As 2018 begins to quickly wrap itself up, it’s hard not to get excited for what the following year has in store. The only thing we aren’t hearing a lot about is the upcoming indie titles compared to big-name releases. So let’s take a look at 19 indies and Nindies to look forward to in the upcoming year.
Indie games are hard not to admire. Many of them have been showing the quality and polish of their triple-A counterparts and – in many ways – they are doing it better. Whether it’s on a console, PC or Nintendo’s smash-hit handheld hybrid the Nintendo Switch, you have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year.
So now, we’ve picked 19 of 2019’s upcoming indie games you should be watching for as the new year quickly approaches. Let’s get started.
19. GTFO | 10 Chambers Collective | Spring | PC
Since our last list, which included GTFO, we really haven’t been able to stop talking about the game and what it will have to offer. As we already know, 10 Chambers Collective is a team comprised of mostly former Payday and Payday 2 developers, which puts this team right at home for their upcoming zombies-meets-something otherworldy-like enemies that you’ll be facing as you explore various underground systems for supplies and resources as yours begin to dwindle.
Since everything we’ve seen and learned about it post-E3, GTFO isn’t going to be your average run-of-the-mill cooperative play FPS. It’s going to be fast, it’s going to be furious and since its announcement at The Game Awards 2017, it seems the team has almost fallen into radio silence as we can assume they are hard at work trying to wrap-up their development of GTFO for release. However, if you plan on playing it, you may want to beef up your hardware specs as this is a PC exclusive title.
18. DUSK | New Blood Interactive | 2019 | Switch
When it comes to retro-style shooters, DUSK is one that stands out among the rest. It’s fast, it’s brutal, it’s pixelated and it plays pretty damn good on a gaming PC. Whether it’s the intricate maps, the online multiplayer or the Endless Mode, we’re all for what DUSK has to offer.
The best thing about it now? The Dusk Guy is about to help David Oshry and David Szymanski – Syz-Oshry the Nintendo Switch in 2019 with the release of DUSK on Nintendo’s console-meets-handheld device. If it plays anything like it does on low-spec mode on PC, we can’t wait and highly advise you to put this one on your watchlist starting now. Or, y’know, pick it up on PC today.
17. Witchfire | The Astronauts | 2019/2020 | PC
If there’s any game you should have your eyes locked in on, it’s Witchfire from The Astronauts. Known for their insanely photo-realistic obsession for graphics in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the team is already hard at work with another atmospheric title, but this time, something completely different from their previous title.
This time, we’re going back in time to the 15th century and have become the righteous hand of the church that seeks to purify the world about them. In their new world, witches are real, hellfire is real and the church seeks to rid the world of these foul abominations. The surprising thing about this game isn’t the fact it won’t have much of a story through traditional storytelling elements.
But rather, through its atmosphere and the ultra-photorealistic appearance of the game from its 8-man developer team. The only downside to this entire game? We’re unsure if it’ll release in 2019 or if it’ll get a surprise release in 2020.
16. Genesis Alpha One | Radiation Blue | Jan. 29 | PC, PS4, X1
When it comes to rogue-like games, it seems we tend to get a little tingle in our fingers. When we hear the words first-person action, our fingers tingle a little more as there’s not many rogue-like FPS’ on the market. That’s where Genesis Alpha One comes into play due to its unique approach to rogue-like fps mechanics and ship-building mechanics.
The whole idea behind the game? Journey through space, meet new alien species from which you will be harvesting DNA from and protect your vessel along the way. You’ll find yourself also defending your ship as you need along the way, beating down every foe you can and then collecting their DNA as well, using it to modify your clones through DNA alteration in order to survive your trip through the depths of space.
You will have to worry about your resources as they diminish from the attacks, random power outages and even other malfunctions on your ship.
15. Untitled Goose Game | House House | 2019 | PC and Switch
Set to release on Nintendo Switch and PC, Untitled Goose Game isn’t just your average simulator where you take control of a hoof or pawed animal while running amok with odd physics and glitches to help entertain you and provide the entertainment value you need for a few quick laughs.
Instead, the laughs come from a more reasonable place; one where a highly polished product is involved. In Untitled Goose Game, you’ll take on the role of not a human, but a goose, those famously ill-tempered feathered-fiends that are well known for chasing down those that come into their territory or have something that they want. Whether it’s chasing them down for bread* or running amok, it’s a unique stroke of genius we can’t wait to see hit the digital storefronts in 2019.
*It’s highly recommended that you do not feed birds any form of bread or oats of the sorts. Apparently, it’s actually pretty bad for those little-feathered fiends.
14. Sable | Shedworks | 2019 | PC and Xbox One
One of the most interesting games you can keep your attention on is the two-man developed title Sable, which will be published by Raw Fury when it launches in 2019. Developed by Gregorios Kythereotis and Daniel Fineberg, you’ll take on the role of an alien creature that is set out to explore an alien planet.
As you explore the ancient runes, fallen starships and other landmarks around you – you’ll get a chance to explore a unique and atmospherically driven story as you discover the history of those that came before you. The difference between Sable and the other games that are coming out next year on this list? It’s widely accessible. If you can’t finish a puzzle, walk away and continue on, there’s still a game for you to explore, to enjoy and ultimately finish.
This will be one we highly recommend that you watch for in the upcoming months.
13. Lost Words: Beyond the Page | Fourth State/Games Sketchbook | 2019 | Steam and XBox One
When you look at games and you wonder just how good they will actually be – especially those in development – then look no further than ones already snagging up multiple awards ahead of their launch. Lost Words: Beyond the Page is one of those very games that’s managed to pick up more than five awards since its development began.
Lost Words is a unique atmospheric puzzle game that’s set within the fantasy land and the pages of a diary you will explore. Penned by Rhianna Pratchett (Rise of the Tomb Raider/Heavenly Sword) and brought to life by games design and creative experiences of over several decades of experience; Lost Words will be one to remember as you explore its cute, but serious world, one that facilitates powerful storytelling elements and visual queues to lure players in.
If you haven’t already, we highly suggest you visit the official website and check the game out for yourself today.
12. Eitr | Eneme Entertainment | 2019 | PC and PS4
Before Souls-like games had really become a defined genre on the market, there were games like Eitr already in the works. Granted, Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls helped coin the genre-type, there were many games that came before it with many of these elements and some that were actually in development for quite some time longer. This is where Eitr comes into play.
Originally announced in 2015, Eitr was all-the-talk due to just how unique it was and how it made rogue-like dungeon crawlers feel. Carrying forth with many elements we know and love from the Soulsborne genre, Eitr isn’t all that different as the game will force players to choose between permanent level upgrades or powerful, but fleeting perks that can be removed upon death. While this Norse-themed game has been in silence for quite some time, we do have hope for the game since the Steam page was recently updated with a 2019 release date window.
We just can’t wait to get our hands on it and die, die and die some more as we learn how to optimize the games unique favor system, challenging fights and beautiful retro-style graphics that remind us of some of the Sega Genesis’ biggest hits such as Altered Beast and Golden Axe.
11. The World Next Door | Rose City Games | Early 2019 | PC and Switch
If you know the name Viz Media, you’ve probably dabbed into a little bit of anime here and there. Along with their renowned releasing of anime, Viz Media is also known for their manga publishing side of things. Now, the company is teaming up with indie developer Rose City Games for the action-meets-puzzle visual novel that was revealed earlier this year at GDC.
While the pitch sounds simple to understand, it’s far from that and it seems that our journey with Jun, a human girl transported to a fantasy world filled to the brim with demons and fantasy creatures. Now, Jun’s quest is clear – she needs to escape. If she spends too much time in the “World Next Door”, she won’t be able to return home and will die in the process.
Much of the game will play out in a visual novel style while players spend a bit of time reading in a visual novel format when you aren’t navigating across various puzzle board battle scenes while working your way through each of the battlegrounds you will explore over the course of the game. If you have a good feel for games like Bejeweled or Tetris, then this game might be right up your alley.
10. Prodeus | Mike and Jason | 2019 (TBA) | Platform: PC
In what seems like a revival of the golden-age of FPS shooters, it’s hard for very many to stand out when so many are hitting the market as of late. Whether it’s the smash-hit and critically acclaimed title DUSK, the Hexen-like successor AMID EVIL or even the in-development Hellbound – it’s hard not to look one over once in a while. However, Prodeus is one that’s been on the radar since its original announcement back in 2017. With almost two years under its belt, it’s easy to finally see that Prodeus is well on its way to getting a full release on Steam.
The only thing we can say: Holy $#17 does this game look gory and awesome as Hell. Blood, guts, a rearview mirror, a facial animation for your character that changes as you take damage, big ass guns – what more could you ask for? An art style that utilizes a HUD that looks like your gear? Check. Retro graphics? Check. Weapons that would make the Doomslayer drool? Check.
Also, it’s being developed by two individuals by the names of Mike Voeller and Jason Mojica who have a plethora of FPS games under their belt. Don’t believe me? Just go check out the official Prodeus site today to find out more.
09. Axiom Soccer | Earthbound Games Ltd. | 2019 | PC
While many have already taken to Psyonix’s surprise esports and smash-hit title Rocket League, there’s no doubt that someone would come along and attempt to rival their claim to fame with vehicular sports titles. Welcome to Axiom Soccer from Earthbound Games Ltd., a title that seeks to offer a seemingly-new take on vehicular-based sports games. Unlike Rocket League, however, you won’t be driving around the map using cars, but instead tanks.
You read that right – TANKS! Tanks will be your mode of transportation, your cannon being your way of knocking the ball about, blasting it across the screen in hopes to score a goal. The best part of it all? There seems to be a bit of pool or snooker thrown into the mix as you can control the ball based on where you shoot it. Don’t believe me? Check out the trailer down below.
The biggest twist to this game is the barriers that pop up around the map as matches get underway and make it a bit more tactical than its nitrous-burning cousin. The only real bummer about it? It’s only coming to PC at this time.
08. In The Valley of Gods | Campo Santo | 2019 | PC, PS4, XB1
Now, if there’s any game you should have your eyes glued to about its development process – it’s In The Valley of Gods, a spiritual successor to the critically-acclaimed Firewatch from Campo Santo. Set in the 1920s, players take on the role of an explorer and filmmaker who is joined by their old partner and have traveled together to the middle of the desert in hopes of making an unimaginable discovery and capturing it on film as you do.
Much like Firewatch, their latest title seems to be following suit, focusing on atmospheric, dialogue, and log-based narratives to help move the story along. The only downside, it seems that Campo Santo has fallen into a bit of radio silence since they joined Valve as a team. Even though they have, the team has confirmed they are still independent of Valve as a studio and will continue developing games as they love to do and will release them when they’re ready. Our only hope is that we see In The Valley of Gods come to fruition rather than getting shelved.
After all, we can’t get enough of Firewatch as it is and are eagerly awaiting the release of the upcoming full-length film.
07. Atomic Heart | Mundfish | 2019 | PC, PS4, XB1
Now, all of us are probably no stranger to dystopian titles. We’ve been drudging through them since gaming pretty much started depending on the titles you prefer to play. When it comes to making us turn our heads and grabbing our attention – things can get a bit hard to do. We’ve been let down a lot as of late depending on the games you play and what you prefer to play.
However, Atomic Heart seems to be one of those games that takes us for a dystopian joyride as it seems to take notes from games like Fallout and Bioshock while presenting itself as an indie game with tripe-A graphics. All we know is what the trailer has provided. It’s a definitely post-apocalypse title where someone took everything good about Fallout, injected into Metro 2033 and gave us an open world title we never knew we wanted. If you haven’t already, you really need to watch that trailer up above.
06. My Friend Pedro | DeadToast Entertainment | 2019 | Switch, PC
Now, this one, I have stumbled onto a few times before when digging through countless upcoming indie titles that would catch our eyes. Again and again, My Friend Pedro has leaped out at me more than once. Mostly fro the fact I could easily gif the moment we see our protagonist and leading star of the game backflipping, leaping, bouncing around and even rappelling upside down while killing all those he can without batting an eye underneath his mask.
The catch 22 with this game? It’s all about style and doing it in a way that comes off as satisfying as possible. The motivation behind it all? Your sentient talking banana named Pedro who wants you to… Probably, but more than likely, put a bunch of holes in a bunch of people in whatever way that is deemed necessary. Just watch the trailer below and you’ll see why it’s really hard to explain this game.
By the way, we’re pretty sure there will be a Devolver Digital skit about this game at E3 2019.
05. Dolmen | Massive Work Studio | 2019 | PC, PS4 and Xbox One
Now, I’ve talked about Dolmen more than once since it was announced early last year before and after its original Kickstarter campaign. Since then, I’ve had a chance to spend a lot of time with the love child of Dark Souls and Mass Effect since its latest Kickstarter campaign demo was released.
Since then, I’ve spent more time than you can imagine digging around through each of its patches, watching for every little improvement the game has gotten over the course of the past few months. Luckily for you, it’s just what you’d hope it to be. It’s fast, it’s hard, it’s unforgiving as Hell and you’ll find yourself stuck in this insect-infested nightmare of a planet with only a single voice to call your friend.
Luckily for us, the team has revealed they intend on a full console release as well.
04. A Fold Apart | Lightning Rod Games | Spring 2019| PC and Switch
A Fold Apart is an upcoming puzzle-driven narrative adventure that’s inspired by the real-life story of Mark Laframboise, the designer of the game who explores the relationships we have with those who we care about while being separated by long distances that keep us apart in our current day and age.
By doing this, you also get to explore the complexity of “(mis)communication” and reunite two people who deeply in love with one another through the mechanics of folding paper and exploring the world before you. But as a part of A Fold Apart gets underway, you’ll get to explore the tale of an Architect and a Teacher who have been forced apart by their careers, the difficulties that they encounter while apart, and all by exploring puzzles through their beautifully designed paper worlds.
The only thing we can say is a downside to it all? We’re going to have to wait just a tad bit longer to experience its incredibly relatable narrative.
03. FutureGrind | Milkbag Games | 2019 (TBD) | PC, PlayStation 4 and Switch
Stunt-racer titles are all the craze when they are actually done correctly. Luckily for us, one of those very games is on the way from Milkbag Games by the name of FutureGrind. This very game is all about what it sounds like: Using your futuristic bike to change together massive combos on tracks made of floating rails.
The biggest challenge for you is ensuring you get onto the right track, keeping your sponsors happy and finding new ways to earn new bikes as you race across mind-bending tricks and showing the world why you are the best. But it doesn’t stop there. The entire games original soundtrack is from artist bignic and will be ready for your listening pleasure when the game releases sometime in 2019 or later. We just hope sooner than later as our anticipation is already high.
02. The Forgotten City | Modern Storyteller | 2019 | PC
If you’re a fan of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you are surely one to know about one of the most popular and ambitious mods to date by the name of The Forgotten City. Announced earlier this year during the PC Gaming Show 2018, it seems that we have a lot to look forward to and Modern Storyteller, founded by the original creators of the mod its named after, have revealed that The Forgotten City is indeed in development as a stand-alone project.
The best part about it all? It’s only going to build onto its claim to fame while seeking to rope in its 1.7+ million fans as they explore the deep underground of an ancient Roman City where a fragmented community has long since passed as someone had broken a mysterious law. The best part of it all? You’ll get to enter a portal, one that leads back into the pass, allowing a single person to forever change the city and its people’s fate or ultimately witness their deaths in a time loop that will last for all eternity.
The team has stated that The Forgotten City will “retain all the elements which made the original beloved,” says developer Modern Storyteller. The only thing that has us slightly bummed? It’s being rebuilt in Unreal Engine with “redesigned characters and dialogue, fresh twists, lore and endings, added combat, wall-climbing mechanics, an all-new orchestral score, professional voice acting, and motion capture animations.”
Well, while that’s a minor bump in the road, at least we know it’s going to be even bigger than before when it launches in 2019.
01. AMID EVIL | Indefatigable | 2019 | PC and Switch
While we are quite well versed in the world of New Blood Interactive and David Oshry shenanigans, we’ve never been able to place our finger right on the bottom line of what he’s up to. Luckily for the teams his company works with, you’d be more than surprised to learn that they are all indie developers and each of them is as talented as you might imagine.
In what seems to be another jaw-dropping turn of events, New Blood Interactive is already hard at work preparing for another retro-stylized FPS which can easily be considered the spiritual successor to id Software’s once critically-acclaimed series by the name of Heretic.
Just like the games that inspired it, AMID EVIL will see to it that you find powerful weapons, ones that will allow you to hack, slash, jab and explode your way through hordes of supernatural creatures that are intent on sending you to a bloody grave. Luckily for you-you can already play the game on PC via Steam Early Access and later in 2019 on Nintendo Switch when development has been completed.
Just don’t be surprised if this retro-style game is just as critically acclaimed as its sister title DUSK for the adventures it has to offer.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.