Top 10 Indie PC Games of 2018

As of December 18, 2018

Independent games continue to grow in numbers and in quality. This year alone, we tracked more than 3000 indie games released on the PC. That's a lot and we expect to see more quality titles from both veteran and rookie studios. Among the thousands of indie titles released in 2018, here are the 10 highest rated independently-developed PC games.

Guacamelee! 2

#10 Guacamelee! 2

Developed by DrinkBox Studios
Released on Aug 21, 2018
8.68
playscore

A metroidvania platformer from Drinkbox Studios, Guacamelee 2 is a sequel to their smash hit which was released on the PS3, Vita, and PC back in 2013. About 5 years after the first game, this second installment attempts to fill the shoes of its legendary predecessor. Back with a colorful tour of Mexican culture through the eyes of their tough-looking luchador, 2 managed to incorporate everything that made the first game good, while adding new features to keep up with today's tough metroidvania crop.

What made the game stand out was its dedication to general fun and excitement. Considered a more forgiving metroidvania platformer than most, it's stll and demanding and challenging when it needs to be. Along with its new powers, the control changes may have been an uncomfortable change for some. Keeping extremely faithful to the spirit of the original, it's a great title for anyone who just wants more of their signature Mexican adventures.

Unavowed

#9 Unavowed

Developed by Wadjet Eye Games
Released on Aug 8, 2018
8.70
playscore

Known for their complling adventure games for the PC and the mobile, Wadjet Eye Games adds another feather in their cap with this latest point and click title. In it you play the role of a former demon possessee who now dedicates their life to stopping evil along with an ancient group called the Unavowed. It's an odd premise, but they happen to make it work, creatively crafting a world built on player's choices.

For its breadth of decisions though, Unavowed may players lead to some dead ends, as well as some that ares less dead, but still a bit lacking. Its puzzles, being the genres lifeblood, range from easy and straightforward, to downright obscure. But, told in traditional point and click fashion, Uavowed still feels like an enveloping adventure experience packed with interactive puzzles, intriguing storylines, and interesting characters.

Just Shapes & Beats

#8 Just Shapes & Beats

Developed by Berzerk Studio
Released on May 31, 2018
8.77
playscore

Berzerk studio's maiden title is one hell of an action rhythm game. A game that so blatantly defies its own name, Just Shapes And Beats might be an accurate description, but it hardly encompasses everything that's great about it. A gem hidden among this year's indie titles, it fought its way to the list with its straightforward but addicting rhythm gameplay. Boasting many videogame inspirations, it has appealed to swaths of gamers for its simple yet familiar visuals and controls.

Combining rhythm with a bit of bullet hell, getting into the groove is a necessary part of the game. Though its EDM tracks may not appeal to everyone, the bass-packed tracks are perfect accompaniments to their endlessly engaging stages. There's challenge in every one of their game modes, each designed to cater to different kind of audiences--whether in their moving story mode or in the fierce multiplayer competition. Simple and sophisticated.

The Messenger

#7 The Messenger

Developed by Sabotage
Released on Aug 30, 2018
8.84
playscore

A retro adventure from Sabotage. This tale of Ninja Gaiden meets Back to the Future lets players play as a skilled Ninja and they slice and dice their way through enemies all around time itself. Set in a cursed world, deliver a scroll to secure the survival of your clan.

Powered by a trippy pixel-art style, jump, slide, and run your way through various locations. Defeat bosses, villains and other associates that stop you on your path. Much like Dead Cells, this retro platformer is praised for its responsive and exceptional controls. It’s a wild mix of insanity and slickness, especially with its amazing soundtrack, story and ridiculous sense of humor.

There’s a lot of inspirations coming from this game that leads to this unique amalgam of science fiction, ninjas, retro platformer, and everything in between. Also, don’t forget to deliver the message.

Into the Breach

#6 Into the Breach

Developed by Subset Games
Released on Feb 27, 2018
8.89
playscore

A follow up to the successful Faster than Light game from Subset Games. This turn-based roguelike indie game is simple, but underneath is mechanical layers lies a challenging adventure. This aspect seems to have won over the usually cold hearts of PC strategists. Now touted as one of the benchmarks for strategy videogames, Into the Breach brings you to a not so near future of endless warfare and colossal mechs.

The goal of the is simple, players must help the remnants of human civilization as they are threatened by gigantic extraterrestrial mech creatures.

Most of the game’s success comes from its pure tactical gameplay. Some reviews are calling it a better version of chess. Its difficulty doesn’t rely on numbers alone and players must exhaust all their options for that sweet turn advantage.

Subnautica

#5 Subnautica

Released on Jan 23, 2018
8.95
playscore

Appropriately from Unknown Worlds Entertainment, this open world survival game lets us dive deep into a deep, dark, and mysterious abyss. Released in January early in 2018, Subnautica has proved itself worthy all throughout the year.

Considered a refreshing take on the survival genre, it explores a whole new kind of environment, very unlike the usual post apocalypse or forest wilderness. Immersing you into the isolating undersea of a new world, Subnautica has its fair share of struggles and scares.

While it shares the typical base building, resource collecting, and management as most survival games, the story, atmosphere, and biological diversity is what sells it. Set in a stunning aquatic world, these individual aspects work together to keep the experience fresh every time. And it especially rings true with the many horrors that await in every corner. A thalassophobic's dream and nightmare combined.

Dead Cells

#4 Dead Cells

Developed by Motion Twin
Released on Aug 6, 2018
9.03
playscore

Motion Twin's roguelike metroidvania platformer hack and slash became a breakout sensation when it released on the PC in August. And, for good reason, too. A fusion of many genres and inspirations, Dead Cells weaves all of them into one cohesive package. At conception, Motion Twin put combat in the forefront of development. So it hardly comes as a surprise that it’s one of the game's biggest strengths.

With the visceral thrill of their hack and slash like action, it balances out the masochism that the roguelike genre usually entails. Paired with the excitement of finding exotic new weapons with each run-through--a feature mainly inspired by Binding of Isaac--Dead Cells effectively turns pain into pleasure. It brought roguelike to casual players and it drew even more people into their world with its atmosphere, artstyle, and soundtrack. A fun rewarding gem in a sea of competition.

GRIS

#3 GRIS

Developed by Nomada Studio
Released on Dec 13, 2018
9.04
playscore

Much like Annapurna’s Florence, GRIS seamlessly incorporates watercolor art styles into a one fantastic indie-adventure experience. Release just weeks ago, it’s already taking over our list.

From Nomada Studio and published by Devolver Digital, this kaleidoscopic experience lets players control Gris, a hopeful young girl lost in her own world. Her journey is emotional amidst the game’s fascinating presentation of beauty in each corner. Covered with pain and sorrow, her dress adapts to the environment enabling her to grant new abilities to better navigate this dreamlike world.

It’s sense of wonder and serenity despite its somber themes makes GRIS a masterclass in game design, story, and of course, the art. Its simplicity in gameplay and controls is compensated by the sheer amount of passion the developers are trying to convey in each level. There are no texts and no dialogue. Just a young girl trying to find her way back home.

It’s a haven for artists, hopeless romantics and art connoisseurs.

Celeste

#2 Celeste

Developed by Matt Thorson
Released on Jan 25, 2018
9.15
playscore

Winning PC’s Game Of The Year on this year’s The Game Awards, Celeste is a product of years and years of indie platformers that didn’t quite make the cut. An indie 2D platformer, it combines the platforming expertise of Towerfall Ascension's and Skytorn. Together they tell the story of Madeline's uphill battle towards the top of Celeste mountain.

Also, it’s hard. For casual players, gameplay spikes will be the death of them. For challenge seekers, the mountain calls for your bravery as you unlock the game’s many secrets.

But, within its punishing platforming gameplay, Celeste weaves in a lesson on mental health and the upward struggle of overcoming it. It also pays to consider its variety and inventiveness as it mixes up their Jump, Dash, and Climb in a way that feels fresh every time. The atmosphere, formed by its charming visuals and heartwarming score, adds to its overall appeal.

Return Of The Obra Dinn

#1 Return Of The Obra Dinn

Developed by Lucas Pope
Released on Oct 18, 2018
9.25
playscore

From the creator behind Papers Please, Lucas Popes’ mystery game takes players into the year 1802 where the merchant ship of Obra Dinn sets out from London to embark on a perilous trading quest. Things go topsy turvy when the ship never appeared on its rendezvous point.

A true indie-game experience. Players assume the role of an investigator and solve puzzles, find clues, and picking the pieces together to find out what really happened of the Obra Dinn. Critics and fans adored the games’ detective elements, calling it a “satisfying experience that makes you look like a genius”. However, it’s art style may not be for everyone.

Aside from that, the music and the atmosphere is breathtaking. The moment players enter into the story, the journey begins and the story keeps pulling you back again and again until you solve this mystery. It’s worth every penny.

To view our complete, up-to-ranking of all releases this year, visit our list of the best PC Games of 2018.

Written by and
Presented by Earnest Buzon