10 Best Indie Games Of 2022

AAA games ain’t got nothing on these.

Vampire Survivors
Vampire Survivors

The year 2022 is nearly finished, and while everyone’s GOTY conversations will likely involve a few of the same titles, the indie scene has also had a fantastic year of releases, with games that are smartly made, beautifully designed, and full of memorable experiences.

From surprise smash hit cat sims to lovably inscrutable throwbacks, 2022 had more than its fair share of noteworthy indie games. While so many small titles worked their way into our gamer hearts, these are the cream of the crop. Here are the best indie games of 2022 across PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S, and Switch.


10. Stray

Stray game
Stray game

Developer: BlueTwelve Studio
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5

The indie game that had the most mainstream impact this year was likely BlueTwelve Studio’s stunning futuristic cat simulator, Stray. A single cat, separated from its family, must navigate through a post-humanity world populated by sentient machines. Stray’s gorgeous environments and charming talking robots with CRT TV faces make Stray’s version of the far future feel wholly unique.

It helps that jumping around as a cat, with a dedicated ‘meow’ button, is also fun as hell. Every animation your cat has is dripping with real-world feline quirks. You’ll knead curtains, roll around on the floor, and take naps on any cozy surface you can find, all while a fascinating story about what it means to live in a world you don’t understand plays out in the background.


9. Not For Broadcast

Developer: NotGames
Publisher: tinyBuild
Platforms: PC

Not For Broadcast tasks you to take control of a TV channel and censor it in accordance to increasingly draconian fascist guidelines. Manage different camera feeds and balance your own moral compass with what it takes to keep your job (and your life). The simulation is tight and complex enough to keep you on your toes, and the narrative branches swerve into unpredictable directions as you try to keep a lid on the simmering political stew you’ve got brewing.

While this pitch might make Not For Broadcast sound overly grim, there’s a gallows humor that runs through the experience, providing dark laughs at the expense of authoritarian regimes and the people who applaud them. It’s a biting satire that happens to scratch the immersive sim itch.


8. Betrayal at Club Low

Betrayal At Club Low
Betrayal At Club Low

Developer: Cosmo D Studios
Publisher: Cosmo D Studios
Platforms: PC

By far one of the weirdest games of 2022, Betrayal at Club Low tasks you, a deeply clumsy undercover investigator, to sneak into the titular Club Low and exfiltrate a fellow agent by pretending to be a pizza delivery person. This premise quickly balloons into a goofy, surreal funhouse, as your character resorts to more and more absurd lengths to achieve their goals.

Challenges might include hiding in a dumpster, trying to lull a guard to sleep with long stories, or dancing to distract people while you cut in line. Every challenge involves rolling a set of dice, and successes and failures both bring baggage that affects your character in future challenges. If Disco Elysium was about the three stooges and written by someone on cough syrup, it would be Betrayal at Club Low.


7. Hyper Demon

Hyper Demon
Hyper Demon

Developer: Sorath
Publisher: Sorath
Platforms: PC

For some gamers, the problem with even the gnarliest first-person shooters is that they’re just too darn easy, and the enemies don’t come at them fast enough. Hyper Demon, the second game from Sorath, answers this call for greater challenges by blowing out your field of view until you’re blasting enemies with a 180-degree field of vision.

Hyper Demon feels like a game from an apocalyptic future – there’s no concept of narrative or humanity anymore, just an adrenaline rush down into hell to try and claim a new high score. Enemies come from everywhere, your weapons resound and boom with tooth-shaking power, and the razor’s edge-balance of control and danger will pull you in with all of the visceral fury and power that parents feared the original DOOM had back in 1993.


6. Tunic

Tunic game

Developer: TUNIC Team
Publisher: Finji
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S, Nintendo Switch

Fans of classic Zelda titles and other NES-era adventure games will find a lot of familiar feelings in Tunic, one of the year’s biggest Indie hits and easily one of the best indie games in 2022. Players control a little heroic fox in a strange fantasy world – one that, crucially, explains nothing to the player at first. Pages of a game manual can be discovered that will explain different mechanics, but most of Tunic involves blind exploration and experimentation – just like in the old days, before tutorials and guides spelled everything out.

While this gimmick is a fun way to encourage players to explore and experiment, Tunic is also just a fundamentally strong game. Beautiful visuals with eye-popping colors, fiendishly clever puzzles, and stunning boss battles all elevate this adventure beyond its distinct lack of instructions. This is a world you’ll want to get lost in.


5. Signalis

Signalis game
Signalis game

Developer: rose-engine
Publisher: Humble Games, PLAYISM
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S, Nintendo Switch

Signalis is another of 2022’s best indie games that takes ideas and designs from yesteryear and updates them for today’s sensibilities. The survival horror genre, made famous by the original Resident Evil and Silent Hill games, gets a needed facelift here, joining sci-fi and cosmic horror into a beautifully grotesque final package.

As the android Elster, you’ll explore the wreckage of a work site on an alien world in search of your partner, and unravel a horrible conspiracy about how the workers on this planet may have dug up something they shouldn’t have. Enemies are numerous and ammo is limited, so you’ll have to pick and choose your battles as you skulk through dark corridors and cobble together the truth of your world.

Fans of the classics of the genre will be immersed in no time in Signalis’ alluring nightmare.


4. Citizen Sleeper

Citizen Sleeper
Citizen Sleeper

Developer: Jump Over The Age
Publisher: Fellow Traveller
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S, Nintendo Switch

Citizen Sleeper, in addition to being one of the overall best indie games of 2022, is possibly the single best narrative in a game of this year. As a ‘Sleeper’ (a machine body with the copied mind of a human being trapped inside), you’ve escaped the massive factory that ran you and other sleepers into the ground, taking refuge on a derelict space station. Starving, broke, and with nowhere to go, you’ll need to scrounge for scraps and do favors to make connections and make a home for yourself.

Gameplay involves getting a stash of six-sided dice to roll each day, determining how well you perform tasks and how well you endear yourself to your community. Depending on your actions, you’ll find friends, make lifelong enemies that hunt you down, and even find a cat to feed – all rendered in beautiful sci-fi art and striking, insightful writing.

Fans of the game also have something to look forward to, as two post-game expansions, entitled ‘Flux’ and ‘Refuge’ respectively, have been released, with a third and final free expansion coming next year.


3. The Case of the Golden Idol

The Case of the Golden Idol
The Case of the Golden Idol

Developer: Color Gray Games
Publisher: Playstack
Platforms: PC

The Case of the Golden Idol lets you play detective in some of the most deliciously complex puzzles in recent gaming memory. At first, each new murder scene will feel like a unique episode, but connective tissue emerges between episodes and a great, sprawling conspiracy concerning secret societies and strange magics comes into view. The sheer joy that comes from accurately piecing together the truth in each scene is incredible, especially in the later chapters where the scope of events expands to an epic scale.

If you want a game that truly makes you feel like a genius when you complete it, The Case of the Golden Idol is the best offer since The Return of the Obra Dinn. While its mysteries are never fully opaque, you’ll still need to use every ounce of your gray matter in order to solve this most curious case.


2. Vampire Survivors

Vampire Survivors
Vampire Survivors

Developer: poncle
Publisher: poncle
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S, Android

Possibly the biggest surprise in all of gaming in 2022, Vampire Survivors came out of nowhere and made an impression in no time at all.

Billed as a ‘time survival game with minimalistic gameplay and roguelike elements,’ Vampire Survivors is a sort of bullet hell game in reverse: As you move through a gothic battlefield and automatically attack all manner of Castelvania-esque enemies, you’ll pick up more and more weapons and attacks until you’re barely moving while hordes of zombies are automatically fried by your barrage of attacks that fill the screen.

An extremely successful early access run that started early this year led to an equally positive full release before Vampire Survivors jumped to Xbox consoles, bringing this hyper-addictive semi-idle/roguelike endeavor to an even wider audience, and sucking up countless hours of players’ lives like a creature of the night.




Developer: Geography of Robots
Publisher: Raw Fury
Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X & S, Xbox One, PC

In a future scarred by climate change and a vague Civil War, life is hard and happy times are few and far between. As Kay, you return home to NORCO, a town named after the oil company that runs a refinery at its heart and owns most of the land, to collect your late mother’s personal effects, and in the process unravel a grand conspiracy about your hometown, your heritage, and the state of small communities on the periphery of disasters.

Is this set up dour? Absolutely. But is NORCO also the best indie game of 2022, an incredible example of the power and potential for video games as a medium? Also yes.

Despite the oppressively heavy setting (your mother died of cancer from living so close to the toxic oil refinery, a fate many people in town have shared or will share), NORCO is a game you won’t want to leave. Every moment is bursting with incredible writing, beautiful pixel art, and an incredible cast of characters like Millions, your robot house worker, or the unblinking sock monkey who joins your party at the start of the game. There’s also a ton of humor, like the crooked hot dog vendor selling years-old dogs, or the cult of guys named Garrett who dress like Best Buy employees.

Owing a lot of its gameplay to classic point-and-click adventure games, NORCO tasks you with learning about the world and becoming a part of it, which you won’t mind when every setting and every character is so full of personality. It’s a beautifully-told story, rendered in lush visuals and conveyed through engrossing gameplay, and a sure choice for the best indie game of 2022.

READ MORE: 26 Best Indie Horror Games of All Time

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