It is no secret that 2022 saw the release of many big releases *cough* Elden Ring and God of War: Ragnarok *cough* but it was also an amazing year for indie releases. Often overlooked in favor of large-scale releases, indie games can oftentimes be masterworks of storytelling, gameplay and original ideas. There was no shortage of such games in 2022 so we would like to talk about some of our favourite releases this year!
This point-and-click adventure/sci-fi game by Geography of Robots is a Southern Gothic-inspired tale set in the swamps and suburbs of South Louisiana. Norco follows the story of Kay that takes place after her mother’s death and the subsequent disappearance of her brother and as a result, she must go on an adventure through refineries, swamps and strip malls across New Orleans. Following clues left by Kay’s mother, you must unravel the mystery with a little help from your robotic friend. If you’re looking for a mystery set amongst an atmospheric landscape, this is the game for you.
Jordan tried his luck at Norco, check out his review here!
Available on Playstation, Xbox & PC
Released in July of this year and developed by Herobeat Studios, Endling tells the story of the last surviving foxes on Earth, a mother and her cubs. Tasked not only with surviving but also keeping her cubs safe from harm, this atmospheric adventure game is a stark reminder of the damage we have done to this planet. Travelling through an ever-changing world and seeing mankind through the eyes of a fox will pull on your heartstrings so Endling is definitely a game to play with a box of tissues nearby.
Endling was a hit for Nima! Read his thoughts in our review.
Available on Playstation, Xbox, Switch and PC
In May, we saw the release of Citizen Sleeper by Jump Over the Age – an RPG action-adventure game with an interesting premise. Set in the ruins of an interplanetary station, you take on the role of an escaped worker known as a Sleeper. Alongside the people that you meet, you are all trying to survive in a lawless environment on the edges of society.
What makes this game different from others in its genre is how it is inspired by tabletop RPGs and with a random roll of your dice each morning, your whole day can change. Whether you work in the fields, grab food or search the markets – every cycle is different. Talk about leaving it to chance! This player-led experience was a definite standout this year.
Available on Switch, Xbox and PC
Every now and again, a game comes along that you never even knew you needed. That happened this year with the release of Bear & Breakfast by Gummy Cat Studio. This management game takes the typical idea of building and running a bed and breakfast but with the added addition of you, you know, being a bear. The bear in question, Hank, and his friends come together to run this establishment and as the player, you can personalise its many rooms, keep customers happy and complete quests that will earn you perks. However, a mystery also lurks beyond the B&B and it is up to you to uncover it!
Available on Switch & PC
This adorable action-adventure game by Andrew Shouldice tells the story of a little fox on a big adventure. Tunic allows players to explore a land filled with ancient legends, hidden treasures and ferocious foes as you go on to discover the secrets hidden within. With technical combat, control your fox as he battles foes and discovers new items that will help along the way. Armed with an instruction manual you reconstruct on your journey and a landscape that is rich and diverse, Tunic is the perfect game to get lost in.
Available on Switch, Playstation, Xbox and PC
In March of this year, we were given the opportunity to play as Death, the CEO of Death Incorporated in this 2D action roguelike by Magic Design Studios. Have a Nice Death follows Death on the brink of burnout (we have all been there), and between herding his rampant employees and constantly cancelling his vacation plans, you have no option but to just do the job of balancing souls yourself. Face countless enemies, switch between 30 weapons and upgrade to master the deadliest of combos all in this death-defying game.
Available on Switch & PC
October saw the release of Signalis, a survival horror game by Rose-Engine. Set in a dystopian future, you play as Elster who is on the search for her lost partner and missing dreams in a world full of monstrous creatures. Dark secrets lurk in this off-world government facility and as a technician, Elster must use the skills in her arsenal to unravel a cosmic mystery. Solve puzzles with limited resources and find out what lingers in the dark as you take on this psychological horror.
Want to read what Nairon thought? Check out his review of Signalis!
Available on Switch, Playstation, Xbox & PC
Weird West was released in March this year by Wolfeye Studios (as well as the co-creators of Dishonoured & Prey). This action RPG takes place in a world where the infamous gunslingers on the frontier share their world with fantastical creatures. Each character you play has their own backstory and actions that will shape the path they walk on until they all ultimately meet for the final chapter. With every play-through being unique, this is a game you can keep coming back to again and again.
Available on Playstation, Xbox & PC
This psychological horror game by Bloodious Games is guaranteed to keep you up at night. Luca awakes in a dark room with his hands covered in blood and must battle against MADiSON, a demon who forces him to commit unspeakable acts all in the name of an ancient ritual. Armed with only an instant camera, you must search for clues and items that will help you beat the entities. With random events and puzzles at every turn, this terrifying game is definitely one for the brave of heart.
Available on Playstation, Xbox, Switch & PC
This list would not be complete without an Indie platformer and this year it came in the form of Rogue Legacy 2 by Cellar Door Games. This sequel to Rogue Legacy is bigger and better, with randomised runs, a large roster of characters and countless upgrades, it is guaranteed to be a platformer fan’s dream. Not only that but, ‘the boss fights are just platformer puzzles on crack’ according to Game Luster’s Sarim. What more could you want?
Available on Switch, Xbox & PC
Perhaps leaving the most unique to last, Immortality by Half Mermaid Productions is almost more of an interactive movie than a video game but a thrilling one nonetheless. Marissa Marcel was a movie star who starred in three movies but none of which were released. Then she disappeared. As a player, you must scour the footage throughout the decades to try and piece together what happened to her. How are your detective skills? Find out in this incredibly original tale.
While you’re here, why not check out Jess’ review of Immortality?
Available on Xbox & PC
Which indie game stood out for you in 2022? Let us know in the comments!