Best Indie Games of 2021

While AAA titles often get the most attention in the gaming industry and generate the most revenue, sometimes it’s the indie games that provide the most entertainment and the best overall experiences. 2021 included high-profile launches whose projects suffered delays due to the COVID=-19 pandemic, such as Battlefield 2042 and Call of Duty: Vanguard. Yet, smaller artists and developers have released a fair number of products as well. Indie games have started to get more attention in recent years, thanks in part to the declining quality of high-priced games from top-tier publishers. Luckily, those willing to invest their money in smaller game companies and developers have a huge selection of exemplary titles to choose from as they release in 2021.

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Unfortunately, many amazing indie games go unnoticed by much of the gaming community, thanks to the frequent publicity and popularity of AAA titles and franchises. Indie games span many genres, from action-adventure and RPGs to point-and-click or open-world exploration. Although these projects rarely receive sequels, indie games can offer developers the opportunity to expand beyond their current scale and embrace wider audiences and games.

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For an indie game of any genre to earn its name, the title must be developed by an indie developer or a small company, especially without the financial and programming assets available to companies like Bungie, BioWare, and other big developers. games. While it’s always possible for companies and indie developers to evolve into bigger companies or get bought out by bigger conglomerates, these games never lose their indie status. Often, indie games embrace a smaller scale of gameplay and story and are therefore much cheaper. Luckily, 2021 introduced plenty of indie games worth far more than their price points and provided dozens of hours of entertaining gameplay.


Best Indie Games of 2021: 12 Minutes


twelve minutes playstation and switch release date

Twelve Minutes is an indie time loop game with over twelve minutes of gameplay, where players must unravel a decade-old mystery and unlock multiple endings. Players control a man whose wife has just revealed her pregnancy, setting off an endless time loop until they discover the truth about their love, past, identity, and more. Developed by Luis Antonio, a former Rockstar Games and Ubisoft artist, Twelve Minutes explores the consequences of choices and details, with a strong focus on the smaller choices made throughout the game.

Twelve Minutes features the talents of James McAvoy and Daisy Ridley and has received nominations for several awards over the past year. The unique storytelling form combined with thrilling mysteries and multiple endings makes it easy for players to enjoy this indie title and explore numerous outcomes and opportunities throughout their playthroughs. The game also received an 8/10 rating from IGN, 76% from Metacritic, and four stars from Screen Rant. Twelve Minutes is available on PC, Xbox, Switch, and PlayStation systems and is well worth its $20 price tag.


Best Indie Games of 2021: Kena: Bridge of Spirits


Kena meditates among the rot in Taro's tree in Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Kena: Bridge of Spirits confronts the uncomfortable subject of death, exploring the fate of traumatized minds unable to move forward in the world. In Kena: Bridge of Spirits’ story, players control Kena, a spirit guide tasked with helping deceased souls on their final journey. Unfortunately, a masked spirit corrupts the local forest, leading Kena on an adventure through the remnants of a village wiped out by disease and volcanic eruptions. Players encounter multiple spirits with tragic stories and endings, ultimately pursuing a masked being responsible for corrupting the forest.

Filled with emotions and thrilling gameplay, Kena faces death with an open mind and uses beautiful environments and soundtracks to make the journey more enjoyable. Developed and published by Ember Studios, Kena: Bridge of Spirits garnered positive reviews from numerous gaming outlets, including an 8/10 from IGN, 83% from Metacritic, and 4.5 stars from Screen Rant. Kena: Bridge of Spirits is nominated for multiple awards at The Game Awards 2021 and is available now on PC and PlayStation.


Best Indie Games of 2021: Overboard!


game at sea

Many murder and thriller games explore the story of a detective tracking down the killer, but few games bother to take the murderer’s point of view. In At the sea!, players control a famous actress (Veronica Villensey) whose splendor has begun to fade over the years. As her fame wanes, she abruptly murders her husband by throwing him overboard to claim his life insurance. The game is purely narrative, exploring the intricacies of choice and encouraging players to explore new options for securing an alibi for the recently widowed actress.

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While At the sea! has less action than games like Kena: Bridge of Spirits, it provides players with frequent opportunities to reward their creativity. Dynamic characters fill the cruise ship, encouraging dozens of parties to get the perfect alibi and get away with murder. In an age where AAA games are serious time commitments, At the sea! offers the opportunity to experience an evolving story in a few thrilling minutes. Developed in two months by Inkle Studios, At the sea! is available on Nintendo Switch, Mobile, and PC for $10.

Best Indie Games of 2021: Omno


Omno

Omno is a Kickstarter funded Third Person Adventure, Exploration and Puzzle game developed by Jonas Manke. Although there are no voices or words, Omno focuses exclusively on storytelling through world-building and the emotions and atmosphere of indie gaming. Players can uncover the stories and history of the beings and civilizations that came before them, continuing their pilgrimage to the Light. Some information reveals itself through relics located in the open world called “Staff Bearers”, but players rely on their instincts.


Omno uses light as a valuable tool for world discovery, with light emanating from the player character’s staff pointing towards objectives in new areas. Corn Omno has just a few hours of gameplay, its vibrant environments and dynamic world encourage deep investigation. Combined with a stunning soundtrack, Omno is a must-have for indie gamers looking for respite from chaotic action and overexposure.

Best Indie Games of 2021: Death’s Door


Death's Gate Seed of Life

Unlike previous 2021 indie games on this list, which take death very seriously, The gate of death is a goofy action-adventure RPG where players control a reaper called Crow. Unfortunately, their targeted soul is stolen by a thief who flees to an immortal land. In the immortal world, creatures overflowing with greed and power, forcing Ravens to adapt and evolve in their environment. Players face complex enemies and bosses while enjoying a cartoonish and dynamic art style.

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In addition to battling enemies, players must also solve puzzles to progress through the mythical world, which bears many similarities to medieval lands. Acid Nerve, the company in charge of The gate of death development, is led by two people in the UK, who managed to create a game that got 9/10 from IGN, GameInformer and Destructoid, and 85% from Metacritic. The gate of death is available now on Xbox, PlayStation, PC and Nintendo Switch systems.

Best Indie Games of 2021: Sand


Shedworks Sand Open world game without combat

Sable is a non-combat open-world indie game that offers players immense freedom, using unlimited environments and a unique quest system to unleash players’ imaginations and exceed standard expectations of modern games. Players control Sable, a desert nomad seeking to complete a rite of passage to join her tribe. Customization options are available for his cape and hoverbike, but the game’s lack of combat eliminates any possible attack or move customization.

Corn Sable takes place exclusively in deserts and dunes, the environment does not become tiring. Dynamic lighting and quicksand keep the world fresh, with simplistic graphics bringing an otherworldly feel to the project. The lack of direct leadership within sand the gameplay encourages players to explore all the world’s offerings, creating believable characters in their daily lives. Various Gaming Outlets Reviewed Sable with PC Games giving it an 8/10 rating, Game Informer giving it an 8.75/10 rating, and PC Gamer rating the project at 93%. Sable is available now for PC and Xbox systems.


Best Indie Games of 2021: Genesis Noir


Genesis Black Xbox Game Pass Best Art Style

The latest indie game released in 2021 that provides ample entertainment that is well worth its price is Genesis Black, a point-and-click adventure game that depicts the birth of the universe. Players control an entity called No-Man, who can control the weather and embark on a film noir-style adventure. No-Man rescues Miss Mass, a nightclub singer he recently broke up with, from Golden Boy, a saxophonist in the same band. Different characters are personifications of various aspects of the universe, with No-Man representing time, Golden Boy representing energy, and Miss Mass representing the mass of the universe.

Like most black projects, Genesis Black embraces a darker side of existence and one person’s inability to save everything or everyone. While point-and-click adventures may seem mundane compared to other titles, Genesis Black makes every frame of the indie game meaningful. Genesis Black is available now on PC, Nintendo Switch and Xbox systems, and is one of the best of 2021 indie games.

Next: The Highest Rated Video Games of 2021 (According to Metacritic)


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