[Top 10] New Indie Games 2021

New Indie Games 2021
Should we discuss the prevalence of furries in indie gaming?

A whole new side of gaming, waiting to be discovered.

For a year that has been distinctly not normal, E3 2021 recently wrapped up. Business as usual. There were big announcements of big games, a ton of self-aware teasers, the classic console wars, and so on…

I’m not gonna lie, I liked it. I thought the Outer Worlds 2 teaser was ingenious, I felt whatever emotions Devolver Digital’s conference is supposed to make you feel (all of them?). 

I like big triple-A game releases. I like ray-traced, ambient-occlused, procedurally-generated huge and dynamic open worlds with 120 trillion hours of content and at least 29 cosmetic DLCs.  

I do feel, however, that it’s very easy to lose yourself in the industry’s titans and forget all about the huge world of different and unique experiences that indie gaming has to offer.

In the last few years, indie has given us a vast pool of fantastic games, from some of the best horror in decades to personal heart-wrenching stories that change the way you think about the world.  

So, in the interest of catching all the beauty that indie developers have for us before they fade from the discourse, here are the top 10 New Indie Games in 2021.

10. Stray.

Stray Trailer.

Stray is an adventure platformer where you play as a Stray Cat in a world where humans no longer exist.

With the help of a friendly drone companion, you’ll have to navigate the underground of a city populated by unfriendly robots.

If the premise alone isn’t enough to set your sights on Stray (and frankly, it should), you should also consider the beautiful, stylized graphics and look, which give Stray a signature vibrant-yet-desolate feeling.

Bleak and somewhat sardonic post-cyberpunk worlds aren’t really a new thing in gaming, but this game’s fuzzy protagonist could provide a perspective unlike anything seen before. Besides, the experience from the POV of a cat is one of those concepts that only video games can really make the most out of. 

Although BlueTwelve Studio, the developer, doesn’t have a lot to its name, the game is going to be published by Annapurna Interactive, which has a certified seal of approval when it comes to indie gaming.  

The game is set to be released sometime in 2021, probably around winter. 

9. Lake

Lake story trailer.

Lake seems like it’s going to be the Life is Strange of this generation, you take that as an endorsement or an indictment, whichever you choose.  

The game is a narrative third-person experience focused on Meredith Weiss, who is forced to leave her big-city job for a couple of weeks and return to the small town that saw her grow up. 

Although not much else is known about the story at this point, everything from the art style to the welcoming voice-over of the trailer promises a charming little game, focused on a more personal story and probably set on playing with a couple of heartstrings. 

The game’s visuals are gorgeous, and a perfect way to evoke the themes of nostalgia and calm that will probably be at play throughout the narrative. 

If quiet, story-driven games are your cup of tea, then you should keep an eye on Lake as it hits digital storefronts sometime in late 2021.    

8. Goodbye Volcano High

Goodbye Volcano High - Reveal Trailer.

If a game’s trailer can make me feel more than some games have in their entire runtime, then I know that’s a game I should keep an eye out for.

Goodbye Volcano High is a story about the end of high school, growing up, moving on, and all that stuff for people whose favorite movie is The Breakfast Club. 

A coming of age story, drawn with care and charm, and anthropomorphic dinosaur protagonists which give mayor Night In The Woods vibes.

Teenage drama is one of those genres that can be done beautifully or in the most awful way possible, and although it’s too early to tell where Goodby Volcano High is going to land, I’m willing to bet on the former.

The game looks like it’s going to be perfect for people that enjoy crying at games. If you’re one of those, Goodbye Volcano High will release later this year, and you should probably get some tissues ready.  

7. The Longest Road on Earth

The Longest Road On Earth Trailer.

The Longest Road on Earth is an interesting title, to say the least. On paper, the game looks like it checks every box of things that gamers dislike about indie games: Black and white artsy style, minimalistic storytelling, and quite light on the “game” part of videogame.   

To some degree, this might be true. I can’t say for sure how much of a game The Longest Road on Earth is, there really isn’t that much gaming to be done.

What it is, however, is one of the best artistic experiences I’ve had in a while.

The Longest Road on Earth is told through different vignettes, where you control a series of characters whose stories are told through the environment and the motions of daily life, not dialogue or explicit material.

Every vignette is mixed with a beautiful soundtrack that informs the situation. 

The game is very much open for interpretation, but every bit of it is carefully crafted to create a personal experience that hits you directly in the heart.

When it comes to a game that will give you a punch to the gut, The Longest Road on Earth is what you’re looking for.  

6. Chinatown Detective Agency

Chinatown Detective Agency: Reveal Trailer.

Noir is a hard genre to translate to gaming. Even the game that famously has “noir” in the title manages to miss the mark on the soul of the genre. 

Chinatown Detective Agency is a true Noir video game. A neo-noir game, to be more precise. The game centers around a private eye as she tries to make a name for herself amongst the streets of Chinatown. 

The game is a point-and-click adventure with a beautiful and colorful 16-bit style. The whole thing looks like you are in a Nicolas Winding Refn movie. The dialogue is sublime and brilliantly written, full of humor and heavy-handed choices. 

Chinatown Detective Agency is dark and exciting, fun and nuanced. It looks to be the perfect game for fans of pulp detective stories, paying tribute to the genre whilst adding the unique experience that only a game can.

The expected release date is somewhere in 2021, but you can play the demo right now for free.    

5. She Dreams Elsewhere

She Dreams Elsewhere: Official Trailer.

She Dreams Elsewhere is a game that explores the nature of dreams and the relationship that they might have to our reality.

In She Dreams Elsewhere, you play as a woman named Thalia. Trapped in your own dreams while comatose, you’ll need to fight the nightmares that seek to stop you from awakening and slowly find out how you ended up in a coma. 

She Dreams Elsewhere is an adventure RPG with a beautiful visual style that evokes the surrealism that’s adequate for a title about dreaming.

The game promises to be a healthy mix of story and gameplay in the vein of To The Moon or Undertale. 

She Dreams Elsewhere will debut later in 2021, and it has already received considerable praise from critics.

4. Haunted PS1 Demo Disc 2021

Haunted PS1 Demo Disc 2021 Trailer. 

Haunted PS1 Demo Disc isn’t so much a game as it is a compilation of demos for 25 upcoming independent games.

The Haunted Demo Disk contains a bunch of demos for a variety of games, although the central theme is horror, not every game in the demo is spook-your-pants-out scary. The other uniting theme of the demos is that they’re all stylized to look like PS1-era games. 

The unique art style imbues the games with a sense of nostalgia, but make no mistakes, each game in the compilation is an original and refreshing piece that you have not seen before.

The haunted disk has been getting a new release for a few years now, and it’s a great way to experience a little bite from a bunch of promising horror games without spending a lot of money or time. 

Think of it as a buffet platter for some amazing games that will undoubtedly blow your mind.

3. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion Launch Trailer.

The game is called Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, do you really need more info?

For the (I’m assuming) very few of you that didn’t immediately run off to play the game and feel like you do, indeed, need more info: Turnip Boy is an action-adventure game where you fight against a corrupt vegetable government. 

As the Turnip Boy progresses through his journey into tax evasion, he’ll fight monsters and powerful forces that seek to enforce the status quo.

The game has the playful art style of classic DS RPGs and a wicked sense of humor that will have you rolling off the couch.

Turnip Boy is available for PC, Mac, and Nintendo Switch.  

2. Before Your Eyes

Before Your Eyes - Launch Trailer.

Some games are worth playing for their use of innovative concepts alone, regardless of execution. Before Your Eyes would be one of such games, except for the fact that the execution is fantastic as well.

The game is about the story of your life as you recall it in the afterlife. The game uses a mechanic wherein you blink instead of using an action button, usually, a blink will skip forward in time in some way, even if it means skipping an important bit.

Making a game that you physically cannot see the whole of is a bold artistic choice, but it’s one that works, as the blinking mechanic works wonders to drive home the theme of memory and of letting life pass you by.

The game is heartbreaking, and that is thanks to the topics it deals in and the wonderful way in which it uses gameplay to make the experience personal.

Before your eyes might be a game unlike anything you’ve ever played, the game will leave you heartbroken and exhausted, but you will be better off for it. 

1. Adios

Adios Final Trailer.

Adios is a very short game about a conversation between a man and the hitman that must kill him.

Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Adios tells the story of a pig farmer that decides that he can no longer help the mob dispose of bodies, even if that means that his days are numbered. 

The game starts as you break the news to the hitman that delivers the bodies, a man that just might be the only friend that you have left. Throughout the game, he will try to convince you not to retire as you two spend one last day together, talking about life and taking care of the farm.

The game is an exploration of death and mortality. It’s clouted with a sense of inevitability, and it makes you explore grief without shoving the themes in your face. Instead of that, the game presents you with the story and a lot of quiet moments, and it lets you draw yourself in little by little until you are completely entrapped in the story.

Both the soundtrack and the graphics are stylized and beautiful, like an impressionist painting, it’s not about looking real, but about feeling real.  

Charmingly and brilliantly written, this game might not have high-octane thrills or unsolvable puzzles, but it will invite you to think and search deep inside of yourself.

Great art reveals something about yourself and the world around you, great art invites you to explore the beauty of the human experience, the good and the bad.

Adios is great art, and you should not pass it by.

Your Halos and your Dooms will still be around after you finish indies. There’s nothing wrong with playing huge, fun games developed by Bethestubisoftivision Digital. But you won’t regret giving indies a chance, and experiencing games made by people that both love games and seek to push their boundaries.

Also, Indies are cheaper, like way cheaper. So you know, maybe you could play video games and have dinner sometime this week, so that’s a win-win!

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The rumor goes that Andrew sprung fully formed from a glitch in the Gamecube version of Enter the Matrix. Which is probably why no one bought that game. He enjoys games, Dnd, and getting gremlins wet.
Gamer Since: 2005
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Red Dead Redemption 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dead Space 2

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