropes right out the window.

The game will teach you to befriend your enemies, to turn combat into comradery, and all the while; you’ll get to witness a killer soundtrack and some of the most innovative solutions to making a whole game with $40,000 that you could ever imagine.

We honestly can’t do justice to this quirky gem without placing a controller in your hands. So do us a favor and pick up a pad and play this one.

Celeste

Celeste

  • Genre: Platformer
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Metacritic Score: 92%
  • Developer/Publisher: Matt Makes Games Inc.

Since the glory days of the 2000’s era for platform games, the examples of standout platformers in the gaming sphere have been few and far between.

However, there have been some games that bucked this trend, and one of those was the incredible Celeste. This game has some of the tightest platforming mechanics, caters to speedrunners, offers a challenging experience, and has a fast, addictive gameplay loop—all the while keeping a minimalist, pixelated presentation that you can’t help but love.

Then just when you think this game is all about the gameplay, the game captivates you with its wonderful, touching story, which does a lot to raise awareness for depression and mental health, which is not something often seen within the medium of gaming.

Once again, you can’t help but love and admire that choice. Celeste is both a retro and a modern platformer, and it’s a game that you must check out.

Gone Home

Gone Home

  • Genre: Walking Simulator
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Metacritic Score: 86%
  • Developer/Publisher: The Fullbright Company

Walking Simulators have become one of the most popular sub-genres of indie games, and this is down to a number of games that blazed the trail for others.

Gone Home is one such game that did that over a decade ago. This game sees you return to your empty family home, and in the Greenbriar Estate, you must find the clues which will shed some light on what happened in your absence.

The game is ominous at times, but for the most part, it is a charming encounter that has plenty of emotional moments, joyous highs, depressing lows, and everything in between.

Through environmental clues and exploration, this game tells a nuanced and touching story that was years ahead of its time, with a progressive and heartfelt ending. So if you want to see a game that paved the way for other walking sims, check this one out.

Dead Cells

Dead Cells

  • Genre: Roguelike/Action Platformer
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Metacritic Score: 89%
  • Developer/Publisher: Motion Twin

Many people talk about Hades, Rogue Legacy, or more recently, Returnal as the best representation of a Roguelike game.

However, before the hype and the mainstream acceptance of this gaming sub-genre, Dead Cells was the game doing all the heavy lifting and offering a replayable and addictive title that indie fans took to like a duck to water.

Dead Cells is much like Rogue Legacy in that it marries Roguelike and Metroidvania elements together. All in the hope of creating an infinitely explorable world.

However, thanks to much more refined mechanics, visuals that are a joy to behold, and a procedural generation system that offers so much variety in level design that you never feel bored or like you have seen the same thing twice. We have to say that this is the game that truly got the gaming industry talking about Roguelikes.

Pathologic

Pathologic 2

  • Genre: RPG/Survival
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Metacritic Score: 69%
  • Developer/Publisher: Ice-Pick Lodge, Tiny Build

Okay, so this is the only game that doesn’t fit into our criteria. However, I have always been a supporter of this game, and once again, it seems that it is time to fight its corner once again.

Pathologic 2 is a remake of the 2005 classic title Pathologic. In this title, you play Artemy Burakh, who has returned to his hometown after news that his father has died. However, when he returns home, he gets wrapped up in a tightly woven story filled with distrust, warring factions, and a plague that is sweeping through the town.

So here is the thing, Pathologic is not a fun game, which makes it hard to recommend to players. However, this is intentional, as the game is designed to make the player struggle, feel defenseless, have to compromise their morals to survive, and ultimately make some very hard choices.

The game is an incredible, bleak experience that, we admit, won’t appeal to everyone; however, if you can appreciate this game as a work of art as well as a brutal survival experience. Then you might just see what I see.

Fez

Fez

  • Genre: Puzzle Platformer
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Metacritic Score: 89%
  • Developer/Publisher: Polytron Corp, BLLT Works

If you have ever seen Indie Game: The Movie, then you should be familiar with Fez. This game sees you play as Gomez, a little guy with a fez who has the power to alter the planes of reality.

Which for the player means that you can only see a 2D display, but you have the power to rotate the 3D rendered world to open new pathways, reveal new secrets, and ultimately progress through this beautifully realized pixellated world.

The game is one of the most intricately designed puzzle platformers in existence, and it’s all the more impressive when you realize that this was mostly made by one man, Phil Fish. So if you are looking for something that takes the ideas made famous in Super Paper Mario and tweaks them to great effect, you should check out Fez.

Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy

  • Genre: Platformer
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Metacritic Score: 84%
  • Developer/Publisher: Team Meat

Super Meat Boy was another project that was featured heavily in Indie Game: The Movie, and of the two, this one is by far the more financially and commercially successful. Super Meat Boy is a hardcore platformer that sees you traverse through increasingly difficult stages, all in the hope of freeing your one true love, ‘Meat Girl,’ from the clutches of Dr. Fetus.

Picture it like a typical setup in the Super Mario title; only instead of getting hurt by Goombas, there are sawblades, lava pits, evil monsters, and many other hazards placed in your way, all hoping to stop you from getting to the end of the stage.

This game was the blueprint for fellow entry on this list, Celeste, and has the same relentlessly quick, die, and play again loop, which makes the game so damn addictive.

This game is the dream ticket for any indie lover that wants something that will challenge them and train them in the art of precision and timing. If this sounds right up your alley, you need to play this one.

The Binding of Issac

The Binding of Issac

  • Genre: Dungeon Crawler
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, IOS, Android
  • Metacritic Score: 88%
  • Developer/Publisher: Nicallis

From the outside looking in, The Binding of Issac may seem like a very simple game that lacks the depth and challenge to be something that grabs the player’s attention. However, you couldn’t be more wrong as The Binding of Issac succeeds due to its accessibility and its simplicity.

In this game, you play as Issac, a child born into a very strict religious family, and due to horrific treatment by his mother, who considers him a demon child, he aims to make his escape, delving deeper into the basement and into more and more dangerous territory.

To stay alive, the player must use their tears as a weapon, acquire power-ups and perks and eventually, take on your very own mother to secure your freedom. It’s basically a dungeon crawler meets bullet hell game, but an excellent one with lots of charm and dark themes.

Plus, the game is so arcade-like and replayable that you can play this one on repeat for hours on end, and it never gets old. This one is an indie gaming gem that you must experience for yourself.

Limbo

Limbo

  • Genre: Platformer
  • Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Metacritic Score: 90%
  • Developer/Publisher: PLAYDEAD

Games like Little Nightmares, Inside, 7th Sector, and Among the Sleep. Did you think that they just sprung up out of nowhere? Well, we hate to break it to you, but none of those great games would exist without the creation of Limbo. Limbo is a dark puzzle-platformer that sees the player traverse a silhouette-style world as a vulnerable and fragile child.

Meaning that if you want to survive, you will have to use all the tools around you and your intellect to overcome hulking monsters. The game has an incredibly ominous atmosphere and dark tone that always keeps the player on their toes.

Then, in addition, the game manages to tell a compelling story without ever using a word of dialogue. Something that, at the time within the gaming world, was completely unheard of.

Limbo is a fine example of brilliant environmental storytelling, incredible puzzle platform design, and stunning minimalist art direction using a monochrome approach for a less is more effect that really pays off. So if you want to play the game that basically created an entire indie sub-genre on its own, be sure to check out Limbo.

Braid

Braid

  • Genre: Action Platformer
  • Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Metacritic Score: 93%
  • Developer/Publisher: Hothead Games, Number None Inc

Braid is a game that would probably be considered one of, if not the first ‘Indie game’ to break the mold and receive critical acclaim without any huge publisher backing. This game takes place in a cute and whimsical land where you play the role of Tim, a man who is attempting to save a princess from a monster.

Seem familiar? Well, don’t be fooled as over the course of this game, the developer intricately weaves exposition and subtle clues, outlining the true motivations of the player character, leading to a dramatic ending that really turns the theme of the game on its head and will leave some player’s with a sour taste in their mouth, it a strangely philosophical and satisfying way, if that’s possible.

Alongside its interesting narrative, Braid offers a wonderful art direction, puzzle platforming that is challenging but not to the point of frustration, and employs some fun mechanics like time manipulation to help the player progress through each stage.

This game was released around the same time as the above entry, Limbo, and in truth, this one represents the more whimsical and vibrant of the two. However, both of them are quintessential puzzle platformers, and if you somehow missed this one, you have to get playing.

Hades

Hades

  • Genre: Roguelike
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Metacritic Score: 93%
  • Developer/Publisher: Supergiant Games

Hades is one of those rare examples where an indie game has so much depth and quality that it defies the odds and gets crowned many publications’ Game of the Year, a feat normally reserved for projects from studios with deep pockets.

However, when all the cogs begin to turn, and everyone in the team pulls in the right direction, special things can happen in the world of game development.

That was very much the case for Hades, a roguelike game that sees the player play as Zagreus, son of Hades, as he tries to battle his way out of the underworld to link up with his relatives in Olympus. However, it’s not as easy as simply ordering a taxi.

This game offers some of the most incredible, fast-paced combat you are likely to find in any hack and slash title. The writing is superb, taking Greek Mythology and offering a witty and often humorous story, much like Immortals: Fenyx Rising done in the same year.

Plus, the game’s core loop is so addictive that you’ll find yourself battling your way out of the underworld long after your first escape. Not to mention, this game looks outstanding with an art style similar to titles like Bastion, Pyre, Transistor, and other Supergiant entities. So if you want to experience what is perhaps the best roguelike game ever, get into this one.

Related: Hades also found itself on our complete list of the Best Indie PS5 Games.

Papers, Please

Papers, Please

  • Genre: Puzzle Simulation
  • Platforms: PS4, PC, IOS, Playstation Vita
  • Metacritic Score: 85%
  • Developer/Publisher: Lucas Pope, 3909

There are some games that present concepts that, on the surface, seem so mundane that you couldn’t possibly be successful. However, in spite of this, some games provide experiences that are so realistic, so satisfying, or so unique in their approach that they take a mundane activity and make it incredibly fun.

Games like Lawn Mowing Simulator, Unpacking, and Euro Truck Simulator are great examples of this. However, none have the nuance of Papers, Please.

In this game, you play as a border control officer, and all you do is stamp passports and personal reports to accept or deny access to the Country.

However, as the situation within the region changes, the game makes things incredibly difficult to manage, the decisions you need to make become much more difficult, and suddenly, the weight on your shoulders feels like a heavy burden. Who knew that a job in a kiosk could be so engaging?

Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami

  • Genre: Action, Top-Down Shooter
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, Playstation Vita
  • Metacritic Score: 85%
  • Developer/Publisher: Dennaton, Devolver Digital

There are lots of things that were great about the 1980s. The music was great, the fashion was interesting, to say the least, and everyone was super into neon.

Well, all of these things are present in Hotline Miami, a game that really leans into the Miami Vice theme and offers a fast-paced mission format where the player must move fast, taking out targets in a variety of creative ways.

This is a top-down shooter title with a killer soundtrack, incredible level design, a wide variety of different combat options, and play styles. Plus, it’s super accessible but challenging to master, which is exactly what you want. So if you want to embrace the eighties in the goriest way possible, Hotline Miami is your dream ticket.

Minecraft

Minecraft

  • Genre: Survival, Building 
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, IOS, Android, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, 3DS
  • Metacritic Score: 93%
  • Developer/Publisher: Mojang

It may be hard for younger generations to ever believe that Minecraft was anything less than the global phenomenon that it is today. However, I myself remember the days where Mojang was taking subscriptions from players to play Minecraft via a web browser extension.

However, from humble beginnings, this game continued to grow, and with the acquisition by Microsoft, Minecraft became one of the most profitable projects in gaming history.

This game is not just an incredible sandbox for both survival gamers and creative gamers. It has also become a hub for creative developers to create games within games like Hypixel.

It has become an educational resource that is now used to teach kids coding, and quite frankly, we are excited to see where Minecraft goes next. We know one thing for sure know. The game’s trajectory is still on the up, and we see no reason to believe that will change any time soon.

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable

  • Genre: Adventure
  • Platforms: PC
  • Metacritic Score: 88%
  • Developer/Publisher: Davey Wreden

Speaking of games that blossomed from a small seed. The Stanley Parable was merely a mod for the popular title, Half-Life 2.

However, this metagame would become so popular that it would justify a mainstream release on Steam, allowing the gaming community at large to experience this incredible, strange, and unique brand of storytelling and design based around freedom and player choice.

This title sees you play as office droid Stanley who wants to break free from the monotony of his simple, boring office job. However, how this decision pans out will depend on what decisions you make, your playstyle, how keen you are to explore, and your ability to think outside the box.

This game, much like Undertale, is a satirical game that pokes fun at the gaming industry at large and does so with aplomb. It’s not a ‘game’ per se. However, it’s an experience that will stay with you long after you step away from this one. So if you want to break free from the confines of traditional gaming tropes, this is the one for you.

Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium

  • Genre: Isometric RPG
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, IOS, Stadia
  • Metacritic Score: 91%
  • Developer/Publisher: Za/Um

Where do we begin with this one? Disco Elysium is an isometric RPG that sees you play as a detective that has drunk himself into a stupor, has amnesia, and must piece together who he is, fine simultaneously trying to solve a murder case that he has been assigned.

As you can imagine, hilarity ensues, but once you get a feel for the world and the people around you, this game really opens up and shows you the scope of this project.

Disco Elysium is a traditional RPG done differently. You have complex builds, player choice, dice rolls, side quests, tough decisions, and all the usual DND-Esque tropes. Yet, this is presented in a realistic context with no combat to speak of.

Plus, the richness of the lore, the setting, the writing, and the voice acting in the Final Cut edition of this game is second to none. Then to top it all off, this game has a renaissance painting style art direction that is unlike anything out there.

In short, I have no problem stating that this is the best traditional, modern RPG for over a decade, and if you haven’t played this, you won’t regret doing so.

Cave Story

Cave Story

  • Genre: Action Platformer
  • Platforms: PC, 3DS, Nintendo Switch
  • Metacritic Score: 93%
  • Developer/Publisher: Studio Pixel

We stated that Braid was perhaps the first indie game to break the mold. However, we would argue that Cave Story is perhaps the first-ever indie game produced. Or at least the first one that has ever been referred to as an Indie game.

Cave Story is a Japanese indie game produced way back in 2004 which took aspects of Metroidvania titles and adapted this tried and tested format to offer a new combat system allowing players to change playstyles on the fly.

It may seem primitive in the light of 2021. However, without this game blazing a trail, we would likely not have similar games of this nature. Games like Hollow Knight and Ori and the Will of the Wisps, to name a few. So if you want a history lesson on how the first seeds of Indie Gaming were sown, check out Cave Story.

Related: Best Indie Games Released in 2021.

FTL: Faster Than Light

FTL: Faster Than Light

  • Genre: Action Simulator
  • Platforms: PC, IOS
  • Metacritic Score: 84%
  • Developer/Publisher: Subset Games

Next up, we have a game that sees you break out of the earth’s atmosphere and travel into the deepest recesses of space in search of galactical treasure and adventure. FTL: Faster Than Light is a game that hands you a little spaceship, a ragtag crew of star explorers, and nudges you in the right direction, but each journey that you set off on will be different from the last.

You see, this game presents the player with a procedurally generated path through space, and the player’s job is to manage their crew, strategize how to deal with threats like space pirates, plan their route through deep space, and manage resources accordingly so that you can upgrade your ship and see as much of the final frontier as you possibly can.

I’m making this pixellated simulator sounds a little grandiose, but in truth, it does give the illusion of depth and infinite possibilities by design. The player never knows how their run will go, what challenges will await them, and therefore, one run will need a player to think differently and strategies accordingly when compared to the last.

Some may complain that your success is primarily ruled by RNG, but we say leave your cynicism at the door just this once and check out this pocket-sized space opera for yourself.

Journey

Journey

  • Genre: Walking Simulator, Adventure
  • Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, IOS
  • Metacritic Score: 92%
  • Developer/Publisher: That Game Company

If there was one game that personally opened my eyes, not only to the value of indie games as a collective within the gaming industry but also that games could and should be considered as works of art. Then Journey as that one. This game burst onto the scene in 2012 and blew critics and gamers away with its incredible presentation and art style.

It’s rare that the developer can have gameplay take a backseat and not suffer as a result, but with Journey, the sheer pageantry of the overall experience is enough to keep players thoroughly engaged for the short run of this game.

This title was countless awards for its incredible art style, its enthralling soundtrack, its dialogue-free storytelling ability and also garnered praise for its subtle multiplayer aspects, incredible set pieces like the intense slide through the ruins against a sun-soaked backdrop, the dark depths immediately after with monsters waiting in the shadows, and of course, the compelling finale.

This game only takes about two hours to see through from start to finish. However, when you finish this one, you will feel like you have just completed a monumental adventure, and the experience will stay with you long after the credits roll.

This game has lived rent-free in my head for the best part of a decade now, and I doubt it will ever get its orders to vacate. So consider that an endorsement and play this one as soon as you can.

Rocket League

Rocket League

  • Genre: Sports, Action
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Metacritic Score: 86%
  • Developer/Publisher: Psyonix

It’s hard to believe that Psyonix, the creators of Rocket League, were once struggling indie game developers.

Especially since Rocket League has gone on to become a staple of the Esports community and has attracted millions of players since its launch in 2015, however, before Rocket League, there was ‘Super Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars,’ which is a mouthful and I would wager contributed to the poor commercial success the first time around.

However, at the second time of asking, Rocket League was born and has continued to provide players with one of the most innovative and chaotic sports games on the market. Who would have thought that combining soccer and RC cars would have worked so well?

This game has continued to grow in popularity as time goes on, with the RLCS competition series offering huge prizes and eternal glory for the teams who compete and win. Plus, for the casual player, the game is constantly receiving updates, new modes, new maps, new content, and cosmetic items.

Rocket League is a stellar multiplayer experience and single-handedly galvanized the sporting game genre in a time where Madden, FIFA, PES, NBA 2K, and other entities were running out of ideas. Psyonix seized their opportunity, and now that Rocket League is a free-to-play game, you should too.

The Forest

The Forest

  • Genre: Survival
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Metacritic Score: 83%
  • Developer/Publisher: SKS Games

I’ll be honest, this one may feel a little out of place amongst the indie gaming juggernauts in this list, but bias be damned, I’m slotting it in here anyway, because in my opinion, this is the best indie survival game ever made, and yes, I include Valheim in that statement so get over it.

The Forest is a game that sees the player crash land on a mysterious island with your son Timmy and against all odds, you survive the crash, awaking to see a man doused in blood kidnapping your boy.

So your overarching goal here is to get your son back and get off the island. However, before you can do that, you’ll need to gather yourself, get the lay of the land and try to survive in spite of the ravenous, cannibal inhabitants of the island.

The Forest has a map that is jam-packed with little details, areas of interest, fun weapons, and crafting components and clues which help you understand your surroundings a lot better.

So much so that you may be building an extravagant base, locating the passengers of the crash dotted around the map, and embracing the cannibal culture so much that you forget that you have a son to save.

Don’t feel bad; we all neglected little Timmy to build a stellar HQ on the island. Now is a great time to get into this one as Sons of the Forest, the direct sequel, is set to arrive in May 2022. So do yourself a favor and check out this indie survival gem.

Among Us

Among Us

  • Genre: Social Deduction
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, IOS, Android
  • Metacritic Score: 85%
  • Developer/Publisher: Innersloth

You may remember this game coming along and keeping everyone sane and entertained throughout that horrible global lockdown period in 2020. However, what many don’t know, is that Among Us was a game that had existed for the best part of two years at that point.

The social deduction game had received modest reviews and success upon release. However, up until mid-2020, this game averaged about 300 players a day. Then when we were all assigned to our homes, this game suddenly became a beacon of sunshine in an otherwise drab and bleak day-to-day routine.

Since then, this game has never looked back and remains one of the most popular multiplayer gaming experiences around.

This game places you on a spaceship and asks you to complete a series of mundane and rudimentary tasks to fix the ship. Do so, and you win the game. However, within your crew, a select amount of players will be assigned the role of an imposter who is gradually killing off the crew one by one.

So equally, it is your job to catch the killer and boot them off the ship before they whittle you all down to nothing. This game is a hoot to play with friends and really brings out the detectives and compulsive liars within the group. Be sure to check this one out when you next have a social gaming night planned. 

Untitled Goose Game

Untitled Goose Game

  • Genre: Puzzle Adventure
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Metacritic Score: 81%
  • Developer/Publisher: House House, Panic Inc

Some may feel that this is the equivalent of sticking Goat Simulator into a list of indie gaming’s most prestigious games. However, we would argue that when it comes to pure unadulterated fun that is accessible for all, there are few games that can match the sheer joy and silliness packed into Untitled Goose Game.

This title sees you play the role of the titular goose as you run around a quaint little village, honking at the top of your lungs and causing general mayhem. Each area represents a new challenge and a new checklist of tasks you need to complete to cause havoc and upset the population of this tranquil little English Village. 

The game itself is a very simple one, as are the mechanics and the puzzles within. However, it’s the humor, the unbridled joy, and the freedom to play your own way that makes Untitled Goose Game so appealing.

That and the fact that it is one of those games that you could show to your non-gaming friends and family, and they could instantly get involved in the action. The overall experience is short but sweet, so if you want a quick and quirky indie that is well worth the price of admission, then this is certainly one to consider.

What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch

  • Genre: Walking Simulator
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, IOS
  • Metacritic Score: 92%
  • Developer/Publisher: Giant Sparrow

Then lastly, we have what is arguably the most quirky and beloved walking simulator within the medium of gaming, What Remains of Edith Finch. In this game, you return to the Finch residence to get some answers about the tragic past of each family member and try to understand if there really has been a curse placed on the family.

As you travel through this marvel of architecture, you’ll get an in-depth look into the life and eventual fate of each family member, presented through incredible stories which offer unique gameplay mechanics, making each snippet of this title feel like a new game within a game. Game-ception. 

The writing within this title is superb; the art style and environmental storytelling is top-notch, as you would expect from a modern walking sim. Plus, while some of the mechanics are wonky, to say the least, the variety they offer throughout this journey keeps the player thoroughly engaged and never lets the game feel stale.

The game is excellently paced, doesn’t overstay its welcome, and offers some of the most jovial and heartbreaking moments within gaming in equal measure. It’s high praise, but it’s very much warranted. So please, check out this phenomenal game. 

Honorable Mentions

This was a tough list to put together as there is so much quality within the indie gaming landscape. However, it’s a great problem to have, so don’t mistake this for a complaint. It did mean that I missed out on some special titles, though. So allow me to at least give them a brief mention below:

  • The Outer Wilds
  • The Witness
  • Cuphead 
  • Spelunky 
  • Shovel Knight
  • Hollow Knight
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Carrion
  • Firewatch
  • Oxenfree
  • Nidhogg
  • Night in the Woods
  • Don’t Starve
  • Furi 
  • Superhot
  • DUSK
  • Return of the Obra Dinn

An Indie Invasion!

Night in the Woods

As you can see from the list above, there are so many indie experiences out there that defy the odds, offering the most compelling gaming experiences ever, despite their limited budgets and resources.

While only twenty-five entries only scratch the surface in terms of the masses of great indie games currently on the market, we feel that this is the cream of the crop and gives you a great foundation from which to branch off and find your own tastes within the niche of Indie gaming.

We hope that this list serves you well, and if you have any games that you feel should have made it into our all-time top 25, let us know in the comments below!

FAQs Section

Question: What Indies Have Been Nominated for GOTY?

Answer: As we mentioned above, occasionally, games do exceed expectations and get nominated for the overall game of the year, jostling with the biggest names within the industry for the coveted award. However, you may be wondering what games have been given that honor. Well, wonder no more. Here is a quick list down below:
• Journey – 2012
• Telltale’s: The Walking Dead – 2012
• Inside – 2016
• What Remains of Edith Finch 2017
• PUBG – 2017
• Celeste – 2018
• Outer Wilds – 2019
• Untitled Goose game – 2019
• Hades – 2020

Question: Where is the Best Place to Find Up and Coming Indie Games?

Answer: While most of the best indie games will be marketed front and center on digital storefronts for all to see, there are lots of games either still in early access or still trying to find an audience that deserves your love too. However, you may not know where to find them.
Well, you should check out Steam Greenlight and Itch.Io, as these platforms cast a spotlight on the most promising indie projects out there. 

Question: What is the Best Indie Game Ever?

Answer: Well, as this is a subjective question, I can only offer my personal opinion. This happens to be that Journey by That Game Company is the best indie game ever made and, in my opinion, a game that played a huge role in validating the phenomenon of indie gaming and carving a path for other developers to create their own projects.

Journey is a special game that looks the part, offers fun and relaxing gameplay, incredible set pieces, cute and touching moments, a way to share a profound two-hour gaming experience with a complete stranger, and does all of this without a single word of dialogue. It’s incredible, and I cannot recommend it enough. 

 

 

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