From long-awaited sequels to brand-new fascinating ideas, 2022 is set to be a huge year for indie games. However, before I jump into the excitement surrounding all the upcoming games, there's something that a lot of you might want to know.
To put it plainly, indie (short for "independent") games are made by independent developers or individuals who fund their creations a lot differently than "AAA" studios and publishers - hence, the title "indie." These games are produced in a variety of ways, including crowdfunding, Patreon supporters, or by the developer themselves.
For years, indie games have delivered unique and extraordinary gaming experiences, and let's face it, sometimes these experiences are ten times better than what big studio games have to offer. Also, indie games have become plentiful and more accessible over time, with most developers choosing to publish their games across several popular platforms.
With the advancement of gaming engines and consoles, creators have more tools at their fingertips to create true masterpieces, with each year packed with indie releases of a variety of genres.
So, what can we expect from the best indie games coming this year?
Some of these titles have already been released this January, but some of them are planned to be released later this year and others don't have a set date yet. These games span across a variety of genres and aim to deliver an impressive range of gaming experiences. Lastly, these titles are presented in no specific order and will be available across different consoles upon release. With all of this in mind, sift through the list and see what is going to be your own best indie game for 2022.
Exploring a wonderfully rich cultural atmosphere is the goal of this sandbox adventure. Inspired by the culture of the New Caledonian people, players will spend much of the game traveling around the archipelago, swimming, climbing, sailing, gliding, and playing the ukulele. Not much is known about the overarching story, except players will take on the role of the protagonist, Tchia, as she goes on a tropical adventure across the archipelago and meets different types of people along the way. The game will also feature cutscenes that will be voiced in the traditional language, which will provide an extra immersive experience.
Ever wanted to live the life of a bear in the forest? You can in this game, but there’s a twist. In Bear & Breakfast, players assume the role of a grizzly bear who manages a bed and breakfast in the woods - dangerous woods. Gameplay will consist of managing and setting up each room in the inn with Sims-like controls, as well as meeting other characters while exploring the forest.
Shapeshifting into either a ghost, dragon, or slug (and more as you progress) is the core gameplay of this action-RPG. It’s also one of few games on this list that has already been released (and in case you’re wondering, it’s receiving rave reviews as we speak). Players take on the role of Nobody, a shapeshifter, who is tasked with saving the world. By completing quests, players unlock over fifteen forms to swap back and forth between and are given new abilities that open the chance to complete more quests. An additional perk of playing this game is that it supports co-op play.
This is one game that is sure to provide a unique experience. The plot is simple: Death is overloaded with work and surrounded by employees who offer no help and have thrown off “the balance of souls.” As a result of this,
Death embarks on a cleaning crusade within the company by using his scythe to put things back in order. In an interesting mix of office work meets the afterlife, Magic Design Studios will bring forth their cute 2D action rogue-lite in March.
Announced during this year’s Game Awards, Thirsty Suitors is expected to be a delightful mix of unique turn-based battles, skating, and cooking competitions. Players follow Jala, a young woman who is on a journey to find herself by confronting her past, dealing with overbearing family members, and more, all in time for her sister’s upcoming wedding. The game’s trailer is sprinkled with humorous moments and over-the-top action. There is no set date for the game’s release, but more information will be revealed soon.
Here’s another 2022 game that has already been released - yay! Strange Horticulture is a puzzle game where players run a local plant store. The overall goal of the game is to discover and identify new plants, as well as tend to your pet cat. It sounds simple, but the backdrop of the story involves players using their discoveries to dictate the occult-centered story. Other characters are thrown in the mix as players navigate the town of Undermere and solve an occult mystery.
Stray is one of those titles you’ll see pop up on Twitter a lot if you browse through indie gamer threads for a while. It has created a strong fan base already even though it hasn’t even been released yet - wow! Players take on the role of a stray cat who is lost in a cybercity that contains its own secrets for our feline protagonist to bring to light.
Palworld has been making waves in the gaming world due to gamers comparing it to Nintendo's popular Pokemon franchise. In this indie game by Pocketpair, players travel around an open world, befriending and collecting "pals," mysterious creatures that can be found throughout the land. Players will use these pals in fighting, building, farming, and even working in factories in order to survive in this very bizarre world. The game is expected to have a multiplayer mode as well.
Players will spend their time terraforming and surviving on a hostile planet in this space adventure title. The goal is to collect resources and shape the environment to make the planet safe and inhabitable for humans. Those who enjoy science fiction survival games will want to look into this one.
Cuphead fans have been waiting forever for news of another Cuphead game. Needless to say, the news of a Cuphead DLC was one of the Game Awards’ biggest announcements this year. Continuing in the classic style of the original Cuphead game, Cuphead and Mugman team up with Ms. Chalice on an adventure to D.L.C. Isle. With the help of her abilities, the two brothers use their new weapons and magical charms to take on the new peril and aid Chef Saltbaker in the final quest. The game is expected to be released on the 30th of June.
Sea of Stars has been gaining a lot of attention lately due to its colorful aesthetic and enchanting premise. This turn-based RPG follows the story of
Children of the Solstice who must combine their sun and moon powers to use Eclipse Magic, a power that is essential in fighting off monsters created by The Fleshmancer - an enemy alchemist.
This game is all about enjoying and appreciating Japanese culture. Players will play as protagonist Mineko, a young girl who moves to a new, yet worn-out, home on a Japanese-inspired island at the base of Mount Fugu. However, the island is in an uproar over reported sightings of Sun Cat, Abe, who was long thought to be a mythical figure. Mineko sets out to unravel the mystery behind the town and help restore it to what it once was - but she also must tend to her daily duties of working jobs, completing quests, and crafting items for the Night Market.
Last but not least, Toge Productions is bringing back their talking simulator with a freshly brewed chapter. Players will be given the chance to create beautiful latte art, immerse themselves in a relaxing atmosphere, and brew a variety of coffee drinks that are sure to help the customers “warm up” to them, as they all share their own unique stories. It’s the continuation of the original Coffee Talk game, where two things in life are mixed together: coffee and heartfelt conversation.
As you can tell by the list, 2022 is another big year for the indie game world, and there’s something out there for everyone from the looks of it. Whether you’re a new or old gamer who is interested in trying something different this year, you can’t go wrong with looking into the best indie games of the year.