From 2D skateboard journeys to playable metal albums, May has indie games for everyone. Here’s 20 we think you should be excited about.
May 2021 is set to be jam packed with indie games. Even when you take out the big hitters and AAA games like Resident Evil Village, Biomutant, Subnautica: Below Zero and Mass Effect, May is shaping up to be one the strongest months of gaming releases in quite some time. The smorgasbord of indie games releasing next month includes a wine making simulator, a geriatric mayhem sandbox game, a charming herd-‘em-up and a plethora of modern day classics finding homes on new platforms. No matter what type of indie games you’re into, there’s probably something to tickle your fancy in the list below.
Without further ado, here are 20 indie games to get excited about in May 2021.
Strangeland by Wormwood Studios – May 25th
Wormwood Studios have made a habit of creating really interesting games. They created the 2012 hit Primordia, 2013’s Salt and helped write Torment: Tides of Numenera. Their latest title – Strangeland – might be their most intriguing. A point and click game with strong puzzle elements, Strangeland is encapsulated in a dream-like carnival that’s full of creepy details and horror inspired visages. Featuring the stunning art style of Victor Pflug, the game looks fantastic. Seriously. Just watch the trailer. Wormwood have teamed up with Dave Gilbert’s Wadjet Eye Games (Unavowed, Emerald City Confidential & The Blackwell series) to publish this game and honestly, this is a pairing on par with strawberries and cream. Make sure to check Strangeland out when it launches on Steam on May 25th, 2021. Yup. Pure nightmare fuel.
Retro Machina by Orbit Studio – May 12th
I’m a sucker for retro futuristic art styles so as soon as I saw the latest Retro Machina trailer, I was on board. Then I read the plot synopsis – In the only remaining city on the planet that’s solely inhabited by robots, every bot has to do its job perfectly and any imperfections found are discarded. The protagonist for the game finds itself on a trash heap and is looking to get fixed up to become functional again. It’ll have to fight the robotic inhabitants of the city of Endeavor to obtain that goal – or control them using a special ability. Puzzles, combat and what looks like a giant robotic boss battle await the plucky robot protagonist. Retro Machina will be available for PC (via Steam), PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on May 12th, 2021.
Just Die Already by DoubleMoose – May 20th
Armin Ibrisagic’s previous game, Goat Simulator, is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s daft but I couldn’t help but laugh as my goat got dragged along by a donut’ing car or bounced its head off of every step on a ladder. His next game with developer DoubleMoose looks just as madcap. In just Die Already, you play as an OAP whom has just been turned out of their retirement home. It’s time to live it up one more time by sandbagging it down stairs, strapping one’s self to a rocket and generally be old and angry around town. Some influencers have already had their hands on Just Die Already and I’m not ashamed to say it looks like dumb fun in single player or with friends in online play. Just Die Already shuffles and falls onto PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC via Steam on May 20th.
Song of Horror by Protocol Games – May 28th
Combining the best aspects of Silent Hill and Resident Evil, mixing it with Lovecraftian themes then parsing it up into dynamic episodic chills, Song of Horror has been described as “one of the best horror indie games out there.” It was been available on PC in its entirely since June 2020 and now this novel and unpredictable horror game is heading to PS4 and Xbox One on May 28th, 2021. What’s so interesting about this game is the ever changing nature. When characters die, each of which has their own unique take on proceedings, you hop into the shoes of another to carry the torch. The game’s haunting villain will present different types of horrors to overcome based on player decisions too. Maybe bring a new pair of pants for this one.
King of Seas by 3DClouds – May 25th
King of Seas has appeared in one of these indie games lists before – In Feb 2021 – but a delay and a new publisher means its back for a second write up. Broadside pirate ship battles, a dynamic procedurally generated world that reacts to your actions, highly customizable ships and lost treasures will be on deck when we finally set sail to see who will be the Kind of Seas on May 25th. Team17 are on publishing duty here and they’re helping developers 3DClouds bring this nautical adventure to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC via Steam and Nintendo Switch.
The Colonists by Codebyfire – May 4th
When The Colonists originally landed on PC in October 2018, I was pretty annoyed that my laptop at the time had absolutely no hope of playing it properly (it struggled to play Football Manager ’11 – yes, I’ve upgraded since). Inspired by the Settlers and Anno games, this relaxing settlement building game looked arrestingly charming and I was pretty desperate to play it. The little robot people can fish, harvest, build and go off exploring distant lands. Thankfully, on May 4th, I’ll get my chance as the game comes to PlayStation, Xbox and the Switch. Auroch Digital have been on hand to port this game and they’ve redesigned the control scheme to fit on controllers rather than keyboards and mice. As they proved with Megaquarium, they’re pretty good at that kind of thing.
Erica by Flavourworks – May 25th
“Erica takes interactive storytelling soaring to new heights, featuring a protagonist you genuinely care about wrapped up in what can only be described as a tremendously well executed technical achievement.” That’s a quote from our review of the PS4 version of Erica, an FMV game that’s one of the highest quality games in the genre. On May 25th, this title is coming to Steam and if it’s as good as the previous version, it’s essential for any FMV indie games fan.
Nongunz: Doppelganger Edition by Brainwash Gang – May 6th
We liked Nongunz when it initially released on PC. We said it’s “unlike anything we’ve played before”. A nihilistic action platformer roguelike, it features a very interesting art style packed with macabre charm. The Doppleganger version is a remaster of the original, completely remade in Unity, that also comes with some new features. This time around, the game will have local co-op play and an endless arena mode too. There’s hundreds of levels in this game, filled with dozens of different enemy types and traps. What’s more, Nongunz: Doppelganger Edition will be the first time this game appears on consoles when it launches on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam on May 6th.
Skate City by Agens Games – May 6th
Skate City was one of those Apple Arcade exclusive games that almost swayed me into getting an iPhone. Almost. Thankfully, after a year and a half of exclusivity on Apple’s subscription service, this artistic skate game is heading to Switch, Xbox, PlayStation and PC via Steam and Epic Game Store on May 6th. This game drips style and manages to nail down that skating vibe perfectly. Paul waxed lyrical about the iPhone version when it was originally released. While our final thoughts on these ports are under embargo, here’s a little spoiler – Skate City is really good.
Aerial_Knights Never Yield by Aerial_Knights – May 19th
A combination of a classic endless runner and a 3D platformer, complete with a gorgeous, bold neon art style, Aerial_Knights Never Yield is a real treat for the retinas. In this game you play as a character called Wally who has uncovered evidence that can change his Tokyo styled Detroit city forever. He just has to survive long enough to share it. As a bonus, the soundtrack to this game features the authentic sounds of Detroit based artists. With a runtime of just a few hours, Aerial_Knights Never Yield looks to fill an evening with action and adventure when it launches on PC via Steam and Nintendo Switch on May 19th, 2021.