The ninth-generation has been one that has taken a while to gather momentum. For a while there, it seemed that owning a PS5 or an Xbox Series X/S was just a fun little luxury, but in reality, nothing more than a high powered Netflix machine.
However, after about one year into this new generation, we are finally beginning to see a steady stream of big-name titles hit the shelves, justifying our choice to fork over a wad of cash for these luxury consoles of the new gaming era.
However, as much as this has been a time for huge games like Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart, Resident Evil: Village, Halo Infinite and Forza Horizons to steal the show. There have been a wide variety of indie games quietly doing their thing and making a real name for themselves.
In particular, there have been a number of indie games on the PS5 that have been catching more than a few eyes in the gaming community. Thanks to the hardware on offer and its flashy new gimmicks like the haptic feedback and the adaptive triggers, among other things, indie developers have had some new toys to play with and have wasted no time getting to work and producing some of the best modern indies that money can buy.
So long as you can actually get your hands on a PS5, that is.
However, you may have only been on the lookout for new AAA titles on the platform and let these incredible gaming experiences pass you by. Well, we won’t let that happen as you deserve to enjoy these indie titles just as much as they deserve the spotlight that we will happily shine upon them. So with that in mind, here is our comprehensive guide to the best indie PS5 games of the era (so far).
Before we jump into this list properly, we need to discuss what qualifies a title for this list. We can’t just be chucking any old game on here. So to help justify our selections here is some helpful criteria below:
- The game must have been produced with a PS5 version (Not just a PS4 game that is available due to backward compatibility)
- The game must have been developed by a small studio without the backing of a publisher with deep pockets
- The game must have received at least a 70% aggregate score on Metacritic.
- The game must bring something new and unique to the field of Indie Gaming.
Now, let’s get into this list. Here is our Best PS5 Indie Games Guide!
#1 – The Pedestrian
- Developer: Snookum Arts
- Genre: Puzzle Platformer
- Metacritic Score: 81%
We Begin proceedings with an unassuming little puzzle platformer that offers an experience that will impress even the biggest puzzle gaming snob. It takes a lot of delicate design, intricate planning and a fantastic core puzzle-solving mechanic to stand out in this genre and thankfully, The Pedestrian has all of this and more.
The player controls a little stickman as they navigate through puzzles that take place on street signs. This allows for an incredible blend of photo-realistic backdrops and cartoon-like action on each sign you traverse.
The game does an excellent job at offering mind-bending puzzles for the player, creating a vibrant and bustling world to explore and keeping things fresh by implementing new mechanics as the game progresses. Then to top it all off, the game makes use of the haptic feedback beautifully here. Better than a lot of AAA games of the early PS5, to be frank. So if you are a puzzle fan, this is a must-play.
#2 – Overcooked: All You Can Eat
- Developer: Team 17
- Genre: Couch Co-op
- Metacritic Score: 84%
This one was actually the first game that I ever reviewed of the PS5 era, and it certainly wasn’t a bad way to kick things off. By now, I’m sure you have played at least one of the chaotic cooking games in the Overcooked series.
Well, Overcooked: All You Can Eat is the next-gen version of these titles. This is a handy bundle that includes both of the main games in the series and all of the added content for each game in one package—allowing fans of the series to dive into this co-op classic and play from front to back.
The game also received a little facelift, offering faster load times, smoother animations and an overall improvement to visuals. However, gameplay and the core content was left alone, not tampering with the games in the series that many indie gaming fans consider co-op gaming royalty.
Sure there isn’t anything new for fans here, but it’s always nice to have an upgraded version of your favourite games. So if you are an Overcooked fan, or just someone looking for a new co-op adventure, this is a great option.
#3 – Among Us
- Developer: Innersloth
- Genre: Social Deduction
- Metacritic Score: 80%
You may have seen this game that was released way back in 2018 get bombarded with recognition and praise back in 2020. Well, as of December 2021, this game has been available on the PS5, and imposters have been acting sus ever since.
This game sees the player play as a crew member on a spaceship, completing menial tasks to repair and maintain the ship. If you complete all the tasks, you win the game, simple. Well, it would be if there wasn’t an imposter in your midst, gradually killing and whittling down the crew members.
This game is widely regarded as one of the most accessible and brilliantly executed social deduction games out there. A fact that has seen this game grow its player base from an average of just 300 concurrent players in 2019 to tens of thousands in 2021. So if you want a game that you can play with a group of your friends or if you want to make some new ones. Then this game is the one for you.
#4 – Bugsnax
- Developer: Young Horses
- Genre: Adventure
- Metacritic Score: 75%
Now we move on to the PS5’s answer to Nintendo’s Pokemon franchise, Bugsnax. So immediately let me backtrack, this game doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Pokemon, but it does offer some gameplay that is relatively similar. In this game, you play as a journalist who turns up to film a famous explorer and wildlife enthusiast who has discovered a rare species of insect known as Bugsnax.
These are sentient little insect-food hybrids that alter the genetic code of those who consume them. So if you chow down on a hot-dog themed bug snack, you’ll have a Weiner for a limb, which is whimsical and fun in equal measure.
Your role is to explore the various biomes and areas within this game and collect all the various species of Bugsnax on the island. To do so, you’ll need to help the community find the lost explorer and solve simple puzzles to reveal and then capture each tasty creature. So if you are looking for a whimsical, child-friendly indie game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this is a great option.
#5 – The Pathless
- Developer: Giant Squid
- Genre: Action, Archery, Adventure
- Metacritic Score: 77%
Next up is a game that was clearly crafted in tandem with the PS5 release to make use of the adaptive triggers on the Dualsense controller. However, few would have expected The Pathless to be quite as charming and fleshed out as it is. This game sees the player explore a land that is cursed by an evil overlord, and your job is to roam the lands with your trusty bow in hand and free the world from this terrible curse.
The game has a superb traversal system that sees the player sprint, glide, skid, hover and ping arrows around in a bid to find new areas, uncover hidden secrets and progress through the subtle story.
Many people slept on this game, assuming that it was nothing more than an aesthetic gimmick in the form of a game. However, we assure you that this game is much more than that. Plus, you can pet your bird sidekick, and that’s worth the price of admission alone. So do yourself a favour and check this one out.
#6 – Cyber Shadow
- Developer: Mechanical Head Studios
- Genre: Action Platformer
- Metacritic Score: 77%
We all love an indie game that offers a stripped back, pixellated, arcade aesthetic but still delivers in terms of modern gameplay, and that is what Cyber Shadow offers in a nutshell.
This one comes from the developers of the critically acclaimed indie game Shovel knight and takes a lot of pointers from its predecessor, offering an action platformer that provides new mechanics, a new world and new challenges but ultimately won’t feel too far removed from Shovel Knight for returning fans.
This game gives me real Megaman vibes through the lens of Mechanical Head Studios. Its combat is fast-paced, varied and challenging. The environments are rich and vibrant despite the minimalist art direction; the bosses and enemies all provide distinctive tests for the player, and the progression system and new mechanics are introduced throughout to keep things feeling fresh from start to end.
So if you loved Shovel Knight and want something new yet familiar, you need to add this one to your library.
#7 – Mortal Shell
- Developer: Cold Symmetry
- Genre: Soulsborne
- Metacritic Score: 76%
We have all heard of the harsh but fair series of games within the Soulborne genre. Games like Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Nioh, to name a few, have single-handedly created an entire genre.
These games tend to be huge projects with massive budgets and giant teams behind them. Well, Mortal Shell is a game that offers a souls-like experience that has the same scope and scale as games within the genre but on a tighter budget and with a smaller team. In fact, comparing this game with the others in the genre, this game is a marvel for even existing at all.
However, it doesn’t just exist; it delivers on a lot of fronts. The game provides a subtle story told through a vast and dark environment; the game looks visually stunning, on par with any souls game out there today.
Plus, the game also has a unique combat system that allows the player to use shells to turn to stone, replacing a shield and allowing players to move and fight with more freedom of movement. We admit it’s one that fans of the genre will either love or loathe, but we reckon that it’s worth a try for sure.
#8 – Maquette
- Developer: Graceful Decay
- Genre: Puzzle, Walking Sim
- Metacritic Score: 70%
Just sneaking onto this list is Maquette, a beautifully presented puzzle game with a heartfelt narrative that we have come to expect from the games in the publisher, Annapurna Interactive’s extended catalogue.
In this game, you will need to solve puzzles where you control small versions of the map, which affect the full-sized version of the world. This is a term called fractal game design which has been used in some FPS games but never before in this context.
The game is visually striking, the writing is also great, along with superb voice acting to bring the words to life. Plus, the puzzles are also very clever and will force players to really wrap their heads around the game’s mechanics to progress.
We will admit, the game loses its way toward the end and can leave some players with a sour taste in their mouth when the credits roll. However, this game can be completed in about two hours or so. This really only means that you’ll be underwhelmed for half an hour tops, and considering how strong the narrative and core concept is, that’s a fair trade. So puzzle fans, be sure to look into this one.
#9 – Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
- Developer: Za/Um
- Genre: Isometric RPG
- Metacritic Score: 93%
It’s not often that a games journalist will use the word seminal to describe a game; it’s not a term to throw around with careless abandon. However, when it comes to Disco Elysium, I think it is more than apt. Disco Elysium sees you play as a detective that must work on a murder case while battling amnesia to discover who he is and how his morals and ideals fit into this world.
Disco Elysium places you in the heart of Revachol, which is a political powder keg, and players must play their role in a story that expands way beyond just a simple homicide.
This game revolutionises the classic RPG format, doing away with combat completely in favour of investigation and discovery, using brain over brawn, and using knowledge as a weapon to get what you want.
Plus, the game’s art style is reminiscent of any renaissance painting you may have seen in your lifetime. Something I have only ever seen in one other game, We The Revolution, and I can tell you with some level of certainty; they nicked that from Disco Elysium. So if you want to play a classic Isometric RPG that doesn’t play by the rules, then check this out.
Related: Comprehensive Disco Elysium Review
#10 – I Am Dead
- Developer: Hollow Ponds
- Genre: Point and Click, Narrative Driven
- Metacritic Score: 79%
You may have realised by now that I have a soft spot for just about anything that Annapurna Interactive put their name to. They have a knack for backing indie projects that champion narrative, and I Am Dead is yet another gem.
It’s not often that you see point and click games in the modern era and even less so do you see ones that succeed commercially. However, I am Dead bucks this trend, selling reasonably and achieving largely positive reviews.
This game is rather similar to a hidden object game, where the player must find the appropriate clue to progress the narrative. Playing as Morris Luppon, the now-deceased curator of the island museum, you will have to use your spectral powers to find memories of island residents, uncover hidden secrets and ultimately stop the imminent disaster that is set to befall this island.
It’s a charming game that deals with some powerful themes, and it is genuinely touching from start to end. Be sure to give this one a try.
#11 – Hades
- Developer: Supergiant Games
- Genre: Roguelike
- Metacritic Score: 93%
For many, this breakout roguelike adventure where the player must battle their way from the depths of the Underworld to Olympus was the 2020’s game of the year. So now that it is available for PS5 players in 2022, we should rejoice and prepare to die over and over again.
This game sees the player take control of Zagreus, the son of Hades and battle through a tirade of beasts, monsters and brutal bosses in a bid for freedom from the dreary Underworld.
The game offers fast-paced, hack and slash combat that is super addictive. Meaning that no matter how many times you die, you are more than willing to hop straight back into the action. The player will grow stronger with each escape attempt, gain new perks and powerups, and before you know it, you’ll be chilling with Zeus and the gang up in the clouds.
The writing is also light-hearted and fun, the game is visually very appealing, and if you have played other games from Supergiant like Bastion or Transistor, you’ll take to this one like a duck to water. So why not pop into this one and see what all the fuss was about?
#12 – KeyWe
- Developer: Stonewheat and Sons
- Genre: Puzzle Platformer, Couch Co-op
- Metacritic Score: 75%
There is nothing like a coach co-op game that brings a pair of gamers together to battle through chaotic level after level, and KeyWe is a brand new game in this field. This game sees the player control one of two little Keywes that inexplicably run a post office.
Your job will be to decipher messages, ship parcels, transcribe messages and much more. It’s a simple premise, but thanks to the fun and frenzied approach, things can get pretty wild.
This game is very like the aforementioned game series on this list, Overcooked. The player will race against the clock to get the best rating on each stage, collect points, and with said points, players can dress their cute little Keywes in fancy attire.
We will admit, in a technical sense, this game is a little rough around the edges, and the frame rate has a tendency to drop a lot. However, it’s not to the detriment of the gaming experience. So if you want some chaotic fun, you need this game in your life.
#13 – Kena: Bridge of Spirits
- Developer: Ember Labs
- Genre: Action Adventure
- Metacritic Score: 80%
Did Pixar enter the video game industry? No, but we would forgive you for thinking that as this game is visually right out of the Disney/Pixar playbook. In Kena: Bridge of Spirits, you take control of Kena, a spirit guide who helps trapped spirits cross to the other side. Within this game, you will travel through the rich and vibrant lands, ridding the world of the evil spirits that are trapped and destroying large portions of the luscious greenery.
However, you won’t have to do it alone. You’ll have the adorable Rot Wisps to help you, and before you ask, yes, there is an official plushie of these adorable creatures available for purchase.
This game plays like a classic action-adventure meets platformer. You’ll have to solve puzzles, earn powerups, find collectables, complete quests in a rather linear storyline, and you’ll have to engage in combat that offers a mild challenge but never becomes the centre of attention, as that is reserved for the story and the incredible visuals. This game is a stunning title, a perfect title for gamers of all ages and well worth adding to your collection.
#14 – Roki
- Developer: Polygon Treehouse
- Genre: Adventure
- Metacritic Score: 85%
Here is a little that was also nominated for the 2020 Indie game of the year by a flurry of publications and then made its way over to PS5 in 2021. In this game, you will set off on a long and winding adventure where you will have to brave the ancient wilderness as the protagonist Tove in a bid to save your brother Lars from the pitch-black monster known as the titular, Roki.
This game is yet another point and click game, which somewhat discredits my claim that these games seeing success in modern gaming are few and far between.
However, I assure you that this was just a good year for this underutilized genre, and quite frankly, long may it continue. Players will have to solve puzzles and make use of key powerups to progress through the wilderness, leading up to a climax as you face off against the Roki. This is a super indie game and one you should not hesitate to add to your collection.
#15 – F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch
- Developer: TIGAMES
- Genre: Metroidvania
- Metacritic Score: 80%
Then lastly, we have a game that may have perhaps one of the worst titles of the PS5 era and equally one of the strangest lead characters too. A rabbit with a huge mechanical arm, if you were wondering. However, despite this rather outlandish approach, F.I.S.T. comes together nicely to provide a game that is a joy to play through.
This title is rather similar to titles like Hollow Knight, Ori and the Will of the Wisps and any other modern Metroidvania game on the market. The game offers some fantastic fast-paced combat, rewards exploration, keeps the action fresh with interesting boss battles, unique enemy variants and a constant stream of perks and powerups.
We admit, the story is a little out there, but it’s tolerable at the very least. So if you like Metroidvania games, this is a great option.
Question: Are PS5s Still Hard to Buy?
Answer: PS5 consoles are still in high demand, but thankfully the supply of consoles on the market has increased a lot since late 2019. The shortage of key hardware components made it an issue for Sony to get PS5 consoles out the door and into gamer’s homes.
However, that is much less of an issue, and the prominence of scalpers driving up the price of these consoles has become much less of a concern. You will likely still need to be on the ball to get one, but it’s not as much of a pipe dream for the average consumer as it once was.
Question: What Is The Best Game on PS5 Right Now?
Answer: That is a purely subjective question, and as a result, we will offer a purely subjective answer. In my humble opinion, I believe that It Takes Two is the best game of the PS5 era so far, but as you know, the library is still quite limited. Here are some other contenders that you could also try:
• Resident Evil Village
• Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
• Sackboy: A Big Adventure
• Marvel’s Spiderman: Miles Morales
• Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
• Demons Souls
Question: Can You Play PS4 Games on Your PS5?
Answer: Yes, you can. For the first time since the PS3 era (and we are only talking about the first batch of PS3’s that were back compatible), gamers are able to play games on their newest Playstation console from the previous gaming generation. Plus, if you opt for the disc tray version of this console, you can even make use of those hard copies you have on the shelves too.
The PS5’s Indie Best in Class!
As you can see from the list of quality indie titles above, the PS5 may be new to the world of gaming, but it has wasted no time bolstering its gaming roster with a huge lineup of modern indie classics.
Each of these titles offers a great gaming experience, and if this is what we have at our disposal, having only just entered the ninth generation of gaming. Then that is an excellent sign of things to come. We hope that this list helps you choose your next indie game for your PS5 and as always, thank you for reading.
Here are some of the games we have specifically reviewed on Playstation 5:
- Hidden Indie Gems of the Last Decade - March 14, 2023
- Backfirewall Review – The Inevitable Rise of AI - February 12, 2023
- Season: A Letter to the Future Review – Everything Dies, But Nothing Is Ever Lost - February 12, 2023