The Indie Games That Will Define 2023 – Part 1
We love indie games here at Finger Guns. Some of the most innovative and creative developments in the video game industry come from indie teams, and we’re here for it. 2022 was an excellent year for indie games. Between the likes of OlliOlli World, Neon White, Saturnalia, Cult of the Lamb and Inscryption, we were truly spoilt by a myriad of top tier titles. Looking ahead to 2023, it looks as though we’re in for another brilliant year for indie games.
The entire Finger Guns team put their head together to compile a list of promising indie titles releasing in 2023. It’s massive, so we’ve decided to break it down into multiple parts, this being the first. From retro inspired 3D platformers to innovative RPG’s, from the most colourful vibes to the grittiest of tones, these lists of indie games launching in 2023 will have something for everyone.
Without further ado, here’s part one of our series on indie games to keep your eye on during 2023.
Hollow Knight: Silksong by Team Cherry
Let’s get this one out there upfront. The highly anticipated Silksong is going to be launching in 2023 – and we couldn’t be happier. In this DLC-turned-fully-fledged-sequel, we’ll play as Hornet, the princess-protector of Hallownest. After being captured and brought to a new and unfamiliar land, she’ll battle foes and solve mysteries as she ascends on a deadly pilgrimage to the kingdom’s peak. Featuring more than 150 new enemies, a slew of fresh combat moves and a new orchestral score from composer Christopher Larkin, Silksong is showing immense promise. We don’t have a release date yet, but keep your eyes peeled.
Mythwrecked: Ambrosia Island by Polygon Treehouse
I was personally very interested in what Polygon Treehouse did next after their first title, Roki. I deeply enjoyed their debut because of its heartfelt story and distinctive style. With the announcement of Mythwrecked then, this developer is cementing their style and cornering a vibe. I say this as, even before I’d finished watching the above trailer, I knew it was from Polygon Treehouse. It’s so very… ‘them’. In this game, you play as Alex a rookie backpacker taking a much needed break from modern life. After being shipwrecked on the idyllic Ambrosia Island, Alex discovers that the Greek gods of myth and legend weren’t just myth and legend. They’ve been here on this island all along – only they’ve lost their memories. It’s up to Alex to befriend the Greek Gods, return their memories and reconnect a fractured family in what is being described as a ‘Friend Em Up’ adventure. Sold. Look out for this game in 2023.
A Space For The Unbound by Mojiken
Having navigated some… tricky… publisher relations over the past 12 months, developers Mojiken are finally getting to release their slice-of-life adventure game on January 19th, 2023. In the game, you follow the journey of self-discovery of two high school sweethearts living in Indonesia in the 90’s. When a mysteriously supernatural power is suddenly unleashed threatening their existence, they must explore and investigate their town to uncover hidden secrets. A Space For The Unbound has already been nominated for, and won, a number of awards. We’ll be able to experience this game for ourselves on Jan 19th.
Arto by OrionGames
It’s easy to be woo’d by Arto’s art styles – pleural. This open world action adventure game looks beautiful, employing a number of different colour palettes to portray its story. The protagonist is on a quest to restore life to the world and along the journey, they’ll uncover the reason for the multiple art styles as well as come face to face with a number of enemies. How you deal with these enemies will shape the story of Arto, including the ending. I think you’ll agree, it’s quite an interesting proposition. Arto is aiming to launch on PC via Steam in February 2023.
Clive ‘N’ Wrench by Dinosaur Bytes
Clive ‘N’ Wrench is a real labour of love that has been in development for a decade by one-man team Dinosaur Bytes. The passion that developer Rob Wass has for old school 3D platformers beams from every frame of footage we’re seen of this title. Channeling the likes of Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro and Gex, it looks like it belongs amongst the greats of the genre in aesthetics as well as mechanically. With 11 themed levels, bosses to battle and tonnes of collectables to pick up, the titular pair will be leaping into action in February 2023.
Twitter | Steam | | PlayStation | Nintendo
Sea of Stars by Sabotage Studio
After the success of The Messenger, Sabotage Studio were ready to reinvent a new genre yet again – in the form of turn-based RPG. Sea of Stars shares the same universe as The Messenger but has it’s own distinctive story. It’s the tale of two Children of the Solstice who combine both of their powers of the Sun and Moon to from Eclipse Magic, the only way to defeat the enemies created by an evil alchemist The Fleshmancer. I’m extremely excited for this one – The Messenger didn’t only create an action-platformer with two distinct 8 and 16-bit styles, but the meta lore that consists in creating those era of games, whilst simultaneously turning the genre on its head to be a modern classic. If history is anything to go by, Sea of Stars has an extremely positive future ahead of it.
Season: A Letter to the Future by Scavengers Studio
Originally shown off at Sony’s State of Play in June 2022, Season: A Letter to the Future hasn’t had much coverage since. Slated for a 2023 release, Season is a third-person atmospheric adventure bicycle road trip game. Your task in the game is to explore, meet people and document your journey through photography and audio recordings all before it all ends due to a cataclysmic event. It may sound like a dour title but the art-style is so luscious, colourful and down right extravagant that I’m so happy to be able to just explore this world at my pace and just experience everything has to offer. This is a console exclusive on PlayStation but it will also be on Steam.
Twitter | Steam | PlayStation
Planet of Lana by Wishfully Studios
Exploring alien worlds is a bit of a trend in indie games right now but few of these titles are as beautiful as Planet of Lana. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on this game at EGX 2022 and was incredibly impressed by the hand painted visuals that make it look like an animated fantasy novel’s cover. Don’t be fooled by the charming world of Lana though – there’s a deceptive challenge to the play that left me curious about what comes next. We’ll be able to find out the fate of the Planet of Lana when it launches on PC and Xbox consoles in 2023.
Teslagrad 2 by Rain Games
The original Teslagrad was one of those titles that really helped usher in the last big boom in indie games. With inventive platforming mechanics, an incredible art style and an enticing story, it was a really great game. It appears that, based on what we’ve seen before, Teslagrad 2 is building upon everything that was great about its predecessors. Teslakid is gone, replaced with Lumina, a young Teslamancer. Having crash landed on the mysterious land of Wyrmheim, the young woman sets off to explore a gigantic, abandoned tower looming over a fjordside valley with the hope of getting home. Teslagrad 2 is aiming for a Spring 2023 launch on PC and consoles.
Little Devil Inside by Neostream Interactive
In 2020, a thing happened. No not that thing. Little Devil Inside was announced at the PS5 State of Play. Yes, it was really that long ago. It was initially given a release date of July 2021. Subsequently, this date then vanished from Sony’s websites without comment. We were then given some buzz at the PS5 State of Play in October 2021, showcasing an ‘in-depth’ look some of the gameplay and the art style. This then announced a new release of 2022. Well, I’m not sure if Neostream Interactive are aware, but that year is very sharply coming to an end quite soon. Which can only mean one thing right? A potential release next year? We will have to keep our eyes peeled! With it’s extremely charming aesthetic, Little Devil Inside has been described as a third person 3D action-adventure roleplay, with elements of survival, open world exploration and combat. When eventually released its noted to be released on PlayStation initially, with future releases to PC, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.
Cocoon by Geometric Interactive
The developer of Cocoon, Jeppe Carlsen, has an incredible history in indie games. The lead gameplay designer on both Limbo and Inside, as well as credits in 140 and Lost Empire: Immortals, you’d expect something special from the Carlsen’s Geometric Interactive studio. The concept of Cocoon fits that bill perfectly. Exploring worlds within worlds, each of which is contained within a sphere that can be carried on your back, the aim is to enter each world to unlock the ability it contains. This enables you to progress further in other worlds… which are also within worlds. Trippy. It’s a very smart idea, taking an almost Castlevania formula and twisting it into something unique. Cocoon is launching on PC, Xbox and Nintendo Switch in 2023.
Twitter | Steam | Xbox | Switch
The Plucky Squire by All Possible Futures
Watching that original trailer (above) for The Plucky Squire was one of those affirming moments which reminds you why you like indie games in the first place. That first 40 seconds of this trailer are charming and enjoyable, but they’re of a concept we’ve seen time and time again – the playable story book. And then it happens. Pop! Those borders you thought existed within this game dissolve and you’re suddenly in a creative wonderland where 2D and 3D planes meet. It’s a great concept that was used quite well in Super Mario Odyssey, but appears to be much further developed here. The Lucky Squire is launching in 2023 on PC and consoles. And I can’t wait.
Twitter | Steam | Xbox | Switch | PlayStation
Ten Dates by Good Gate Media & Wales Interactive
A psuedo-sequel to the fantastic FMV game Five Dates, Ten Dates isn’t just double the number of meet ups. While the original game was limited because it was created during the pandemic, Ten Dates expands past virtual dating to speed dating and, if you play your cards right, maybe love. With two playable protagonists (a man and a woman this time around), this interactive romcom has you attempt to woo a talented cast starring Rosie Day, Charlie Maher, Meaghan Martin & Rhiannon Clements among others. As the FMV genre continues to flourish, these indie games titles that aren’t thrillers are becoming ever more impressive. I was impressed by a recent demo and am looking forward to the full release on Valentines Day, 2023.
Tactical Breach Wizards by Suspicious Developments
Developer Tom Francis is refreshingly forthright and visible with his game development. Via regular development diary videos, Tom guided his community through the creation of his previous games and is doing something similar with Tactical Breach Wizards, giving fans insight into the development process. Because of that, we’ve been able to watch this turn based tactical game (that looks like part XCOM, part FITS only more narrative based) grow and take shape over the past year or so. Tactical Breach Wizards looks incredibly promising, blending interesting thematic elements with impressive design nous. Any game that has a character called The Traffic Warlock is A-OK with me. While it currently doesn’t have a release window, we’re hoping to see it launch in 2023.
Dustborn by Red Thread Games
Dustborn is a lot. A narrative adventure game set in an alternate-future Neo-Western version of a divided America, you play as the woman Pax, an ex-con, con-artist & outcast. You’re been hired to take a package across the not-quite-United States of America with a crew you piece together yourself. Posing as a band, you’ll have to weaponise your words to escape danger, manage your relationships with your crew and hopefully make it in one piece. This is all presented in an astonishing comic book-esque art style. Dustborn is ‘Coming Soon’ according to its Steam page.
Trinity Fusion by Angry Mob Games
Trinity Fusion was the biggest surprise of the games that were present at EGX 2022. At least on paper, the game sounds a little run of the mill. It’s a rogue-lite action platformer, played side on like Dead Cells – surely something you’ve played before. There’s a pretty big difference to Trinity Fusion however – you play as three characters. All three of the protagonists have their own skill sets, weapon and abilities. Based on what we got to play at EGX, it’s quite miraculous how much using each of these characters influences the way the game feels to play. The fact that it must be quite difficult to nail down the combat once in these action platformers, and Trinity Fusion seemingly does it thrice, is impressive. Trinity Fusion is launching soon on PC and Xbox.
Akatori by HypeTrain Digital
Akatori looks simply beautiful. A metroidvania/slasher platformer where you can transport between parallel dimensions, the game features an incredible pixel art style that’s very easy on the eye. Combine that with challenging platforming and slick combat and this game might have the goods to stand out in a really crowded genre. Akatori is looking to launch in 2023 on PC.
Hellscreen by Uk_resistant
Most Boomer Shooters are, kind of by definition, heavily inspired by the shooters of yore. You can certainly see the influences of DOOM and Quake in Hellscreen, the upcoming shooter from one-man dev Jamie D AKA UK_resistant. This game has a unique hook though – it has a rear view mirror. While in a lot of these games you’ll get shot from behind and have to spin around and figure out where the damage is coming from, you’ll know immediately in Hellscreen. That unique aspect, coupled with the distinctive art style, means Hellscreen is one of my most highly anticipated indie games of Q1 2023.
Botany Manor by Balloon Studios
In Botany Manor, you play as retired botanist Arabella Greene. What will Arabella do now that she’s retired? More botany of course! In this title, you explore a mansion and its gardens in order to uncover research. This research will help you figure out the ideal conditions for rare and once forgotten flora to grow. While you’re doing so, you’ll learn more about the life and career of Arabella, and the challenges she faced as a woman navigating her scientific career. This is a fascinating title with an excellent vibe that’s launching some time in 2023.
Dredge by Black Salt Games
Dregde is a singe-player fishing adventure RPG where you sell your haul, upgrade your boat and uncover a mystery that lurks in the depths of the archipelago. Capture more than 125 deep sea denizens whilst meeting the locals of Greater Marrow. The art style is exceptional and haunting with an atmosphere that is all encompassing. Members of Black Salt Games have described the game as a Lovecraftian Fishing RPG and by the end of the trailer, you can really see that. I can’t wait to find some creatures that are probably best forgotten in Dredge when it sets sail in 2023. We certainly enjoyed the demo from the Steam Next Fest.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk by Team Reptile
Are you ready to Jet Set in this indie spiritual successor to Jet Set Radio Future? From the mind of Dion Koster (Lethal League, Awesomenauts) – prepare to start your own cypher, dance, trick, paint and face off with cops and mark your territory in a sprawling metropolis. With music from Hideki Naganuma known for his music on JSRF, you won’t only be able to rollerblade, but also skate and BMX when tagging the city and pulling of SSStylish stunts. This game is oozing with cool and we’re all excited here at Finger Guns to tag the streets in this open world.
Bloody Hell Hotel by Unfold Games
From the makers of Darq, Bloody Hell Hotel has been described as ‘First Person Vampire Horror meets Stardew Valley’, and looking at the trailer, that description looks pretty fair! There seems to also be a roleplay element to this. If you’re a Vampire running a hotel, that can only mean that your guests end up on the menu, right? Looks like it is up to you! Farm goods, upgrade your hotel, craft weaponry and destroy monsters. Bloody Hell Hotel will be released on PC initially, with a console release coming later. No official date yet to sink your teeth into just yet, but it looks great to feast on!
Hyper Light Breaker by Heart Machine
From Heart Machine – creators of Hyper Light Drifter and Solar Ash. Hyper Light Breaker looks a perfect mixture of the two. The game is a 3D co-op action RPG with roguelite elements. Enter the Overgrowth a new land in the world of Hyper Light. You can play by yourself or with friends to explore different biomes and overcome tough creatures all the while creating new builds to experiment with. Heart Machine are always known for their innovation to existing genres and this is an exciting amalgamation of their previous games. Par for the course at this point for Heart Machine that Hyper Light Breaker will exude in style also and I for one can not wait to get my hands on this.
Friends vs Friends by Brainwash Gang
Friends Vs Friends is a chaotic PVP first-person shooter with deck building?! In a post-Neon White world where the successful combination of cards and first person shooting is an ingenious formula – we’re all excited to kill each other (in the game, of course) in all the various and twisted ways. Each character has a unique skill that you can level up alongside the cards you unlock on the way; and formulate the best deck of cards catered to your preference with an emphasis on no microtransactions. Friends vs Friends boasts a cel-shaded presentation with frantic gameplay, that looks like an excitingly bombastic entry in the multiplayer genre.
Anger Foot by Free Lives
If you’ve ever wanted “Anger Management: The Game” you’d be hard pressed to find a better alternative than Anger Foot. Hotline Miami meets anthropomorphic first-person blasting and it’s akin to chugging 10 Monsters and slapping on your head stomping boots to charge headfirst into chaos. Your enemies die fast and you fall just as quick, but you’re a croc out to cause carnage to rescue his favourite sneakers and you’ll kick the shit out of as many doors or animals sporting Uzis as you need to. Made by the same developers as Broforce, you can expect to smash through all the doors in 2023, though we don’t have a definitive release date just yet.
Blasphemous 2 by The Game Kitchen
So far, we only have the confirmation from 2021 that Blasphemous 2 is coming in 2023. The Wounds of Eventide birthed a new canonical end for the original game and the post-launch expansions just proves that this title was a critical and commercial success for the developers over at The Game Kitchen. Whilst the game wasn’t perfect mechanically, this was among the best 2D pixel art Souls-like Metroidvania indie games of recent times and the prospect of a sequel is phenomenal news for us here at Finger Guns. Not else is known outside of a release window but we’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on it.
Witchfire by The Astronauts
Ever wondered what Doom would look like with a fantasy setting and magical powers? Witchfire is that exact premise. Sporting an abundance of older-style weaponry and a slew of elemental based spells that can be cast, there’s gonna be a lot of scope for creative demon slaying. Its combat also looks similar to 2022’s Metal: Hellsinger, minus the heavy metal bangers and timing malarkey. If it lives up to either of those comparisons, it’ll be something pretty special indeed. Coming from the creators of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and incorporating FPS rogue-like mechanics, Witchfire has been in development for a looooooong time, but is due for release into Early Access in early 2023. Fingers crossed it can finally emerge onto our screens.
The Garden Path by carrotcake
Fully funded through Kickstarter and solo developed, The Garden Path has a release date of 2023. The Garden Path is a gardening life-sim that explores rediscovering a long forgotten garden. The game progresses in real time where players can explore, and curate their own individual garden. It is recommended to play in short but enjoyable moments, with a cast of charming characters to meet and whom tell their own story. This game promises to be a beautiful hand crafted piece of art, and a safe place to relax and call your own. How does your Garden Grow? Find out on Switch and PC next year.
Oxenfree II: Lost Signals by Night School Studio
Oxenfree II will take place 5 years after the events of Edwards Islands mysteries. The original Oxenfree was hands down the best 79p I have ever spent on a game. I personally arrived at the game late to the party, and just around the corner a sequel was announced. Oxenfree II was first announced in 2021, and is another game that has been hit with delay after delay. It has come with good reason as the developers at Night School Studio vow to make it ‘truly special’. This is extremely anticipated within the Finger Guns Team. If you’ve not played the original game, I doubt you’ll regret it.
Twitter | Steam | PlayStation | Switch
Snufkin: Melody Of Moominvalley by Hyper Games
Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is a top down musical adventure game about restoring peace and harmony across the Moominvalley, protecting it from the industrious Park Keeper. You play as the titular Snufkin in a meditative open world experience that features musical elements, stealth and puzzles. Sigur Ros has created the music for this game and it comes alonside a sumptuous hand painted art style to boot. This is a promising title for Hyper Games.
Replaced by Sad Cat Studios
Replaced was initially debuted at the Xbox Games Showcase in the Summer; but thanks to The Game Awards we got yet another look and it’s quickly become highly-anticipated for us at Finger Guns. This 2.5D retro-futuristic action platformer sees you uncovering the dark secrets of Phoenix City as R.E.A.C.H – an AI trapped inside a human body. The art direction looks spectacular with its pixel-art style showing monolithic architecture, sporting neon-lit signs towering over the broken remains of society. Replaced looks like a densely complex world to get lost in, with a whole cast of characters to learn about; with cinematic platforming and free flowing combat. With a release on Gamepass, you have little excuse to not play Replaced in 2023.
The Cub by Demagog Studio
We’re big fans of Untold Tales and Demagog Studio here at Finger Guns. Well, I (Miles) certainly am. Set in the same universe as the fantastic Golfclub: Wasteland, The Cub is a fast paced platformer with an amazing art style. The demo available on Steam showed off 3 levels that were well-designed and had you evading all manner of post-apocalyptic hazards alongside dangerous human capture teams. It’s one to keep an eye on in 2023 and most importantly, Radio Nostalgia from Mars returns with more satirical commentary. What more could you possibly want from your indie games?
El Paso, Elsewhere by Strange Scaffold
El Paso, Elsewhere looks like the Max Payne and Van Helsing co-parented in El Paso…. or elsewhere and gave us a third-person shooter filled with vampires, slo-mo and gruff inner monologues reminiscent of classic shooters. You’re in El Paso, Texas at a haunted motel, clearing floors of vampires, werewolves and other creatures to get to the bottom floor where you Ex resides. Your Ex being Draculae, Lord of the Vampires. Yikes. That’s a bad breakup. A twisted Neo-noir love story that’s action packed, with PSX style visuals channelling early Max Payne, it’s quite an exciting proposition. The way that developers Strange Scaffold make indie games is quite unusual and this is a title that feels like a unique product of their satellite style of development. Everyone at Finger Guns can’t wait to sink our fangs into El Paso, Elsewhere.
That’s it for part one of our hotly anticipated indie games list for 2023. With another 60+ indie games to write about (no, seriously), we’ll be back with part two soon. In the mean time, make sure to follow Finger Guns on our social channels –Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, Spotify or Apple Podcasts – to keep up to date on our news, reviews and features.
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