With 2017 disappearing over the horizon it is now time to look ahead to the videogames of 2018. With more and more games releasing every year, it is becoming increasingly difficult for developers to stand out, particularly on the indie scene. That is why we thought it would be worth spreading the love to highlight some of the most exciting, some of the coolest concepts, some of the strangest, and some of the most interesting indie games releasing on PC in 2018.
Want something to play now? Here are some of the best indie games currently on PC.
This list has everything: games in which you play as a hole (yes), indie immersive sims, John Wick-inspired third-person shooters, and an anime fighting game where you can uppercut your pals into the Moon’s butt cheeks (also yes). Strap yourself in, this is going to get weird.
The first Consortium was an interesting proof of concept. Having its murder mystery play out aboard the confines of a futuristic aircraft allowed the developers to shape the immersive sim in ways triple-A games cannot. Now, this standalone follow-up aims to expand on everything the first game achieved.
Consortium: The Tower has you infiltrating a tower block as a gadget-happy, fast-talking special agent. Every decision you make is tracked and will alter your experience - an experience which happens in real-time, meaning you will not see everything it has to offer in a single playthrough. Go rogue and get kicked from the Consortium for being a homicidal wildcard, or make your way through without harming a soul.
While the trailer would have you believe this is the cheesiest FMV game in existence, it is actually a clever, turn-based strategy game set during the Cold War.
In Phantom Doctrine, you can turn enemy spies to your cause by brainwashing them, and you can then use trigger words to have them do your bidding. Outside of missions, you build up your own intelligence agency, scout locations ahead of attacks, recruit operatives, and set up counterintelligence to throw off the enemy.
If you smash together Animal Crossing, Pokemon, and Harvest Moon, Ooblets will come oozing out of the remains. It is a town-life game about farming and collecting adorable creatures before sending them into battle, and it looks like someone could well lose their entire life to it. Ooblets is bursting at the seams with Nintendo-esque charm.
The next game from the developers of Shadowrun Returns is a turn-based mech-’em-up based on a beloved franchise. Development is being headed by Jordan Weisman, the man behind both MechWarrior and the original BattleTech. This next game of his has you take control of a starfaring mobile base, upgrading your capabilities, loading up your mechs, and then heading into tactical turn-based battles, using the topography to your advantage and to decimate the opposition.
Leaving behind the dank, eldritch horrors of the waters in Sunless Sea, Sunless Skies has you piloting a spacefaring locomotive through a galaxy tainted by the ambition of man. From a top-down perspective, you make your way through this prose-heavy world, carving out your own stories until you are inevitably snuffed out. In your travels, you will trade exotic cargo, face celestial horrors, and chart your own course through a terrifying void that is home to godlike, sentient stars.
Untitled Goose Game
Imagine Hitman but, well... you are a goose. That is essentially the pitch for Untitled Goose Game, an upcoming sandbox game that will have you play as a sociopathic goose with a mischievous to-do list. Pick things up with your beak, ruin someone’s lunch by plopping it in a pond, hide in a bush, distract people with your quacks, and generally be a feathery nuisance.
Obsidian, those RPG masters, are back with a sequel to the super successful Pillars of Eternity. This time you will be tracking a rogue god across the seas, taking part in an expanded adventure where your choices matter even more than before. As well as managing your party, navigating Deadfire’s archipelagos means you will also need to keep your ship and crew in fighting shape.
In Abandon Ship you take the helm of a ship, command her crew, and set sail across a procedurally generated ocean. When not sailing, you will either be involved in tactical combat or have to deal with random events, whether that be a ship-wrecking kraken or a stray lightning bolt starting a fire on your vessel. Essentially, it is Sid Meier’s Pirates with a dash of FTL, all of it rendered in an art style inspired by classic naval oil paintings.
Tunic is basically a modern take on the old-school Zelda formula. However, instead of playing as a little guy in a green tunic, here you play as a tiny fox. Backflip away from enemies, pull up your sword, slash at their ankles, and show that grass who is boss.
If you love the void as much as we do, you will be pleased to know that there is a game coming out where you play as a gaping chasm that swallows everything, pulling everyday objects into its dark maw. Like in real life, every time you swallow something, your hole gets bigger, allowing you to gobble down larger portions of Donut County’s cartoon landscapes.
Where some city builders focus on you managing space to prevent traffic jams, Surviving Mars takes you to actual space - well, Mars - and puts its colonists’ lives in your hands. Battle sandstorms, dwindling oxygen supplies, and the needs of your unique citizens, all while cultivating your own food, mining for resources, and expanding your colonisation efforts on the Red Planet.
Fly Punch Boom!
Have you ever wanted to punch your friends so hard that they hurtle into space and smash into the Moon, only to discover the Moon has an arse and you just punched your pal right into it? No? Just us? Well, Fly Punch Boom! is the game for us, apparently, because it lets you do just that. It is an anime fighter like Dragon Ball Z, only much, much more ridiculous, somehow.
Yes, A Way Out is being published by EA. Yes, it will always be overshadowed by its lead developer flipping everybody off at The Game Awards. But the developers of Brothers: A Tale of Two sons are behind this potential monster. Where Brothers uses a faux-op system, having one player control two characters as they work together, A Way Out is a fully co-op game that is split-screen even when online, so you can always see what your pal is up to.
You have got four hours - four hours until The Occupation draws to a conclusion, whether you are done with it or not. Following the events of a terrorist attack, the British government are drawing up plans to enact controversial policies that will tread on civil liberties. As an investigative reporter, what you do with your four hours will impact the outcome in this non-combat immersive sim.
Frostpunk is a steampunk city builder in which you have to learn to thrive in a frozen wasteland. While figuring out how to expand, you will be faced with dark choices as you keep tabs on your civilians and infrastructure. If you have played the studio’s previous game, This War of Mine, you will probably know the kinds of moral dilemmas you will face. You can flourish in this harsh climate, but at what cost?
A spin on Advance Wars, Wargroove is bringing Nintendo-esque tactics to PC. For single-player, there are 12 campaigns to fight through, then you can take the fight online with up to three other players. With accessible yet deep mechanics, a map builder, and the ability to bring pals along, you could be grooving and warring for a while.
From Julian Gollop, creator of the original X-COM, Phoenix Point is very much a spiritual sequel - a turn-based tactics game where you shoot crab-like aliens in the face, claws, and carapace. If you have played the latest XCOM game you will know what to expect here, though Gollop does introduce a host of new ideas: targetable body parts, return fire, and massive boss enemies to name a few.
If Dark Chronicle, Harvest Moon, and Ni no Kuni were combined into a single game, My Time at Portia would be the result. Inspired by the art of Studio Ghibli, this is a whimsical city builder with RPG mechanics.
If you love FTL, you will want to keep an eye on Into the Breach, the next game from the same developers. It is a turn-based tactics game that will have you control a squad of robots tasked with protecting a city from marauding giant bugs. Use your abilities to push and pull the enemy into position, then deploy attacks to bring down as many as you can in a single turn. Imagine if the person who invented Chess had first seen Godzilla - that is Into the Breach.
The Return of the Obra Dinn
From the creator of Papers, Please, The Return of the Obra Dinn is a first-person adventure game rendered in 1-bit. In it, you will explore the Obra Dinn, a trade ship that lost its crew at sea, to uncover the secrets behind one of the world’s most famous naval mysteries.
Skin-crawling body horror is what Scorn is all about. It is a first-person shooter that will have you explore a Giger-esque dimension, complete with squishy, phallic alien creatures and guns made of flesh. It looks gross in the best way possible.
The Last Night gives me flashbacks to, well, Flashback. It is a cinematic platformer set in a neon-soaked, post-cyberpunk world - a world where humans stopped creating and instead live a life of leisure as machines do all the work for us. The Last Night is dripping with style.
If you have ever longed for an isometric RPG with a more grounded setting, No Truce With the Furies is the one to look out for as it places you in the shoes of a police officer and lets you live out your good cop/bad cop fantasies. As it is inspired by games such as Planescape: Torment, you should expect deep customisation and plenty of branching dialogue - in fact, combat here is all handled with dialogue trees, so every encounter is meaningful to the story.
Battalion 1944 is an indie Call of Duty: tight maps, twitch shooting, and a speedy run. These 5v5 battles are about map knowledge, positioning, movement, and, most importantly, pinpoint accuracy.
They are Billions is a steampunk strategy game where zombies fill the screen. You take charge of the last remaining human colonies in a world overrun by the dead. You have to build and keep your defenses tight, manage supplies, and push back the relentless onslaught before humanity becomes extinct. Be careful as you expand, because if you leave anything undefended it will only lead to more soldiers for the meat army.
A modern spin on Sensible Soccer’s simplicity, Super Arcade Football will offer fast-paced football action for up to four players. Outscore your opponents in both online and offline matches. If you want, you can make the walls bouncy, scatter teleporters across the pitch, or otherwise bend the rules. This is a football game for those who are sick of realism getting in the way of all the fun.
If you like both pinball and platformers, Yoku’s Island Express should please as a joyous mix of the two. Taking place in a nonlinear, 2D world, you are free to go wherever you please, so long as you can time the flicks to propel you there.
This tactical RPG reimagines the King Arthur mythos, placing you in the shoes of a vengeful knight called Uther as he searches for legendary sword Excalibur. Aided by the famous sorcerer Merlin, you need to work together to bring down the Duke of Wessex, forging uneasy alliances with other party members as you go. This one stands out because of its stark, cartoon-inspired visual style.
This self-described ‘Souls-lite’ looks much more fast-paced than its inspiration. While combat is still methodical, this 2D Metroidvania makes you as agile as Devil May Cry’s Dante. Explore an interconnected world brought to life with striking, wonderfully animated pixel art. Die. Try again. Die. Keep trying. Try not to cry.
Felix the Reaper
You play as Felix, a rotund creature who works for the Ministry of Death. He has fallen in love with Betty the Maiden, who works at the Ministry of Life. The two have never met, but Felix is sure that his self-taught dance moves will win her over in this Romeo and Juliet-esque love story. The result of this bizarre backdrop is a puzzle game where you dance through the shadows, avoid detection, and try to make people die.
Anamorphine is a VR exploration game about depression, alcoholism, and confronting your demons. You play a man haunted by his past, trying to escape it even though the memories stalk him. When his partner, Elena, slipped into depression, did he do enough to help her?
Inspired by John Wick, Past Cure is a fast-paced third-person shooter all about stylishly taking down the enemy. It is Max Payne with the shoot-dive swapped out for melee proficiency. Slow down time, pop someone in the head, then go all kung-fu on his pal. Remember those kinda games? It is one of those. Oh, and you can also astral-project yourself to see around corners or disable security cameras.
It is Berlin circa 2089, the Cold War never ended, and nuclear war is imminent. You have to travel back in time to change the present, battling through synth-tech nightclubs as you go. All Walls Must fall is a real-time tactics game where you can pause the action at any time, and, yes, you can tear down lots of walls. Carnage ensues when the action is unpaused as characters play out their actions in time to the beat. Expect a politically-charged take on the strategy genre.
Fimbul is a Viking battler that promises a deep, choice-driven story between bouts that often see you outnumbered. A stark and cold visual style ensures that you see every drop of blood that spatters on its snowy landscapes. It looks like The Banner Saga with a real-time combat system. Definitely one to watch.
What if the Godzilla games were good? That is the question the creator of RK3000 asked himself before he started development on this city-destroying mech game. You control a mech pilot who wants to take down an oppressive government with robot fists and weapons, smashing as many tower blocks as possible as she goes.
The studio behind I Am Setsuna are releasing yet another classic JRPG, this time about facing a power that could threaten the fabric of reality itself. It certainly sounds like a classic JRPG, then! Mind you, it does look lovely.
Fear Effect is back, baby. Only this time it is a real-time strategy game made by an indie team. Fans of the original series might be put off by Fear Effect Sedna’s isometric viewpoint and entirely new story, but I am all for reinvention myself - especially if it sheds all the embarrassing marketing associated with the original games.
Play as parkour cubes in this minimalist platformer with tight controls. You can compete with up to three friends or bound around its challenging levels in solo. It is a simple premise but it looks like a tonne of fun.
Daryl’s school has been taken over by evil self-help authors, so he has to ride sharks, summon torture devices, and surf over his enemies in a 2D RPG-vania, as you do. Imagine an old-school brawler with RPG mechanics in which you play as Napoleon Dynamite and travel through hell-dimensions themed after classroom subjects. You know, a normal, everyday game.
This hack-and-slash pixel art game looks lovely. As a member of the Bergson family, you take up arms and fight back against the corruption that taints the lands your family has guarded for generations, either alone or in co-op. As well as promising procedurally-generated action, Children of Morta will tell a heartfelt story about familial ties.
Trailmakers is a 3D vehicular sandbox game that will let you create your own courses before tearing across them a vehicle you designed. Create your own sand buggy and build your own assault course, or perhaps you would rather make a propeller plane and guide it through some aerial checkpoints.
Black Future ‘88
In Black Future ‘88, you have to climb to the top of a tower before your heart explodes. It is a side-scrolling shooter full of explosions, nippy dashes, and bright laser fire. Play it in co-op and the difficulty ramps up.
Block bullets with swords, wall-run, slow down time, triple-jump, fire at enemies with dual pistols as you slide past them on your knees, fall from great heights before plunging your blade into someone’s back, and try not to throw up all over yourself. Sairento VR lets you live out any cyber ninja fantasies you have, all experienced in virtual reality.
Ambition: A Minuet in Power
You are living through the French Revolution and you have lost everything. Well, everything but your natural beauty and intelligence. Ambition: A Minuet in Power will have you manipulating men in a roguelike dating sim where you snub and seduce to climb the social ladder once more.
Oh no, you were possessed by a demon and you killed a load of people. Well, at least you are free now. What’s that - you are wanted by the police? For flip’s sake, you better join the Unavowed, a group of people dedicated to battling the forces of darkness, then. Good luck with all that.
From the director of Sunless Sea comes a card game where you can become a leader of a powerful cult, summon up eldritch monstrosities, and eat your followers’ toes (probably). You need to be able to cover your tracks from any prying eyes, whether they be from this world or another.
Eastshade is a gorgeous walking sim that will have you play as a travelling painter. Find the perfect spot and compose a painting from your surroundings, then sell these creations on to the locals for profit. Talk to other characters and change the outcome of the story with branching dialogue.
In real life, Gary is a mess. In videogames, he is a legend. Legendary Gary is a game of two parts - in his life you have to guide him through conversations, then you have to help him fight his way through the fantasy world of his favourite videogame. Unfortunately, Gary is having a little trouble separating the two.
The developers of this 3D action game aim to teach people about the indigenous culture of Mexico’s Tarahumara people. As a shaman, you need to draw on the power of the demigods and fight back against the corruption eating away at the world, usually in the form of some giant bugs and other creatures you batter with a stick.