It’s that time of year again! Summer games season has blessed us with another wealth of new titles to discover and add to your ever growing wishlist. Whether you’ve got more indies in your library than you know what to do with, or you’re window shopping for your first indie experience, you’re sure to find a new favorite on this list! Let’s take a look at 10 upcoming indie games to put on your radar.
COCOON is a unique puzzle adventure game from Geometric Interactive, a studio co-founded by the lead gameplay designer of indie classics Limbo and Inside, and published by Annapurna Interactive. In COCOON, the weight of the world is literally on your shoulders as you carry around orbs on your back that contain different levels and abilities within them. Leap between worlds by combining, manipulating, and rearranging these orbs to solve intricate puzzles and unravel a cosmic mystery.
Of course I was instantly hooked on the charming visual style of this game but once I saw the adorable winged protagonist seamlessly dive into a portal to another world I was totally captivated. The development studio credits The Legend of Zelda and Portal games as inspiration for COCOON, but for me it also evokes a similar atmosphere to Creature In the Well with its unique puzzle solving mechanic and fantastical sci-fi setting. COCOON is set to release in 2023 and will be available on Xbox, Steam, and Nintendo Switch. Learn more at cocoongame.com.
Hack and slash through a city overrun by deadly creatures in this action RPG developed by Reply Game Studios and published by Modus Games. Simultaneously control both Briar and Lute, two sisters whose souls are bound together, to explore and fight through a stunning dark fantasy setting.
If you’re captivated by the grim atmosphere of Soulsbourne games but prefer faster paced (and potentially more satisfying) combat, then this is a game to check out. The combat is similar to playstyles used in God of War, Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, NieR: Automata, or Dante’s Inferno. With her incredible strength and resilience, Briar masters melee attacks and combos, while her sister Lute helps to control the battlefield with her otherworldly abilities. Together, they are on a mission to reclaim a city overrun with terrible, feral creatures. Soulstice is coming to PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5 on September 20. You can register for early PC demo access at soulsticegame.com.
This dreamy rhythm game developed and published by Half Asleep Games will have you nodding your head without nodding off (unless you want to, the vibes are pretty chill). It uses animations and sound cues to help you keep the beat and stay immersed without the flashy overlays you might be used to in the rhythm genre. If you aren’t familiar with rhythm games, you can test the waters with practice mode and assist options are included to help you if you’re feeling lost.
The hand-drawn and mostly monochrome pastel visuals certainly give this game a modern ethereal vibe perfect for some low-key late night gaming. The upbeat and (for lack of a better word) dreamy soundscape flows perfectly with the simplistic gameplay for an immersive experience that’s sure to mesmerize for hours on end. And there certainly will be hours of content with several chapters, challenge modes, mashups, and even a level editor. Melatonin releases September 16 on Steam, Epic Games Store, and Nintendo Switch. Check out the demo on Melatonin’s Steam page.
Nivalis is a unique slice-of-life sim set in the same cyberpunk city featured in the award winning narrative exploration game Cloudpunk, developed by ION LANDS. Choose how you spend your time from managing restaurants and nightclubs, meeting strange and diverse characters, decorating apartments, fishing, to maybe even finding love.
Last year I played through Cloudpunk for the first time and was really impressed by the depth to which you could explore Nivalis, both by hovercar and on foot. In fact, I couldn’t get enough of it! A slice-of-life sim is the perfect genre to further explore this massive city and all the wonders it has to offer. At the moment is seems the plot of Cloudpunk won’t directly tie into Nivalis, but it is a fantastic place to start if you want to get a taste of the city while waiting for an official release date for Nivalis. The unique art style and synth heavy soundtrack come together to create an immersive sci-fi setting. I was a little surprised to see the models of the characters in Nivalis look more “life-like” compared to the voxel style used in Cloudpunk, but it’s a detail that I don’t think will take away from the game’s unique vibes. Fans of the cyberpunk bartending simulator VA-11 Hall-A should definitely keep Nivalis on their radar. Add Nivalis to your Steam wishlist to get updates on the game’s release.
A Little to the Left
A Little to the Left is a casual puzzle game developed by Max Inferno and published by Secret Mode where you organize and sort household objects. Tidy up and create arrangements that are pleasing to you, as there are multiple ways to solve each puzzle. You’ll also have to watch out for a trouble-making kitty who‘s determined to “help” you organize.
Take all those “oddly satisfying” videos you’ve ever binge watched and roll them into a cozy video game. With over 75 unique puzzles, A Little to the Left seems like the perfect game to unwind and relax with in short sessions. But if you happen to get on a tidying streak and binge, there will be daily puzzles that will provide a unique and refreshing challenge. If you’ve enjoyed other chill puzzle or exploration games like Assemble with Care, Unpacking, or Vingettes, this game should give you the same playful vibes. Personally, I think this game would be perfect to have on touch-screen devices, but for now you can wishlist A Little to the Left on Steam, and play the demo on itch.io.
The Last Case of Benedict Fox
Get ready to descend into a world of darkness and mystery in this eerie metroidvania style action adventure developed by Plot Twist and published by Rouge Games, Inc. Use self-proclaimed detective Benedict Fox’s bond with a demon companion to explore the memories of the recently deceased and solve a murder in a decaying mansion.
I love a good spooky game, but sometimes I struggle with playing them myself without sending my heart rate through the roof and not enjoying myself. Especially games like the Outlast series or Dead Space (if you follow me on Twitch my “love” of Dead Space is a reoccurring joke…). But I absolutely adore games like Darkest Dungeon where I can get my creepy cosmic horror fix but with gameplay that is significantly less stressful for me to endure and is actually enjoyable. The Last Case of Benedict Fox looks like it will deliver all of the supernatural and unsettling horror vibes I love in a way that will be fun and satisfying yet suspenseful. Wishlist The Last Case of Benedict Fox on Steam to get updates on the game’s release scheduled for sometime in 2023.
Thirsty Suitors is a stylish, story-driven adventure game developed by Outerloop Games and published by Annapurna Interactive. Confront Jala’s exes in over-the-top, turn-based battle sequences, impress mom with your cooking skills, and skate your way around town.
I’ll admit I’ve been thirsty for this game ever since I saw the trailer that introduced a delightful blend of quirky and comedic story telling, vibrant visuals, and entertaining interactions. Thirsty Suitors has a lot to offer with multi-faceted gameplay, characters with outrageous styles and personalities to match, and a story that’s sure to hit close to home. For me, the cherry on top of this flirty and groovy game is the LGBTQ+ representation in the cast. I’m looking forward to falling for every one of Jala’s (very hot) exes while duking it out high energy battles, hoping maybe we can kiss and make up. Thirsty Suitors is coming soon, and you can wishlist it now on Steam.
Navigate through a lively environment by jumping between shadows in this unique puzzle platformer developed by Ewoud van der Werf and published by Extra Nice. You are a schim, or shadow spirit, and must find your way back to the human you’ve been separated from by traveling from shadow to shadow.
I love the childlike and imaginative approach to the puzzle platformer that SCHiM takes. It’s very clearly inspired by the “floor is lava” concept where you can touch anything BUT the floor to get around. I also love the unique concept of how the environment works as a puzzle by relying on cast shadows as opposed to the objects themselves. The cell shaded art style is not only eye catching, but it’s the perfect way to take a 3D environment and present it as 2D obstacles. If you head over to schim.art you can create your own palette by altering the colors used in various scenes of the game. I may have gotten very distracted from writing this post by playing around with the color editor and now I’m low-key hoping there will be a mode where you can change the colors of the level in-game. Anyway, SCHiM is coming soon to Steam and itch.io.
In Good Bones you are faced with mystery, grief, and revenge after moving into a new home in this haunting point-and-click narrative adventure developed and published by RETCON Games. Search for clues about a mysterious death, solve narrative puzzles, and make tough choices that will effect how the story plays out.
If you’re ready for a story to hit your heart like a ton of bricks but be kinda spooky while doing it then buckle up. RETCON studio founder and solo dev Jes Negrón provided insight into some of the game’s themes, including how a queer Latina family navigates grief, domestic violence, and strained parent/child relationships. Good Bones promises to be a very heavy but very rewarding narrative tucked beneath some sleuthing, puzzle solving, and paranormal activity. If you’ve enjoyed games like Gone Home, Tell Me Why, or A Normal Lost Phone, then Good Bones should be a good fit for you. Good Bones will be available on Steam and itch.io in August.
Combat your loneliness by constructing a partner made from bones and organs found in this surreal adventure puzzle game developed and published by Madison Karrh. Solve physics-based puzzles & discover secrets in a strange and lovingly hand-drawn city.
Birth feels to me much more like an interactive art piece compared to what you might think of as a typical video game. Really, all video games are art but this one is art art, ya know? In between prying gold coins from a skeletal creatures paws and knocking over glass bottles to solve puzzles, this game feels like it would be full of pleasant surprises that are thought-provoking and tear-jerking. Don’t be fooled by the macabre imagery and uncanny environments, you will probably cry at some point and be left with a gaping hole in your heart by the end (I might be projecting here). While you wait for Birth to release on Steam later this fall, you can check out Madison’s other games on itch.io.
If any of these titles piqued your interest you should definitely add them to your wishlist! Not only will you get email updates on game releases and sales, but adding games to your wishlist actually helps the developers in a lot of ways, and it’s free. There’s plenty more where that came from, too. To discover even more indie games check out the Day of the Devs broadcast as well as the Wholesome Direct.
Skittzi is a variety streamer, cosplayer, and video game enthusiast. She loves indie games, RPGs, and many things in between. You can catch her live streaming more games like the ones featured on this list on Twitch at twitch.tv/skittzipoo.