Best Indie Games From 2022 That You Must Play Once

As you probably know, 2022 is almost at an end, and what a year it has been for gamers and the gaming industry as a whole. We got smash hit after smash hits with massive AAA games, some of which people had been waiting for years to come out. There were so many great games this year that we made a list of 22 of the best games that came out this year that you should definitely check out! That list features some of the best games from this year, but it had a huge chunk missing. This chunk is filled with darling indie games that need your attention. 

Indie games, if you aren’t aware, are games on a much smaller scale when compared to their AAA brethren. These games usually have very low budgets but, in a way, are the bread and butter of the industry as they push innovation and creativity forward and deliver truly unique experiences, on a much smaller scale. Some of these games are very hard, while others are casual romps that can be completed in one sitting. Some are meticulously designed with intricate mechanics and systems, while others are straightforward and simple. Some also allow you to explore giant worlds, while others are mostly linear, with a straightforward story and path for you to follow. Some tell very emotional and heartwarming stories, while others have no stories but have addictive gameplay loops that you can spend countless hours into.

No matter what kind of indie game you play, one thing is almost a guarantee: these games have heart. They are some of the most special experiences that are made by people who have burning passion hotter than molten magma driving them. Don’t let the scale of these games fool you, as these are some of the best and one-of-a-kind experiences you’ll come across. I am glad to see that indie games these days get an equal amount of attention and love as AAA games and that industry titans like Xbox and Playstation promote these games front and center like they do with big AAA titles and original IPs. It also helps with the advent of subscription services like Xbox Game Pass, where a lot of these games get launched on day one and get even more exposure than they otherwise would have. I can’t even begin to tell you how many indie games I have discovered thanks to Game Pass, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the service introducing me to these brilliant titles. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the best indie games that came out in 2022. I’ll keep them brief here, just like the games themselves, and I’ll also add my personal rating for each of them just to make things interesting. Just know this before we jump in: all of these games are true gems and are must-plays in their own right and some of the best experiences I had in 2022.


Stray

Let’s start with the indie game of the year 2022, the cat game “Stray.” Set in a cyberpunk-inspired city where humans are nowhere to be seen, you play as a cat here who has to find her way back to her family. You’ll be exploring the murky alleyways of the city, and being a cat gives you more flexibility and versatility in doing so. You’ll also be solving puzzles along the way and befriending a tiny robot companion called B-12, who will aid you along the journey. The way the cat and her movements are animated is just plain adorable, and you can also do cat things like scratching the side of a sofa or taking a nap; it’s oddly cathartic and incredibly lovely. “Stray” is truly a one-of-a-kind experience and is a simple yet incredibly gorgeous game that is emotional at times and fun at others. Plus, it gets bonus points from me for allowing me to play as a cat! A truly unique experience.

My personal rating is 10/10.


Cult Of The Lamb

“Cult of The Lamb” has to be the most adorable, the most sinister, and the weirdest indie game of 2022, all at the same time. The game tasks you with forming a cult of lambs and fighting off rival cults and enemies, all the while making sacrifices to please the gods and to make your cult the most powerful and known entity of them all. With such a dark theme, the art style here is deceptively cute, as this game is one of the most charming games I have ever laid eyes upon. The worlds here are randomly generated, and there’s tons to see and do with quirky characters to meet and interact with, all the while building your flock and performing loads of sacrifices in the name of the mighty lamb god. This game is awesome.

My personal rating is 9/10.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

This is my personal favorite on this list, as TMNT was my jam while growing up, and this game knows how to deliver modern gameplay combined with a plateful of nostalgia. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge” is a side-scrolling beat ’em up with pixel art graphics and fun, addictive gameplay, all of which are true to the series and its roots. You can play as the turtles here with Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael, but you can also play as Master Splinter, April O’Neil, and Casey Jones! The game supports up to six players in co-op, and it’s a blast to play, with each character having their own moves and animations. Its art style will take you back to the arcade games, and as I said, this is my personal favorite indie game of the year 2022.

My personal rating is 10/10.


Trek To Yomi

Studio Flying Wild Hog had one of the best years in 2022, as they released three games throughout the year, all of which are incredible in their own right. “Trek to Yomi” is their indie darling for this year, and what an awesome game it is. Inspired by the Kurosawa Japanese Samurai films, this game is a side-scrolling action game where you play as a samurai wanting to get revenge. There’s brutal sword combat here with tons of boss battles, and the cherry on top is that the entire game is played in black and white. It’s hard at times, but it’s incredibly fun from beginning to end and is very atmospheric and moody, and I love it.

My personal rating is 8.5/10.


Pentiment

“Pentiment” is the latest game from Obsidian Entertainment and the brilliant mind of Josh Sawyer. It’s a narrative adventure set across 16th-century Europe, where you play as a painter named Andreas Maler. It’s one of the most unique experiences you’ll ever have, with each screen and frame drawn like it’s part of a beautifully illustrated manuscript or a painting. There’s a ton of texts here to go through, and the revered and obsidian RPG gameplay is also on full display. “Pentiment” is a vastly different experience than you are used to from other Obsidian AAA RPGs, but at the same time, it is a very Obsidian game at its core. It’s truly a unique experience that everyone should have, whether they are fans of this style or not.

My personal rating is 10/10.


SIFU

“Sifu” is another unique and one-of-a-kind experience that blends roguelike gameplay with Kung Fu and gives it its own identity, all the while being brutal, badass, and very satisfying throughout. The story takes you on the path of vengeance for the murder of your family, where you’ll have to fight countless enemies across the day, all in the span of a single day. The catch here is that every time you die, you come back older. How cool is that? The game has a steep learning curve and is quite challenging, but once you master its mechanics and combat, this will be one of the most cinematic experiences you’ll have. “Sifu” is just plain cool and is one of the most brutal and satisfying indie games that came out this year.

My personal rating is 9/10.


TUNIC

An isometric action game set in a mysterious land full of things to see and do, “Tunic” lets you play as a small, teeny fox who shares a striking resemblance with Link from the “Zelda” series. Don’t be fooled by the charm and cute aesthetics of this game, as, in a way, it is very much like “Dark Souls,” with challenging combat and mission structure that doesn’t hold your hand or guide you across its journey. “Tunic” is adorable but also very challenging, and the game will let you make your own path and find your own ways instead of telling you what to do, which makes it a very different kind of experience and one that you should play!

My personal rating is 9/10.


Return To Monkey Island

Series creator Ron Gilbert returns once again with his new game in this beloved point-and-click adventure, “Return to Monkey Island.” If you have played any of the previous games, then you know how charming this series is. Guybrush Threepwood and every single character from the previous games are all here, alongside new faces, in this new adventure that is just as hilarious as the ones that came before. Solve puzzles, chat with quirky characters, and go through the plot in one of the best point-and-click games ever made in the newest entry of the “Monkey Island” series, “Return to Monkey Island.”

My personal rating is 9.5/10.


Tinykin

You play as Milo here, who has returned to Earth and finds himself to be way too tiny and finds no humans around anymore. He also figures out that he is stuck in 1991 with these weird creatures of sorts called Tinykin, and he embarks on a journey to figure out what’s going on. “Tinykin” is weird to explain as it’s an adventure game with platforming and puzzle solving where your character is drawn like a two-dimensional cartoon and is set in a world that is three-dimensional and real looking. You have to see and play this game to understand what I am talking about, but trust me, it’s a very charming, colorful, and fun journey to go on.

My personal rating is 8/10.


Cuphead The Delicious Last Course

“Cuphead” was announced in 2014, came out in 2017, and was one of the most popular, beloved, and artistically stunning indie games that came out. Developed by Studio MDHR, “Cuphead” was an incredibly difficult boss rush game that had hand drawn 1930s cartoon-style graphics and ample amounts of charm and originality with it. “The Delicious Last Course” (DLC, clever) was announced in 2018 and arrived in 2022. It adds more of what people loved, including a new island and tons of new bosses, each of which is more difficult, stunning, and incredible to fight with when compared to the ones from the original game. Though it’s not a new game, more “Cuphead” is always welcomed, and MDHR nailed it once again.

My personal rating is 10/10.


OlliOlli World

The “OlliOlli” games were always fun skateboarding platformers, but “OlliOlli World” took this series to new heights by adding higher, more dynamic, and more vibrant levels for you and your skateboard to grind across. This game is just stunning, with a gorgeous art style and incredible use of so many vibrant colors on the screen. There are tons of 2D and 3D platformers out there, but none of them is like “OlliOlli World,” and the charisma on display here is alone worth it to play this game.

My personal rating is 8/10.


Prodeus

Okay, I’ll keep this one short and sweet. If you like “DOOM,” especially the old ones, then “Prodeus” is right up your alley and is a game that you should go and play right now. A modern, fast first-person shooter with graphics that are retro and pixelated, this game is just plain phenomenal. There’s nothing I can say about it other than that. It’s a love letter to OG first-person shooters and is as badass as it is beautiful and bold.

My personal rating is 9.5/10.


Somerville

“Somerville” is the newest game by Dino Patti, the co-founder of Playdead, the guys who made the brilliant “Limbo” and “Inside.” It’s the first game by his new studio, Jumpship, and is an adventure game where you play as a family in the middle of an alien invasion. There’s no dialogue or music, and the art style and visuals are stunning here, with an eerie atmosphere and a mystery that you must get to the bottom of. The gameplay is simple here, and the design choice of going from the right side of the screen to the left instead of the traditional way, which is the exact opposite, does add the weird tension and uneasiness that the game was clearly going for. It’s very much like “Limbo” and “Inside” and is a memorable and short experience that you should check out.

My personal rating is 9/10.


Vampire Survivors

Finally, we have “Vampire Survivors,” the game that took the internet by storm and is so simple yet so clever and perfect that it blows my mind. It’s a roguelike bullet-hell shoot ’em up where you must survive for as long as you can while on a timer, of course, and earn gold for the next survivor, as you will surely die. There is nothing special about this game; it just is, and that’s what makes it so incredibly fun to play and one of the most addictive games I have come across in a long time. Play “Vampire Survivors,” and it’s bizarre how, in an age of complex games trying to sell their complex stories and mechanics, something this simple is simply the star of the show.

My personal rating is 10/10.

Indie games are awesome, and these have been some of the best ones that came out in 2022 that you should definitely check out. I am sorry if I skipped a lot of them, stuff like “Neon White” or “Signalis” but I haven’t played them, so I thought it’s best if I skipped them. They’d be great games, I am sure, and I’ll get to them as quickly as I can. There are hundreds of indie games that came out this year, and 100s more are on their way for the next year, so keeping track of them or talking about all of them is a very difficult task, the few we mentioned are some of the best and most unique experience you’ll have if you wish to try them. Play indie games if you don’t. You would be surprised to see what you would find there.


See more: 10 Most Underrated Video-Games From The Last Generation


Kartik Sharma
Kartik Sharma
Kartik is sometimes a freelance content writer and an actor. He loves spending his time reading books, playing videogames, dabbling in music, exploring different cultures and languages, etc. loves everything that is art and loves to explore new horizons.

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