Independent games, or “indie” games, may not have the same budget or marketing as the huge studios, but that doesn’t stop them from making some of the most unique and creative games available. Just take a look at some of the biggest indie games from 2023: Sea of Stars is a charming old-school RPG from Sabotage Studios that ended up taking the Best Independent Game award at 2023’s Game Awards. Cocoon from Geometric Interactive brought puzzle adventuring to new heights with an incredible atmosphere and soundtrack. Games like Venba, Jusant, Viewfinder, Planet of Lana, Chants of Sennar, Tchia, Pizza Tower, and Dredge all created some of the most unique gaming experiences to be had, and those are all just from 2023.
Instead of gushing over those games for the next ten paragraphs, let’s take a look at what is scheduled for 2024. Indie games are exciting, and it will be great to see which ones manage to leave their mark.
Now please keep in mind that this list is merely speculative. All of these games have at least announced a release window of sometime in 2024, but it’s important to keep in mind that does not guarantee that every one of these games will be released this year. For more updates on when these games come out, make sure to stay tuned to Gamepressure. With that out of the way, let’s get into this list.
One of the most anticipated indie games of 2024 is Hades 2 from developer and publisher Supergiant Games (Bastion, Transistor, Pyre). As the only indie game nominated for Most Anticipated Game at the 2023 Game Awards, it’s no surprise that this is one of the top indie games to look forward to in the new year.
The original Hades, with its fast-paced rogue-like action, excellent characters, and voice acting, quickly became massively popular, earning nine nominations at the Game Awards in 2020, and winning three awards including Best Indie Game, Best Action Game, and the Player’s Voice award. When Supergiant announced that Hades 2 was in development at the 2022 Game Awards, the hype began to build quickly.
Hades 2 features a brand new protagonist, the Princess of the Underworld rather than the Prince, and suggests that the story will go beyond the underworld this time. If the roguelike action, art style, and story keep up the quality of the original, this is sure to be one of the biggest games of the year. Supergiant plans to release Hades 2 sometime between April and June of 2024 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store.
The Plucky Squire
Another highly anticipated game is the debut title from developer All Possible Futures, The Plucky Squire. Watch one trailer for this upcoming game and you will see what is catching people’s eyes. The game takes place within a fantastical storybook, with all kinds of creatures from classic goblins to a boxing badger. But, where it gets really interesting, is when the main character jumps off the page from the top-down 2D art style, into the fully realized 3D bedroom.
This world-hopping mechanic is eye-catching and sure to add many layers to the gameplay, but that’s not all The Plucky Squire has going for it. With the game taking place in a storybook, of course the game will have a fun narrative. In a self-aware twist on a classic fairy tale story, when the evil wizard becomes aware of the fact that he is in a book, he decides to rewrite it to make himself the hero. It’s up to the player to put a stop to the wizard’s plans.
The developer, All Possible Futures, has something special here. Since the game was originally planned for release in 2023 (it was delayed to 2024 in August), it would be surprising to not see it launch this year. But if that’s what it takes for this game to launch at its best, then we must be patient. The Plucky Squire plans to launch for PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S.
From solo developer Shared Memory, Animal Well is a surreal puzzle platformer that takes the player through a dark, damp, pixelated labyrinth. As the name suggests, there are a lot of animals and strange creatures in this well. Some of them can be friendly, with emphasis on the word “some.” These animals will each have unique behaviors and interactions that add to the game’s platforming, puzzles, and other challenges.
Special items in Animal Well can be used creatively can unlock new areas of the map. For example, the trailer showed a frisbee that can be used as a projectile to help with puzzles, or as a distraction for a guard dog that prevents you from passing by. The solo developer behind Shared Memory, Billy Basso, said Animal Well is full of strange puzzles and hidden locations that may take players a long time to discover. There’s no doubt that players will put that to the test, but it would be exciting to see discoveries popping up months after the release date.
Between the gloomy atmosphere, the maze-like world to explore, and the challenging puzzles, Animal Well has a lot to look forward to. Currently, the game has set a release window for early 2024, so hopefully the wait won’t be too long. When it does launch, it is planned to be released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and PC via Steam.
From celebrated indie developer, Thunder Lotus Games (Spiritfarer, Sundered, Jotun), comes 33 Immortals, a multiplayer action rogue-like that puts thirty-three players on a team together. Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, players must cooperate to fight against hordes of monsters, revolt against the almighty’s wrath, and take on brutal bosses to earn their immortality.
In the gameplay trailers shown so far, players must fight through waves of enemies using either a bow and arrow or a sword. Abilities such as healing or launching a volley of arrows can be used when three players coordinate their positions and stand together against their enemies. With any online matchmaking game like this, the experience may come down to who you get matched with, but as long as the best of the best make it through to the boss fight, there’s always a chance of success.
While there is still no final release date yet, 33 Immortals will launch through Early Access sometime in 2024. After Thunder Lotus’ more relaxed management game, Spiritfarer, was nominated for many awards in 2020, it will be exciting to see how they do with something completely different. 33 Immortals will launch on Xbox Series X/S (it will also be on Game Pass), and PC via the Epic Games Store.
One of the bloodiest, but most exciting, trailers from 2023’s Game Awards was Windblown from developer Motion Twin (Dead Cells). The announcement trailer not only had several great animated cinematics featuring three unique animal-inspired characters including a bat, what looks like a basilisk lizard, and an axlotl, but it also showed the lightning-fast action gameplay that will put Windblown on the map.
Players will have to dash and slash their way through enemies, absorb the memories of fallen warriors to empower weapons, and ultimately save their homes from emissaries of the Vortex. Windblown can be played solo or with a total of three players in co-op. Like any rogue-like, players can expect to meet a gruesome end many times before completing the game, but that just means that each attempt will leave the player stronger and more prepared.
Developer Motion Twin has seen impressive success with their previous game, Dead Cells, which has earned numerous awards and sold millions of copies. They have been hard at work creating fun and engaging DLCs, like Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania, which was released in March 2023. After working on one game for so long, it will be great to see what Motion Twin does with Windblown. The game will launch into Early Access sometime in 2024 for PC via Steam.
Admittedly, Ghost Bike from developer Messhof Games (Nidhogg, Nidhogg 2) has not shown much gameplay other than a few short clips in the announcement trailer. But what makes Ghost Bike exciting is its unique premise: biking across the countryside to revive the last of the magical couriers that travel between the world of the living and the world of the dead, hence, ghost bikes. Add some bike races and exploration in a vibrant cel-shaded world, and this is a game worth looking forward to.
Another aspect of Ghost Bike that makes it stand out is the soundtrack. The trailer shows that the music is provided by the independent record label Italians Do It Better, and the song from the announcement trailer has been stuck in my head ever since watching it. If the soundtrack quality keeps up, it should greatly enhance what already seems like a promising experience.
With only one trailer released so far, it makes sense that Ghost Bike doesn’t have a specific release date yet. Hopefully, it doesn’t end up delayed to 2025, but it looks like it will be worth the wait. For now, it will be exciting to get any new trailers, announcements, or information. Ghost Bike will launch for PC via Steam, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and will be on Xbox Game Pass.
Pepper Grinder, the drill-wielding action platformer from developer Ahr Ech, was originally planned for a launch in 2023 but was delayed to 2024 a few months ago. Hopefully, that means it won’t be a long wait into the new year. The gameplay combines classic platforming with a powerful drill that allows the player to essentially swim through underground areas and use the momentum to reach new heights and speeds.
The player will be up against numerous enemies, from the relatively tame giant grubs and beetles to the odd, drill-headed monsters that will chase the player underground. Players can also find various attachments for their drill, like a key to unlock new areas or a gatling gun to unlock mayhem.
Pepper, the prospecting pirate protagonist, and her trusty side-arm, Grinder, must, in good buccaneer fashion, reclaim a stolen treasure. Aside from a quick glimpse in the announcement trailer of that treasure being stolen by a figure in black knight armor and a gang of drill-headed monsters, there isn’t much of a hint as to what this story will include, but I’m all in for some piracy. Pepper Grinder will launch sometime in 2024 for the Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.
Still Wakes the Deep
Survive the catacombs of a claustrophobic collapsing oil rig off the coast of Scotland in Still Wakes the Deep from developer The Chinese Room (Dear Esther). If that initial description wasn’t enticing enough, there’s also an unexplainable, otherworldly horror trying to bring the rig and its crew to a watery grave. Still Wakes the Deep, with its first-person narrative horror, could end up being one of the most frightening experiences of 2024.
A few months ago at the Xbox Partner Preview, a gameplay trailer showed some early scenes from the game. These uninterrupted few minutes of footage show how Still Wakes the Deep will use environmental storytelling to slowly put the player on edge. Of course, with this footage, we can still only begin to understand the mystery of what happened to the rig. Plus, the protagonist’s Scottish accent reacting to the horror with multiple Jesus-Christ’s is the charming cherry on top of this promising horror game.
The announcement trailer from this summer closed out the reveal with an early 2024 release window. Of course, it’s entirely possible that window could be pushed back, but Still Wakes the Deep could be a great game for staying in on a cold winter night. Still Wakes the Deep will launch for PC via Steam, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S/X, and will be available on Xbox Game Pass.
Another Crab’s Treasure
If you’re looking for a slightly different style of ocean-based adventure, developer Aggro Crab’s (Going Under) underwater, souls-inspired game, Another Crab’s Treasure, is sure to bring a perfect pinch of action. The cartoonish hermit crab protagonist and the fast-paced action have already caught the attention of many fans. Combining the visuals of a vibrant ocean floor with the challenging combat of a souls-like should make for a noteworthy combo.
In Another Crab’s Treasure, players must choose the best shell they can find, be it a tin can or a cracked coffee mug, as a defense against numerous other enemy crustaceans. Trailers have shown a crab wielding chopsticks like a samurai and a lobster charging with a straw-lance. Between exploring the underwater world and fighting these creatively designed enemies, Another Crab’s Treasure looks like it will be a great time.
While on the surface, Another Crab’s Treasure might appear bright and colorful, the mere fact that the protagonist and all the other crustaceans are using human trash to fight and survive gives this game a much darker tone than it seems. The hermit crab protagonist, Kril, is on a mission to reclaim his repossessed shell home, and on his way, Kril might discover a threat to the very ocean itself. Another Crab’s Treasure launches sometime in early 2024 for PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox Game Pass.
The Olympic Peninsula in the northwestern US is merely an echo of its former self after experimental technology devastated the region. It’s your job to map the Olympic Exclusion Zone with your trusty vehicle: an old beat-up station wagon. Pacific Drive is the debut sci-fi survival adventure game from developer Ironwood Studios. The fact that this game asks such a dangerous task of its players, but only provides them with what might be one of the least combat-ready vehicles out there, makes Pacific Drive a highlight straight away. As a bonus, it’s the first game on this list to have a specific release date, and it’s soon. Pacific Drive is planned to launch on Februrary 22nd.
Much of the Exclusion Zone is a mystery, but there is one thing that’s certain. Given the chance, strange metallic monsters will attach themselves to the car, and cause mayhem. Thankfully, players are free to upgrade their trusty station wagon in any way they like. They could add some defensive measures like plated armor or maybe just paint flames running along the side. Pacific Drive will be all about customizing the vehicle: not only to take on the appropriate challenges but also to look and feel great while doing it.
As mentioned above, Pacific Drive stands out on this list as one of the few entries with an actual release date, not just a release window. The game will release next month, on February 22nd, so start practicing evasive maneuvers now. Pacific Drive will launch for PlayStation 5 and PC via Steam.
Flock, from co-developers Hollow Ponds and Richard Hogg (I Am Dead), brings a much-needed relaxing experience to the list of indie games this year. Rather than fighting any enemies or trying to survive extreme situations, Flock is all about soaring through a peaceful environment and persuading unique creatures to fly alongside you. Soaring around on a huge colorful bird with a trail of adorable, goofy, and vibrant creatures behind you is more enjoyable than it sounds. And it already sounds pretty enjoyable.
The goal of the game is simple: create a guidebook of all the various creatures that inhabit the world. From the sausage-like bewl family to the graceful cosmets. This will require patient observation and a keen eye. Meanwhile, each player will maintain a herd of “sheep,” dropping them off to graze at pastures and harvesting their wool to create new cosmetic items.
Flock is also a co-op multiplayer experience, so look forward to soaring through the landscape with friends and showing off your unique finds. There is no specific release date for this relaxing exploration game, but it does have a free demo on Steam if you want to give it a try. When it eventually launches, it will be playable on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC via Steam.
Little Kitty, Big City
Rounding out the duo of relaxed gaming experiences, is Double Dagger Studios’ debut title, Little Kitty, Big City. It’s just what it sounds like. A young, naive cat is lost in the city and needs to find its way home. But that doesn’t mean right now, as there are plenty of other things to be distracted by, like that shiny thing over there. Players will have to platform through the city while avoiding aggressive dogs, oblivious humans, and worst of all, puddles of water.
Little Kitty, Big City is a wonderfully relaxed adventure full of small easter eggs and details to keep the player entertained until they eventually make it home. A barking dog may give you a quick jump scare, but it will never actually attack you. This game is also full of wonderfully strange NPC animals like a crow that takes the player under its wing, a tanuki that is willing to trade for shiny things, and a cool and confident older cat that shows you the ropes.
Little Kitty, Big City doesn’t have any specific release date yet, other than sometime in early 2024. But since it had a demo available earlier this year during Steam Next Fest, and it made a big splash at Summer Game Fest, hopefully, the release date will be sooner rather than later. Little Kitty, Big City will launch for PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox Game Pass.
Now for something completely different. Anger Foot from developer Free Lives (Terra Nil, Gorn, Broforce) is one of the most fast-paced ridiculous action games on this list. The title is a good clue about the gameplay because, while this is a first-person shooter of sorts, the protagonist is mainly known for kicking his way through doors and through waves of enemies.
Anger Foot ushers the player through a gauntlet of rooms, and the player must kick down each door to continue. Rampage through buildings full of several kinds of enemies while avoiding grenades, baseball bats, and more. You do have guns of your own, but you get bonus points for getting through an entire level with only kicks.
This will be a great game for players who enjoy speed-running, or at the very least trying to outdo themselves, because each level has a timer counting upwards in the corner. Fast-paced music adds to the intensity of the gameplay, encouraging the player to stay on the move at all times. Anger Foot doesn’t have a specific release date for 2024 yet, but there is a free demo available on Steam to give players an early taste of what to expect. I regret using the word “taste” anywhere near this game. When Anger Foot eventually launches it will be available on PC via Steam.
The debut game from developer Moonloop Studios, Hauntii, is easily one of the most visually distinct games on this list. The world around the player is presented in a beautiful hand-drawn art style with mostly two colors: black and white. As the name suggests, the player takes on the role of a ghost that needs to navigate through this strangely gorgeous world.
Hauntii has a dynamic soundtrack that gives audio cues to the player as well as a unique possession mechanic that can be used to find creative solutions to various challenges. While not as intense action-wise as some other games on this list, Hauntii is inspired by classic twin-stick shooters. In between solving the mystery of this strange world and solving environmental puzzles, players will also need to blast their way through groups of enemies.
Players begin the game by arriving in the mysterious world of Eternity and must explore to find more answers, eventually coming across the angelic Eternians. It’s not clear yet what the rest of Hauntii’s story will entail, but thankfully we may not need to wait too long. Hauntii has a release window between April and June of 2024. It will be available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC via Steam.
There are a lot of unique games on this list, but a game where you coach a team of adorable creatures to compete in games of volleyball might take the cake. Beastieball, from developer Wishes Ultd. (Chicory, Wandersong), combines the fun of a monster-taming game with the unexpected sport of volleyball. While it is far from the expected combination, the results are fantastic.
Beastieball happens to be one of several games on this list that has a playable demo available to download for free on Steam. So if this concept seems too good to be true (or too strange to be good), it’s worth trying out for yourself. The core gameplay really is volleyball. Two creatures on each side of the net must cover four quadrants and make sure the ball doesn’t touch the ground. One team wins when the ball either hits the opposing side’s court, or the creature receiving the ball is out of energy to return it. Your beasties can end up forming relationships such as besties, rivals, or partners that will impact how they play together.
The design of the “beasties” is a perfect mix between charming and adorable. The classic 2D sprites mixed with the 3D world give Beastieball a wholly unique feel that has me excited for the full release. There will be a lot to explore and plenty of other coaches to defeat when Beastieball launches sometime near the end of 2024 for PC via Steam.
So that’s the list! If you can believe it, it’s not completely exhaustive. There are plenty of other great games out there that didn't make the list, and there are others that haven’t been announced yet. There were also a few great games that could end up being released in 2024, but a 2025 release date seemed more likely, so I decided not to include them here.
Hopefully, there are at least one or two games on this list that are interesting to you, especially if you haven’t heard of them before. A few of them have upcoming release dates, plus there are a few that have free demos available, so if you have the time, it can’t hurt to give them a try!
Keep in mind that this list is not a confirmation that any of these games will be released in 2024. If the developers need to delay their game to 2025, that’s ok. The developers should take the time they need rather than rush something out in an unfinished state. Plus, there will be no shortage of great games in the meantime.
Which game are you the most excited for? Which ones will you add to your wishlist? Leave a comment letting us know your thoughts and keep an eye on Gamepressure for any news or updates to these great indie games!
Matt Buckley | Gamepressure.com