Indie games in recent years have been ambitious projects pushing the boundaries of the medium in story-telling and gameplay mechanics. Supergiant's indie game Hades, one of the most successful games in recent times, became the first video game to win a Hugo Award at the latest ceremony.
2021 saw a number of releases from indie developers that caught the eye of the players. The works of the artists have enjoyed significant attention from players in the last few years. More money is being invested into the scene and 2021 offers players a crop of excellent titles.
Top 5 indie games released in 2021
This year's indie games cover a number of genres while providing players with meaningful stories, visually striking gameplay, beautiful scores and memorable moments. The list compiles the very best that the year had to offer.
5 best independent games that came out in 2021
- Genesis Noir
- Death's Door
- Kena: Bridge of Spirits
- 12 Minutes
5) Genesis Noir
Developer - Feral Cat Den.
Platforms - Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One.
Released on - March 26, 2021.
Genesis Noir is an indie game that takes the macrocosm of the cosmic event of the Big Bang and plays it out in the microcosm of a lover's triangle and a gunshot. Players control No Man, a 1940s detective inside a noir-themed world, and visit different parts of the universe in a quest to save his love, Miss Mass, from Golden Boy.
Evan Anthony cites Italo Calvino's Cosmocomics and Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville as influences behind the creation of the distinct esthetic of the point-and-click adventure indie game, Genesis Noir. Different characters are metaphors for larger concepts in real life.
4) Death's Door
Developer - Devolver Digital.
Platforms - Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One and X|S.
Released on - July 20, 2021.
In Death's Door, the player steps into the role of a reaper collecting souls. The protagonist is a crow who works for the Reaping Commission Headquarters. One of these souls is stolen by a thief and the player has to apprehend them as they flee to an immortal realm.
In this "realm untouched by death, creatures grow far past their expiry and overflow with greed and power," players are met with intricately crafted visuals, intriguing puzzles, and difficult bosses. Death's Door managed a nomination for "Best Indie Game" at The Game Awards 2021, while winning the category at the 2021 Golden Joystick Awards.
3) Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Developer - Ember Lab.
Platforms - Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 & 5.
Released on - September 21, 2021.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits has amassed significant popularity among both the players and the critics. The indie game puts players in the middle of a picturesque setting with vivid graphics. The players take on the role of a young spirit guide called Kena who ushers deceased people into the spirit world with the help of her magical powers.
Intuitive mechanics and thrilling gameplay play out a story of death, grief and tragedy for the players. Kena: Bridge of Spirits bagged the "Best Indie Game" award at The Game Awards 2021.
2) 12 Minutes
Developer - Luis Antonio.
Platforms - Microsoft Windows, Xbox One & Series X|S, PlayStation 4 & 5.
Released on - August 19, 2021.
The top-down interactive thriller 12 Minutes is an indie time loop game where players play the role of a husband who sees his wife be accused by a cop of murdering her father. The cop then kills the husband and the player finds themselves again at the beginning. Across the whole game, players have to figure out the truth surrounding the past and solve it.
This tensely wrought indie game has a star-studded voice cast to rival any Hollywood film. James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley and Willem Dafoe lend their charisma to bringing this story to life for the players.
Developer - Shedworks.
Platforms - Microsoft Windows, Xbox One & Series X|S.
Released on - September 23, 2021.
Sable is an indie game that tells a coming-of-age story set while the players explore an open world environment. The protagonist Sable is part of a nomadic clan who is going out into the world for a rite of passage called the Gliding.
At its core, Sable is about discovering oneself in the vast wilderness. The world is filled with sublime structures and ancient ships for the players to explore and puzzles for players to solve. The bright colors of Sable adds to the experience that the indie game provides. Sable got nominated for "Best Debut Indie" game at The Game Awards 2021.