Upcoming Indie Games We Can't Wait To Play In 2023

It seems like only yesterday audiences didn't care about indie games, but those days are long gone. Given the kinds of experiences indie studios now provide, we couldn't be happier. 2022 delivered countless memorable games made by smaller (and sometimes solo) studios, some of which surpassed their AAA rivals. And 2023 is shaping up to be no different.

Almost anyone who has been paying attention to the gaming market is no doubt excited about titles such as "Hogwarts Legacy," "Resident Evil 4 Remake," and "Final Fantasy XVI," but those are AAA games with monolithic marketing budgets. Indie games can't afford the same level of advertising, so many fly under the radar, even with word of mouth. But a lack of marketing isn't the same as a lack of polish; the indie space is full of titles that either look promising or are being developed by studios that have earned a sparkling reputation. Many of these games are coming out this year.

Here are the indie titles we think most gamers should add to their must-play lists. Please note that this article is based on current information. There's always a chance one game in this article (or several) won't live up to expectations. Plus if an indie studio plans on releasing a game this year but hasn't announced it yet, well we can't exactly talk about what we don't know about, now can we?

Hades II

Few studios can claim they never released a bad or even disappointing game, and Supergiant Games is one such company. The secret to their success is a lack of forced crunch and plenty of forced vacations (via Kotaku). The company also doesn't produce sequels, but that's about to change. The sequel part, not the vacation part.

During the 2022 Game Awards, Supergiant revealed "Hades II." While this announcement surprised many in attendance, the original "Hades" is a legendary rogue-like that is the only video game to win a Hugo Award.

Admittedly, much of the excitement surrounding "Hades II" stems from its predecessor, but the trailer demonstrates "Hades II" will likely live up to that legacy. The original "Hades" is a masterclass of writing and rogue-like action, and what little we've seen of "Hades II" indicates it will expertly wield and expand upon what Supergiant Games previously perfected. The game will tell a new story with new characters, provide new weapons and abilities, and rework the magic system without sacrificing any charm or adrenaline.

While we don't know when "Hades II" will release, Supergiant Games promised it will enter Early Access "sometime in 2023." Even if we don't receive the finished product for several years, gamers will still get to play increasingly complete builds that add more biomes, features, and weapons starting this year. That's yet another piece of "Hades" tradition the sequel will continue to honor.

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk

Many games these days are sequels. Why risk creating a new IP when you can just rely on what you know works? That's where spiritual successors come in, as they meet both strategies in the middle to create something new that also follows in the footsteps of a beloved game or franchise, including those that have been discontinued.

"Bomb Rush Cyberfunk" is an upcoming title by Team Reptile, the studio behind "Lethal League." Team Reptile has proudly proclaimed "Bomb Rush Cyberfunk" draws heavily from the cult classic "Jet Set Radio." Going by the Steam page and gameplay trailers, "Bomb Rush Cyberfunk" will feature all the rail-grinding, graffiti-spewing action that made "Jet Set Radio" a classic. And to drive the nostalgia home, "Bomb Rush Cyberfunk" will feature funky beats penned by Hideki Naganuma. Yes, the same Naganuma who composed the "Jet Set Radio" franchise's soundtrack.

Only a lucky few have played demos of "Bomb Rush Cyberfunk," but from what we've seen, the game looks like a flashy and stylish open-world evolution of the high-flying original. Moreover, now that Vicarious Visions ... sorry, Blizzard Albany ... is on "Diablo" duty, it doesn't have time to make more "Tony Hawk Pro Skater" remakes. This development leaves studios like Team Reptile one of the only games in town for audiences who want arcady extreme sports action titles.

Team Reptile initially wanted to release "Bomb Rush Cyberfunk" in 2022, but the higher-ups decided to give the coders more time to polish their game, so now it should release in the summer of 2023.

Hollow Knight: Silksong

"Hollow Knight" is arguably one of the best indie Metroidvanias of all time, if not one of the best Metroidvanias of all time period. The game's developers, Team Cherry, announced a follow-up in 2019, and after years of development, it's potentially ready for release.

"Hollow Knight: Silksong" began life as DLC that would let players control the game's recurring character/boss Hornet in the original "Hollow Knight." But, the idea was expanded into a full-blown sequel that, according to the game's webpage, will take players to yet another corner of the mysterious world of "Hollow Knight."

As with many games on this list, much of our anticipation hangs on the legacy of "Hollow Knight" and a few gameplay snippets, but it is all impressive. "Silksong" looks every bit as beautiful and challenging as the original, but it will also squeeze in new mechanics to make players feel like they are controlling a brand new character and not the previous game's hero in a different shell.

So far, Team Cherry hasn't provided a release window, so why do we think the game will release in 2023? On June 12, 2022, Microsoft held a showcase that teased games coming to Xbox Game Pass, "Hollow Knight: Silksong" included. And then the Xbox Twitter page stated every game in the showcase that isn't already available should launch "over the next 12 months." Assuming Microsoft can keep that promise, we should get to play "Hollow Knight: Silksong" on or before June 12, 2023.

Nine Sols

Red Candle Games entered the indie gaming space with a terrifying bang. The company impressed audiences with the 2D horror game "Detention," but then it insulted Xi Jinping with the 3D horror game "Devotion." That last game almost ruined the studio, but it will return in 2023 with a new game — although Red Candle Games has probably said goodbye to the horror genre.

"Nine Sols" is a 2D action platformer built out of hand-drawn assets. The studio described the game as "Taopunk," given its unique blend of dystopian world and Taoist imagery and designs. But what sets "Nine Sols" apart is its gameplay. Instead of aiming for general soulslike combat, Red Candle Games took inspiration from "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" to create a fast-paced, parry-centric style dubbed "Sekiro-lite."

Recently, Steam has been holding demo events called Next Fests where the platform releases a ton of game demos all at once, and during the June 2022 Next Fest, "Nine Sols" was one of them. The game caught the eyes of many outlets and gamers, and it's not hard to see why. The art and animations of "Nine Sols" are fluid and beautiful, and the combat looks challenging, albeit not quite on the level of "Sekiro." Then again, few games are.

Even though the "Nine Sols" demo was initially released during a Next Fest, you can still play it via the game's Steam page. According to the Red Candle Games website, the studio is aiming to complete the game between February and April of 2023 and release it in "Q2 2023." Fingers crossed to cross swords then.

Scars Above

"Returnal" is arguably one of the PlayStation 5's better launch titles, but it is undeniably difficult. If you want the "Returnal" experience without having to endure the "Returnal" challenge, you might enjoy "Scars Above." That's not to say the game will be easy, though.

In "Scars Above," players will control an astronaut marooned on a hostile, alien world filled with Lovecraftian dangers. The game will play like a sci-fi soulslike shooter, where stamina is just as important as ammunition. Plus, "Scars Above" will feature some top-tier creature designs, atmosphere, and animations.

"Scars Above" is yet another game that received a Next Fest demo, and many participants loved it. Of course, comparisons to games such as "Returnal" and "Dead Space" (the original) were plentiful, but given those games' legacies, it's safe to assume those analogies were meant to be complimentary. Moreover, the demo teased a decent mystery that, like "Returnal," combines body horror with possible time-travel shenanigans and the unreliable narrator trope. We won't know just how far the psychological horror rabbit hole stretches until "Scars Above" releases, but what we have seen is promising.

When "Scars Above" was announced at Gamescom 2022, the trailer only promised the game was "Coming soon," but as of December 2022, the developers narrowed the release window down to February 28, 2023.

The Last Faith

If you want to see the perfect marriage of Metroidvania and soulslike design philosophies, look no further than "Blasphemous." Well, okay, that game has some shortcomings, such as a lack of collectible weapons, but titles like "The Last Faith" stand to correct these minor problems.

"The Last Faith" is the first PC game developed by Kumi Souls Games. Going by trailers alone, the game will sport gorgeously gothic pixel art, and whereas "Blasphemous" channels more of its soulslike lineage, "The Last Faith" will focus more on Metroidvania weapons and traversal skills. Moreover, given the gothic levels and enemies displayed in the trailers, "The Last Faith" isn't aiming to ape just any soulsborne game, but arguably the best one in the franchise: "Bloodborne."

Most gamers haven't played a demo for "The Last Faith," but since the game started life as a Kickstarter project, backers got their hands on a playable prototype build, and it looks and sounds very much like a 2D version of "Bloodborne." Combat is as fast as you'd expect from a Metroidvania, but while the game doesn't include a stamina meter, its difficulty looks mercilessly unforgiving, albeit fair — true to the soulsborne genre.

Originally, Kumi Souls Games aimed for a September 2021 launch, but that release window slammed shut a long time ago. In November of 2022, the studio announced it would release "The Last Faith" in 2023. Here's hoping.

Anger Foot

Have an idea for a wacky, eccentric, and possibly bloody video game? Pitch it to Devolver Digital. The publisher specializes in indie titles other companies might consider too weird or risky. These include games such as "Dropsy," "Hotline Miami," "My Friend Pedro," and soon "Anger Foot."

"Anger Foot" is the latest game by longtime Devolver Digital collaborator Free Lives. The studio has made some of Devolver's most beloved titles, including "Broforce" and, um, "Genital Jousting." Both titles are as weird as they are fun, and "Anger Foot" is more or less the same. The trailer paints "Anger Foot" as a fast-paced and wacky FPK (first-person kicker). Everything in the game is intentionally ridiculous, especially the sick beats that underscore the video. But don't take our word for it.

You can download a demo for "Anger Foot" on its Steam page right now and see what the game is all about, and if anything the impressive trailer undersells the game. The tiny playable sampling demonstrates "Anger Foot" features a level-based structure that fits its focus on fast action and replayability. Completionists will no doubt get the most out of "Anger Foot" due to all the unlockable shoes hidden behind challenges such as speed-running levels and killing enemies only with your feet.

Currently, Free Lives and Devolver Digital plan to release "Anger Foot" sometime in 2023.

Mina the Hollower

The video game industry is made up of fads, and one currently popular craze involves producing games with pixel graphics instead of 3D assets. In some cases, this is only window dressing as many modern pixel games utilize systems and mechanics beyond the computing power of retro consoles like the NES and Game Boy, but that's far from a criticism. Still, some studios are going all in on the retro aesthetic and developing titles that also sound and play like older games.

Yacht Club Games made a name for itself with its Kickstarter classic "Shovel Knight." For over six years, the studio relied on that game, but it's finally ready to say goodbye to the "Shovel Knight" franchise with a new title, "Mina the Hollower." If "Shovel Knight" is Yacht Club's "Super Mario Bros.," then "Mina the Hollower" is the studio's "The Legend of Zelda."

Yacht Club Games initially introduced "Mina the Hollower" as a Kickstarter project that is a top-down cross between "The Legend of Zelda" and "Castlevania" with plenty of items and a leveling system. More importantly, "Mina the Hollower" is designed to replicate the look and feel of Game Boy Color games, right down to the limited color palette and chiptune music.

Given Yacht Club Games' experience with "Shovel Knight," and the content shown on the Kickstarter page, "Mina the Hollower" is shaping up to be a worthy successor the studio hopes to release later this year.

Pizza Tower

Nintendo releases a new "Super Mario" game every now and then, and the developers usually rely on the same batch of heroes and villains. It's easy to forget that the ancillary antagonist Wario, who is now relegated to "Mario" sports games and "Warioware" titles, used to have his own line of platformers. The studio Tour de Pizza didn't forget.

"Pizza Tower" is a game that draws from many inspirations. The Steam page openly admits the title was heavily inspired by the "Wario Land" series, whereas the art style looks like something out of a 90's cartoon, and not just because the Steam page says so. The screenshots are certainly eye-catching, but only when you see the game in action via a trailer do you realize how fluid the pixels are. They look like they were rotoscoped over hand-crafted drawings. And the video's accompanying music is probably one of the most energetic tunes you will hear this year.

Apparently, the release of "Pizza Tower" has been a long time coming. According to the developer's blog, the game idea started as a horror RPG where the main character had to fight evil pizza monsters "Evil Dead style." When that didn't work, the game morphed into something more akin to "Ghosts 'n Goblins," which eventually dropped the "Evil Dead" angle. In 2018, the game we would eventually know as "Pizza Tower" began development proper, and it was released on January 26 of this year.


Video games are usually the product of giant, sprawling teams of coders, writers, and designers. Yet all of these employees are united under the vision of directors and lead designers who steer development. When one of these brains strike out on their own, we usually can expect great things, especially if they had previously cooked up some very memorable titles.

"Cocoon" is the first project of Geometric Interactive, a studio founded by Jeppe Carlsen, the lead gameplay designer behind Playdead's "Limbo" and "Inside." Unlike those games, which are puzzle platformers, "Cocoon" will be a puzzle adventurer. What's the difference? In Cocoon, the main character will carry literal worlds on their back in the form of orbs. Each will contain its own puzzles, but the key to solving them will require players to use abilities unique to each orb and shift between them to solve even more puzzles, one step at a time. The result is bound to be an adventure as promising as it is mind-bending.

While Geometric Interactive hasn't released a demo for "Cocoon" yet, Carlsen's name has already elevated the title. "Limbo" and "Inside" are beloved indie games praised for, among other things, their intentionally simple yet deceptively meticulous gameplay designs. The premise of "Cocoon" sounds amazing, but it also sounds difficult to realize and make enjoyable. Carlsen's association provides hope that the game can deliver.

While the Steam page for "Cocoon" only has "Coming soon" for its release date, the game's official web page promises a 2023 launch.


Lately, boomer shooters have taken their rightful place in the FPS food chain. However, since many AAA publishers tend to bet on military shooters, boomer shooters are usually the product of indie studios. But that just gives us an excuse to introduce you to games you probably never heard of. Case in point, "Witchfire."

"Witchfire" is the latest game by The Astronauts, the studio behind "The Vanishing of Ethan Carter." It might sound risky to get excited for an FPS developed by a company known for a narrative walking simulator, but The Astronauts' staff also developed "Painkiller" and "Bulletstorm," which are cult classic boomer shooters in their own right. This legacy gives us hope for "Witchfire," and it helps that the game looks fast and beautiful.

The Astronauts teased "Witchfire" in 2017, and while the trailer enthralled audiences, it lacked a release window. Moreover, the studio didn't talk about the game much until recently. Before 2022, all we got were some WIP gameplay clips here and there, but last year's trailers have shown off even more action. The latest video, which aired during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023, demonstrated what the game will look like with DLSS 3. Better yet, the video provided a release window of "Coming soon." However, we probably won't get the finished version, as the official The Astronauts site stated "Witchfire" will soon come to the Epic Games Store in Early Access form. After five years of waiting, that's better than nothing.

Sea of Stars

Kickstarter is an excellent source of indie titles inspired by retro games. When the developer of "The Messenger," Sabotage Studio, wanted to publish their own RPG, they turned to the crowdfunding site. And even though their project has been delayed, it is now almost ready.

"Sea of Stars" is a retro turn-based RPG that is a prequel to "The Messenger." Just looking at the reveal trailer is enough to entice most audiences. Like "The Messenger," "Sea of Stars" will sport a lovely pixel aesthetic with smooth animations and a robust lighting system. And of course, we have to mention the music, which was composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the man who wrote the "Chrono Trigger" soundtrack. No, Sabotage Studio didn't ask him to join; he asked to join them. You know a Western-developed RPG is doing something right when one of the greatest RPG composers of all time wants in.

Originally, Sabotage Studio wanted to release "Sea of Stars" in 2022, but the company had to push the game back to 2023. The reasoning was understandable, as Sabotage Studio wanted to ensure the game's quality but also maintain a life-work balance for their developers working in the coding trenches. The entire library of Supergiant Games demonstrates that crunch isn't necessary in game development, and more often than not audiences are willing to wait for a quality title if they are confident the studio can deliver. "Sea of Stars" might be yet another piece of evidence for both claims.

Season: A Letter to the Future

Video games epitomize the phrase "different strokes for different folks." Want something that will challenge your reflexes and patience? Play "Dark Souls." Want a party-based multiplayer that lets you have fun with (and dominate) your friends? Try "Mario Party" or "Mario Kart." Want a simulated and relaxing cross-country bike ride? You will probably enjoy an upcoming indie game.

"Season: A Letter to the Future" is the second title by Savengers Studio, the company behind "Darwin Project," but the two games couldn't be more different. Instead of providing another battle royale experience, "Season" will be a soothing trip where players can explore a mysterious world at their own pace. The game's narrative might revolve around the end of the world (sort of), but instead of fighting enemies, "Season" will be all about taking pictures, recording ambient sounds, and putting them all in a scrapbook for future generations — assuming there are any.

Even though "Season: A Letter to the Future" hasn't released yet, it has already won several awards, and it was one of the more popular titles during Steam's October 2022Next Fest. Even though the demo isn't available anymore, it's hard not to fall in love with the game just by watching one of the many recordings.

Originally, Scavenger Studio wanted to release "Season: A Letter to the Future" in Autumn 2022, but the company decided to push the game back to 2023 in order to guarantee its quality without sacrificing the "wellbeing" of developers. Currently, the game is set to launch January 31, 2023.

Sons of the Forest

Survival games are a dime a dozen, but like other overpopulated genres, some outlast their rivals. One such game is "The Forest," an indie darling that lets players team up against cannibalistic mutants in, well, an isolated forest. The game received a ton of praise, but nobody expected it would ever receive a sequel.

"Sons of the Forest" will be, by all accounts, "The Forest" 2.0 in the best way possible. Like the original, this title will be an open-world survival experience where players fend off mutants in an isolated forest. The Steam page promises new mechanics such as a season system that affects the abundance of resources such as food, while trailers show off additions such as new weapons and mutants.

Few gamers and outlets have received hands-on time with "Sons of the Forest," but those who have (such as IGN) praised what they experienced. Plus, they got to reveal more new features, such as AI companions who can follow commands and streamline resource-gathering busywork. And speaking of AI, according to these lucky testers, enemies will be smarter and have more situational awareness than they had in the original "The Forest."

While the developers of "Sons of the Forest" initially aimed for a May 20, 2022 release date, like many games on this list, the studio had to temper its expectations. Currently, the game is set to launch sometime in February this year.