The best indie games of 2018 so far
© Roll7 / 505 Games
Looking for something new to play? Try out these instant indie classics.
We are inching closer to a blockbuster season, when huge new games are released practically every week between September and December. So, now is the perfect time to catch up on all the great indie games that you might have missed in 2018.
With literally hundreds of indie titles released since the start of the year, it’s impossible to highlight every single good game. Instead, we’ve picked out a handful of truly outstanding examples that have stood out most prominently so far in 2018. Spanning multiple genres and various levels of difficulty, there’s something here for everyone.
1. Celeste (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC)
This tough-as-nails platformer was developed by the same team behind 2013 hit TowerFall, and follows a young girl named Madeline on her quest to conquer the mysterious Celeste Mountain. Each of the 700+ challenge screens are packed with various obstacles, navigated through tight, responsive and depth-filled gameplay. Add a charming visual style and soothing soundtrack to the mix, and you’re left with one of the most memorable 2D platformers in years.
2. Into the Breach (PC)
Currently boasting an 89/100 score on Metacritic, Into the Breach is a turn-based strategy game focusing on the struggle between human civilisation and an alien threat. The game features a minimalistic style, and sees you controlling powerful mechs while protecting vital structures across eight-by-eight grids. Notably, Into the Breach is made by the same team behind spaceship sim FTL: Faster Than Light, so if you enjoyed that, you’ll love this.
3. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (PC)
Following the success of 2015’s Pillars of Eternity – a spiritual successor to famous RPGs such as Baldur’s Gate – Obsidian Interactive released a sequel back in January. POE II: Deadfire sees you captaining your ship on a voyage of discovery throughout the isometric world of Eora, and features improved combat, visuals and a hefty degree of exploration. It remains a PC exclusive for now, but will head to PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch later this year.
4. Moss (PlayStation 4, PC)
If you’ve invested in virtual reality, Moss is a must-own. The charming adventure follows a young mouse called Quill, with the story centred on a quest to defeat the evil fire-breathing snake Sarffog. Played from both first-person and third-person perspectives, Moss features plenty of puzzles, combat and platforming elements, while the game uses the power of VR to conceal hidden items and present unique viewpoints.
5. Iconoclasts (PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC)
This 2D action-adventure platformer was created by a single developer across a period of seven years. The pixel-art world of Iconoclasts serves as the backdrop for a memorable story starring wannabe mechanic Robin, with the game featuring a mix of exploring, puzzles and combat. It's often referred to as a ‘Metroidvania’ title – a reference to the styles of the Metroid and Castlevania series.
6. Just Shapes & Beats (Nintendo Switch, PC)
If you’re looking for a great co-op (couch or online) game, or simply a unique take on the rhythm action genre, Just Shapes & Beats is just the ticket. It’s a wild, bullet-hell game in which your job is to avoid oncoming shapes while moving to the beat, whether in Story mode or via the more timeless Challenge Runs. The controls are simple and the visuals sync to the music, resulting in a captivating audio-visual experience.
7. Subnautica (PC)
Subnautica is an underwater adventure game set on an alien ocean planet, and the goal is to both survive and explore, with plenty of building, crafting and scavenging tools at your disposal. There’s an ever-present sense of danger thanks to the many lifeforms spanning the ocean, and the game regularly conjures up a mix of loneliness, dread and sheer wonder, much to its credit. Subnautica will receive a full release on PS4 and Xbox One later in 2018.
8. Laser League (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
Ever since the release of a certain vehicular soccer game in 2015, a handful of games have been described as ‘the next Rocket League’. In Laser League’s case, it’s easy to see why – the team-based game is both easy to learn and hard to master, with the goal being to eliminate your opponents using lasers. The end result is an addictive, endlessly fun experience with huge esport potential, developed by the makers of skateboarding hit OlliOlli.