But every so often, we should take a step back and think about what publisher-less development has given us. Some of the games on this list were made by first-time coders in a weekend, while others were made by former triple-A developers who put the same technical standards into their own work. They don’t have much in common, but they both have interesting ideas and quirks that make Steam worth exploring.
- 9 Best Rhythm Games Android That You Should Know Update 12/2023
- 9 Best Multiplayer Genesis Games That You Should Know Update 12/2023
- 9 Best Switch Party Games That You Should Know Update 12/2023
- 10 Best Games Like Horizon Zero Dawn That You Should Know Update 12/2023
- 10 Best Games Like Dead By Daylight That You Should Know Update 12/2023
So, what’s our final list of the best independent films? It has everything, from puzzle games to games with amazing stories to pixel art games to the most beautiful, graphically detailed gems. You’ll probably want to play all of them.
If you’ve ever wanted to play a tabletop roleplaying game with friends but didn’t have a dungeon master, Wildermyth is the best way to do it. As your unique group of heroes goes out into the world, they have all kinds of adventures that shape their personalities and personal stories. Since each story is procedurally generated, you end up playing through a story that is completely unique.
Your characters get older, fall in love, and die, but you can keep their stories going in future games. It has a great story, beautiful papercraft art, and can be played over and over again.
At first glance, Inscryption looks like a card game, but it’s actually a lot more than that. The first part of the game is a mix of Slay the Spire and lane-based card games, but it has a macabre feel to it because you have to kill smaller animals to play bigger and better ones that will kill your opponent.
As you look around the creepy log cabin you’re playing in, the creepy atmosphere gets worse. Inscryption is also a bit like an escape room game, where you have to figure out cryptic clues to get out. Soon, it’s clear that nothing is as it seems, and trying to figure out what’s going on takes you on an unexpected trip.
The best thing about Inscryption is that you can keep playing after you finish the campaign. Opting into the beta for the free DLC, Kaycee’s Mod, turns the card game into a roguelike, adding new cards and events to keep the game feeling fresh – and handicaps to make each run more challenging to complete. If you like stories with plot twists and dark secrets, you should look into Inscryption.
Unpacking would already be a work of art if it was just a game about sorting and putting away your things in a Marie Kondo-style way. But this simple, relaxing organisation game manages, without words, to tell the story of a person’s journey through life through each move.
The game starts in a single bedroom, but as the main character, who you can’t see, grows up, you get to explore her bigger and more complicated homes. Your aim? Unpack. There are several boxes on each level. Take everything out of each box and put it where it belongs.
There’s a beautiful tension between the fact that there isn’t really a “wrong” answer to what is basically a puzzle and the fact that that’s not where you put a toothbrush, silly. Unpacking is both sad and relaxing. It’s a great game to play when you just want to chill out and put things in order without having to do it in real life. Just don’t watch someone else play it, because it may reveal things about them that you don’t like.
Disco Elysium might have been the best independent video game of 2019. After a night of drinking that made you forget everything, they put you in the dirty shoes of a detective and told you to look into a brutal murder right away. With no traditional combat to speak of, Disco Elysium is all about wrestling with your own psyche in order to form the kind of detective you want to be, and then employing this fractured personality to get answers from suspects.
This wouldn’t work without great writing, and in this way, Disco Elysium is the best RPG out there. The best thing about this detective game is that there are so many conversational threads to choose from, and every single one of them is full of personality.
Valheim stands out from other co-op survival games because of its beautiful art style and dream-like Norse setting. The survival mechanics aren’t too hard, so you can build mead halls and roundhouses in relative peace while watching the sun set and the mist roll in.
But Vikings who want a challenge can sail across the procedurally generated wilderness, wading through swamps and scrambling up frozen mountains to defeat a series of Valheim bosses and bring back a lot of trophies and gold. Just remember that the pig loves you.
Action-adventure game Death’s Door was made in the style of classics like The Legend of Zelda and Dark Souls. You play as a crow whose job is to collect the souls of monsters for the Reaping Commission Headquarters, a mysterious but surprisingly bureaucratic organisation.
These monsters don’t want to give up their lives, and they’re willing to fight for them. You have to make your way through dungeons, cemeteries, and overgrown ruins while solving puzzles and fighting small enemies.
Death’s Door stands out from other games because of how well it looks and how well it fights. The enemies are hard to kill, but the level of difficulty is just right. Combat feels great because every slash of your sword has weight to it.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a roguelike game about a damned boy who shoots tears out of his eyes to defeat monsters. It may not sound like a big seller on paper, but few roguelikes do it as well as this one.
It’s a weird adventure game about the effects of domestic abuse, and you should play it if only for the other indie games it’s inspired over the years. Once you start playing The Binding of Isaac, it gets into your head and doesn’t let go until you’re on the hundredth procedurally generated level and haven’t stopped for hours.