The 100 Best Indie Games of All Time (2022 Guide)

The best indie games of all time!

Seeing as our best modern 2D platformers guide has proven popular, we’ve now put together our list of the very best indie games of all time. Whoo!

And why go to the effort?! As we love indie games. And we feel our enthusiasm for them makes us well positioned to provide this list of the top 100 indie games ever (in our humble opinion).

Here Are the Very Best Indie Games Ever (probably)

Please keep in mind this is our list. Of course, we haven’t played every indie game ever as there are way too many of them.

This was just a chance to get together an amazing batch of indie games for gamers to refer to and find new ones to play. We’ll also occasionally update this list to add in new titles we like, which we did in September 2022 (to jam Trombone Champ in there).

Anyway, you ready?! Steel yourself, mortal, and let’s do this!

100. Flappy Bird

Flappy Bird the mobile game

Developer: .Gears
Platform: Nothing!
Best For: Not playing anything at all, just remembering the world in 2013

Right, this SOB kicks off proceedings! We’re adding the side-scroller Flappy Bird in mainly due to its notoriety. It was designed to be an annoying game and a bit of a joke.

It blew up across the world, left its creator Dong Nguyen facing a nervous breakdown, and then disappeared without a trace.

To this day, you still can’t play this original game anywhere. It was a prime example of what some indie games can achieve, even when the results were never intended.

Dong Nguyen turned down a fortune to get rid of the game and lead a quiet life. And we think that’s a most noble pursuit.

99. LostWinds

LostWinds the indie game

Developer: Frontier Developments
Platforms: Steam, Wii, iOS
Best For: Reliving gesture-based early indie game
creativity

LostWinds was the first indie game we played, all the way back in May 2008. We loved its use of the Wii remote and harking back to the ’90s heyday of platforming.

It’s a great little platformer, although showing its age compared to more advanced and ambitious modern Metroidvania titles.

But as an early example of the burgeoning indie game scene, this beautiful looking title with its brilliant soundtrack will still try to sweep you off your feet.

98. Brutal Castle

Brutal Castle the indie game

Developer: Skinner Space
Platforms: itch.io
Best For: Beating up the local landscape

Just one of those “HELL YEAH!” kind of games. Brutal Castle is a beat ’em up with castles and other terrain. You beat up hills! You beat up woodland! You take out other castles!

A simple premise, delivered with a great sense of crunch by the developer Skinner Space.

Fans of ’90s type beat ’em ups will swoon over this one. And we find it’s the attention to detail that wins everyone over, particularly with the satisfying animations.

97. Speed Dating for Ghosts

Speed Dating for Ghosts

Developer: Copychase Games
Platforms: Steam, Itch.io, Switch, iOS
Best For: Finally sorting out your dating life

If your dating life isn’t all it should be, then Speed Dating for Ghosts will get it right back on track.

You dive on into this dead dating simulator and begin your tour of the afterlife dating scene. And you meet some total babes, chat to them, see if you want to partner up.

Unquestionably, Gary is the best of the lot. Totally swoon-worthy. Get the game just to meet Gary, dammit. He’ll be the love of your life.

96. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion

Developer: Snoozy Kazoo
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Itch.io, Epic, macOS, Switch, Xbox One/Series X/S
Best For: Owning a game with this title

With a title like that, this is a game we couldn’t resist. The good news is Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion is also a great fun little game.

It plays out like a classic SNES-era Zelda, with that overhead perspective.

But there’s a lot of tax going on in this one. Mainly the evasion of it. And that leads to lots of dark humour and satire, all adding up to a mini-memorable experience.

95. Untitled Goose Game

Untitled Goose Game

Developer: House House
Platforms: Steam, macOS, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Causing mild peril as a horrible goose

Yes! Untitled Goose Goose lets you take control of a horrible goose. It’s then your job to cause mild peril and mischief in an English village.

This game launched a new genre after it became a smash global hit, with casual jerk titles now appearing in abundance.

We weren’t quite as enamoured with it as a gameplay experience as many others have been. But this one is still fun to play.

It’s a casual laugh and has helped introduced many people who don’t normally play games to the joys of this hobby. And that, we think, is glorious. Honk!

94. Kaze and the Wild Masks

Kaze and the Wild Masks

Developer: PixelHive
Platforms: Steam, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Reliving the SNES’ epic DKC trilogy

This mishmash of ’90s platformers primarily nods to the excellent Donkey Kong Country trilogy on the Super Nintendo.

And that’s particularly for the second DKC, Dixie’s Double Trouble (1995). That brilliant one with the astonishing David Wise soundtrack.

But Kaze and the Wild Masks also hints at the Rayman and Sonic series. All whilst forging its own identity, with some brilliant level design along the way.

93. Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator

Developer: Strange Scaffold
Platforms: Steam, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Anyone with a lust for trading organs

With its warped concept and MS-DOS looks, Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator (SWOTS) feels like a fun nod to classic 1994 business sim Gazillionaire.

SWOTS is more like a clicker than anything else. It’s fast-paced and you have to move quickly to trade those human organs (eyeballs, spleens, kidneys, livers etc.) and beat your rival traders.

All to the tune of a darkly humorous satire on modern capitalist greed.

It’s an addictive game and compels you to keep playing. Like the look of it? Love organs!? Then this is clearly the one for you.

92. Affordable Space Adventures

Affordable Space Adventures the indie game

Developer: NapNok Games
Platform: Wii U
Best For: Seeing the console’s GamePad used for something

Here’s a curiosity. Affordable Space Adventures had a bit of a doomed history as it only ever launched on the (what we think is) underrated Wii U.

It was one of the few titles on the console to take proper advantage of the innovative GamePad, offering a mix of adventuring and puzzling in a plot about evacuating from a planet.

Launching in 2015, this was a great technical achievement and one of the most obscure and unplayed indie games we can think of. A shame!

91. Pony Island

Pony Island the indie game

Developer: Daniel Mullins Games
Platforms: Steam, GOG, OS X, Linux
Best For: A total metafictional mind
smash

This curiosity from 2016 is a mixture of genres, ranging from a deliberately rubbish endless runner, to action-adventure type thing, and also a point-and-click.

Pony Island is a very strange and inventive game. Some people will even wonder what the hell it is.

Basically, you start playing the game as a player on a computer. But as you seem to show unhappiness about it, the game’s developer furiously rounds on you and makes your life a nightmare. Things escalate from there in a surprisingly enjoyable way!

90. Trombone Champ

Trombone Champ the indie game

Developer: Holy Wow
Platforms: Steam
Best For: Laughing yourself stupid

It’s fair to say Trombone Champ has caused amusement. It’s also fair to say it’s caused mass hilarity as a viral sensation. And that’s down to its focus on failure and musical adequacy, which makes for some of the the funniest moments we can think of ever.

Never mind gaming. It’s just hilarious. But it does channel the mid-2000 era of Nintendo Wii gaming (if you remember Wii Sports).

But, yes, there’s still a game to play here. With scores! And the capability to get skilled. But why bother with that? Revel in its absurdity.

89. Happy Game

Happy Game by Amanita Design

Developer: Amanita Design
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Itch.io, Switch
Best For: Darkly comic psychological horror

Whilst not Amanita Design’s best effort, Happy Game is at least happy. That’s if comical gore is your type of thing, with bunnies.

You take control of a hapless little git. The naïve one falls asleep and has bad nightmares, man. Real bad. Foul your pants kind of bad.

It’s your job to guide him through his terrible nightmares. Cue some fantastic artwork, weird puzzles, and the lingering feeling you’ve just witnessed something appalling.

88. Refunct

Refunct the indie game

Developer: Dominique Grieshofer
Platforms: Steam, GOG, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Casual chillout jumping to soothe your soul

Mighty short. But mighty sweet! 2015’s Refunct is relaxing excellence, with its mixture of chillout platforming in minimalistic fashion.

Although a very short game, if you want a simple goal of jumping onto every platform in a watery arena… then this is for you!

Highly recommended as a relaxing (and so very cheap) jumpy jaunt that’ll soothe you right down.

87. Thomas Was Alone

Thomas Was Alone the indie game

Developer: Mike Bithell
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Itch.io, OS X, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Vita
Best For: Minimalistic existential philosophising

This award-winning title really set some landmark boundaries for what indie games could do in 2012.

Although basic in appearance, its narration from Danny Wallace follows several rectangular shapes as they break free from the boundaries of AI.

Thomas Was Alone is a great little game with a lot of heart behind it, with a sweet sense of humour and meaning behind it all.

86. Papers, Please

Papers, Please the indie game

Developer: 3909 LLC
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Linux, iOS, Vita
Best For: Wannabe passport control officers

This highly inventive title from 2013 remains an indie game classic. It was so inventive, it really helped indie titles stand out in the industry.

Papers, Please was one of those that made gamers realise the potential of smaller developers.

As this curious, brilliant dystopian tale sees you manning a border control office. And you make important decisions that can change lives… including your own!

85. Rakuen

Rakuen the indie game RPG

Developer: Laura Shigihara
Platforms: Steam, OS X, Linux, Switch (soon)
Best For: Ultra-moving RPG that’ll make you cry

Well, grief, Rakuen is a moving RPG. Look at the Steam reviews and 99% of them are proclaiming how the game made them weep mercilessly.

From multi-talented Twitch streamer and developer Laura Shigihara, it follows the story of a young boy and his mother. He’s in hospital and travels to a fantasy land the Guardian of the Forest.

Shigihara did a mighty impressive job with this, harking back to SNES-era RPGs such as Secret of Mana with its aesthetic. But she also recorded the whole soundtrack, which is an excellent bit of music! It’s incredibly impressive and a great RPG. Combat-free, emotive, and memorable.

84. Minit

Minit the indie game

Developer: JW, Kitty, Jukio, Dom
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, Itch.io, Linux, macOS, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Android, iOS
Best For: 60 second blasts of action adventuring

This minute-based, clever adventure game is very intriguing and addictive.

Minit provides players with a duck-like character to control. You then have 60 second intervals to wake up from your bed and go off exploring. When the minute is up, you die. And then you wake up in bed again.

It promotes a lot of exploration and fast-paced thought, so critical thinkers will love this one.

83. The Heilwald Loophole

The Heilwald Loophole

Developer: Jan Malitschek
Platforms: Steam
Best For: Disturbing retro PlayStation style indie horror

Launched in 2022, here’s one creepy game that riffs of the idea of being trapped in an insane asylum.

The Heilwald Loophole is a bizarre survival horror game where you’re chased by mad doctors and nurses, some of whom are hideously deformed and barely operating as humans.

Add into this the impossibility of dying, and the need to unravel a perplexing mystery, and you have a surprise wonder here.

82. Fall Guys

Fall Guys the indie game

Developer: Mediatonic
Platforms: Steam, PS4, Switch
Best For: Chaotic battle royale multiplayer action with many laughs

Well, this one caused a big stir (at least when it launched). It came out during one of the first pandemic lockdowns of mid-2020, so all sorts of people flocked to it.

Lando Norris and others from the F1 community had a barrel of laughs digging on the thing.

Fall Guys is a lot of fun. There are up to 60 jellybean type creatures and you have to guide them around obstacles across highly vibrant courses. These are all designed to knock you over and cause problems.

As a multiplayer experience, it’s a bloody riot and highly recommended. Just an FYI, too, the game will eventually get a release on the Switch and Xbox consoles.

81. Hyper Light Drifter

Hyper Light Drifter

Developer: Heart Machine
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, Linux, OS X, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, iOS
Best For: Stylish action adventure merging A Link to the Past and Diablo

Hyper Light Drifter is a pixel art action adventure game with a mega aesthetic and ultra-cool sense of atmospherics.

Nintendo’s classic A Link to the Past (1992) was a huge influence, as was Studio Ghibli’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984).

Leader developer Alx Preston has a heart condition, which is the basis for the game’s plot. And it’s a very strong mixture of adventuring and action in one of the coolest looking indie titles around.

80. Superhot

Superhot the indie game

Developer: SUPERHOT Team
Platforms: Steam, GOG, OS X, PS4, Steam, Switch, Xbox One, Oculus Quest
Best For: Inventive, time-bases shooting action

An ingenious take on the often insipid FPS genre, in Superhot the actions of enemies only occur when you move.

That means you have to think tactically about what you’re about to do, as it can have major repercussions on your being alive status.

Very creative and, at its best, a blast to play (yes). The plays out in short burst levels, but there’s enough going on to keep you enthralled with its Matrix-like qualities.

79. Night in the Woods

Night in the Woods indie game

Developer: Secret Lab, Infinite Fall
Platforms: Steam, GOG,
macOS, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, iOS
Best For: Emotional gaming done right

If you look at the Steam reviews for Night in the Woods, you’ll seen two common themes:

  1. A lot of people said it makes them want to cry
  2. It seems to trigger existential crises

The adventure game lets you control Mae, an only child, in a zoomorphic world. She returns to her hometown after dropping out of college… but there be something lurking in the woods!

The introspective experience that follows will make you think and, also, maybe burst into tears. Hurray!

78. The Last Campfire

The Last Campfire

Developer: Hello Games
Platforms: Steam, macOS, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, iOS
Best For: Relaxing puzzle solving with a heart

Oh yes, The Last Campfire is from Hello Games (the No Man’s Sky guys). This launch was much less controversial! Rightfully so, as it’s a glorious little game.

You take control of Ember and you have to solve environmental puzzles.

It all looks glorious, it has a melodic nature to it all, and it delivers on everything you’d expect it to. One for people looking to savour those puzzles. Like a fine wine, rather than a shot of moonshine.

Cripes, even IGN loved it! See. 9/10. Not shabby, eh?

77. The Procession to Calvary

The Procession to Calvary indie game

Developer: Joe Richardson
Platforms: Steam, macOS, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Android
Best For: Very amusing point-and-click meets Monty Python fun

Like Monty Python? Like crude humour? Like point-and-click games? Then the highly amusing Procession to Calvary is the one for you.

It’s funny, silly, has a lot of amusing childish humour, and is quite scabrous to boot.

Consisting only of cutout animation Renaissance paintings and classical music, it doffs its cap very firmly towards Terry Gilliam’s work in the Sixties.

But it’s also its own beast, offering a witty and entertaining jaunt through history. Buy it. Be amused.

76. SteamWorld Heist

SteamWorld Heist

Developer: Image & Form Games
Platforms: Steam, GOG, PS4, Switch, Vita, iOS
Best For: Unique turn-based shooty action for strategy fans

Image & Form is most famous for its SteamWorld Dig games (one of which is way below in this list), but the brilliant SteamWorld Heist deserves a lot of credit.

You take control of Captain Piper Faraday and guide a ragtag crew of smuggler robots through the depths of space.

In the turn-based tactical action, you can shoot your way to swag and ramp up your gear to become an even more badass steampunk crew.

It’s a lot of fun. Great entertainment, as you think tactically across missions, hide behind boxes, and use your crew’s special moves. Boom! Get it.

75. Cuphead

Cuphead the indie game

Developer: Studio MDHR
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Golden age animation meets run-and-gun fun

One of the most striking elements of Cuphead is its use of the rubber hose style of animation, which was popular during the 1930s.

It’s an impressive feat and really helps the game stand out in a crowded indie market.

Add into that it’s a hard-as-nails type of run-and-gun romp and you’ve got an eye-catching, challenging, and iconic indie game success story. Spot of tea, anyone?

74. Slime Rancher

Slime Rancher

Developer: Monomi Park
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, macOS, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Ranching some slimes!

An inventive FPS life simulation game with adventure elements, Slime Rancher is a fun and addictive game.

You take control of the rancher Beatrix LeBeau and have to go about constructing your ranch, whilst exploring the world of Far Far Range.

Into that you go! Farm, raise, feed, and breed slimes… and yeah, it’s as nuts as it sounds and all the better for it.

Gamers seem to love it (check out the glowing Steam reviews), but critics were a bit more sniffy about the experience. However, Slime Rancher 2 is on the way for 2022. Let’s see how that works out.

73. HUNTDOWN

HUNTDOWN the indie game

Developer: Easy Trigger Games
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, macOS, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Android, iOS
Best For: Retro run-and-gun mayhem

If you grew up in the 1990s, you’ll remember games like this. They were everywhere. Think Metal Slug and all that jazz.

HUNTDOWN takes that classic formula and jazzes it up with chaotic, stylish, neo-noir action. It plays like an arcade shooter and it’s a title you can just hurl yourself into and enjoy.

There’s a lot of carnage. And there’s a lot of mayhem to be had as you wipe out street gangs. Enjoy!

72. Hades

Hades the indie game

Developer: Supergiant Games
Platforms: Steam, Epic Games, macOS, PS4/5, Switch, Xbox One/Series X/S
Best For: Mythological dungeon crawling hoo-hahs

Also responsible for Bastion, here we have Supergiant Games. And it hit the big time when Hades launched.

We weren’t quite as enamoured with its roguelike qualities as much of the press, much preferring Dead Cells, but Hades is still a mighty fine dungeon crawler.

Its concept around Greek mythology is engaging, the dialogue snappy, it looks great, and encourages you to have a go ad infinitum. Good fun and we’re sure very addictive for many a gamer.

71. CrossCode

CrossCode

Developer: Radical Fish Games
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Itch.io, macOS, Linux, PS4/5, Switch, Xbox One/Series X/S
Best For: Reliving the best SNES era RPG style romps

Yeah, CrossCode is a nifty RPG with action elements. It’s a loving homage to the Super Nintendo era when it seemed masterpiece after masterpiece of an RPG launched every month.

You star as Lea in a fictional MMORPG world called CrossWorlds. Waking up with no memory and unable to speak, you head out into the fictional land of Shadoon with your avatar to find out what’s going on.

All good fun, with a manga-styled aesthetic and catchy soundtrack. Want a great RPG to glide through? This could be for you!

70. Death’s Door

Death's Door the indie game

Developer: Acid Nerve
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, PS4/5, Switch, Xbox One/Series X/S
Best For: Crow-based dungeon crawling with hints of Dark Souls

From Manchester’s (where we’re from) very own Acid Nerve, Death’s Door was an indie darling of 2021.

You take control of a crow who works as a reaper collecting souls for the Reaping Commission Headquarters in the afterlife.

It’s like a toned down version of Dark Souls and Tunic, with a beautiful isometric view for action-adventuring drama.

It looks great, features a most excellent soundtrack, and we had a great time battling with its creative baddies and level design.

69. Katana ZERO

Katana ZERO the indie game

Developer: Askiisoft
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Stylish hack-and-slash fun
with a samurai twist

What does katana mean? It means Japanese sword. And with that in mind, we have the razor sharp Katana ZERO.

It’s a brilliant hack-and-slack platformer, with a great retro ’80s theme that involves some seriously epic music. Check out the disco scene early on to see what we mean.

It’s a neo-noir affair, where you take control of the assassin Subject-Zero as you battle you battle your way towards restoring your memory.

Yeah, another amnesia plot. Bit of a trope. But… the game offers fast-paced action and it’s fine entertainment.

68. Haiku, the Robot

Haiku, the Robot

Developer: Mister Morris Games
Platforms: Steam, Itch.io, Switch
Best For: Another great Metroidvania romp, with a cute robotic theme

Yes, a May 2022 release here. Haiku, the Robot immediately became popular for us thanks to its fun mix of platforming excellence alongside a cute aesthetic.

It’s clearly inspired heavily by Hollow Knight, which fans of that game will enjoy a lot. Just minus the sky high difficulty.

And that makes this one a great starting point for anyone new to Metroidvania games. But that’s not to say fans of the genre won’t find anything here. It’s a lot of fun! And cute to boot.

67. Return of the Obra Dinn

Return of the Obra Dinn

Developer: Lucas Pope
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Itch.io, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Yarr! A total sea shanty that’ll shiver your timbers, matey!

Ahoy there! Welcome, me hearties, to this salty sea dog of an indie game! The Return of the Obra Dinn is a, yarr, most splendiferous experience of it all.

Looks like you’ll need to abandon ship with this one! The Obra Dinn has been missing for five years around the Cape of Good Hope. It’s your job to work out the fate of this mighty fine vessel.

Avast! You can make it even more lifelike, yarr, by abstaining from vitamin C and getting the old scurvy, you nautically challenged old sea dog, arr!

All you need to do is head into the the briny deep to find Davy Jones’ locker, maybe picking up some swag along the way, while doing grog and bellowing sea shanties, arr. Three sheets to the wind!

66. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Loves in a Dangerous Spacetime

Developer: Asteroid Base
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Linux, OS X, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Psychedelic multiplayer space shooter sci-fi action with friends

It’s fair to say Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is epic fun with a bunch of friends around. Good in single-player, too, but this is like Mario Kart. It’s all about the multiplayer!

The goal is to pilot a spaceship around a variety of worlds, from within you have to also control the weapons, engine, shield, and cannon.

All whilst battling off wave after wave of baddies. Great fun and very trippy.

65. Star Ghost

Star Ghost by Squarehead Studios

Developer: Squarehead Studios
Platforms: Wii U, Switch
Best For: Unique space shooter tactical action

This little number launched quietly on the Wii U in 2016 and is from a former Retro Studios employee.

Star Ghost has since arrived on the Switch, which is great as we really like this strategic space shooter.

It’s fantastic for bouts of pick-up-and-play with surprising depths and ideas for the genre, shaking up the usual tropes of chaotic all-out gunning action with an array of weapons and defence tactics.

64. Firewatch

Firewatch the indie game

Developer: Campo Santo
Platforms: Steam, GOG, OS X, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Chillout adventuring followed by a paranoid twist

Launched in 2018, Firewatch is brilliant. It quickly established itself as an industry-leading example of a narrative-driven indie game experience, developing out two central characters with unique twists.

Set in 1988, as the player you take control of Henry. He’s having a break from reality in Shoshone National Forest, with Delilah for company over radio.

What follows is a story of paranoia and horror, as the two let suspicions get the better of them.

63. Exo One

Exo One the indie game

Developer: Exbleative
Platforms: Steam, Xbox One, Series X/S
Best For: Exploring wonderfully realised alien worlds

Launching in late 2021, Exo One’s gravity-defying brilliance takes a little time to warm to. Its odd control system is important to master.

But once you’re sorted, you’ll be blasting a disc-like spaceship up and down mountains and ravines on an interplanetary mission across time and space.

Beautiful to look at and with stunning environments across various planets, it’s one to be savoured alone.

62. Unravel Two

Unravel Two

Developer: Coldwood Interactive
Platforms: Steam, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Scandinavian themed woolly puzzle platforming

Enter the world of two Yarnys, anthropomorphic yarn creatures. After a red one (probably a communist) is separated from his home, he must journey across the human world to get back home!

Unravel Two is super charming, basing the core of its action around often physics-based puzzle solving and environment manipulation.

It takes brain power to progress in the game—it’s no cutesy romp along for kids. But seasoned platformer fans will love its challenge, beautiful looks, and excellent soundtrack by Frida Johansson and Henrik Oja.

61. Hoa

Hoa the indie game

Developer: Skrollcat Studio
Platforms: Steam, GOG, PS4/5, Switch, Xbox One/Series X/S
Best For: Chilled out Studio Ghibli-style platforming

Although a simplistic platformer, this is deliberately so to maximise its introspective potential.

Whilst puzzles are straightforward, Hoa is a charming Metroidvania that bases its best moments around its stunning visual style and an even better soundtrack.

Really, it’s like playing a Studio Ghibli film! Short, but very enjoyable.

60. Gato Roboto

Gato Roboto

Developer: Doinksoft
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Short, sharp Metroidvania action as a cat

A black and white Metroidvania with nods to Earthworm Jim, Gato Roboto lets you take control of a cat in a mechanised super suit.

You take control of Kiki the cat (nod to Kiki’s Delivery Service there) and in your mech suit you go on a journey to save your owner.

A lot of fun has to be had here in a short and engaging platformer with an eye-catching aesthetic.

59. Forgotton Anne

Frogotton Anne

Developer: ThroughLine Games
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Android, iOS
Best For: Discovering the roots of the roguelike genre

Another Studio Ghibli inspired indie game, Forgotton Anne revels in its adventure platformer genre (with added theatricality).

Featuring a soundtrack by the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra and that glorious visual style, the added loveliness is how engaging the gameplay is.

It’s like a fairy tale—a world where lost objects (missing socks, discarded lamps) come to life and hope to be remembered. A beauty of a game.

58. Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight

Developer: Team Cherry
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Hard as nails Metroidvania stuff

Wowza, Hollow Knight is difficult! But as challenging platforming larks go, it’s also a beauty and an epic experience.

You star as the Knight, a nameless warrior. Annd into the Hallownest you go to explore, power up, and defeat bug-like macabre nightmares.

Team Cherry’s brilliant development of atmospherics is to be commended and it’s an enthralling experience. Just be wary of that ultra-high difficulty. It can get frustrating.

57. The Artful Escape

The Artful Escape the indie game

Developer: Beethoven & Dinosaur
Platforms: Steam, Linux, PS4/5, Switch, Xbox One/Series X/S, iOS
Best For: A heavy metal platforming tour through space

More of an interactive experience than a video game, The Artful Escape is just a joy to play.

Take control of folk musician Francis Vendetti and guide him through the universe as you guide him through a musically-influenced solar system.

We classed it as a “berserk space odyssey”, which does justice to the staggering spectacle and psychedelic mania the game generates.

56. FLY’N

FLY'N the indie game

Developer: Ankama
Platforms: Steam
Best For: Discovering a hidden indie gem a decade old

FLY’N is one of the great indie gems that’s fallen into obscurity. Know anyone who’s heard of this? Exactly!

Launched in 2012 by French indie team Ankama, this colourful and fast-paced platformer also has a lot of puzzle elements.

The goal is to save the World-Trees by jumping, flapping, flying and just enjoying the hell out of yourself. It’s a lot of fun and deserves more attention.

55. OneShot

OneShot the indie game

Developer: Future Cat
Platforms: Steam, Itch.io, macOS, Linux
Best For: Experience narrative-based excellence in gaming

Although minimalistic in looks, OneShot is a narrative experience where you control a cat-like child called Niko.

A metafictional work, it’s similar to Undertale and Pony Island in its approach. Particularly the latter, as Niko knows he’s in a video game, but OneShot also disrupts the world of the player with the character you’re controlling.

What plays out is an intriguing puzzle and adventure game that, for players wanting to unearth its mysteries, will find many charming and clever delights along the way.

54. Baba is You

Baba is You the indie game

Developer: Hempuli
Platforms: Steam, macOS, Linux, Switch, Android, iOS
Best For: Addictive puzzles with a unique twist

Here’s an unusual, and very addictive, little puzzle game from Arvi Teikari. It’s an intriguing concept, where the idea is to manipulate rules.

In Baba is You, the goal is to take control of Baba. From there you need to reach a goal by moving objects, characters, and word tiles around. Basically, you get a bunch of blocks and have to manoeuvre them around, which changes the game works.

That leads to all manner of surprises! But, really, you’ll have to play it to see how it unfolds in this very deserving award-winner of a puzzle romp.

53. Samorost 3

Samorost 3 the indie game

Developer: Amanita Design
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Itch.io
Best For: Gloriously surreal point-and-click weirdness

From 2016, Samorost 3 launched at a time when indie games were really starting to become deeply entrenched in the industry.

And the oddball mix of stylistic graphics and oddball puzzles have come to define this brilliant studio in Czechia.

Along with the rest of Amanita Design’s games, the Samorost titles are all about the fantastical and unusual. And this alien concept is a glorious exploration of the bizarre.

52. Little Nightmares II

Little Nightmares II the indie game

Developer: Tarsier Studios
Platforms: Steam, GOG, PS4/5, Switch, Xbox One/Series X/S
Best For: Spooky puzzle platforming excellence (with horror!)

The excellent sequel to a brilliant first outing, this horror 2.5D platformer follows in the footsteps of the outstanding INSIDE. And it’s better than the first Little Nightmares!

Little Nightmares II advances on the previous title in many clever ways, letting you control Mono (a boy with a paper bag on his head) as you head to the right uncovering all manner of frights.

It’s very well done! If you love your horror, its atmospheric delights will provide you many genuine chills.

51. Monument Valley

Monument Valley the indie game

Developer: Ustwo
Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
Best For: Revelling in artistic splendour

Here’s an example of how brilliant mobile games can be. The 2014 release takes the artwork of M. C. Escher and transforms them into a beautiful world of puzzles and relaxation.

One of the brilliant things about Monument Valley is it brought gaming to the attention of non-gamers.

Many, for the first time, explored the artistic might of the industry thanks to this title. Whether on a crowded commute or on a lazy weekend, its charms are pretty and irresistible.

50. Undertale

Undertale the indie game

Developer: Toby Fox
Platforms: Steam, GOG, OS X, Linux, PS4, PS Vita, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Award-winning narrative driven gaming excellence

The legend that is Undertale. It’s one of the most iconic indie games out there, causing significant media attention and bringing more gamers to the world of independent gaming.

No list of the best indie games of all time would be complete without it, frankly, its influence is just too far-reaching.

It’s an excellent RPG, where you control a child who’s fallen into an underground world. On your journey, you meet all manner of strange monsters who are either friendly… and not so friendly.

The game’s excellent story is at times humorous or disturbing, weaving the silliness of internet culture alongside the likes of Mr. Bean, an intriguing combat system, and impressive originality.

49. Journey

Journey the indie game

Developer: Thatgamecompany and Santa Monica Studio
Platforms: Steam, PS4, iOS
Best For: A sand-based art game like no other

Wow! Journey is a decade old! Back in 2012, it really helped make a name for the indie game scene. It stood out and won several Game of the Year awards.

That was on the PS3, which led to a PS4 port in 2015. And it finally turned up on Steam and iOS in 2019.

In this one, you guided a mysterious robed figure through a beautiful desert world with the goal of climbing a mountain. Eerie! Wistful! And rather unforgettable.

48. The Touryst

The Touryst

Developer: Shin’en Multimedia
Platforms: Steam, PS4/4, Switch, Xbox One/Series X/S
Best For: Voxel graphics type action-adventure romp

One of the main delights about The Touryst is its looks. Those voxel graphics! Seriously, go off and have a look at it in action.

But you can add into that a challenging action-adventure game with interesting puzzles and a fabulous soundtrack.

The game has a lot of character, is unique in many of its concepts, and we think it deserves a lot of love.

47. Narita Boy

Narita Boy

Developer: Studio Koba
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games,
Best For: Retro action-adventuring with ’80s vibe Metroidvania fun

Narita Boy was divisive in the gaming press, with IGN pretty livid about one difficult section of the game. The lack of a map is also a bizarre issue to ignore.

However, those issues aside we loved this one. It’s a great Metroidvania that overcomes its flaws through its unique visual style and ’80s atmospherics.

It’s just remarkable as a visual treat, standing out in the market and also providing an interesting challenge. Underrated, we think, and that’s why it’s on our list.

46. Subnautica

Subnautica

Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
Platforms: Steam, Epic Games, macOS, PS4/5, Switch, Xbox One/Series X/S
Best For: Epic open-world water-based adventuring

Another indie game darling that garnered a lot of press attention, this ambitious project sends you crashing into a heavily water-based planet.

Your spaceship is lost. Now you head to head out into the oceans to uncover what this planet is, in classic survival action-adventure style.

Subnautica is a lush game with plenty of hidden secrets, at times relaxing, other times disturbing, it’ll likely have you hooked for weeks of deep sea diving exploration.

45. Splasher

Splasher the indie game

Developer: Splashteam
Platforms: Steam, Itch.io, Linux, macOS, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Clever water-based Metroidvania with an arcade focus

Splasher is an ignored indie gem, we think, where you’re pitted into fast-paced environments that really challenge your platforming skills.

There are elements of Super Meat Boy here, launching yourself around to conquer levels, all with Splatoon type gooey action.

Armed with a paint cannon, you have to traverse manic stages and conquer the evil dudes you come across. It’s a whole heaping lot of fun that doesn’t take things too seriously.

44. RiME

RiME the indie game

Developer: Tequila Works
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Exploring a beautiful island for chillaxing thrills

From a third-person perspective, in RiME you control a boy washed ashore on a beautiful island. You have to go off exploring, solving environmental puzzles and unleashing the mysteries around you.

RiME was an ambitious project that received a lot of hype before its 2017 release.

Many felt it didn’t quite deliver a classic experience, but its many merits are nonetheless impressive. It looks gorgeous, has a great soundtrack, and it’s a relaxing joy to play.

43. Chuchel

Chuchel the indie game

Developer: Amanita Design
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, Switch, Android, iOS
Best For: Accessible, cutesy, funny point-and-click brilliance

Amanita Design has gained a cult following by creating extremely bizarre point-and-click adventure games like the Samorost series.

But here is its most accessible game to date! Launched in 2018, Chuchel is a comedy adventure where you guide a dust creature to retrieve a stolen cherry.

Very cute, all very engaging, and with brilliant character animations. One to be loved.

42. Lonely Mountains: Downhill

Lonely Mountains Downhill

Developer: Megagon Industries
Platforms: Steam, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Challenging arcade style mountain biking

Yeah, we love Lonely Mountains: Downhill. The game is simultaneously blissful and relaxing, plus psychotically violent.

You’re against the clock as you race down (yes) mountains with an isometric world and a fixed camera. Take daring risks, push on hard, customise your bike, and risk your neck in the name of fast times!

It’s a real challenge, looks the part, and there’s epic blood splatter when you mess up. One to be enjoyed over and over.

41. Axiom Verge

Axiom Verge

Developer: Thomas Happ Games LLC
Platforms: Steam, Epic Games, macOS, Linux, PS4, PS Vita, Siwtch, Xbox One
Best For: Classic indie title that put Metroidvanias on the gaming map

Launched in 2015, Axiom Verge was one of the first platformers to really put the Metroidvania genre into the gamer conscience.

It’s highly advanced as an experience, mimicking the genius of Super Metroid whilst also innovating in clever little ways.

The game is quite superb, with a huge map, lots of power-ups, a memorable visual style, and yes… it’s one of those indie games everyone should try.

40. Boomerang X

Boomerang X

Developer: DANG!
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, Switch
Best For: Ninja-based hijinks with a boomerang!

This agile SOB is all about ninja antics. Plus, you know, that curved flat piece of wood that you can throw for it to come back to you.

Boomerang X is some seriously fast-paced action and we love it for that. It’s stylised mayhem, where the majority of the experience is combat-based battle arenas.

Master the controls, send yourself flying across arenas, defeat baddies, and make yourself look like a total badass in the process. Effin’ A.

39. Broforce

Broforce

Developer: Free Lives
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Satirical ’80s action hero hypermasculine mania

Broforce’s run-and-gun concept makes for one of the most ridiculous fun experiences imaginable.

In its total absurdity, complete with tongue-in-cheek humour, you take control of your bro characters modelled on action heroes like John Rambo, Chuck Norris, the T-800, and Ellen Ripley.

Battle terrorists, release POW, and revel in the destructible environments as you blast your way through this son of a gun of a game.

38. ElecHead

ElecHead

Developer: NamaTakahashi, Tsuyomi
Platforms: Steam, GOG
Best For: Clever electronic concept with amazing puzzles

Egads, we love ElecHead. It may be short (two hours of gameplay), but its concept has hidden depths and the game wows you with excellent level design.

You control the robotic protagonist, who has to head off on a mission to restore power to a city.

The levels have a seemingly simplistic nature to them, but the puzzles can be quite fiendish. It’s very rewarding to work everything out and progress.

Add into the mix a classic 8-bit aesthetic and soundtrack… well, we’re sold on this obscure gem.

37. FEZ

FEZ the indie game

Developer: Polytron Corporation
Platforms: Steam, Itch.io, Linux, OS X, PS4, PS5, Switch, iOS
Best For: An inventive take on the world of 2D platforming

Seemingly inspired by Edwin A. Abbott’s Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884), here we have a very inventive and famous indie game.

The ever-revolving FEZ is all about environmental manipulation, twisting the world you’re in around to reveal new areas of your 2D landscape.

You take control of Gomez (who has a magical fez), rotate your world, and bask in the concept of unknown dimensions. Jolly good show, old bean!

36. GRIS

GRIS the indie game

Developer: Nomada Studio
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, PS4, Switch, Android, iOS
Best For: Staring at amazing artwork and going, “Dayum…”

This minimalistic platformer is all about the emotional experience. Along with its incredible looks, there’s a stirring soundtrack and many other emotive happenings.

GRIS is short. It’s not burdened by complexities and it makes your jaw drop from de temps en temps.

Highly recommended for anyone seeking an indie game seeking artistic expression alongside its many other merits.

35. Outer Wilds

Outer Wilds the indie game

Developer: Mobius Digital
Platforms: Steam, Epic Games, PS4, Xbox One
Best For:
Inspiring space exploration that’ll lift your spirits

In this magnificent exploration game, you get to play as an alien sort who you can take into a spaceship to explore your local solar system.

However, the region is in a 22-minute time loop and it’s your job to find out what the bejeezus is going on! Cue exploration and space flying fun in Outer Wilds.

And what a charming game it is, guiding your spaceship in and out of orbits, piloting into tornado-stricken atmospheres, and revelling in the sense of solitude.

It’s an adventure game done very right and it deservedly won a lot of critical acclaim.

34. Spiritfarer

Spiritfarer

Developer: Thunder Lotus Games
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, Itch.io, macOS, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Glorious Studio Ghibli type

Spiritfarer starts its charm offensive right form the word go, with those lush graphics reminiscent of Studio Ghibli. Seems indie games like nodding to the Japanese animations giant, eh?

But what follows is a management sim and sandbox action game. In the plot, you star as Stella and must ferry spirts to the afterlife.

A game about death, then! But it’s charming and poignant in its delivery, beautiful to behold, and also backed up by Max LL’s magnificent soundtrack.

33. Factorio

Factorio

Developer: Wube Software
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, Linux
Best For: Hellishly addictive construction and management fun

It’s fair to say Factorio will take over your life if you put some serious time into it.

Players have reported the Tetris Effect, meaning they played the game so much they went to bed with images of factory parts whirring in their vision.

It’s a hypnotic game about an engineer suck on an alien planet, where you harvest resources and create industry. All to build a rocket and get off the planet.

One of the best indie game management sims out there, it’s highly recommended.

32. Enter the Gungeon

Enter the Gungeon

Developer: Dodge Roll
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, OS X, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Bullet hell mania

Here’s a bullet hell roguelike experience masterclass. Enter the Gungeon is mega fun entertainment that moves at one hell of a rate.

Take control of your character, head into the procedurally generated Gungeon, and cause absolute havoc.

It’s a complex game with many floors to work your way through, with the need to wipe out enemies and generally upskill yourself so you’re better next time out.

Great fun. Many, many bullets. Plus, you can flip over chairs and other furniture in one of the coolest little additions to a game imaginable.

31. World of Goo

World of Goo

Developer: Tomorrow Corporation
Platforms: Steam, GOG, OS X, Linux, Switch, Android, iOS
Best For: Basking in masterful physics-bases puzzle action

Launched in October 2008 on the Wii, this was the second indie game we ever played.

World of Goo is masterful. A physics-based puzzle game that took full advantage of the Wii’s control system, it’s since been ported to mobiles, tablets, the Switch, Steam, and everything else.

And all these years after its release… it’s still as addictive and brilliant as ever. You arrange goo balls to advance around levels, with a clever satirical plot wrapped around it.

Plus, there’s a glorious soundtrack by Kyle Gabler (who was also the artist and scriptwriter, in true indie game multi-tasking fashion). Highly recommended.

30. Chicory: A Colourful Tale

Chicory: A Colourful Tale

Developer: Greg Lobanov
Platforms: Steam, macOS, PS4/5, Switch
Best For: A modern Ōkami with a few extra flourishes

It’s fair to say we fell in love with Chicory: A Colourful Tale instantly. It’s a super charming little adventure where you take control of a dog, get a paintbrush, and colour your world back in.

Ōkami fans will like the painting elements, plus there’s a bit of Metroidvania thrown in.

It’s not a super difficult game, nor is it intended to be, more a delightful and clever jaunt through an imaginative world. Plus, there’s a considerate story nodding to mental health that adds an extra layer.

29. TOEM: A Photo Adventure

TOEM: A Photo Adventure

Developer: Something We Made
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, PS5, Switch
Best For: Relaxing and taking some photographs

Looking at TOEM: A Photo Adventure you just know it’s going to be good. But what surprised us is just how excellent the game is.

All the little details, like wearing a wet sock and squelching around in it, just add up to make the thing a serious charm offensive.

It’s simple enough, too. You get a camera. You head out to clear stages with photo-based tasks… and it’s just glorious. Relaxing, inspiring, fun.

28. SteamWorld Dig 2

SteamWorld Dig 2

Developer: Image & Form
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, Linux, PS4, PS Vita, Switch, 3DS, Xbox One
Best For: Metroidvania bliss

This glorious robotic thing is Metroidvania done to near perfection. A huge game, SteamWorld Dig 2 lets you take control of Dorothy. She’s out to find Rusty, the protagonist from the first game.

Into the world you go, forever digging down, powering up your robot skills, advancing your upgrades, and revelling in the scale of the experience.

It’s brilliant. The game is a beauty to behold, it has a soundtrack reminding us of David Wise’s DKC work at times, and it’s just Metroidvania bliss. That’s all there is to it.

27. Townscaper

Townscaper the indie game

Developer: Oskar Stålberg
Platforms: Steam, Epic, GOG, macOS, Switch, Xbox One/Series X/S, Android, iOS, Web
Best For: Casual architectural city-building with seagulls

Chillout world-builders have become a big hit over the last five years. And Townscaper is very possibly the best of the lot.

The goal is to enter the game… and start building! It looks glorious with its vibrant colours and sense of serenity. Just switch off your brain and let yourself build something magnificent.

Want to give it a go?! Here’s a web demo of Townscaper for your browser.

26. A Short Hike

A Short Hike the indie game

Developer: Adamgryu
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Itch.io, macOS, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Getting you to forget about the world for an hour

This 2019 adventure game is bliss in indie game form. A Short Hike lets you take control of Claire the bird and go exploring a lush island paradise.

The freedom of exploration on offer is impressive, as you scale the mountain as the centre of the island. All with the goal of reaching the top and soaring off of it.

So the game has a lot of uplifting qualities and is just a total joy. End of.

25. The Alto Collection

The Alto Collection indie game

Developer: Team Alto
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Itchi.io, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Android, Android TV, iOS
Best For: Zen Buddhist endless runner relaxation

Comprised of Alto’s Adventure (2015) and Alto’s Odyssey (2018), this 2020 collection is the perfect chillout endless runner combo.

You can buy either title and have just as great a time, but get the collection for double the enjoyment.

The Alto Collection is a Zen endless runner, where you control snowboarding Alto as he soars down a mountain range. Really relaxing. But also a great challenge if you want to aim for high scores.

And, also, we have to make the claim the two are the best mobile games ever.

24. Tunic

Tunic the indie game

Developer: Andrew Shouldice
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, Xbox One/Series X/S
Best For: Ruthless, beautiful action-adventuring

This launched in March 2022 and immediately established itself as something of an instant indie game classic.

Tunic takes its SNES-era Zelda inspirations very seriously, but throws in modern gaming sensibilities and its own unique character. And it’s also ruthless as all hell! A cutesy romp along it is not.

However, it’s still a brilliant, beautiful, and inspired isometric action-adventure game packed full of daring-do. The graphics, the soundtrack, the gameplay—quite sensational.

23. ABZÛ

ABZÛ

Developer: Giant Squid
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Water-based relaxing amazeballs stuff

ABZÛ is relaxing. It’s many things. It’s about exploration, minus Ecco the Dolphin frustrations. And it also has one of the most beautiful scenes in all of video gaming history (involving whales).

As the player, the idea is to guide a diver into the mysterious depths below you. And just explore it one! There are many secrets and surprises.

Some gamers baulk at water-based games, but we love them. They’re often so relaxing and enigmatic. ABZÛ is a perfect example.

22. Papetura

Papetura the indie game

Developer: Petums
Platforms: Steam, GOG
Best For: Paper-based point-and-click introspection

Launched in May 2021, Papetura’s mix of point-and-click immersion is a rather beautiful gaming experience.

Petums handcrafted the entire thing from paper, a meticulous process that took six years.

The end result is stunning, with a short but excellent puzzle game adventure wrapped around its looks. Plus, there’s an excellent soundtrack from indie game music specialist Floex.

21. Unpacking

Unpacking the indie game

Developer: Witch Beam
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, Linux, PS4/5, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Chilling out and unpacking stuff to awesome music

Launched in late 2021, Unpacking’s Zen Buddhist brilliance was an immediate hit. It’s a brilliant video game. Innovative, unique, and surprisingly compelling.

What do you? Unpack rooms! That’s it, although there is a story wrapped around that.

Some way wonder how a game about this can make it onto a list of the best indie games of all time. But Unpacking’s brilliance lies with the therapeutic joys of keeping stuff clean. Arranging rooms is simply a lot of fun and this concept is genius, really. Brilliant fun.

20. Downwell

Downwell the indie game

Developer: Moppin
Platforms: Steam, GOG, PS4, PS Vita, Switch, Android, iOS
Best For: Rudimentary, addictive as all-hell vertical platforming

Downwell was £2. We bought it in 2019 and, several years on, have amassed over 30 hours into the thing.

For such a cut back, minimalistic retro platformer it isn’t half addictive. It’s officially a vertically scrolling shooter with roguelike elements. With its stark palette of, mainly, black and white you jump down a well and keep on blasting with your boots.

Where it gets addictive is bouncing, bopping, and obliterating enemies to achieve high scores and get ever further down the well. It’s brilliant and we love it.

19. Supraland

Supraland the indie game

Developer: Supra Games
Platforms: Steam, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Wonderfully entertaining Metroidvania first-person puzzling

What an absolute darling Supraland is. An excellent idea and even better upon playing it, you take control of a stick character in a kid’s sandbox.

From there, you head off exploring and powering up to with gameplay themes inspired by Portal, Zelda, and Metroid.

Now, that’s a heady mix and the result was one of the surprises of 2019. It’s genius and just an absolute joy to play. Waste no time, get it.

18. SPACEPLAN

SPACEPLAN the indie game

Developer: Jake Hollands
Platforms: Steam, Android, iOS
Best For: The greatest clicker game of all time!

This game. THIS GAME! SPACEPLAN is a clicker, but don’t let that put you off. It’s on a different level to most other clickers we can think of.

You begin proceedings in a little ship orbiting a planet. What unfolds is the need to click to generate energy, which gets you potatoes, new contraptions, potatoes, and you can fly to the planet to generate energy. With more potatoes.

Really, you just need to play it. The game is super cheap. It’s addictive as all hell. And it has a banging soundtrack from Logan Gabriel to go with it. 100% million worth the asking price.

17. Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley the indie game

Developer: ConcernedApe
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, Linux, PS4, PS Vita, Switch, Xbox One, Android, iOS
Best For: Harvest Moon style chilled out farm building

Yes, we all know this one. The brilliant Stardew Valley is one of the indie scene’s big success stories.

A huge hit, it’s for a reason as well! The game is simply beautiful to play. Joyous, uplifting, charming, and everything else in between.

You pick your character and pet, then launch into the experience with a knackered out farm. It’s your job to manage things and build it into a thriving landscape of chickens, cows, and crops.

Kind of like Unpacking, it may sound boring on paper. But it’s anything but.

16. Yoku’s Island Express

Yoku's Island Express

Developer: Villa Gorilla
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic Games, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Uplifting Metroidvania action with a dung beetle

It’s difficult to fault Yoku’s Island Express, which merges classic Metroidvania action alongside an unusual pinball concept.

You take control of Yoku, the dung beetle, on a mission to deliver mail across the island of Mokumana, whilst saving the island’s deity from evil hoo-hah.

All a great excuse to go catapulting (at times literally) around the island enjoying yourself.

It’s a very upbeat game and will have you grinning like crazy, thanks to its gorgeous looks, vibrant soundtrack, and charming attention to detail.

15. Owlboy

Owlboy

Developer: D-Pad Studio
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Heartfelt Metroidvania action made with real passion

Yeah, we have an enormous amount of love for the gift that is Owlboy. It’s such a superbly moving Metroidvania, based around a shy owl who struggles to fit into his community.

But when equilibrium is shattered, he and other misfits must go off and perform heroics.

Charming to the extreme, and another indie game channelling Studio Ghibli, it has the looks. It has an outstanding soundtrack. And it is everything we want from a game.

14. Teslagrad

Teslagrad the indie game

Developer: Rain Games
Platforms: Steam, GOG, OS X, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Vita, Android, iOS
Best For: A merger of Blade Runner meets Soviet Union platforming brilliance

This magnificent Metroidvania from 2013 seems to be perpetually overlooked on the indie scene.

Teslagrad has an atmospheric mix of introspection and melancholia, making it an intriguing experience. That’s mainly driven by its concept of magnetically charged gloves, which you can use to send yourself flying left, right, and centre.

The game is put together with extreme care and offers a serious challenge. It’s very difficult! But also quite stunning, offering a trip into an European world where rain, electricity, and your brain will get you through to a thrilling climax.

13. Celeste

Celeste the indie game

Developer: Extremely OK Games
Platforms: Steam, Itchi.io, Linux, macOS, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Platforming brilliance

Celeste launched in early 2018 and was an instant classic. It’s fair to say, we struggled to not include it in our top 10. But it just falls a little shy.

And that doesn’t take away from this vibrant masterpiece, which consists of concise screens of short, sharp puzzle-platforming action.

Add into that an important message on mental health, and some outstanding creativity, and you have an indie legend worthy of devotion.

12. DUSK

DUSK the FPS indie game

Developer: David Szymanski
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, Linux, Switch
Best For: Playing a heady mix of the best retro FPSs in history

Dusk is an inspired retro FPS that merges the first Doom, Half-Life 2, and Quake into one package of total awesome.

In a rather stale genre dominated by increasingly tedious AAA titles, David Szymanki delivered some seriously incredible level design and frantic action.

It does what the best first-person shooters do—ramp up the intensity and let it all rip. An absolute “HELL YEAH!!!” of an experience is the result.

11. FAR: Lone Sails

FAR: Lone Sails

Developer: Okomotive
Platforms: Steam, GOG, macOS, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Introspective solitude across a dystopian landscape

Ooh, do we love FAR: Lone Sails? Yes, we do! With its captivating looks and wounded sense of melancholia, the platformer is a mission to behold.

You set out across a grey, isolated landscape in your peculiar contraption. Your job is to maintain its functioning as you take in sunsets and the occasional herd of cows.

It arrived in 2018 and the sequel is on the way. But for us, this mini-masterpiece is a special indie game as it so successfully creates a world of peace and quiet.

One to be relished during any playthrough, not least thanks to the stirring soundtrack by Joel Schoch.

10. FAR: Changing Tides

Developer: Okomotive
Platforms: Steam, macOS, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Best For: Introspective solitude across a dystopian landscape

Although quite divisive amongst critics and fans, we found FAR: Changing Tides to be an excellent advancement over the brilliant previous FAR game.

It’s a stirring adventure with a greater scope than the original, throwing in new features including a submarine option.

Changing Tides is quite slow to build up, but once it gets going it piles on the magnificent moments and we just found managing your contraption a melancholic joy.

9. Thumper

Developer: Drool
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Stadia, PS4, PS VR, Oculus, Switch, Xbox One, iOS, Android
Best For: Pulse racing, visceral, rhythm game horror

Yeah, Thumper (2016) is just incredible. In fact, we think it’s one of the most underrated indie titles. You never really see it mentioned anymore.

And yet Drool’s masterpiece is an intense horror rhythm game that’ll leave you pretty stunned.

It’s like a primal experience. You live off your instincts as a beetle hurtling through space on rails as stuff hurtles towards you.

Get your button timing right to jump, shimmy, and soar your way towards a pretty unreal experience. Great for anyone wanting sensory overload.

8. Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien

Developer: Gaijin Games
Platforms: Steam, GOG, OS X, Linux, PS4, Vita, iOS
Best For: Brilliantly addictive endless running fun

Launched in February 2013, Bit. Trip Presents… Runner2 offers a highly addictive and challenging endless runner. Almost a decade old, it’s lost none of its charms.

And that’s thanks entirely to the sheer addictiveness of the game. You have to time your button pressings to guide CommanderVideo to the end of each level.

Sounds simple, maybe even a little repetitive. But Gaijin Games threw in enough variations to make this one an instant classic and one we think gets very close to total perfection.

And that’s complemented enormously by a world-class soundtrack from Chiptune artist Disasterpeace.

7. Stray

Developer: BlueTwelve Studio
Platforms: Steam, PS4/5
Best For: Playing the best cat-based game ever

The cat-based adventure Stray is like Blade Runner meets felines. Launching in July 2022, it immediately became a favourite of ours.

It has a sedate pace that doesn’t gel with everyone, but we found the whole experience enthralling. Guide your lost kitty back through a cyberpunk city as you meow, knead, and purr your way to glory.

The charms of the game are in abundance. It looks amazing. And the soundtrack by Yann van der Cruyssen is quite something. Stray is just a masterpiece.

6. Disco Elysium

Developer: ZA/UM
Platforms: Steam, macOS, GOG, PS4/5, Switch, Xbox One, Series X/S
Best For: Getting a masterclass in drunken, existential philosophising

Playing out like a Charles Bukowski novel meets Venedikt Yerofeev’s Moscow Stations, this unconventional RPG won numerous Game of the Year awards in 2019.

Good! As Disco Elysium is an incredible RPG steeped in a sense of philosophical pathos.

Narrative is essential to the experience and writer Helen Hindpere’s outstanding dialogue drives the game along as you control a hapless, drunken cop through a mysterious story of self-discovery.

At turns hilarious, other times quite dark and disturbing, it’s an unforgettable indie game that rightly deserves the plaudits it’s received.

5. Dead Cells

Developer: Motion Twin
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Itch.io, macOS, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Android, iOS
Best For: Roguelike platforming perfection that keeps on giving

The astonishing thing about Dead Cells is Motion Twin’s commitment to keeping it evergreen.

We first played it as a Steam early access title in 2017 and wracked up 17 hours on our laptop. Then it arrived on the Switch and we’re 80 hours into that!

A stunning roguelike with Metroidvania qualities, it’s high-octane stuff that moves at a hell of a rate, looks great, sounds bloody amazing, and is very addictive.

The dev team’s ongoing DLC is also a joy as it continues to grow the core gameplay every other quarter. A bloody gem, we tells ya!

4. Shovel Knight

Developer: Yacht Club Games
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Amazon Fire TV, OS X, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Vita
Best For: Outright retro platforming excellence

The quintessential indie game platformer, Shovel Knight has been a rousing success and Yacht Club Games deserves it. Thoroughly.

Now featuring many extra campaigns in the core Treasure Trove package, the final outing for the series was King of Cards (2020). Every single outing is platforming action at its very best, relying on a beautiful NES aesthetic and gameplay along the lines of Mega Man II.

Crammed full of charm and extra little details, so much love has gone into the Shovel Knight series you can’t help but come out beaming.

The games are all a triumph and we’ve been blessed to follow them from 2014 to the present day. These will go down as all-time classics.

3. INSIDE

Developer: Playdead
Platforms: Steam, GOG, Itchi.io, macOS, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, iOS
Best For: A remarkable experience nothing else quite like it

INSIDE won Game of the Year in 2016 for many media publications. It’s just one of those “Wow!” moments in gaming history.

We mean, my word. It just bowls you over as you guide the mysterious boy in red to the right and become increasingly disturbed by everything you discover.

Its impact is helped by a two hour play length, as you can take the whole experience in during one sitting. And then try to recover afterward.

An absolute masterpiece. And a showcase of just how important indie game creativity is for the industry.

2. Ori and the Blind Forest

Developer: Moon Studios
Platforms: Steam, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Best For: Almost near perfect Metroidvania platforming

Some might argue Moon Studios’ titles aren’t indie games due to Microsoft’s involvement.

Well, the studio consists of a small team dotted all around the world who piece the Ori series together. For us, that’s the very definition of indie game development.

Either way, we didn’t want to leave Ori and the Blind Forest (2015) off the list. Simply as it’s an exceptional Metroidvania jaunt.

With its spectacular and challenging environments, wonderful soundtrack from Gareth Coker, and gorgeous looks, it’s one for the ages.

The first time we played it we were floored. It immediately became one of our favourite games ever, topped only by its hotly anticipated sequel.

1. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Developer: Moon Studios
Platforms: Steam, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Best For: More almost near perfect Metroidvania platforming

For us, Moon Studios’ masterpiece stands out amongst the best indie games of all time. Some may argue against it being an indie, but this thing is too exceptional to ignore.

Ori and Will of the Wisps advances over its predecessor in many ways, noticeably with the advanced combat system and NPC involvement.

Its gameplay is challenging, story so very moving, it looks amazing, and Gareth Coker’s Will of the Wisps soundtrack is genius.

The Ori games have a reputation for being heartbreaking. And early on… the owl… my God, that is some astonishing minimalistic storytelling.

But as an outstanding Metroidvania, the game just stands apart with its scope and we think Moon Studios deserves widespread recognition for this achievement. Please, make another one.

6 comments

  1. That’s a lot of games. You do love indies! I liked the list. It has some games I had honestly never head about. Some random comments:

    I should try Fez, Papers Please, and Hyper Light Drifter eventually. I am always telling myself I need to get them, but never do!

    I thought Cuphead, Undertale, Hollow Knight (my personal favorite), Return of the Obra Dinn, and Hades would be higher. I haven’t tried the latter because rogue-likes are not my thing.

    I am not sure if you know, but the guys from Gato Roboto are making a new game called Gunbrella. It looks pretty cool!

    I am looking forward to trying ElecHead, Tunic, and, especially, Outer Wilds when they hit the Switch.

    Awesome choices overall! My Top 5 would have been Hollow Knight, Celeste, Shovel Knight, Undertale, and Disco Elysium.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you kindly! Been working on that list since February. I highly recommend Outer Wilds, that was a super surprise recently. What an awesome experience.

      As for Cuphead, it’s low down in the list as there weren’t enough cups in it! Something they can address for the sequel.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have been going crazy waiting for Outer Wilds. It was supposed to come out late last year, but ever since the announcement of that date Nintendo has not said a word about it! Hopefully they will say something when E3 comes. Worst case scenario, I will get it on Steam and play it in low settings on my humble PC.

        More cups is a must for the Cuphead sequel!

        Liked by 1 person

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