Best Indie Games Of All Time

Not every good game comes from a large studio or triple-A publisher. Many of the best games ever created are indie games. Gaming history is full of amazing indie games, some of which quickly become cult classics or massive mainstream hits.

With "indie game" simply just meaning "independent video game", indie games are often subset games, often being puzzle games, even including many a survival game or dungeon crawler.

Unlike AAA titles, indie games do not have massive teams and lots of funding. By definition, indie games are always developed by a small team, and sometimes by only one person.

If you'd like to learn more about how video games are made both by an indie developer and a AAA studio, check out our article on how video games are made.

That being said, it is not unusual to find an established indie developer, however, every indie developer will only have a small team behind them.

From humble beginnings comes greatness, and few games can become cult classics quite like indie games. Although there are certainly too many to choose from, here are our top 15 best indie games of all time.

The Binding of Isaac

Released: 2011

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, IOS, Android

Developed by Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl, The Binding of Isaac is a randomly generated RPG shooter, similar to a traditional RPG. Inspired by the bible story of the same name, the art style is cartoony and yet terrifying.

The game's backstory is morbid, with Isaac's mother hearing a call from God demanding a sacrifice. Fearing for his life, the small child Isaac fled into the basement. Here the game begins, as Isaac must fight off hordes of strange creatures, literal nightmares, lost siblings, and eventually his mother as one of the game's boss battles.

A game equally fitting in the horror category as a traditional RPG, The Binding of Isaac is definitely one of the best indie games of the last decade. Throughout the game, players can collect items and treasure that will alter Isaac's form, giving him superhuman abilities and an advantage against the hordes of enemies.

Using your tears as weapons, this game combines dungeon crawler with the replayability of an arcade game. In some way a survival game, the true aim of this game is to escape, overcome all the enemies the game presents in order to find clues, defeat the boss battles, and leave the basement.

Valheim

Released: 2021

Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Xbox Series X and Series S

Although technically still in early access until 2023, this indie game caused a storm on twitch upon its release, with many popular streamers and creators rushing to laud the game. When finished, this game will definitely be vying for the title of the best indie game of the last couple of years.

A glorious exploration and survival game, Valheim brings you into a mystical world of monsters, magic, and fearsome Norse warriors. Created by indie developer Iron Gate Studios, Valheim is a procedurally generated world rooted in Norse mythology.

Along with its cool aesthetics, it is the game's combination of excellent crafting, multiplayer, and randomly generated madness that pushes it towards being one of the best indie games of recent times.

With each world being able to host up to 10 players, you can live out your Viking clan fantasy and work with friends to build homes, equipment, and longboats to explore the world.

Like most survival games, there are a whole host of bosses, enemies, and other creatures to encounter, What makes them brilliant is their randomness. A lot like Minecraft, each new world is procedurally generated, from the oceans and woods to the bosses and monsters.

This means each new world brings a uniquely challenging experience for you and your friends to explore.

To find out more about Valheim and where to download it, check out our article on the file size of Valheim.

Spelunky

Released: 2008

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

Combing roguelike features with a side-scrolling platformer, Spelunky is a classic of the indie gaming scene. Developed by Mossmouth, Spelunky puts you in control of a miner-like character exploring some caves.

Here you journey deeper and deeper into the earth as you encounter newer and more dangerous enemies, increasingly awesome treasures, and unique new maps. What made Spelunky unique in 2008 was its randomized level design, ensuring each playthrough was fresh and unique.

This feature is combined with a fun, fully destructible game environment, as well as the opportunity for local co-op play, ensuring that this indie game remains addictive and fun even today.

As with many of the best indie games, Spelunky is as punishing as it is addictive. As you progress through the randomized levels, the enemies will become increasingly dangerous. Starting off as simple bats, snakes, and spiders, you will quickly begin to encounter enemies such as ghosts, man-eating plants, and even a Yeti!

All of this would be fine, if you could simply respawn every time you died. Unluckily for you, each death will send you all the way back to the beginning of the game. Of course, you do have several hearts to lose before you actually die, but as the game progresses holding onto these hearts will get harder and harder.

Among Us

Released: 2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox series S, Mobile (Android & IOS)

Created and released by indie developers Innersloth in 2018, Among Us quickly rose to unprecedented levels of popularity during the Pandemic, with almost every streamer and content creator playing it.

In fact, during 2020 the game peaked with over half a billion active players - not bad for an indie game made by a team of 3! Easily one of the best indie games of all time in terms of mainstream success, Among Us managed to capture the true video game spirit in both style and substance.

With iconic characters and some of the most memorable music (make sure to check out our article on the best gaming music!), Among Us is both a cult classic and a worldwide phenomenon.

Drawing from classic group games like wink murder and Gmod's popular Trouble in Terrorist Town gamemode, Innersloth studios created their dedicated "find the murderer" game in Among Us. For those who don't know, the original map (although there are now several) is set on a spaceship.

Each game begins with up to ten players who are the crew of the ship. Depending on the lobby settings, there can be up to three imposters, although there are usually only one or two. The job of the crewmates is to complete all their tasks and fix the ship before the imposters murder everyone.

The imposters' job is, well, to murder everyone. Meetings can be called via a table, or whenever a body is found, and the lobby can attempt to vote out the imposters. Be careful though! If you accidentally vote for someone who is innocent, you're only helping the imposters on their path to victory.

Among Us does what both normal gaming and indie gaming aspire to do, and that is to bring people together. It sets the perfect stage for friends to make their own fun and create their own chaos, with all the extra tools needed to do so.

To find out where you can download Among Us and join in on the action, read our article on Among Us' file size on different platforms. It is also free to download on the Epic Games store!

Into The Breach

Released: 2018

Platforms: Nintendo switch, Mobile (Android & IOS), PC

Created by Indie developer Subset Games, Into The Breach has an awesome arcade art style and a killer soundtrack, combining tactical turn-based strategy and puzzles to create one of the best tactical indie games in recent memory.

In the dangerous world of Into The Breach, you control a small group of mech pilots, sent back in time to defeat the deadly aliens the Vek and prevent a dark future for humanity. Each level brings you to a new grid-based strategy map, with different tiles with different terrain.

As the hordes of aliens spawn in and attack, it is the job of the player to defeat all of the invaders and most importantly protect the strategic buildings on the map. With a backstory and awesome art style that would be fitting in a comic series of the doomsday genre, this game's small scope allows the player to concentrate on every awesome detail.

To find out about other games based on comics, check our article on video games that are based on comic series.

A bit like dark souls, the game can be extremely punishing, which only makes it even more rewarding when you succeed. Losing a building or two may set you back a level, but if you lose all of your mech troops, you will have to go all the way back to the start of the game!

Luckily you can see what the enemy is planning to do a turn before they do it, allowing you to dodge roll to safety. Whether you want to relax for just twenty minutes, or tactically destroy monsters for hours on end until the credits roll, Into The Breach is the game for you!

Undertale

Released: 2015

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Xbox one

A true one-man mission, the infamous Undertale was created by Toby Fox. From the acclaimed killer soundtrack to the awesome game design, Undertale is easily one of the best indie games of all time and is an absolute cult classic.

At the beginning of the game, you will be playing as a small child who has accidentally fallen into the "Underground", a strange and magical world deep beneath the Earth's surface. With a 16-bit aesthetic, Undertale combines the traditional RPG style with an awesome balance of comedy, character and story design, and most importantly, free will.

Each player is encouraged to play the game in their own way, and face the tough decisions the game presents in a way that feels right to them. While there is a combat system in Undertale, and a difficult one at that, there are many other options and ways to play.

Think RPG meets Telltale Games' The Walking Dead. Playing through Undertale is a unique experience with many different paths to explore. Each NPC you meet could help or hinder you. When it comes to those who hinder you, there are plenty of options around at first glance.

You could choose the challenging combat and fight your way out. Or you could flirt, joke, subdue, pacify, and negotiate your way out of any sticky gaming moments in the story.

Each of your decisions will determine how the rest of the story progresses, and throughout the whole game you will need to make many tough choices. To give you an idea of the grand scope of this game, there are 93 different endings depending on the player's choices while playing the game.

Good luck finding the "true" ending of "True Pacifist", which is the only real happy ending available! A historic game, Undertale is a fine example of what passion and skill can create when just one person has a brilliant vision.

Hollow Knight

Released: 2017

Platforms:

Created by indie games developer Team Cherry, Hollow Knight is one of the better Metroidvania titles produced by the gaming industry. Although, the creators have stated that Hollow Knight was not specifically made to be a Metroidvania game, with a focus on creating an intricate Gameworld.

Not to be confused with Shovel Knight, Hollow Knight is a sprawling, interconnected bug world that begins with you, the Hollow Knight, on a quest to rid his kingdom of hallownest of the decay and villains that have infected it.

As a Metroidvania game, the map explores many different terrains and areas, all while being completely interconnected. With each new location your insectoid hero explores, you have the chance to obtain new abilities and face new creatures, both allies and enemies.

The game combines an awesome 2D-scrolling platform with great combat mechanics, which are often extremely challenging. The things that make Hollow Knight stand out are the beautifully hand-drawn bug world, and the feel of your character.

The game manages to combine the fast and nimble movement control that allows you to move smoothly across the map, with weighty and effective attacks that adds a sense of satisfaction to every encounter with an enemy.

Celeste

Released: 2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC

A platformer with a deceptively simple story, this is easily one of the best indie games ever created. Sat firmly in the platforming genre, Celeste puts you in control of a young woman Madeline, who has decided that she must climb the mighty mountain Celeste.

Almost everyone who has played Celeste has been left stunned by the emotional maturity of the story, as well as the gaming experience provided by this vast platformer. Created by Maddy Thorson and Noel Berry, Celeste is one of those games you just can't forget.

As Madeline climbs the mountain, more is revealed about her struggles with anxiety, and her emotional growth and development is woven beautifully into every gaming moment, all helped along by a fitting soundtrack.

When it comes to the actual game mechanics, Celeste is no walking simulator. Upon your long trek to the summit of mount Celeste, you will encounter a wide range of different environments, terrain, and platforming challenges.

Along with the long climb up, you will have to contend with a variety of challenging battles with the game's bosses. What is unique about Celeste is its overwhelming detail and variety. New levels and art design are not just reserved for the bosses, but appear consistently throughout the story.

To have a 16-bit game be so immersive is an absolute treat in the gaming world, and with a story that will pull on your heartstrings, Celeste really is the complete package as an indie game.

Rocket League

Released: 2015

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC

You may be surprised to see the global phenomenon Rocket League included in a list of the best Indie Games. With its unique gaming idea of car football, its triple-A standard graphics, and smooth multiplayer connection, people would be forgiven for thinking Rocket League was in the league of triple-A games.

Yet despite Epic Games' purchase of it in 2019 to help its digital distribution, Rocket League was actually created in 2015 by indie games developer Psyonix! Certainly in the top 20 best games ever made, RL is so unique it doesn't really fit into any specific genre.

The actual premise of the game is pretty simple. It's multiplayer soccer, except with cars. Yet this simple combination of sports has proved to create one of the most addictive games ever made.

With both ranked and casual matches, players can choose to play solos, duos, or in teams of 3 or 4. There are a multitude of different maps and pitches to play on, with some even offering strange and interesting quirks such as raised sides or split goals.

Around the map there are respawning boosts that players can pick up, and at higher levels can be used to essentially fly around the map, leading to impressive aerial goals and chaotic leaps for the ball.

But that's not it. There are also multiple special modes, with the most popular being rumble. In rumble, every ten seconds each player is given a random powerup to help the score or defend, from punches, spikes, and tornadoes. As expected, this gamemode is extremely chaotic.

There are also multiple other modes such as basketball (where the goals are hoops), ice hockey (where the ball is an ice puck) and dropshot, where the ground falls away when hit by the ball. Along with all of this, players can go into private lobbies with friends and create whatever settings they want, whether it be low gravity or super speed.

To top it off, no modern multiplayer game would be complete without cosmetics, and RL has plenty. From car colours, to boost trails, to celebrations, you can even use custom team names and colours!

Make sure to check out our full review article of Rocket League to find out more about the game.

Kerbal Space Program

Released: 2015

Platforms: Playstation 5, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Xbox series X, Wii U, PC

Developed by indie game developer Squad and released in 2015, Kerbal Space Program is a ridiculous yet semi-realistic space flight simulator. So indie gaming that the game uses free music composed by the famous Kevin MacLeod, Kerbal Space Program brings players into the world of rocket science in an alternate sandbox world.

With three separate gamemodes, you are placed in charge of the Kerbals' space program, an alien race of small, green humanoids. Your task? To fly. To reach Orbit. And to reach the moon.

What makes Kerbal Space Program unique is the game's outstandingly accurate physics engine, with both aerodynamics and orbital physics being as close to real life as possible. This means you can truly test your ability to become the NASA, and launch rockets into space.

The first game mode is Science mode, in which your primary objective is to perform experiments, unlock new knowledge, and advance Kerbalkind. The second game mode is the Career mode.

Career mode is essentially the survival mode of Kerbal Space Program. In this, you need to effectively manage every aspect of your space program, from logistics and funding to construction, strategy, and launch.

This provides a nice element of progression, storyline, and challenge to the game as you go from feeble launch attempts to space stations and planetary colonies.

The third game mode is the Sandbox, where you are free to test out any spacecraft you want, with no earthly restrictions. Simply construct a rocket, space station, or shuttle however you see fit, and attempt to bring your Kerbals out into space in one piece!

Subnautica

Released: 2018

Platforms: Nintendo switch, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, PC

Probably not a game for those with intense thalassophobia, Subnautica brings the deep realms of the ocean to gaming screens, with a huge and dynamic ocean map for players to explore.

Developed by Unknown Worlds Entertainment, this game exploded in popularity when it became a hit game to stream on twitch, introducing it to the mainstream gaming community. Essentially a survival and exploration game, Subnautica brings the player to an alien ocean world.

Crash landing on the world, the player must quickly scavenge for food, shelter, and drinkable water to survive, all whilst avoiding the deadly wildlife that lurks below the surface. Subnautica combines the thrill of survival games with our deep fear of the unknown, pitting the player against one of the scariest environments there is.

But it's not all about survival. Subnautica offers up a map rich in unique terrain ripe for exploring, with coral reefs, gorgeous bio-luminescent underwater rivers, and epic underwater volcanoes.

Combined with a brilliant music score to match both the wonder and horror of the deep ocean, Subnautica offers players the chance to see majestic sea creatures and create an underwater home from scratch.

Of course, one of the major highlights of the game are the monsters, which can range from mildly dangerous to humongous "Leviathan-Class" creatures, some of which can fill up your entire screen.

Whether you choose to run or fight, Subnautica is an excellent indie game with many hours of fun and exploration to offer, with a unique setting in the survival game genre.

Hades

Released: 2020

Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch

Created by Indie games developers Supergiant Games, Hades is a roguelike dungeon action crawler, seeing the player repeatedly attempt to escape his home of the underworld. Based off and inspired by Greek Mythology, Hades sees the player take control of Zagreus, prince of the underworld.

Wanting to escape his fiery prison of a home and join the other Olympians and find his mother in the mortal world, Zagreus begins his escape attempt, battling a host of mythical creatures on the way.

With a hack and slash style of combat, Hades is presented in an isometric view to complement its detailed, pixelated style common with Supergiant Games. The world is split into four dungeons, each ruled by famous residents of the underworld that Zagreus must defeat as bosses to escape.

The gameplay is crisp and fun, being so addictive that you may wish to play the game again and again even after escaping. Yet Hades' true magic is its story. Zagreus regularly encounters other Olympians, and the dialogue between the characters is witty and engaging throughout.

Supergiant Games' take on classic Greek mythology will leave you wanting more at every turn, and the story only improves as you play.

Not only is the story and dialogue engaging by itself, but the player is also encouraged to talk to as many NPCs and characters as possible, as listening to their stories may lead to gifts and boons in the forms of thematic special attacks.

Talking to Zeus will grant lightning attacks, Poseidon watery waves that push enemies away, so on and so forth. Definitely one of the most engaging indie games of the last few years, we highly recommend you check it out.

Stardew Valley

Released: 2016

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, PC, Mobile (Android & IOS)

Taking the vibes and passion of Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley quickly became a favourite amongst PC players and indie gamers upon its release. The perfect world to sit down and relax in for a few hours, Stardew Valley captures the essence of chill roleplay simulators.

Developed by ConcernedApe, Stardew Valley channels Harvest Moon into a new generation of simulation games to unwind to. Upon starting the game, you will find you have inherited a farm in complete disrepair, and your job is to fix it.

This peaceful farm simulator is surprising both in its depth and its simplicity. Whether you want to leisurely tend to your farm for hours on end, or explore the vast world of Stardew Valley and the people in it, the pace of the game is left completely in the hands of the player.

Its warm colour palette and easy-viewing cartoon art style provide the perfect backdrop for one of the best escapism games of the last decade.

Whether you spend your time interacting with the town, growing crops, fishing, or exploring abandoned mines, Stardew Valley is the perfect game for unwinding after a stressful day.

Superhot

Released: 2016

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Oculus Quest, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC

Developed by the SUPERHOT team, this game brings a unique twist to the action adventure genre. Removing all the usual stereotypes of indie shooters, Superhot pits the player against hordes of skilled and accurate enemies, with no health regen, no easy ammo pickups, and often without any weapons.

The key thing is: time only moves when the player moves. Along with a gripping story sprinkled throughout the levels, this game mechanic is absolutely genius, and easily one of the most inventive and unique features in any indie game to-date.

The game is pretty simple: you spawn in, and you must defeat a host of red, crystallised enemies trying to kill you. While throwing objects will stun enemies, pretty much every attack is a one-shot, and that goes for any attacks against the player as well.

With limited ammo and often no weapons, players must dodge bullets and swords "matrix-style", and take weapons from enemies all while moving in slow-motion. While the addition of the time-slowed feature may seemingly make the game easy, many of the levels are significantly challenging.

It turns out, it's pretty hard to survive when bullets are coming at you from all directions. There are some other interesting features that you will discover later on in the game story, but the truly awesome moments come with the replays.

When you complete a level, everything is replayed at normal speed, allowing the player to see their inhuman reactions and awesome dodges and combos in real-time. After finally defeating a difficult level, this replay is extremely satisfying.

The art style, unique game features, and great level design marks Superhot as one of the best indie games of the last decade.

Broken Age

Released: 2014 - 2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, Playstation Vita, Mobile (Android & IOS)

Created by indie developer Double Fine Productions, Broken Age is a wholesome puzzle adventure game with a coming-of-age story. Actually being crowdfunded for its financing, Broken Age has a surprisingly all-star cast of voice actors, including Jack Black, Masasa Moyo, and Elijah Wood.

With beautifully hand-drawn animations and art, Broken Age follows the stories of two teenagers Shay and Vella, both in similar situations but completely different worlds. The player can freely switch between each story throughout the game, ensuring the game is always fresh and engaging.

Described affectionately as "an adventure inside a painting", Broken Age is a historically touching and impressive game in the indie scene and is perfect for fans of detailed and emotional storytelling.

Solve puzzle games and progress through the levels to help Vella and Shay face their problems and grow as people. As a game with a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign and an intriguing development process, the documentary producer 2 Player Productions teamed up with Double Fine Productions to produce the Double Fine Adventure.

This documentary can be found on steam, and details the three-year development process, from the game's inception to hiring the cast, all the way to release. An absolute must-watch for anyone interested in the video game development process, along with our own article on how video games are made.

And that's our list! Ultimately there are many many other brilliant indie games out there, and we encourage you to search out the new awesome indie game being released.

Hopefully you're intrigued by some of the games on this list, and discover hours upon hours of fun on new passionately crafted indie game!