In case you are a PC gamer who’s bored with the identical previous video games on Steam and Epic Video games Retailer, look no additional as we current the perfect indie video games that aren’t on Steam. We live in an age the place there are numerous video games out there to us. But, the key storefronts current solely a fraction of what video games are on the market.
Regardless of not being on massive storefronts, many of those creators are nonetheless spending plenty of their time creating work and need to be rightfully compensated. Not like bigger storefronts, plenty of the pages for video games you discover on this listing will supply the choice to pay what you need for them. Whereas this allows you to play many of those video games without cost, take into account how a lot it will assist a creator work on their subsequent venture should you determine to pay for his or her work. For different strategies to assist these devs, I recommend testing sport bundles such because the Queer Games Bundle 2022, Indiepocalypse, Locally Sourced, and others.
We shared the best PC games, the best PS5 games, and the perfect Xbox Series X games. Now, we glance past – the place artwork and experiments are transcending boundaries and expectations (this listing is just not ranked in any explicit order).
The very best indie video games that aren’t on Steam
1. First Land by fotocopiadora
You might be trapped in an underground dome of secrets and techniques. As you wander round, you find yourself in tunnels with entrances you may’t discover a second time. Portals to different worlds current themselves. There is no such thing as a one directing you the place to go; you simply must really feel the partitions of the caves and marvel the place precisely you will have ended up.
Wandering across the tunnels of First Land, looking for hidden passageways and worms feels claustrophobic. The sounds of the ocean clashing in opposition to the skin and the visions of a world with a visual sky rings inside one’s head. Low synths moan upon getting into rooms, as should you aren’t wandering by a cave that’s alive, responding to your actions.
First Land seems and seems like a misplaced Sega Saturn sport. But, to categorize it as such neglects the sport’s ambitions. First Land goals to impress the participant by area and textual content to consider language, place and time.
2. Search Magician by Moss Salamander
Within the smaller impartial sport scene, the 2D RPG aesthetic has remained fashionable because of the accessibility of improvement software program resembling RPGMaker and RPG Paper Maker. Whereas this aesthetic could be seen in fashionable titles resembling Omori and Undertale, the vary of risk expands a lot extra past fashionable storefronts, from experimental emotional subversive titles to colourful worlds of marvel.
Described by the developer as an RPG impressed by House Funeral about creatures they wish to hang around with, Seek Magician is a sport of pleasure and marvel within the 2D RPG style. The participant follows Pax the frog magician as he goals to change into the perfect magician whereas his little demon pal Lincoln tags alongside. Over the course of the journey, the aquatic creatures battle and hand around in skeleton-filled caverns and neon critter 80’s arcades. It’s a sport about having fun with the nice instances — and all the buddies you make alongside the way in which. What extra might you ask for?
3. Decay by Freya Campbell and Grim Baccaris
Impartial sport engines and frameworks not often make it to storefronts like Steam, however the accomplishments which they obtain in experimentation and elegance deserve equal, if no more, appreciation. Decay brings collectively the expertise of two seminal authors on this planet of interactive fiction, bitsy and Twine to create a sport exploring histories, libraries and witchcraft.
Decay is a library of phrases that asks the participant to query the development and reconstruction of historical past and the methods we come to know concepts of evil. Within the background, a twinkling soundtrack performs over a low buzzing tone, leaving a haunting feeling as they proceed to study of this world of magic. Over the course of the sport, the participant reads extra in regards to the world and it’s possible you’ll start to query simply what half you will have performed in all of it. One might take as a lot away from Decay’s world as we are able to about our personal.
4. A Star Referred to as Solar by Cecile Richard
Talking of seminal authors in interactive fiction, Cecile Richard is one other who has constantly launched bitsy titles that completely astound. A Star Called Sun is one among Richard’s greatest works and one of the emotionally resounding titles made with itch.io. It follows somebody who’s on their own in area going by their each day routine and considering again on their reminiscences of family members. As you water crops, sit within the elevator, and look out into area, it’s possible you’ll begin to look again by yourself reminiscences of the folks you cherish.
The sport could be performed inside 10 minutes, nevertheless, these 10 minutes are densely wealthy. Every body of the sport is filled with an emotional ambiance that’s unparalleled. A Star Referred to as Solar is the proper argument for the way lo-fi video games uniquely specific their emotion and tone in ways in which increased constancy video games can not.
5. 10 Lovely Postcards by thecatamites
For over a decade now, thecatamites has been creating video games stuffed with allure and enthusiasm for the methods video games can current character. 10 Beautiful Postcards is the developer’s most up-to-date work and the allure hasn’t gone away a bit.
Thecatamites video games take among the most charming features of video games and discover methods to make them metaphorical and theoretical with out making them into severe theoretical texts. For instance, simply making it so the participant can stroll by dialogue, seems like you might be strolling by what the characters are considering. And even simply making it so there are 9 worlds, like enjoying by 9 ranges of a retro platformer.
10 Lovely Postcards brings thecatamites’ prowess to the flag sport style to create a collection of ideas about photographs, reminiscence, capitalism, and creatures.
6. Flesh, Blood and Concrete by io
By a swirling labyrinth of concrete and reminiscences wrapped in flesh, Lera searches for a approach residence. In Flesh, Blood, and Concrete the participant follows Lera as she has gotten misplaced in entrance of a creepy wanting condo constructing with a personality carrying a maid outfit. Over the course of the sport nevertheless, the condo constructing finally ends up changing into way more linked to Lera than she initially believed.
Like many different indie RPGMaker titles, Flesh, Blood, and Concrete doesn’t current any complicated mechanics for the participant to study. It’s fully made up of strolling by rooms, selecting up objects, and studying dialogue. Nevertheless, it doesn’t detract from the emotional beats or themes from the sport one bit. Flesh, Blood and Concrete presents one of the compelling and sophisticated metaphors about melancholy, interior turmoil and suicide. Watch out earlier than you play this one; it would depart you feeling heavy.
7. Madotsuki’s Closet by Bagenzo
One of many fantastic issues about making video games exterior of a gated market is that there aren’t many restrictions on what content material creators can put of their sport. This implies there are a ton of video games exterior of Steam which are diversifications, critiques, fan video games, and remixes of present video games. These video games carry their creators to pre-existing video games to precise the methods they contact us, be it actually or expressed by new concepts of what they may very well be.
Madotsuki’s Closet is a sport essay in regards to the sport Yume Nikki. It performs like a dialog between you and the creator, Bagenzo, as she recounts the historical past of the sport’s theories alongside along with her personal. What makes Madotsuki’s Closet transcend its historic retelling is that it acknowledges historical past is private. It’s greater than only a second in time — it’s additionally how the creator skilled that second and found herself.
8. The Crying Sport by Sophie Mallinson
The Crying Game is a playable essay sport about Sophie Mallinson’s experiences with crying. In it the participant presses the straightforward button to proceed the animation of crying on display. This pushes ahead dialogue, which is implied to be Mallinson. Every play of The Crying Sport doesn’t solely really feel like an statement of Mallinson’s tears however an opportunity to be with our personal.
The Crying Sport isn’t the one essay sport on the market. If you end up touched by the mix of private anecdotes and play, you need to hunt down others on the positioning. Nevertheless, The Crying Sport is on this listing as a result of it’s so concise, relatable and poignant.
9. Curtain by dreamfeel
It follows a lesbian girl navigating and surviving by days of an abusive relationship. As you stroll across the condo, you start to study the story of a pair who has had their fill of fine instances collectively together with extraordinarily unhealthy ones. Rooms are stuffed with playlists, guitars, music posters, and data. Halfway by it, nevertheless, there’s a twist, permitting players to see the whole lot in a distinct gentle. Curtain particularly handles this example by creating metaphysical hallways for the protagonist to stroll by time and expertise completely different intervals of the connection.
Curtain was the sport that modified video games for me. It introduced a brand new approach for me to consider how area and objects can current narrative. It set the concept in my head that video games could be filled with concepts from the filters that we see the world by to the colours of the partitions and the objects laid round. Curtain experiments with the concept that behind each waterfall there’s a treasure, besides as an alternative of a stat improve or merchandise, there may be emotional exploration and metaphor.
10. Butterfly Soup by Briana Lei
Butterfly Soup stays one of the influential titles on itch.io to this present day. One have a look at the infinite feedback may very well be sufficient to indicate that. Set in 2008, it follows 4 Asian-American queer ladies falling in love with each other and enjoying baseball.
The story addresses the state of queerness, how homophobia and racism persists, and the way every character copes with discrimination and id. There aren’t any actual impactful decisions the participant could make all through the sport, however this doesn’t take away from the emotional beats that the sport presents.
11. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY by alien melon
EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY is rather a lot suddenly, however for a very good purpose. It’s a sport about dwelling on-line and all the methods coping — and penalties include that. As you flick through a collection of packages, unfinished textual content information, and pop ups, a pained collection of occasions presents itself. Little bunny creatures beg you for solutions to their ache as they’re impaled on one display, and on one other, rabbits wander round questioning why nobody appears to like themselves.
On prime of that, poetry pops up within the midst of all of it, leaving you overwhelmed. You find yourself with sensory overload, a pair chuckles, and a heavy feeling of ache. All of it feels painfully acquainted, not too dissimilar from how your disorganized browser tabs could have made you’re feeling.
12. The Sleeping Gentle by Valerie of DOMINO CLUB
Funnily sufficient, there are literally two video games on this listing about lengthy distance relationships in area. Nevertheless, don’t be fooled into skipping this one.
The Domino Membership is a collective of sport creators that anonymously creates video games underneath a unified theme. It’s troublesome to know that a lot of their video games are created from collaborations, conversations, and inspirations behind the scenes. Nevertheless, that’s simply what makes a lot of their video games stand out. It’s a collective of sport makers who have already got particular person type, and so they come collectively to create these works.
The Sleeping Light follows an astronaut who manages more and more complicated methods aboard their ship. As the sport goes on, it’s intermixed with dialogue from a relationship that one assumes was up to now. The pictures of area more and more change into extra lonely as you watch your astronaut juxtaposed with the sunshine of a single star in area.
13. Homeland by Ada Rook
The protagonist of Homeland recounts the letters they’ve despatched to a pal. They speak about everybody round them making an attempt to persuade them that their pal is gone, however they proceed to jot down to them. We might assume we’re the blur shifting by the blue-violet caves of Homeland, nevertheless it may be believed to be a metaphor representing an infinite void of hope and despair.
Homeland is a sound artwork piece about somebody who has misplaced a pal and isn’t certain the way to settle for that they’re gone. The caves are formed like soundwaves that you’re shifting by. You virtually neglect that you’re in charge of the character as you progress by the cave listening to the protagonist’s voice. The voice is taking you on a journey as a lot as urgent the down secret’s.
14. BINKY IX: BUBBO I by gisbrecht
It’s onerous to say which sport within the BINKY collection one ought to begin with. Spanning 25 video games, every with a distinct method to design and style, one might begin with any one of many BINKY titles. The BINKY collection every present perception into the world of BINKY, but additionally a metacritique of video games themselves. Every lasts wherever between a couple of minutes to an hour relying on the time you determine to spend on them.
For this listing, we suggest beginning with BUBBO I, which is one among BINKY’s first “grand” adventures should you don’t depend BINKY’s journey by the human physique in BINKY VI or being stranded on Robotic Island in BINKY VII. BUBBO I follows BINKY, who finally ends up on a mysterious island stuffed with dragons and wizards. The distinct camp and lightheartedness which are iconic to the collection return for this entry as you make buddies with each dragon you meet.
15. Riba by nbmach1ne
Fishing has been a big a part of video games for many years and spanning throughout genres. Nevertheless, Riba is a singular method to fishing in video video games due to the way in which it treats fishing as a time to wander one’s reminiscences.
The whole thing of Riba takes place inside a single body containing a lone fisher sitting at a pond. Over the course of the sport, the fisher pulls out some fish and bones, which inform the story of a liked one they misplaced. I received’t go into the small print of all of it as a result of it isn’t too lengthy and it really works rather a lot higher stepping into blind. Nevertheless, with every bone fished out, one other a part of this fisher’s life and their family members change into extra clear. The pond slowly transforms from a spot for aquatic creatures to a memorial.
16. ANATOMY by Kitty Horrorshow
ANATOMY asks the lifelong query of what it will be wish to journey by the physique. Nevertheless, in ANATOMY, the physique turns into an more and more horrific home one travels by as they hearken to cassette tapes discovered all through the home. The longer one performs, the extra one questions their very own relationship to their physique — to their very own home and its rooms.
Not like many horror video games, ANATOMY doesn’t comprise any soar scares nor chase scenes to scare the participant. As an alternative it digs deep into the participant’s personal fears, and creates an setting and narrative that’s more and more discomforting to navigate. With every step you are taking, you’ll be terrified figuring out that it’s a must to take one other.