When you get tired of blockbusters, indie games restore your faith in the art of gaming. Bursting with radical creativity, these best indie PC games do what corporate gaming could never do in their wildest dreams.
Indie games are the best thing that ever happened to video games. As technology improves and games become a bigger business, there is more pressure on companies to make AAA games as safe and bland as possible. They are too expensive to take risks. But indie games, run by small teams with great passion, can take all the wild, experimental and artistic risks they want. Considering how often these modest games are hugely successful, people want games that have more chances.
You will always find the new indie games on PC. Developers don't need to buy expensive licenses to publish their games on PC, unlike consoles. Without that barrier, rising talent delivers fun and innovative ideas directly to curious consumers in the PC gaming markets. Indie hits that build a fervent fan base typically make the leap to consoles, but they started out as excellent PC games.
Without huge marketing budgets, indie games rely on word of mouth to attract new players. You may immediately recognize all the top indie games on this list, but others may not notice this amazing underground world of indie games just a download away. Here are the best indie PC games to boost your credibility.
You'll see plenty of games on this list that are throwbacks to beloved retro titles. Indie developers love to put a modern spin on classic games. Axiom Verge is a non-linear science fiction side-scroller directly inspired by the Metroid franchise. The game's brilliant level of design matches Nintendo's in terms of quality, and its truly alien weapons and abilities make an already isolated formula all the more unnerving.
Konami won't be making any good new Contra games anytime soon. Fortunately, we can now destroy alien robots like it's 1992 with Blazing Chrome. Perfect 16-bit artwork and crisp gameplay capture the bulky pleasures of running and shooting. Several playable characters give you an excuse to dive back into the fray.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Koji Igarashi didn't create Castlevania, but he took it to new heights with his groundbreaking work on Symphony of the Night and other games that followed that formula. As a Kickstarter project, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night promised even more gothic castles to explore and dastardly vampires to whip. The completed project delivers, and a few more. You won't even miss the Belmont name.
As the latest project from the minds of Octodad, Bugsnax presents you with a silly new scenario. In Bugsnax, you use crazy traps to capture monsters made of food. What other games let you shoot ketchup guns to trick walking burgers? Underneath the absurd exterior is a surprisingly moving story that will keep you invested long after the initial novelty wears off.
Video games are power fantasies, and what has more power than a deadly monster? Carrion is a horror game where you play as an unstoppable killer bubble, not one of the poor damned souls trying to stop the bubble. The amazing and disgusting animations really sell the feeling of being this tentacled horror. A smart difficulty curve means you must work hard enough to make your kill feel deserved.
Cuphead has spent years in development and you can see every second of that hard work on screen. Cuphead's stunning animation perfectly captures the look and feel of classic 1930s cartoons and applies them to a retro-style side-scrolling shooter. The bombastic boss fights are a visual feast you'll never get tired of looking at again. This is great, as the challenging difficulty forces you to repeat sections over and over again.
Disco Elysium - The Final Cut
Disco Elysium puts you in the shoes of an amnesiac police officer who tries to solve a murder mystery in a realistic RPG world, in the style of classics of the genre, such as Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment. You can customize your character by listening to the right voices in your head while ignoring the others, but the real dirty beauty lies in the history and powerful, political themes of the working class.
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Divekick demonstrates how fighting games don't need complicated combos for strategic depth. In this two-button game, you can dive and kick. If you get hit once, you die. By eliminating mechanical complexity, Divekick focuses on the tense competitive mind games that fighting games are really about. Also, it's just hilarious.
With Freedom Planet, indie fans made the Sonic the Hedgehog dream game Sega could never have. It was Sonic Mania before Sonic Mania. Fast-paced platforming, colorful visuals and looping level designs show how, with the right execution, any game formula can be great, no matter how faded the original mascot is.
Supergiant Games already had a stellar record with Bastion, Transistor and Pyre. But Hades launched the indie team into a new galaxy of acclaim. The ingenious combat system combines diverse divine powers with evolving weapons, so you always have new methods to destroy your enemies. Meanwhile, the intricate unfolding plot and well-realized characters make the repetitive and polarizing rogue-like structure one of the game's biggest strengths.
Indie games can do well with extreme art styles that you will never see in big budget games. Inside, the sequel to Limbo, is another game about controlling a child as they escape abstract, spooky and foggy settings with a foggy, spooky monochromatic atmosphere. No other game evokes feelings of dread and despair like Inside.
Into the Breach
Into the Breach's tiny turn-based tactics battles make you feel like a master tactician. As monsters randomly spawn from the ground, you must quickly come up with new strategies to save humanity. Fortunately, your mech squads come equipped with the nifty powers you've come to expect from giant robots. You can play and replay this roguelike until the end of time and still discover new ways to approach each battle.
Shovel Knight combines the best moments from the golden age of retro gaming, from Mario's map screen to Castlevania's loot and DuckTales' bouncer attack, to create the best platformer that's never been released on the NES. This treasure has only become more attractive over time, thanks to substantial expansion campaigns. Furthermore, Shovel Knight himself is considered to be the most prolific and trendy indie mascot.
Jonathan Blow helped spearhead this wave of acclaimed indie games with the groundbreaking platformer Braid in 2008. His next game, The Witness, is what happens when one of the quirkiest indie developers gets a blank check to do whatever he wants. The Witness asks you to solve a series of genuinely clever puzzles, usually about drawing lines inside mazes. Each puzzle is presented as terminals on a mysterious explorable island that is a philosophical puzzle in its own right.
Treachery in Beatdown City
First of all, Treachery in Beatdown City is one of the biggest names in video games of all time. Fortunately, it's also a great game. In this deconstructed beat'em up, you use a unique blend of turn-based and real-time combat to fight your way through cops, punks and gentrifiers. The hilarious and hard-hitting writing gives the game a radical political edge that makes other games look cowardly in comparison.
That was our list of the best indie PC games. Comment below if you think we left a game off this list and what content you would like to see on our site. Take care and until next time!