101 New & Upcoming Indie Games We're Excited About

The Lists Joe Jasko 7/18/2014 at 9:04AM

See what the future of indie games holds for 2014 and beyond. 101 titles to get excited about!

We’re huge fans of indie games here at Den of Geek, and for very good reason! Many of today’s independent game developers are responsible for some of the most creative experiences in the entire industry, and that’s all without the staff or funding of the bigger blockbuster companies. In fact, we love indie games so much that we decided to make a gigantic list about all of the ones we’re excited to see in 2014 and beyond. 101 of them, to be exact.

And trust us: there are a whole lot of them out there. So we wanted to compile the most comprehensive list of new and upcoming indie games that we possibly could, spanning all kinds of genres, stories, and art styles. Because of this, you’ll be seeing games from the bigger indie studios like Telltale Games and Double Fine, but also your fair share of smaller studios, some with only a single team member to their name.

While the vast majority of games on our list are still coming up on the horizon, or hovering in the far-off distant future of “TBA,” a handful of them have already been released while we were writing this list and are available to play right now! What’s more, the next year is going to be especially exciting too, since we will see the long-awaited follow-ups to some of the indie world’s most iconic and defining games, like Limbo, Braid, and Super Meat Boy.

[Related: The Indie Game Surge]

So these are our handpicked 101 new and upcoming indie games that we’re super excited about playing (listed alphabetically, for your convenience and for our sanity). Do you share in our excitement about these picks? Are there any other awesome looking indie games out there that we need to know about? Hit the replies and share in our love of all things indie! And who knows, you might just find your next favorite game in the process.

1. A Bird Story

Developer: Freebird Games | Release Date: TBA | Platforms: PC

If you’re in the market for sad and emotionally draining gaming experiences, then nothing will empty that tissue box faster than To the Moon from Freebird Games. Now the developer is gearing up to release their next project, and everything about A Bird Story makes it sound like it's going to be just as magical as its predecessor. The surreal story follows “a boy and a bird with a broken wing," and is actually set within the same universe as the tear-jerking To the Moon, with the events of A Bird Story taking place sometime beforehand.

2. A Hat in Time

Developer: Gears for Breakfast | Release Date: TBA 2014 | Platforms: PC, Mac

At its heart, A Hat in Time is a tribute to the open-world platformers of old, like Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64. Players take control of an interstellar time traveler named Hat Kid in a race to collect hidden time pieces and stop the evil Mustache Girl (sounds pretty evil to me!). It’s also one of the most refreshingly colorful games we’ve seen in quite some time, and its environments call to mind such greats as Super Mario Sunshine.

3. A Story About My Uncle

Developer: Gone North Games | Release Date: May 28, 2014 | Platforms: PC

Everyone always seems to have that one crazy uncle who tells all the wild stories during family get-togethers, right? Described as a “non-violent” first-person platforming adventure game, A Story About My Uncle focuses on the atmospheric journey of a boy who is searching to the ends of distant worlds for his uncle. But what makes A Story About My Uncle unique is the game’s fast-paced grappling hook mechanic, which allows your character to swing across chasms in a number of fantastical and breathtaking environments. That’s going to make for one crazy story during Thanksgiving this year!

4. Aban Hawkins and the 1001 Spikes

Developer: Nicalis, Inc. | Release Date: June 3, 2014 | Platforms: PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Wii U, 3DS, PC, Mac

For the die-hard fan of blistering NES platformers, you’ll need look no further than Aban Hawkins and the 1001 Spikes. This dungeon-themed platformer game features a furious difficulty, with an emphasis on surprise and brutal deaths (they don’t let you start out with 1001 lives for nothing, after all!). But better yet, you’ll even be able to embark on the death-defying adventure with up to three friends, as you unlock new costumes for Aban that let him resemble some of gaming’s greatest heroes, from Mario to Commander Video.

5. Abzu

Developer: Giant Squid and 505 Games| Release Date: 2016 | Platforms: PS4, PC

There’s really no better way to describe Abzu right now than to call it an underwater version of Journey. But I know that this game is going to be so much more than that comparison. Coming from two Journey devs themselves, Abzu is ethereal in every sense of the word, with sprawling underwater scenes that positively glisten as your character swims through them. The title is a combination of two ancient words which mean “ocean” and “to know,” even though the game is still very early in development and we REALLY want to know more!

6. Affordable Space Adventures

Developer: KnapNok Games and Nifflas | Release Date: Fall 2014 | Platforms: Wii U

Aren’t you sick of all those super expensive space adventures out there? I know I am. That’s why I’m so excited about Affordable Space Adventures, because as the name implies, you’ll get to experience the vast throes of space without spending millions upon millions of dollars! This Wii U exclusive game puts players in control of a tiny spacecraft that moves on a sidescrolling plane, and you’ll need to fly and explore the darkest corners of the universe and unveil all sorts of unexpected adventures that might be lying in wait.

7. Always Sometimes Monsters

Developer: Vagabond Dog | Release Date: May 21, 2014 | Platforms: PC

Always Sometimes Monsters might be one of the most refreshing RPGs that you’ll play this year. And that’s precisely because the premise of the story is heavily founded in realism, and focuses on the proverbial “monsters” that can always be present during life’s many hardships. For instance, your character has a lot of devastating demons that might sound all too familiar: “Your landlord’s taken the key back, you can’t finish your manuscript, and your beloved is marrying someone else.” I’ll take the literal, teeth-gnashing monsters over that any day!

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8. Among The Sleep

Developer: Krillbite Studio | Release Date: May 29, 2014 (PC) | Platform: PS4, PC, Mac

You know what all of the best horror movies have in common these days? The use of absolutely terrifying little kids! Well now it looks like someone has tapped into that winning formula and superimposed it into the video game world. Among the Sleep is a first-person horror adventure in which the player controls a two-year-old child, wandering around in the middle of the night and undoubtedly walking into a horrific happening or two.

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9. Armikrog

Developers: Pencil Test Studios | Release Date: Q4 2014 | Platforms: PC, Mac, Wii U

From the creators of Earthworm Jim comes Armikrog, a brand new adventure game that’s made entirely out of clay. Yup, you read that right, and the game’s smooth claymation presentation looks even cooler than you can possibly imagine. In fact, the game looks so cool and holds so much promise that it managed to raise just under $1 million on Kickstarter. A point-and-click adventure game at its heart, Armikrog follows the tale of a space explorer named Tommynaut, who crash lands on a foreign planet and ends up getting imprisoned alongside his faithful (and blind) dog, Beak-Beak.

10. Artizens

Developer: Artizens, Inc. | Release Date: TBA | Platforms: PC, Mac

If we told you that Artizens was like a sidescrolling version of Shadow of the Colossus with four-player co-op capabilities, would you believe us? Well, you’d better believe it, because that’s exactly what this highly creative take on the open-world adventure genre looks like. The game also puts a big emphasis on crafting and customization, and players will even have the opportunity to use their favorite drawing programs to draw their very own weapons and equipment right into the game!

11. Asylum

Developer: Senscape | Release Date: TBA 2014 | Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS

No matter how many horror games you’ve played in your life, there’s nothing quite like the basics of exploring a totally spooked-out building. And that’s exactly what Asylum from Senscape has in store. Featuring over 100 chilling rooms to explore throughout the titular asylum, this game promises a “mature and disturbing horror storyline that will haunt you for years to come.” And looking at the first released screenshots of Asylum in action, I’d say that’s a very real (and absolutely terrifying) possibility.

12. Avalanche 2: Super Avalanche

Developer: Beast Games | Release Date: TBA | Platforms: PC

At first glance, Avalanche 2: Super Avalanche is a simple game. Players take control of a fluffy white marshmallow and must continuously jump towards the top of the screen by utilizing a number of falling blocks before the hot lava at your heels finally catches up with you. Because everyone knows that marshmallows hate hot lava. But then you start seeing the boss fights, the power-ups, the co-op modes, and the addictive high scores that will quickly make this one of the most quintessential platformers that you’ll play in ages.

13. The Beard in the Mirror

Developer: Oh, a Rock! Studios | Release Date: Q4 2014 | Platforms: PC

The Beard in the Mirror is an incredibly retro point-and-click adventure game, and also the debut title from the developing duo known as Oh, a Rock! Studios. The story of the game follows a 22-year-old boy who “doesn’t know who he is, where he’s going, or how he fits into the world.” Now that’s a description that really hits home! But soon enough, the boy will meet a girl who lets him see outside himself, and beyond the boundaries of his own universe, which he once thought was all he’d ever know.

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14. Before

Developer: Bill Lowe and Pal Trefall | Release Date: TBA | Platforms: PC, Mac

In the pre-historic game Before, survival is everything. Whether it’s in scrounging for food and other resources, or defending yourself from nature’s most wild inhabitants, you’ll need to do whatever it takes to keep your tribe safe. We don’t know much else about Before just yet (other than what we’ve seen from ancient cave drawings), but the blocky visual art style is sure to be matched by an equally stylish form of survival gameplay.

15. Below

Developer: Capybara Games | Release Date: TBA | Platforms: Xbox One, PC

If there’s one indie game that absolutely stole the show at this year’s PAX East, than that game was without question Below from Capybara Games. It’s somewhat difficult even now to come up with the words to describe why Below is such an enthralling game and perfect example of high art in the industry, with a quiet but dangerous world full of careful dungeon crawling and permadeath consequences.

16. Bigfoot Hunter

Developer: The Tap Lab | Release Date: April 14, 2014 | Platforms: iOS

When we stumbled upon the Bigfoot Hunter booth at this year’s PAX East, The Tap Lab described their new game to us as “Pokemon Snap, but with Bigfoot.” Naturally, we were instantly sold. The game uses your mobile device’s gyroscopic features to function just like a camera, as you move it around and try to locate the Bigfoot that’s hiding in a number of fun and cartoony outdoor environments. And true to Pokemon Snap fashion, you’ll even have a variety of bait types at your disposal to help draw the big guy out in the open.

17. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

Developer: Nicalis| Release Date: TBA 2014 | Platforms: PS4, PS Vita, PC, Mac

In the interest of full disclosure, Edmund McMillian’s The Binding of Isaac is one of our all-time favorite indie games. You play as a little baby crawling around in a basement and fending off monsters with his tears in the vein of the original Legend of Zelda. What’s not to love? Well now The Binding of Isaac is getting the remake, or perhaps more appropriately, the “de-make” treatment courtesy of Nicalis, with shiny new 16-bit visuals, grotesque new monsters, twisted items, and even a highly anticipated co-op mode.

18. Broforce

Developer: Free Lives | Release Date: March 2014 | Platforms: PS4, PS Vita, PC, Mac

As its title would imply, Broforce is all about being a bro, and doing explosive bro things in the name of America. This blistering cooperative sidescrolling platformer (or “patriot simulator,” as the developer calls it) is all about destructive environments, devastating weapons, and a cycling roster of playable action heroes, that includes all of the classic 80s and 90s character archetypes that you can think of, from Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Norris, all the way to Mr. T.

19. Candle

Developer: Teku Studios | Release Date: Q4 2014 | Platforms: PS4, Wii U, PC, Mac

Candle is an incredibly whimsical (and hand-painted!) point-and-click adventure game that borrows some light elements from the sidescrolling platforming genre as well. As you might have guessed, the main gameplay component of Candle is, well, a candle, which your character holds throughout the adventure and can use to solve various puzzles along the way. The story of Candle centers around a shaman named Teku, who embarks on a journey to a rival tribe’s camp with a flame in hand.

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20. Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim

Developer: Ascension Games | Release Date: Q4 2014 | Platforms: PC, Mac

Described on its Kickstarter page as “Wind Waker meets Dark Souls,” Cornerstone: The Song of Tryim is certainly a looker, with beautiful cartoony graphics and a sunny island setting that’s just begging to be explored. A 3D open-world platformer, Cornerstone is built on the foundation of Viking folklore, and developer Ascension Games have been focused on using environmental physics and player choices to make the gameplay match the shiny visuals of that idyllic island.

21. Costume Quest 2

Developer: Double Fine | Release Date: Halloween 2014 | Platforms: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, Mac

We were huge fans of the first Costume Quest, because really, what’s not to love? You play as little kids trick-or-treating on Halloween, and the different costumes you can wear actually translate into powerful forms during the turn-based battle rounds. The concept itself was genius, and certainly didn’t hurt that the graphics were top-notch and bursting with personality. The upcoming Costume Quest 2 picks up right where the first game’s story (and DLC) left off, promising to push the envelope even further with more costumes, and of course, more candy. It’s also more surprisingly Double Fine’s very first sequel!

22. Crypt of the NecroDancer

Developer: Brace Yourself Games | Release Date: 2014 | Platforms: PC, Mac

Crypt of the NecroDancer is a “hardcore dungeon crawling (roguelike) rhythm” game, with a huge emphasis on the rhythm aspect. And that’s because you’ll be traversing each dungeon and slaying every monster while keeping time with the game’s sprightly soundtrack. Even more exciting is the fact that you can upload your own music to the game and get to fighting alongside your personal custom soundtrack. We don’t know about you, but we’ve always wanted to slay monsters in a dungeon to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”

23. Cuphead

Developer: StudioMDHR | Release Date: TBA 2015 | Platforms: Xbox One, PC

If you’ve never heard of Cuphead before, one look at the quirky game in action will make you fall in love immediately. That’s because the visuals of Cuphead look exactly like a classic Saturday morning cartoon, bouncing animations and all. And I mean EXACTLY. We’ve heard about retro-inspired games before, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything on this same kind of level. It’s basically going to feel like playing a classic cartoon as an action-sidescroller, and I really can’t think of anything that’s more awesome than that.

24. Deck War

Developer: KlickTock | Release Date: TBA 2014 | Platforms: TBA

We have spent countless hours playing the adorable hidden object game Little Things Forever from developer KlickTock, so when we heard that the same team was working on a collectable card battling game called Deck War, we were immediately sold. The game features the same beautiful and cartoony art style that you might recognize from Little Things Forever, with several different themes based on the handful of unique environmental battlegrounds. Players will place their different cards on the board, and then watch their corresponding monsters come to life and fight in the name of the powerful Deckromancer!

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25. Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey

Developer: Red Thread Games | Release Date: Fall 2014 | Platforms: PC, Mac, Wii U

Adventure game aficionados should be ecstatic about this one! Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey is the long-awaited sequel to iconic point-and-click adventure games The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, released in 2000 and 2006, respectively. The story of Chapters picks up a year after the conclusion of Dreamfall, and follows main protagonist Zoe Castillo in a sprawling narrative that spans two different parallel universes. The project is also being headed by the writer and director of the previous two games, so rest assured that Chapters will still be The Longest Journey done right.

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