Another year of fantastic indie game releases have come and gone. As we look forward to the new year, we can see that 2022 has just as much potential to deliver more of the creative, independently made, gaming experiences we got this year. Here are ten upcoming indie titles to keep an eye out for in 2022.
1. Little Devil Inside (PS5, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC)
Starting off, we have an action adventure game that has been in the public’s eye for a long time. The game was first announced through a Kickstarter pre-alpha trailer which included gameplay footage. The developers, Neostream Interactive, originally aimed for a Fall 2016 approximate release window but after raising well above the projected goal, the game went back into development for years. They even changed the game’s engine, switching from the Unity engine to Epic’s Unreal Engine.
Practically re-debuting at the Playstation State of Play Showcase in October 2021, Little Devil Inside is set in a Victorian-like era where creatures, monsters and other mysterious life forms exist. The amazingly stylized art is accompanied by what seems to be an open world environment with varied survival gameplay elements. Not much is known about exactly how the gameplay works but the game looks finely polished and could feature an intense story set in a wildly harsh world. Hopefully this will finally be the year that Little Devil Inside is delivered to those who have patiently waited.
2. Gravity Chase (PC)
For those of you who enjoy crushing your friends in racing games like Mario Kart or Forza Horizon but have now found them too easy, then get ready for a unique twist on the racing game genre. Gravity Chase is a racing competition that takes place on tunnel tracks for super-fast 360 degree zero gravity racing. The tracks that have been shown by developer Repixel8 in trailers feature a bright futuristic setting with neon lights illuminating your path. Racers will be alternating between the inside and outside of the tracks, adding variety to how you interact with others racing along the track. The tracks can change as well, taking the shapes of half pipes and curved tubes.
This isn’t Repixel8’s first attempt at making a game with this idea. Their previous work, Velocity G, also featured zero g racing and was released to mixed reviews but from the gameplay footage alone you can tell how much Gravity Chase has built upon Velocity G’s foundation. The tempo of the game play is faster and all the animations look smoothed out. There is valuable experience to be learned in the previous attempt, now is the chance to really show the world that there is a fun experience to be had here.
3. A Memoir Blue (Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, Nintendo Switch, PS4/5, PC)
Described by developers Cloister Interactive as an “interactive poem”, A Memoir Blue is a narrative driven interactive game that dives (literally) into the deep memories of a superstar athlete and explores the all-encompassing love between mother and daughter.
The first thing you’ll notice is the unique aesthetic combining hand-drawn and 3D art brings the protagonist’s, named Miriam, magical-realist journey to life, as she swims into the depths of her memories. The clash of the 3D and 2D art representing our memories is executed perfectly. Childhood memories aren’t remembered in clear detail but rather abstract actions and simplistic visions. A series of gameplay vignettes blends sacrifice and heartbreak with victory and pride as Miriam reconnects with her inner child and deepens the love she shares with her mother. As you embark on an evocative journey through her turbulent childhood you’ll confront her past demons and maybe even reflect upon your own.
The game is being published by the very recognizable Annapurna Interactive, who has brought many creative indie devs into the spotlight. They seem to have hit the mark again as Cloister Interactive is ready to deliver an emotional experience that may stick with us the whole year.
4. Martha is Dead (Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, PS4/5, PC)
Italy in 1944 was a war-torn hellscape with suffering citizens near the end of the second world war. This is the setting for the first-person psychological horror Martha is Dead that blurs the lines between reality, superstition, and the tragedy of war. The dark tone is set right from the start as the body of a young woman is found in a small town. The girl, who’s name is (you guessed it) Martha is the daughter of a German soldier fighting in the war. The player controls Martha’s twin sister, Giula, who alone deals with the acute trauma of loss and the fallout from Martha’s murder. The hunt for the truth is shrouded by mysterious folklore and the extreme horror of war that draws ever closer. The narrative of the game seems to be an exploration of loss, relationships and the psychological undertones of a dark period of history through the eyes of a young woman who seeks the truth, but who also has secrets of her own to hide.
This is the second game from developers LKA, who boast that Martha is Dead is the first Indie game to launch using the native Italian language as the default setting – for full immersion into the story and the characters. This is a deep and dark multi-layered narrative that you won’t want to miss.
5. Tunic (PC, Xbox One)
On a lighter note, the next game on our list is Tunic, an isometric action game about a small fox on a big adventure. Development of this title started with one person, Andrew Shouldice, a developer based in Nova Scotia, Canada. Since then, the team behind it has grown into “Tunic Team” which includes Dust composer Lifeformed and Finji, publisher of Night in the Woods and Chicory: A Colorful Tale. Tunic has been in a bit of a development stall as it was originally set to be released in 2018.
As players explore the open world, they will come across a hostile and intricately connected world of shady forests, sprawling ruins, and labyrinthine catacombs. You’ll have to deal with mighty bosses deep beneath the earth, high above the clouds, and all over the land. Like the recent Link’s Awakening remake, the game has a top-down visual style with high quality looking shading. Many people have anticipated this game for a long time and with all the gameplay footage out already, it seems like the wait will most likely end up being worth it.
6. Imp of the Sun (PC)
For a game that is supposed to be a debut title for developers Sunwolf Entertainment, the 2D action platformer Imp of the Sun looks well polished. Drawing on inspiration from real Peruvian cultures, players control Nin, an Imp created from the final spark of the Sun, who is sent on an adventure to defeat the Four Keepers and restore the Sun’s power, ending the Eternal Eclipse before the world is plunged into darkness. Safe to say that the stakes are high for little Nin.
What makes Imp of the Sun unique is the fact that it’s a non-linear 2D Action-platformer that combines fast-paced combat and exploration set across a stunning Peruvian-inspired world, from the bright peaks of the Andean mountains to the dense Amazonian jungles. Players are able to gain new fire-based powers and abilities as you progress, defeating enemies and eventually coming up against the Keepers themselves. If you defeat the five bosses and return light to the world, you can turn on Eclipse Mode for a second playthrough, and play the entire game shrouded in darkness. If the gameplay is as fun and precise as the trailers make it seem, Sunwolf Entertainment can establish themselves as a developer to always keep a tab on.
7. We Were Here Forever (Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, PS4/5, PC)
The culmination of the whole “We Were Here” series will be here soon. The co-op puzzle series has been a favorite for duos everywhere, perfectly balancing the puzzle/co-op dynamic and improving every sequel. Every game in the We Were Here series is a standalone co-op adventure with each story being connected but you don’t need to play them in order. Fans of the series will recognize the familiar setting of the Antarctic Castle Rock and the continuation of the narrative. Speaking of which, while each game is standalone, the developers have warned “if you’re a story fan we’d recommend you play We Were Here Forever after completing the others: there are some shocking revelations coming”. A big promise for those who have followed along so far.
For those unacquainted with the series, what has truly captured many is how the game brings you and your partner together to share a unique fun gameplay experience while also telling a compelling narrative. One moment you might laugh at a mutual misunderstanding, and the next find yourself shocked at an unexpected revelation in the plot. You still have plenty of time to catch up before We Were Here Forever is officially released as the whole series is on Steam.
8. Hazel Sky (PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One)
Continuing on our trend of compelling narratives, Coffee Addict Studio’s Hazel Sky has the attention of those who love these kinds of games. Hazel Sky describes itself as a heartfelt adventure about a young engineer named Shane facing his destiny and his desires. Fix ramshackle flying machines and jump, climb, swing, and slide through a beautiful, mysterious world. Sent to an island far from home in the flying city of Gideon, Shane must pass the trials and return as an Engineer or face banishment. Connected via radio, Shane and fellow trainee engineer, Erin strike up an illicit friendship. A friendship that will change the way Shane sees the world.
Not much is known about this game, not even the quarter of the year that it will be released in. Coffee Addict Studios has only one other title, Blade and Bones, a game that has a lot of great ideas yet ultimately fell flat on execution. Hazel Sky drops the action hack-and-slash gameplay for a bit more nuance and storytelling. The ambient toon shading fully compliments the stylized art direction that the game is going for, creating beautiful light hues and a world that lives and breathes.
9. Mineko’s Night Market (Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC , Xbox One)
Here we have another debut indie game from a developer. This time it’s Meowza Games hitting the scene with Mineko’s Night Market, a narrative-driven, social simulation adventure game that celebrates Japanese culture while encouraging players to craft, eat, and socialize with the townsfolk. You will play as Mineko, a curious girl who has just arrived at her new home on a struggling Japanese-inspired island at the base of Mount Fugu. The superstitious locals on the island worship the Sun Cat, Abe. What was always thought to be a long-told myth has the town puzzled, as sightings of Abe have begun to surface among the residents of the island in recent days. It is up to the player to unravel this mystery while also running a busy night market selling various things to the night goers. As you befriend and barter with dozens of townsfolk by selling almost anything you make and find, you’ll have to craft peculiar items with the resources you find around the world through a variety of work-bench mini-games. There is plenty to experience here with hours of exploration and four seasons to experience across the vast island of Mt. Fugu.
10. Stray (PS4/5, PC)
In terms of games I have personally been excited for, nothing comes close to achieving that “need to play” feeling like Stray does. In a world populated by robots, players take on the role of a cat that was accidentally left behind by their owners. This third person open-world exploration game is filled to the brim with so much personality and flair. With the assistance of your travel buddy robot, you are able to communicate with the world’s inhabitants and even help solve some of their problems.
The graphics look amazing, the kind we’ve come to expect from next generation consoles and the Unreal Engine. On a technical level, this game seems to be hitting every checkbox with it’s smooth animations, tight platforming controls, and even plenty of dialogue options even though you are a cat. Speaking of which, there are plenty of options to do actions that a cat would do. Stretching out, hiding in nooks and crannies, getting brushed, and even laying on others laps. The combination of a fun, unique gameplay experience with a driving narrative, beautiful art, and potential as high as the sky makes Stray one of the most anticipated indie games of 2022.