In recent years, a number of indie games have become as successful, if not more, than high budget AAA titles. Personally, I think I have played more indie games than AAA in the past five years, with favorites like Stardew Valley, Undertale, and Inside standing out. And from what I have seen so far, 2018 looks just as promising.
And similar to how Celeste seemingly popped up out of nowhere in January, there are going to be a lot of other indie games that have the potential to sneak up on gamers this year. Listed below are few of the indie games currently in development that may be flying under your radar.
Battle Princess Madelyn
Developer: Causal Bit Games Inc.
Battle Princess Madelyn is a game that follows the journey of a young knight in training, Madelyn, and her ghostly pet dog, Fritzy. They set out on a journey to save her kingdom and her family from the clutches of an evil wizard.
Fans of the classic 1988 side-scrolling platform Ghouls ‘n Ghosts will love this upcoming indie game, as it takes heavy inspiration from the title.
Developer: Jamie Degen
Hellscreen is a single player level based first-person shooter for PC, in the fast, frantic style of classic FPS games from the 1990s (such as Doom, Quake, Unreal, etc).
Even though its still in the Kickstarter phase of its development, the FPS is visually stunning, using a retro-flavored, yet distinctive art direction, evoking memories of classic pixel textures mixed with inspirations of H.R Giger, Zdzislaw Beksinski etc.
Developer: Shedworks Digital
Its been a while since any game has been as visually impressive and unique as Journey, indie or not. UK developer Shedworks Digital may challenge that feat with their upcoming title Project Sable.
While the actual gameplay and narrative is a bit of a mystery, having only seen a few gifs of a speeder reveals that this is going to be a beautiful game, whatever the gameplay may be.
It is the story of a girl, Bony, entering an abandoned mansion to rescue her friends and her cat Boneko. Once inside, she finds him transformed into a hat with strange new powers. They have to team up and explore the mansion to find the others and restore Boneko’s original appearance!
This project will actually be a reboot of a flash game made the year prior. Alongside being a fully paid version, the reboot will look and feel far more modernized, featuring a new story, with new characters and enemies (with bosses this time!), and new challenges.
Last Man Sitting
Battle Royale games are all the rage thanks to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, but there may be something missing. That’s right: office chairs!
A bunch of dudes sit in an office, all of them wearing black suits and white collared shirts. Everyone sits in the same lime green swivel chairs. For a video game, Last Man Sitting sounds really boring. Add shotguns and ragdoll physics though, and you have a recipe for the only battle royale game left to make.
Developer: Sebastian Krośkiewicz
Genre: Action Horror
Video games tend to always tell you the story from the hero’s perspective. Sometimes they even tell the story from the point of view of an anti-hero. But rarely have games put you in control of a horrific monster.
Carrion is a reverse horror game in which you assume the role of an amorphous alien being. Use your unique otherworldly abilities to your advantage and hunt down your prey
Developer: John Iacoviello
Genre: Mobile 3D Puzzler
Indie games like The Witness and Death Squared have proved that, despite the saturation of the marketplace, it is still possible to make a fun and creative puzzle game. The colorful mobile 3D puzzle game Cubemap has the potential to be another unique puzzle game.
Use your wits and your quick reflexes to make it to the end of each 2D level in one piece. Each level is littered with obstacles and hazards (including drones, laser beams, spikes, and crushers), which you have to navigate. You may only be a little cube, but you do have some handy skills, such as the ability to absorb other boxes and use them as platforms or sticking to any surface in the game world.
Developer: Claws Up Games
Brawlers are always a great genre of game to play if you are just looking to have some stupid, button mashing fun. Very rarely do they look as visually unique and impressive as the upcoming indie game Chop.
Chop is meant to give a feeling close to what you can experience in a fast FPS such as Quake or DOOM, mixed with platformer settings and influences from Towerfall, Nidhogg, and Super Smash Bros.
Developer: Shockwork Games
Genre: Turn-based Tactical Strategy
Turn-based strategy games have been making a comeback in recent years thanks to games like XCOM and Civilization, but I doubt you’ve ever seen anything like Alder’s Blood.
Lead a group of legendary monster slayers in the dark, twisted remnants of civilization. Gear up, scout ahead, and hunt throughout putrid forests, forsaken castles, corrupted hamlets, and cursed coves. Battle feral monsters and the Darkness itself, the corrupting force of the entire land.
The Beast Inside
Developer: Illusion Ray Studio
The Beast Inside is a horror-thriller game about Adam, who is exploring dark flashbacks of traumatic events from the past.
Uncover long-buried secrets, personal tragedies, and madness spanning more than a century. It’s a story driven game, and The Beast Inside seamlessly merges survival horror and thriller, offering gripping new twists in both genres.
Yoku’s Island Express
Developer: Villa Gorilla
Genre: Pinball Platformer
Those who grew up in the 90s usually had two genres of games in which they constantly played: pinball and platformers. On the pinball side of things, you either played real-life pinball at the arcade or Space Cadet on Windows XP. Platformers are pretty self-explanatory, ranging from games like Mario or Sonic.
Yoku’s Island Express will combine both of those genres to create the ultimate pinball platformer. Use a unique blend of pinball mechanics, platforming, and open world exploration to unlock the secrets of Mokumana Island, help the locals, awaken ancient deities, and much more in this amazing new tropical adventure!
Out of Place
Developer: Out of Place Game
Genre: Action Adventure
In Out of Place, the player joins the teenager Simon on his escape from a foreign world, where he arrived under mysterious circumstances. Soon he needs to understand that obscure and dangerous creatures inhabit this world – humans as well as machines.
The project is being created by a team of students, located in Hamburg, Germany and this is their first large game project. Not much else is know about the indie game as of yet.
The Missing Few
Developer: Eric Lavallee
In The Missing Few, you play as Jack Norwood, a private detective who seeks to unravel the mystery of the disappearances in Staten. It’s your job to figure out who or what is really behind the missing persons of this town.
While most of the available media for the game is limited to screenshots and the brief summary above, the exploratory mystery concept could be an interesting one.
Floppy & the Sleepy Planet
Developer: Broad Strokes
Help this little robbit make his way through a strange and beautiful world, master challenging jumps and best all manner of obstacles. With the help of your trusted companion, can you unravel the mystery of the sleepy planet?
Again, not much is known at this point about Floppy & the Sleepy Planet, but based on the title alone, I can tell this is going to be a very cute game.
Good Night, Knight.
This robust dungeon crawler with “commitment-based combat” has not only promised to be fun to play, but provides players with many different options to handle a situation through combat, stealth, or even NPC interaction. This results in a lot of interesting situations not usually seen in games in the genre.
I – along with many other Twitter and itch.io users – have been following RedEmber’s dev blog for Good Night, Knight for a while now and I can honestly say its one of my most anticipated games on this list.
Developer: Highwire Games
Genre: VR Adventure
Golem is one of the only games on this list that is based around VR and for good reason. It will be the first title from Highwire, an independent developer founded by industry veterans in Seattle.
Built from the ground up for PlayStation VR, Golem features original music from Marty O’Donnell — award-winning composer of Halo and Destiny — and innovative VR controls developed by Jaime Griesemer — game designer for Halo, Destiny, and Infamous: Second Son. Though it was delayed again recently, everything we’ve seen so far promises a distinct experience.
Developer: Florent Goumot-Labesse
Genre: Dark 2D RPG
It’s not often that you hear the words Pokemon and Final Fantasy in the same breath when explaining a game, but that is exactly what Unleashed is promising.
A powerful curse has been cast across Mystria. It changed people, who became the expression of their primordial sin. You’ll follow Mercy, a rejected, as she travels the lands – composed of over 250 individual maps that can be explored at any time – in hopes of ending the curse and saving her mother.
The Way of Life: DEFINITIVE EDITION
Developer: Cyber Coconut
The Way of Life DEFINITIVE EDITION will make players live several life experiences from the point of view of three characters of different ages: an adult, an old man, and a child. The first game I can think of to compare this beautiful indie to would be a Last Day of June, another indie with a similar look and themes.
The Way of Life DEFINITIVE EDITION will feature 10 Experiences, 30 Levels, and more than 70 significant choices. This will let you build your own personal life experience that will lead you to a choice-dependent ending. Can you face yourself? Do you think you’ll be able to make the right decision at the right time?
Keep in Mind: Remastered
Developer: Little Moth Games
Genre: Adventure Horror
If you awoke in a dark world plagued by beasts and demons, what would you do?
Keep in Mind follows Jonas, a tormented alcoholic whose life is falling apart. One night, he awakens to a shadowy mirror world where beasts lurk and the stars don’t shine. Lost and scared, Jonas must face all those twisted beasts if he ever wishes to return home and learn the truth about his darkness.
Anew: The Distant Light
Genre: Open World Action-exploration
From two lead developers who worked on the Bioshock, Borderlands, Star Wars, Uncharted, Lord of the Rings, and Saints Row franchises, comes Anew: The Distant Light.
You are a child with limited resources, waking up on a distant alien moon twenty light years from Earth. You must carry out a mission of critical importance. Make your way through an exotic and dangerous alien world while seeking out game-changing equipment, upgrades, and vehicles to expand your options for combat and exploration.
Developer: Chevy Ray Johnston
Genre: Turn-Based RPG
Harry Potter books and movies resulted in a lot of youths (and adults) wishing to be whisked away to a world of magic similar to Hogwarts. Well, Ikenfell may be your closest bet to experiencing that feeling.
Not long after Safina was whisked away to Ikenfell, a school for witches & wizards, she became its most infamous student. But one summer, she did not return home. Something happened at Ikenfell, and everybody is being suspiciously quiet about it.
Developer: Stupid Stupid Games
Genre: Multiplayer fantasy shooter
NoReload Heroes is an easy-to-learn, online and offline, co-op shooter for 2-4 players. You progress by clearing randomly generated rooms full of various types of enemies and for this you are rewarded with experience and new weapons.
Gameplay aside, the game’s palette is very vibrant and eye-catching; something that will definitely add to the chaos of battle.
That is it for part 1 of the list! Be sure to check back soon for part 2 of the list of lesser-known indie games currently being made in 2018!