With the month of March freshly in the rearview, 2023 is roughly twenty-five percent over. Statistically, that means there’s a twenty-five percent chance that your favorite game of the year has already come out, and you might not have even noticed yet. Spring is here, and with it, we’ve got another crop of under-the-radar indie games from March 2023 that you should check out.
1. Misericorde: Volume One
Developer: XEECEE Publisher: XEECEE Platform(s): PC For Fans Of: Pentiment, Danganronpa, Disco Elysium
There’s been a murder at a monastery in the 15th century, and every nun is a suspect. Every nun, that is, except you, because you are an anchoress, a nun who lives most of her life sealed inside one room in order to better focus on scripture. As the only person who could not have done the gristly deed, you’re tasked with investigating your fellow nuns.
This visual novel combines a striking black-and-white art style, a tight murder mystery, and a charming cast of memorable characters. Every suspect you meet in the monastery is full of personality and warmth, making the world feel vibrant and compelling. The central mystery is full of heady twists and complex ideas that will keep you guessing and enthralled as you get lost in this monastery’s dark corners.
Developer: FakeFish, Undertow Games Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment Platform(s): PC, Mac For Fans Of: FTL, Sunless Sea, Phasmophobia
Working on a submarine is, by all accounts, a fairly stressful occupation. Barotrauma ratchets up that stress by throwing you and your teammates in a tiny undersea vessel and forcing you to try and survive in dark waters full of massive monsters. But the sea beasts aren’t the only threat – there’s the whole “being in a tin can underwater” thing to worry about. Fix leaks, watch your oxygen levels, and try to keep your little tub in one piece.
Gameplay-wise, Barotrauma is a 2D co-op survival horror experience. Launching out of a lengthy Early Access period, the developers have taken the time to cram Barotrauma to the brim with neat features. Players can team up, taking on different jobs like engineer or doctor, fulfilling different roles and completing tasks to fulfill their mission objectives. Conflict can come from without (giant sea monsters) or within (your surgeon is harvesting your crew’s organs), meaning you and your pals will have to keep your heads on a swivel at all times. Tense, rigorous, and oftentimes accidentally hilarious in how your blunders can snowball, Barotrauma is equal parts Phasmophobia and Among Us, with a beautiful nautical aesthetic.
3. King of the Castle
Developer: Tributary Games Publisher: Team17 Platform(s): PC For Fans Of: Jackbox Games, Reigns, Twitch Polls
This one’s for the streamers, or for anyone who loves a nice party game. King of the Castle, which requires at least 4 players, casts one player as the titular King, with everyone else taking on roles of different advisors in the King’s court. The King will make decisions on various prompts, like questions about who should be taxed, or whether at the coronation the King should be harmlessly thrown into the river. However, the other players can also vote and sway the King’s decisions, meaning the balance of power is never as clear cut as it may seem.
To add more complexity players may have secret agendas and unique win conditions which may not become clear until they’ve almost seized victory. Streamers can also easily integrate Twitch polls for added chaos. An enormous amount of prompts and potential win conditions mean you’ll go a very long time without seeing any repeated material, and ensure that every King’s reign will be memorable.
Developer: Black Salt Games Publisher: Team17 Platform(s): PC, PS5, PS4, Switch, Xbox Series X & S, Xbox One For Fans Of:Stardew Valley, Bloodborne, Darkest Dungeon
Plenty of hit games have fishing minigames built into them, but Dredge takes the act of fishing and builds it into a tense, taut cosmic horror experience. After shipwrecking on a strange cluster of islands, you’re loaned a rickety new fishing boat and tasked with fishing to make a living. What starts off as a familiar trip through the water soon takes a turn for the weird – the denizens of these islands urge you not to fish at night, and strange, mutated fish fetch a higher price than their non-warped brethren. Staying out too late may make you see strange things that aren’t really there – or are they?
Within this spine-tingling premise, you can upgrade your ship, customize your equipment, and indulge in some Resident Evil 4-style inventory management puzzles to store all of your increasingly messed up fish. A variety of biomes ratchet up the tension and dread of every journey, turning fishing from a banal side-activity to a tightrope walk of risk vs reward. These are deep, dark waters full of riches and terror in equal measure.
5. Stuffo the Puzzle Bot
Developer: Hapatus Ltd. Publisher: Hapatus Ltd Platform(s): PC, iOS, Android For Fans Of:Baba is You, Boxboy, Wall-E
Stuffo is, as the title of this indie gem suggests, a puzzle bot. More specifically, he is the last functioning puzzle bot on the planet, as the Steam page describes it, “a world filled with bite-sized brain teasers.” You’ll maneuver Stuffo through a ton of unique, brain-scratchingly clever puzzles, all rendered in beautiful pixel art.
The key element of Stuffo The Puzzle Bot that makes it stand out among its peers is just how intuitive and complex the puzzles can be. You progress by traversing to the exit of each stage, and you’ll have to move boxes, climb buildings, and all-around manipulate your environment. There’s no combat or tricky platforming to distract you, only the joyful intellectual pursuit of solving puzzles. A soothing soundtrack pairs with the relaxed future aesthetic to craft an engrossing, but never hectic, world full of brain teasers that will keep you picking apart its expertly-designed knots of level design for hours.
Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.
Gamezeen is a Zeen theme demo site. Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.