There are a lot of big, flashy AAA video games coming out in 2023, made by big studios with hundreds of developers. But smaller, independent studios continue to lead the way in innovation with story, mechanics, and gameplay. This list is a compilation of 23 exciting indie games, across all genres, expected to be released in 2023.
A few of these games were included in the 2022 roundup but got delayed a year to get things right without pushing developers past their limits. Similar to 2021, in 2022, developers reckoned with how they work. Workers at indie game studios, alongside QA workers at bigger studios, led the way in the industry’s unionization movement — a way to ensure there’s less crunch and safer, healthier, and happier workers.
These are the 23 most anticipated indie titles coming in 2023, but we’d love to hear in the comments about the indie games you’re most eager to play.
From developer Visai Games, Venba is described as a “narrative cooking game” set in 1980s Canada. It centers on an Indian mother, and it tasks players with cooking and remembering lost recipes. It’s a story about “family, love, loss, and more,” the developer wrote on Steam. Beyond cooking, Venba’s got an incredible art style and a complex story with branching conversations and separate storylines.
Venba is expected on Nintendo Switch and Windows PC in spring 2023.
Falcon Age developer Outerloop Games debuted Thirsty Suitors during the 2021 Game Awards. The trailer showed cooking, skateboarding, dating, and “RPG turn-based combat” that was seemingly a part of the dating aspect of the game. The story is centered on a woman named Jala who has returned to her small, gossipy hometown. Family, friends, and, of course, exes will play a large part in the proceedings.
Thirsty Suitors is expected on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X sometime in 2023.
Songs of Glimmerwick
From Eastshade developer Eastshade Studios, Songs of Glimmerwick mixes music and magic in a role-playing game set in a witch academy — music is magic, and players will need to learn different songs to cast spells. There’s also a magic garden, potions, and a mysterious world to explore. It’s not the only magic-school-themed game coming out next year, but it looks to have a unique fantasy world.
Songs of Glimmerwick is expected on Windows PC sometime in 2023.
If I had only one word to describe Dordogne, I would go with “stunning.” The game has a fantastic watercolor style that instantly drew me to it. The narrative adventure game will have the player engaging in “childhood memories,” according its Steam page. It’s set in the present and the past, and both of those worlds look equally gorgeous.
Dordogne is expected on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X sometime in 2023.
Spirit Swap: Lofi Beats to Match-3 To
Soft Not Weak’s Spirit Swap: Lofi Beats to Match-3 To is a rhythm match-three game with a killer soundtrack and a cast of witches and demons — some of whom you can hang out with, get to know, and maybe even date? All this takes place across five different match-three modes.
Spirit Swap: Lofi Beats to Match-3 To is expected on Windows PC sometime in 2023.
Frank and Drake
Frank and Drake is said to be a take on classic novels like Frankenstein and Dracula, set in a turn-based world and focused on two housemates with opposite schedules.
Frank and Drake will be available on Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X in February.
Little Bear Chef
Last year, we played as a bear running a bed and breakfast. This year, from developer Banana Box, we’re excited to play as a bear who cooks. The game is called Little Bear Chef, and, as the name suggests, it’s about a tiny little bear who cooks in a regular, human-sized kitchen. We don’t know a ton more about the game just yet, but based on the premise alone, we’re eager to see more.
Little Bear Chef will be available on Nintendo Switch.
Super Space Club
Graham Reid’s Super Space Club is a colorful, lo-fi space combat game — something like Atari’s Asteroids if it were an open-world game.
Super Space Club is expected on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X sometime in 2023.
She Dreams Elsewhere
She Dreams Elsewhere, as you may have guessed, takes place within a dream. Described as an adventure role-playing game, this indie game has a surrealist vibe — the perfect setting for a bad dream. The music, composed by Mimi Page, sounds perfect.
She Dreams Elsewhere is expected on Mac, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X sometime in 2023. It’ll also be available on Xbox Game Pass.
Terra Nil is a strategy game from developer Free Lives where the goal is not to command and conquer. Instead, the player must restore procedurally generated wastelands and bring life back to the world.
Terra Nil is expected on Windows PC sometime in 2023. A demo is available now on Steam.
Pikselnesia’s Afterlove EP, published by Fellow Traveller, is a dating sim, a rhythm game, and a narrative adventure. All of that takes place in Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, with a story about loss and love.
Afterlove EP will be available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC.
Hollowbody is a survival horror game from developer Headware Games, inspired by early-2000s horror. Here’s the premise: You’re a character named Mica, who lives in a futuristic world wracked by decay where you’re “an unlicensed Shipper working for an infamous ring of black market freelancers.” You get stranded in the “exclusion zone” with limited resources, and you’ve got to get out of the sealed-off, horrifying world.
Hollowbody will be available on Windows PC.
Troubleshooting will look familiar to anyone who has used an early Windows PC. Developer Jam Rascals uses the internal world of a computer to create gameplay centered on fixing Wi-Fi and hunting for viruses, among plenty more activities. Naturally, you’re a JPEG, and it’s a first-person shooter with puzzles and stacking games involving weird objects, like hot dogs. It looks chaotic and good.
Troubleshooting will be available on Windows PC in “springish” 2023.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Jet Set Radio tribute Bomb Rush Cyberfunk was originally slated to be released in 2022, but it got delayed to summer 2023. Developer Team Reptile is focusing on the high-intensity BMX bike, skateboarding, and inline skating gameplay that will all be set to an incredible soundtrack — including works from Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future composer Hideki Naganuma.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk will be available on Nintendo Switch and Windows PC in summer 2023.
Season: A Letter to the Future
Season: A Letter to the Future features the story of a young person leaving home for the first time “before a cataclysm washes everything away.” Season is a road trip game, but on a bike — and as with any road trip, it’s important to document everything in recording, videos, and photos.
Season: A Letter to the Future will be available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC on Jan. 31.
Superfuse looks like Blizzard’s Diablo series, at least when it comes to the genre — it’s an action-RPG with lots of top-down slashing. But the art style looks and feels like a comic book. Players will take on a “vast conspiracy that endangers all of humanity.”
Superfuse will be available in early access on Windows PC on Jan. 31.
Deadeye Deepfake Simulacrum
If Deadeye Deepfake Simulacrum’s lo-fi beats haven’t already drawn you in, maybe the gameplay will: “Embody the ultimate cybernetic corporate agent. Master deadly gunplay, time manipulation, and supernatural abilities. Hack computers, people, even the individual bullets flying at you. Confront the future, and die trying,” as developer nodayshalleraseyou wrote on Steam.
Deadeye Deepfake Simulacrum is currently in early access on Windows PC.
Gestalt: Steam & Cinder
Gestalt: Steam & Cinder’s gorgeous, pixelated world is unrivaled — the steampunk setting is stunningly detailed and full of life. The 2D platforming and combat will be just as important as the “twist-laden narrative,” set in the Steam City of Canaan, a world filled with “dangerous truths.”
Gestalt: Steam & Cinder will be available on Nintendo Switch and Windows PC.
Elation for the Wonder Box 6000
#PitchYaGame— Digital Tchotchkes (@FaceOffOnVHS) November 11, 2022
Elation For The Wonder Box 6000 is a first person claymation adventure game about going into the city to try and find a game from your youth that no one else remembers.
And best of all, it can be wishlisted at https://t.co/w16ZxNU5xO pic.twitter.com/ZVZrJzrwLk
Claymation first-person game Elation for the Wonder Box 6000, from developer Digital Tchotchkes, looks kind of like a horror game, but it’s actually about nostalgia (with a whole bunch of horror elements). In the game, you play as as a person looking for a favorite childhood game that no one else remembers. Look, we’ve all been there.
Elation for the Wonder Box 6000 is expected on Windows PC sometime in 2023.
Rusted Moss is described by its developer as a “bullet-helly” Metroidvania, and traversal involves swinging around with a grappling hook that’s also your robotic companion. Like any good Metroidvania, exploration is a huge element of the game — and the travel mechanic looks intriguing, too.
Rusted Moss is expected on Windows PC in early 2023.
Red Candle Games is known for its horror games Devotion and Detention, but Nine Sols looks to be heading in an entirely different direction. Nine Sols is a 2D platformer with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice-styled combat. Not only does it look complex and challenging, Nine Sols also looks gorgeous with its detailed, hand-drawn illustration style.
Nine Sols is expected on Windows PC and other platforms sometime in 2023.
Stylish and unique platforming in Schim means controlling a little soul jumping from shadow to shadow. Its platforming is part of a world-sized puzzle where players guide a little froglike shadow back to its human counterpart. It’s expected out in 2023 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC.
Schim is expected on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC sometime in 2023.
Tchia, from developer awaceb, is inspired by New Caledonia, a little island where the developers are from. Its main mechanic is “soul-jumping,” whereby the player will be able to transform into different things in the environment — both animal and object — as they explore the beautiful world. Plus, there’s a ukulele that’s fully playable!
Tchia is expected on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC in early 2023.