2021 is a year of promising indie games, hailing from a variety of genres and thematic mash-ups. Why wouldn't you want to play the games that push the industry forward this year? They are abounding with experimental features, taking risks that no AAA studio particularly wants to take first. Furthermore, while you can get hours of enjoyment out of these indie games, they're significantly cheaper than AAA titles.
Here's a list of indie games slated for release in 2021 that you must know about (in no particular order)! I've also included some intriguing honorable mentions.
The Lich has thrown the world into a timeless loop and plunged its inhabitants into never ending chaos. Wield an expanding deck of mystical cards to place enemies, buildings, and terrain along each unique expedition loop for the brave hero.
Loop Hero takes old-school concepts and packages them into a nostalgic, albeit modern experience with dithered art. Since I am evil, I would quite enjoy playing the role of "The Lich." Having been the gamemaster for some TTRPGs, creating sprawling dungeons filled with traps and malevolent entities is right up my alley. Sometimes being the protagonist gets boring!
Snowtopia: Ski Resort Tycoon
Build your ideal ski resort. Keep skiers smiling with fresh pistes and fine facilities. Ski, build and chill in the wintry world of Snowtopia where everyone is welcome!
What tycoon simulator game isn't addicting? Snowtopia, in its own right, appears to be worth your time! This is a quality management game highly regarded by outlets such as IGN Japan.
The Outbound Ghost
The Outbound Ghost is an adventure game about a ghost figuring out the cause of their own death, and helping others come to terms with the afterlife.
You have to love the aesthetic and premise of The Outbound Ghost. Wishlist it!
An atmospheric 3D pixel art Roguelike game with FPS melee fighting!
There's a demo for Bone Vault on itch.io. Play it! I didn't think I would fall in love with 3D pixel art, but this game changed my tune on that.
Time Loader is a story-driven puzzle-platformer with tiny robots, alternate realities, nostalgic music, and primitive tech from the 90s!
I have no choice but to play this game. I grew up in the 90s, and played The Incredible Machine for hours on end. Time Loader has its hooks in me, and I wouldn't be surprised if you feel compelled to play it too.
Fast-paced roguelike shooter, do backflips over enemies while you shoot them in the head.
Cthulhu much? This Lovecraftian, over-the-top shooter may just be the distraction you need. Distraction from what? Existential dread.
Restore color to the dark and desolate islands of Farewell North, an open world journey where you play as a collie traveling a foreboding archipelago alongside your human companion. Explore, evade monsters, and restore color while uncovering a unique story about saying farewell.
Who doesn't want to restore color to the world? Well, I don't, but I'm a terrible person. Still, Farewell North seems like a spectacularly-designed journey. Not dissimilar from Journey, it's a game that will undoubtedly make you think. Yes, this is one of those games that will likely be remembered as more than a game.
Last Time I Saw You
Last Time I Saw You is a #2D #indiegame that was born from a heartbreak!🙃— Last Time I Saw You | Maboroshi Artworks (@MaboroshiArt) February 6, 2021
A narrative action platformer about a young boy that falls in love for the first time with the mysterious girl that has brought a terrible curse upon his town…💙#indiedev #screenshotsaturday #gamedev pic.twitter.com/rfwJOHJxvv
From the website:
2D, fully hand-drawn action platformer heavily focused on the narrative with abundant environment exploration.
Frankly, Last Time I Saw You is an artistic masterpiece. The passion put into it will leave you in awe. This is a game I cannot wait to try!
Naau The Lost Eye
Naau: The Lost Eye is a VR action, adventure, and easy puzzle game with physics based mechanics. Explore ancient ruins, sky cities, and canyons. You will have bow, crossbow, various weapons and too many enemies. This game is created exclusively for VR.
I don't have a VR headset, but if I did, I would try Naau The Lost Eye!
Siege the Day
Siege the Day is a tactical turn-based combat castle builder game. Take control of your castle's defenses and fortifications. Engage in epic 1-on-1 battles! Build your ultimate castle and use catapults, cannons, magic spells, and dragons to wage war against other players.
I mean, Siege the Day just looks badass, doesn't it?
Curse of the Sea Rats
Embark on an epic ratoidvania adventure beautifully animated by hand, where your crew has been turned into rats by a pirate witch! Explore a rich non-linear world, enjoy fun action platforming, face epic bosses, and unlock all the characters' abilities - either alone or in co-op mode!
Like Last Time I Saw You, Curse of the Sea Rats is a hand-drawn piece of art.
Discover the depths of antarctica and find the missing pieces of an old machine. Time is not your friend - unkown spores make breathing in the depth impossible, so use your time wisely! The deeper you go, the darker it will be, use your flares or any help you can get to make sure you don't fall into the bottomless hole.
Bottomless was actually made as a result of a gamejam in 2020. You can pay what you want for it on itch.io. Why not try it?! Bottomless pulls off some stunning visuals, especially with reflective surfaces. Its physics are superb, and quite uncommon for a 2D game.
Weekly update on my free #DnD encounter map-maker app https://t.co/qRulkrZ22p— Marc @ BattleMapp (@BattleMapp) January 23, 2021
Insane progress over the last few months and more features and models being added everyday. Check it out below!#TTRPG pic.twitter.com/MFcWPfoNam
From the website:
The Free Virtual Tabletop for tabletop roleplaying games.
BattleMapp is not so much a game as it is a tool to facilitate virtual tabletop role-playing. Its Patreon page is enticing, allowing supporters access to the premium edition of the application upon Version 1.0 release. Standalone beta releases are also available to supporters who can give a little more. Otherwise, BattleMapp is free and accessible on itch.io.
Slash, shoot and dash through hordes of deadly enemies, defeat challenging bosses and unlock modular abilities as you explore the futuristic neon-drenched world of this action RPG.
From what I can tell, Kakopa's Atlas is a beautiful farming game that's been in development for a while. I'm not sure if it will be released in 2021, but the game's progress has been astounding.
After exploring indie games on Twitter for a few months, this is what I came up with. I'll update the list as needed. I hope this helped you find something you enjoy. Have fun!