Indies are consistently some of the best games that I have played as of late. Don’t ignore these games. They have a lot to offer, especially for the prices they’re set at. Below are ten of my top indie titles released in the last few years, the platforms they’re on, and how much you can find them for.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley made its explosive debut in February 2016, for Microsoft Windows. Since then it has also released on:

  • OS X
  • Linux
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PlayStation Vita
  • Android
  • iOS

Stardew Valley, IOS

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The game is loved for its simple, charming gameplay, and the unique world that it shows you. Stardew Valley is a farming simulation RPG that takes heavy inspiration from Harvest MoonFans of Harvest Moon who have been disappointed with the series has also found a special quality in Stardew ValleyIt begins with your character wishing to escape the busy and artificial life of the city. At just the right moment you read a letter telling you that you  inherited your deceased grandfather’s decaying farm outside of Pelican Town, in Stardew Valley. What better opportunity to escape?

Stardew Valley

From here on, the game’s story is almost entirely in your hands. You can build your farm any way you like. Plant crops, raise livestock, both, or even neither. You can choose to help restore the town’s community center, or sell out to JojaMart, a corporation that has taken root in the town. One the civilians believe is ruining their simple way of life. You can also do neither. The game guides you to the paths that you can take, but never forces you to anything you don’t want to.

Stardew Valley

The game doesn’t have any real ending either. After three in game years, you will be evaluated, but otherwise the game just keeps going. You can even be reevaluated now. This doesn’t mean the game doesn’t have a lot to offer. From mining, to monster slaying, festivals, and more, the game will keep you busy. For hundreds of hours even.

Stardew Valley

It also has a four player co-op mode, allowing you to build and explore with friends. The game gets rather consistent support from its developer ConcernedApe, who has stated that he’s putting his new game, that takes place in the same universe, on hold. This is to offer more support to Stardew. He even has plans to create dedicated teams for each game, so that Stardew Valley gets the attention that it deserves.

Stardew Valley

You can find the game for as little as ten dollars on PC platforms, fifteen dollars on Nintendo Switch, or twenty dollars on Xbox and PlayStation.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove originally released in June 2014, for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, and the Wii U. Since then it has released for:

  • OS X
  • Linux
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PlayStation Vita
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Nintendo Switch

Shovel Knight

Since its release, the game has been held as one of the most important indie titles ever released. It draws a lot of inspiration from early action platformers, but delivers it in a way that the modern era can easily dissect. The stories that each campaign tell are beautifully delivered. They each have a certain charm about them, that adds depth to their unique mechanics. Each campaign puts you in the shoes of another character. From Shovel Knight himself, to Plague Knight, to the upcoming King Knight.

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight: King of Cardsthe newest campaign releases April 9th, 2019. At the same time we get a multiplayer fighting mode titled Shovel Knight: Showdown. Both additions are free for all who own Treasure Trove. It is amazing how five years after its release, this indie title is still getting free expansions. The game costs $24.99 on most platforms. For that price you get four, difficult, charming platform styled games, all of which can be played alone or with a partner. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is not only an indie game from the past few years that you should play, it is an indie game regardless of time period that you should play.

Shovel Knight Showdown

In the main game, Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hopeyou embark on a quest to stop the Enchantress. Prior to the game, Shovel Knight and his partner, Shield Knight were adventurers. Until one day, Shield Knight was cursed, and locked away. Shovel Knight grieved the loss of his partner, and gave up exploring. This was until the Enchantress reopened the tower that sealed away Shield Knight. He quickly began his quest to find Shield Knight. But the Enchantress formed The Order of No Quarter to stop him.

Shovel Knight

The three expansions; Plague of Shadows, Specter of Torment, and King of Cards all take place around the same time.

Plague Knight’s story takes place during the same time as Shovel of HopeHe attempts to gain every Knights essence, so that he may create a potion capable of granting the user’s one desire.

Specter Knight’s is just prior to the original story. The Enchantress sends him on a quest to recruit Knights for The Order of No Quarter. As he does so, he also aims to be resurrected. This is probably the most emotional out of the stories.

Shovel Knight

We don’t know much about King Knight’s story yet. However, we do know that during it, he must defeat the three other Kings, in order to become the true monarch of the land.

Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight was released in February 2017. Since it has received universal acclaim as one of the greatest Metroidvania released to date. The game features brutal, unforgiving combat in a story with no direction. You can find the game for around $10-15. It was originally released for PC platforms. Later, it was released for:

  • Xbox One
  • PlayStation 4
  • Nintendo Switch

Hollow Knight

The plot of Hollow Knight is almost non existent. At first at least. The game starts off with a knight who journeys to the forgotten insect kingdom called Hallownest. Like many before him, he seeks treasures, and answers in the abandoned depths. From there on, hunting down the rest of the story is your main quest. While you can acquire maps, the game tells you little to nothing else. By finding other adventures, powers, and secrets, you’ll slowly unravel what Hallownest has to hide.

Hollow Knight

This game is pure, action packed fun. The upgrades available manage to continuously add new layers of depth to the game play and the world itself. Since its a Metroidvania it utilizes revisiting areas with new abilities or items. The level designs are created to suit this perfectly. The areas never feel bleak.

Hollow Knight

The art itself is gorgeous. Easily one of the most beautifully morbid games out there. The music is stunning as well. This is an expertly crafted debut indie, that does not hold back in the slightest. And while the game is very difficult, everyone can get something out of this game.

Hollow Knight

Axiom Verge

Axiom Verge is another Metroidvania. Unlike Hollow Knightits artwork is far more traditional for the era of games it was inspired by, but is equally as stunning visually. The game originally released for the PlayStation 4. The game can be had for anywhere from $15-30. It is also the next free game on the Epic Game Store.

It was later released for:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • OS X
  • Linux
  • PlayStation Vita
  • Wii U
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch

Axiom Verge

The story and world are macabre. The player takes the role of of a scientist named Trace. After being knocked unconscious in his lab, he awakes in an alien world. The world of Sudra. He is guided by a robotic war machine named Elsenova. His goal is to restore power to Elsenova and other machines of her kind, in order to stop the evil scientist Athetos, who wiped out the Sudrans.

Axiom Verge

The game is full of surprising twists. It has dozens of power ups, that mange to alter the very world you’ll explore. The game does not hold back. Its combat is difficult, but incredibly fun. The story is deep, meaningful, but creepy, and dark. Axiom Verge is a nightmare turned into a video game.

Axiom Verge

The game is perfect for Metroidvania fans. Especially after the news dropping about Metroid Prime 4. The game play is heavily inspired by the likes of the original MetroidContraand more. However, almost anyone will find that this game has something to give them. It’s pure fun, with a great story, and a price tag that is very low compared to what you’ll get out of it.

Axiom Verge

Dead Cells

Dead Cells is, you guessed it, another Metroidvania. The game does however blend in rogue-like elements that managed to keep the game refreshing. It was released on August 7th, 2018, and won Best Action Game at the 2018 Video Game Awards. You can pick up the game for anywhere from $20-35. It simultaneously released on:

  • Xbox One
  • PlayStation 4
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Linux
  • macOS

Dead Cells

The story is the bare minimum. You play as The Prisoner, a collection of cells that infect and control a corpse. Your goal is to fight your way out of the dungeon. To do so, you must defeat the four Keepers.

Dead Cells

The game play is Souls-like. It will become easier to defeat enemies if you learn their patterns, and use them to your own advantage. The game’s rogue-like elements come from how the island will transform every time you die. The levels will stay aesthetically the same, but their layouts, loot and enemy placements are all randomly generated.

Dead Cells

Once you die, you’ll also lose any equipment that you’ve lost. Except for items that you buy permanently from the vendor. The vendor is located at the end of each dungeon. You buy items using the games currency, cells, but if you die before making it to the vendor, you lose all of your cells.

Dead CellsThis game was created with replay value and challenge in mind. The randomly generated levels keep your adventure fresh, and with enemy levels far exceeding what the game starts you off with, the game has a heavy emphasis on you dying. A lot. You will die many, many times before gaining new equipment, and many times that number to actually beat the game.

Dead Cells

Celeste 

Celeste was the winner of The Video Game Awards 2018 Best Indie and Games for Impact categories, and was a runner up for overall Game of the Year.  The game was released in January, 2018. You can find the game for twenty dollars. Or, if you have a Xbox Live subscription, as of the writing of this article, you can get it for free from Games With Gold. The game released on:

  • Xbox One
  • PlayStation 4
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Microsoft Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux

Celeste

Celeste puts the player in the shoes of a young woman named Madeline. Madeline is set on climbing up Celeste Mountain, despite the warnings that she has received. The story is a beautiful adventure about overcoming one’s anxiety and fears, and fully coming to peace with who they are. The message the game sends about accepting oneself is something that has really resonated with fans.

Celeste

The game is also a traditional platformer. The player must leap, dash, and scramble their way up the mountain, while avoiding deadly obstacles. This platformer is very difficult, especially in later levels. Players unfamiliar with the game may struggle to complete it. However, it has an Assist mode, that allows the player to change the physics and limits of the game. This allows it to be more accessible to larger audience, while still expressing the beautiful story that’s within.

Celeste

The game also has plenty of extra content. By finding cassette tapes, you unlock B-Levels. These add extra challenges, The game is also receiving free DLC, planned to release by the end of the year. Overall, this is one of the most beautiful in spirit games you’ll find out there. While also delivering a challenge fit for the message it sends. Accepting yourself is never easy. But it’s worth the effort in the end.

Celeste

Gris

Gris is another platformer with a powerful message. It was released in December, 2018, and can be grabbed for $16.99. It was originally released for:

  • Nintendo Switch
  • macOS
  • Microsoft Windows

Gris

The story follows a woman named Gris. She wakes up in the palm of a statue. As she begins to sing, the statue crumbles, dropping her onto the colorless world below. Gris begins to collect stars. Along the way she discovers her true abilities and begins to bring life back to the world until she has enough to reach the heavens themselves.

Gris

This is a sad story. With a happy ending. The game is about the struggles one endures with depression. The water color esque art really adds to how bleak the game is. It truly express how hopeless and lost a person can be when suffering in this way.

Gris

Gris is more than just a platformer. It is a truly emotional story, that says a lot by saying little. The platforming is fun and challenging as well. But the emphasis should be on the message. Few other games accomplish what Gris did. This is truly a masterpiece, not even just in terms of indies.

Gris

We also have a plenty of exciting indies releasing this year. Check out our coverage of the recent Nintendo Indies Showcase. What are your favorite indies to date?

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