Last year was a very strong one for games, but indies in particular really shone. The quality across the varied and exciting range of smaller titles on PS5 and PS4 has been commendable for a while, and that's set to continue all throughout 2023. Yes, this year is packed with some seriously heavy-hitters like Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and Final Fantasy XVI, but on the other end of the spectrum, things are looking just as promising. Let's have a look at a handful of indie games heading our way in the coming months.
There's something about Animal Well that really intrigues us. It isn't just a side-scrolling pixel art platformer — it's a non-linear exploration title with an eerie atmosphere and no shortage of mystery. You'll use your various abilities to interact with all the wildlife and uncover numerous secrets, slowly unraveling this unusual puzzle box of a game.
Blasphemous came out of seemingly nowhere to win the favour of Metroidvania fans. This tough action game with grotesque imagery is set to make a return, with Blasphemous II announced in 2021. Little is known about the sequel, but it's sure to build upon the bloody combat, twisted visuals, and nasty bosses of the first game.
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You know the old slogan: Team Reptile does what SEGA don't. In the absence of a new Jet Set Radio title, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk looks set to capture that same energy with aplomb. With slick extreme sports gameplay, various suburban environments to tag, and even musical contributions from JSR's composer Hideki Naganuma, this looks on track to be seriously good.
Dredge lures us closer with its promise of a chill fishing adventure, then reels us in with the reveal that it's actually an eerie horror game about what lurks in the deep blue sea. The reality is that it's both; you explore various islands, catch and sell fish to local towns, and upgrade your boat's capabilities, but you'll also uncover mysterious happenings as you explore deeper and darker waters. A great premise that'll hopefully have us hooked.
From the makers of Hohokum and I Am Dead comes Flock, a co-op adventure that just looks really lovely. You and a friend hop onto giant birds and gather herds of cute little animals to follow you through colourful, picturesque landscapes. There's some semblance of a mystery here, but this mostly just looks like a jolly excursion, whether you fly solo or with buddies.
Goodbye Volcano High was announced some time ago, but is now finally on the home straight. From developer KO-OP, this is a narrative adventure game that mixes up gameplay styles as you navigate the final year of high school with, yes, the end times closing in. Mixing together aspects of visual novels and rhythm games, and with lots of choices to make, this has plenty of potential.
We couldn't not include Silksong, right? Announced way back in 2019, this follow-up to the beloved Hollow Knight is probably the most anticipated indie game in years. From what little has been shown, it looks to offer more of the same slick action and wonderful visuals from the original, only with a brand new player character, Hornet. Fingers crossed this really does make it out this year.
Anything coming out of Enhance Games has us excited, and we've been quietly excited for Humanity since its announcement a few years ago. We're super interested to find out just how this thing plays; all we know is that it's a sort-of puzzle game about shepherding and manipulating hundreds of human beings. There's something oddly satisfying about seeing the mob behaviour of these digital people play out. Definitely a left-field title, but certainly one to watch.
The debut trailer for The Last Faith really caught our attention. It's a 2D action game that looks to take a lot of inspiration from Bloodborne, with a combination of grisly melee attacks and the occasional gun blast. However, a heavier emphasis on magical abilities gives it an edge. There have been a lot of Souls-like side-scrollers, and this looks like it could be another great one.
While it's been a long time coming (the Kickstarter campaign began in April 2015), we're still very excited about Little Devil Inside. It just looks so unique, with its minimalist presentation and unusual structure. It's a complicated game to describe; a survival action RPG that takes place in a surreal setting, you'll take on missions from unusual characters, do battle with dangerous monsters, and explore the life of your hunter on the road. We're fascinated to see how this turns out.
To be honest, the art and animation style is doing a lot of heavy lifting for The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo. Very little has been seen of this point n' click adventure game so far, but the zany, slightly unnerving visual design alone has us looking forward to learning more. If the substance can match the style, this could be a real winner.
Another indie game announced a long time ago, Nour: Play with Your Food is still on course to hit PS5. Almost more of a digital physics toy than a game, Nour is all about messing around with beautifully recreated food and drink. You can throw things around, spawn stuff into the scene, slow down or pause time, and even get your groove on with a kind of rhythm mode. It'll be a neat, chilled out plaything, perfect to hop into for some nutritional time-wasting.
Oxenfree delivered a truly unique adventure with its innovative conversation system, and fans will soon have more of that to enjoy. Oxenfree II: Lost Signals continues the surreal sci-fi mystery from the original, with unusual radio waves causing all sorts of chaos in the small town of Camena. Featuring lots of choices to make and dialogue to hear, replay value could be high on this anticipated sequel.
Pacific Drive immediately got our attention with its enticing debut trailer. This is a first-person adventure in which you explore a surreal exclusion zone with nothing but your trusty old car. With rogue-like elements meaning each run through the supernatural environment is unique, you'll slowly uncover the game's mysteries as you build up your vehicle's capabilities. It's a great concept we can't wait to take for a spin.
Another game that had just a fantastic first trailer, The Plucky Squire already shows great potential. Playing as the titular character, the journey seemingly begins within the pages of a child's storybook, but what looks like a cute 2D adventure becomes much grander when the little guy pops out into 3D space. The game looks set to feature varied gameplay as you explore both dimensions across everyday objects like notebooks, mugs, and more. A creative idea that looks incredibly novel.
Already out on basically everything else, we've been patiently awaiting the arrival of Rogue Legacy 2 on PlayStation platforms. It's been casually confirmed it's coming, and while nothing's official yet, we're confident we'll see it in 2023. With lofty critical reception on other systems, we just know this rogue-lite action game will be great. We loved the original back in the day, and this looks far bigger and better with huge variety in character classes, abilities, passive effects, and much more. We're so ready to be addicted to this.
From the makers of The Messenger comes Sea of Stars, a prequel that's in an entirely different genre. Swapping out side-scrolling action for old school RPG vibes, Sea of Stars' isometric pixel art looks gorgeous, and the turn-based battles have you mixing sun and moon magic as you journey to face off against the evil Fleshmancer. With Chrono Trigger composer Yasunori Mitsuda contributing to the soundtrack, this looks like an easy win for fans of those classic RPGs.
Tchia has oozed charm since we first saw it. Based upon the South Pacific islands of New Caledonia, this 3D platformer allows you to explore an open world archipelago in more ways than one. While you'll mostly play as a young girl, you're able to transform into various animals, letting you completely change your perspective by flying through the sky or swimming through the corals. There will also be enemies to fight, and you can even strum along with a fully playable ukulele. It's adorable and we want to play it now.
If you're after something totally different, Thirsty Suitors is a super unique adventure game coming in 2023. You play as Jala, a young woman who returns to her hometown for her sister's wedding. However, it turns out her ex-partners have conspired against her, and so she must deal with each of them in wonderfully bizarre turn-based battles. On top of that, you'll need to deal with her judgemental relatives in stuff like cooking mini-games, while you can let off some steam with some neat-looking skateboarding. If it all comes together, this could be a really good time with an emotive story.
Viewfinder looks like an excellent first-person puzzler for fans of head-scratchers like Portal and Superliminal. It's a game about progressing through each stage, but it's how you move forward that's most exciting. Using a camera to take photos, you can then superimpose them onto the environment and step into them as they become 3D spaces. It's hard to explain, but the effect is mesmerising, and is sure to create some brilliantly weird puzzles.
That's just 20 indie games heading to PS5 and PS4 in 2023, but there are plenty of others to look forward to. Which indies are you most excited about this year? Vote in our poll, then tell us in the comments section below.