With 2022 being another standout year for indie game releases, 2023 looks set to follow in similar fashion. Popular AAA games are often at the forefront of gaming news, so it is important to also keep an eye out for the smaller, often more impactful games from indie developers. To make this easier, we have come together to show you some of our most anticipated indie releases for the new year!
Planet of Lana
Our first addition is this hand-painted puzzle adventure game by Wishfully, set to be released in Spring 2023. Set on a planet that was once the perfect balance between humanity, nature, and the animal kingdom but is now something else entirely, Planet of Lana has you meet a faceless army that roams a now disharmonious world. Accompanied by a faithless companion, a young girl will travel across an open land and come face-to-face with enemies much stronger than her, but definitely not as brave. Promising to be an epic sci-fi saga that spans across galaxies, Planet of Lana appears to be a small but mighty addition to 2023.
2007 was the year of ‘Umbrella’ by Rihanna, but 2023 will be the year of Gunbrella, the noir-punk action-adventure game developed by Doinksoft. Armed with a gun that also works as an umbrella, shoot and parkour across your small village, which is prone to the odd cult kidnapping and trash gang hangout. Taking on the role of a grumpy woodsman, Gunbrella has you work to solve an investigation by interrogating bizarre characters. Everyone from cops to cultists is under suspicion. All the while, you must manage your resources to make sure you’re always ready for a fight. This is definitely one to keep on your radar.
What would a year be without the latest instalment of a farming sim? Next year’s new cultivation craze could well be Pixelshire, an RPG sandbox game combining elements of both life sims and farming sims to create a world where you can build a town, explore, and engage in combat. Customise your home and town to your heart’s content, meet your fellow neighbours, raise livestock, fish, cook, brew, and do so much more in developer Kappa Bits’ latest. Pixelshire looks to be a fun one to add to your wishlist!
Set in 1980s America, REPLACED is a 2.5D action platformer set in a sci-fi, retro-futuristic setting. The highly stylised romp is developed by Sad Cat Studios. In the role of R.E.A.C.H, an AI unwillingly trapped inside a human body, you must adjust to life in Phoenix City. After a catastrophic nuclear event, this town is now strife with corruption, with those in power seeing no value in humans. Combining platforming and plenty of combat action, REPLACED is a cyberpunk-esque adventure set in an alternative past where you must do what it takes to survive in a lawless city.
Is this a game about bones? Yes. Am I going to play the hell out of it? Also yes. Birth is the creation of Madison Karrh, and is an adventure puzzle game which allows you to construct your own creature out of bones and organs. Explore the city and find pieces for your creature, while solving puzzles and finding the occasional secret in bakeries and bookstores. All in the pursuit of finding a way to heal your loneliness. With creepy but beautiful art, Birth could well end up a hidden gem for next year. It is scheduled to be released in February 2023.
Book of Hours
A game set in an occult library? Say no more. Book of Hours, set to be released in June 2023 by Weather Factory, is a combat-free RPG set in the historical library of Hush House. With a ruined collection and the librarian now dead, it is up to you to catalogue books, assist any visitors, and uncover the ancient secrets of the centuries old library. Study, restore, purify, and guide in this upcoming tale. Enjoy the peaceful and mysterious atmosphere of a place filled with thousands of stories and histories in Book of Hours.
Developed by Drop Bear Bytes, this narrative-driven RPG set in an Australian post-apocalypse combines elements of turn-based combat and philosophical choices to create an interesting story. Broken Roads is a game that heavily explores the moral compass, with dialogue options and storylines affected by your decisions to really shape the way you choose to play in its desolate wasteland. With decisions that are neither good nor bad, but instead explore what it means to be morally grey, Broken Roads is an RPG that you can completely make your own.
Slay the Princess
This choice-driven, psychological visual novel is for all the horror fans out there who still enjoy narrative value. Slay the Princess by Black Tabby Games tasks you with only one goal: slay the princess or the world will end. However, the princess does not want to die. She will do everything she can to stop you, whether that means seducing you or lying to you. With a branching narrative that determines how your story will unfold, a romance that may or may not end well, and a beautiful hand-drawn art style, Slay the Princess will be available in 2023.
Chants of Sennaar
Set to be released sometime in 2023, Chants of Sennaar is an exploration-based puzzle game based on the myth of Babel, from developer Rundisc. The Peoples of the Tower no longer speak, but it is said that a Traveler will come one day and restore Balance to the land. Until then, explore a vast land filled with colour and men who have forgotten their pasts, uncovering the mysteries and puzzles that litter the environment around you. Use stealth to get into forbidden zones and learn the ancient languages to bring peace to the Peoples of the Tower.
The Plucky Squire
In the world’s most adorable storybook-inspired platformer, The Plucky Squire allows players to jump between 2D and 3D worlds to save their friends. Follow the adventures of Jot and his friends as they face the evil Humgrump to become the heroes of the story. When Jot and co. are kicked out of their home storybook, they must do what it takes to vanquish Humgrump and make sure the story reaches a happy ending. Fly with jetpacks, take on countless puzzles, and even box badgers in this delightful action-adventure game from All Possible Futures.
Dredge is a single-player fishing game with a mysterious and deadly twist. Developed by Black Salt Games, this RPG adventure allows you to set sail across murky waters, sell your catch, and upgrade your boat, all while looking for long-buried secrets. Complete quests to find out more, and meet the locals as you explore remote islands and their surroundings. On the flipside, you’ll have to keep an eye out for the 125 denizens who lurk below the waters. Dredge is poised to dredge up those classic fears what hides beneath the tides.
Bramble: The Mountain King
In a grim setting inspired by Nordic fairytales, Bramble: The Mountain King allows players to take on the role of Olle, who sets off on a journey to rescue his sister from a horrifying troll. Explore detailed, nightmare-inducing environments as you travel through Bramble, and be aware that not everything is as it seems. Defeat monstrous creatures, call upon the Spark of Courage to aid you, and endure any obstacles the forest puts in your path as your journey across this twisted, mythical land. Bramble: The Mountain King by Dimfrost Studio launches in 2023.
This new-style tactics RPG follows the story of university student Faye and her companions, as they battle monstrous creatures caught between the human and demon worlds. Alongside a gripping story, Demonschool by Necrosoft game will offer plenty of exciting side quests, diverse combat tactics, and the chance of friendship with up to 15 different characters. Who said monster killing would take up all your time? With an underlying horror vibe, Demonschool is guaranteed to keep you on your toes when it releases in 2023.
What better way to stop players from arguing about the way a story develops than to just create a game where they can create their own story? That is where Storyteller comes in, developed by Daniel Benmergui and set to be released on March 23rd. Storyteller allows you to experience some of history’s greatest stories like never before – with you in charge. With colourful animations and a comic panel design, you have access to a wide range of characters and themes, and can tell their story however you like with unique puzzle mechanics.
After Us launches on PlayStation 5 in Spring 2023, and is the brain child of Piccolo Studio. It tells the story of Gaia, the spirit of life as she traverses around an empty world where humans have ceased to exist. In a desolate environment littered with derelict buildings and a creeping darkness, Gaia must do what it takes to restore humanity and life itself. With her ability to spread seeds and reanimate long-dead creatures, she must be wary of a world that may not want to be helped. After Us has all the makings of a game filled with hope.
Eternights is best described as a dating simulator based in a post apocalyptic setting. What better time to date? Combining a love story with fast-paced combat action is no easy feat, but Studio Sai look like they’ll manage to accomplish it. When you’re not going on dates, explore dungeons, scavenge supplies, and if you have extra time, save the world in the meantime. Race against the clock of the passing day, work to find and fight for love, and battle the monsters that have overtaken the city. With the addition of anime-style cutscenes, Eternights is calling to all the weebs out there.
That’s our list of the indies we’re most looking forward in 2023! Which indie games are you most excited to play in the new year? Let us know in the comments below! For more on all things indie, stay tuned right here at GameLuster