VGG Indie Game Spotlight: 8 indie releases to get hype for in 2023
We’re just four months into the year, and 2023 has already brought us an incredible class of new releases like Resident Evil 4 Remake, PSVR2, Hi-Fi Rush, and The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog. We at Video Games are Good are so excited to see what this year has in store, especially for indie gaming. Even before the summer brings a brand-new wave of announcements, we’re looking at an amazingly promising year for new releases.
As such, we’ve compiled a list of some of our most anticipated indies for the rest of the year.
Developed by Summerfall Studios
Published by Humble Games
Releasing August 3, 2023
We love a narrative choice-driven adventure.
We ADORE a batch of broken souls that just so happen to be actual gods that you can woo and romance on your way to glory.
So Stray Gods already had our number when it was announced. But then you realize the final piece of the puzzle and it skyrockets into the stratosphere of anticipation.
It’s a freakin’ musical.
Stray Gods tells the story of Grace, a college dropout who's been given the power of a muse. She’s got a mystery to unravel, people to charm, and songs to sing. With talents from across the games industry, Broadway, and television, Stray Gods is shaping up to be something special.
I mean, Rent legend Anthony FREAKIN’ Rapp is part of the cast! Come on! GET EXCITED.
Developed by Alambik Studio
Published by Goblinz Publishing
Releasing Q2 2023
I’m not known for being strategic OR persistent, but damn if there aren’t some games that just feel brutal in the best way. Diluvian Winds is one of them.
The game has you take on the role of a lighthouse keeper who is a charmingly gruff walrus. It’s your job to keep the lighthouse fire strong to guide caravans of anthropomorphic travelers and welcome them into your little hamlet for a place to rest and share a few warm meals before going on their way.
Construct buildings on a 2D grid much like in Spiritfarer, use travelers’ unique skills to collect resources that keep the fire and the community fed, meet travelers’ requests, and try to survive and recover from tsunamis that will crash down and leave you rebuilding all over again. The weather is relentless and the work is grueling.
But by george, somebody’s gotta do it.
Born of Bread
Developed by WildArts Studio Inc.
Published by Dear Villagers Releasing summer 2023
One of my favorite parts of the indie gaming scene is the idea of dream fulfillment. The idea that someone sat around dreaming about a new game in their favorite series, realized that game may never come, and just got up and made it themselves.
The team at WildArts is doing just that with their debut release, Born of Bread.
Plopping around as a sentient flour golem, this RPG has all your favorite Paper Mario-ish systems. Quirky partner characters with their own unique abilities in and out of battle, contextual quick time events for each attack, and an undeniable 2.5D charm.
Paper Mario is in a weird place right now, and we’re thankful that WildArts is letting this dough prove and we’re excited for it to be pulled out of the oven later this year.
Mineko’s Night Market
Developed by Meowza Games
Published by Humble Games Releasing Sept. 26, 2023
If you love cats, support a hyper-local economy and distrust government agents, then you’re gonna love Mineko’s Night Market.
This narrative-driven game follows a young girl who moves with her dad to a struggling town swirling with whispers of magic and myth. Because sightings of the cat god, Nikko, have begun to resurface. Explore the village’s secrets, befriend people and cats, complete jobs and craft all kinds of whimsical items to sell at the weekly Night Market. There’s also a surprisingly prevalent stealth element to the game as you avoid nosy agents and free the cats they’ve caged all around town.
The game has a beautiful storybook visual style and one of the catchiest, pluckiest soundtracks you’ve ever heard. Oh, and a whole bunch of chunky little potato-shaped cats. What’s not to love?
Mineko’s demo didn’t actually reveal the Night Market itself, which promises a good deal of the gameplay and a lot of mini-games, including cat races and live performances, so I’m eager to see the townsfolk come together and see what more is in store for this game.
Developed and published by Prateek Jadhwani Releases summer 2023
As a millennial, I simply have to come to terms with the fact that it is HIGHLY unlikely that I’ll ever own a home. I’ve had the time to come to terms with that... but imagine you went to bed as the lord of an opulent manor and woke up 500 years later, more broke than the depressed millennial writing this entry.
Enter Brocula, a fun little life sim where you play as a vampire who wakes up from his eternal slumber to find that his money is useless and his castle is in shambles.
You’ll have to work a dead-end job, farm your own food, and regain your sterling reputation on the mean streets. With a solo developer behind it all, Brocula has a fun perspective on the life sim and we can’t wait to see what Prateek has in store with the full release!
Developed and published by HiWarp Releases 2023
NAIAD shows that minimalism is anything but plain. It may be simple, but this relaxing river-floating adventure is vibrant, dreamy, and relaxing. It’s full of enchanting little secrets and is absolutely remarkable to look at, made even more impressive by the fact that it comes from a solo developer.
The game has you inhabit Naiad, a water nymph, and follow a river through 16 different biomes where you’ll meet new flora and fauna and help care for them through small challenges. Along your way, you’ll also face more and more obstacles from self-interested humans and uncover the secrets of nature through glyphs.
It’s the perfect kind of quiet and introspective game that allows you to just fully immerse yourself and drink in the beauty and enjoyment of what video games can be. I can’t say enough how excited I am to experience this game fully, and I think it’s one that a lot of our VGG community members are going to enjoy.
The Big Catch
Developed and published by Filet Group Releases TBA
I’m not entirely sure The Big Catch is coming this year.
It only got revealed during last year’s “Not E3,” and they finished their Kickstarter campaign in October of last year… but it might just be one of my personal most anticipated games ever.
After the release of one of the best feeling parody 3D platformers I’ve ever played, Yo Noid! 2, I’ve kept tabs on the crew at Filet Group.
Ditching pizza and adopting the much nobler art form of fishing, Filet Group has an interesting fishing-first platformer in The Big Catch. With all its low-res glory, a sick fishing rod-based grappling hook, a ton of fish to be found as collectibles, and all the wall jumping, grinding, and sliding you can ask for… The Big Catch has my undivided attention.
...Even if it doesn’t actually come out this year. Fingers crossed!
Developed by Octofox Games
Published by Daedalic Entertainment
I promise I didn’t plan this, but I’m back to talk to you about a bunch of cute little cats! So... sue me!
Wild Woods is a couch co-op game that I only recently learned about myself, but it looks like it’s going to be a ton of fun. With one to four players, you play as a brave quartet of cats gathering resources and defending their wooden wagon through a dangerous forest. When night falls, bandits will attack and you’ll have to fight to survive and keep the wagon’s fire burning.
Combat is simple, with just attacking and dodging. You’ll also be able to upgrade the wagon as you go for better durability and other boosts.
Wild Woods reminds me of another multiplayer game I really love, Unrailed!, where coordination is key and you have to really work together for resource management and to keep the journey going. I have high hopes for Wild Woods and it seems like a real hidden gem that I haven’t heard people talking about nearly enough!
We hope you learned about at least one new game you’re excited to play in the coming months. If anything on this list caught your eye, consider going over to Steam and wishlisting your favorites, because it really really helps out indie devs when you do that! Consider watching the video version of this post up top and sharing that around as well! VGG is working on making more regular video content and your support goes a long way in ensuring that continues to happen.
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