15 Fantastic Hidden Gem Indie Games You’ll Wishlist So Hard

Some ice hockey, at the centre of the rink, in Tape To Tape.

Screenshot: Excellent Rectangle

As if the previous fifteen indie games weren’t enough for you, here is another collection of interesting-looking in-development indie projects that you should very probably pop on your wishlist. Scroll on to discover at least something that’s going to catch your eye (wallet).

Whenever I put out the Indiebat Signal, I always receive about ten times more emails than I could ever have time to cover. Which means I feel guilty. My method is randomly clicking within the hundreds of emails, which seems as fair as any other method. But I still feel guilty. At least this lot got lucky, I suppose, but the point remains: there are too many games. Stop it. Stop making all these games. Think about my guilt.

Wait, no, don’t stop making the games below, because they’ve now caught my interest. These ones are allowed to be made. And all the others that are going to be great—those can be made too. Just the bad games, OK? Stop making the bad games. Glad we’ve got this cleared up. I am tired. Read on.

Developer: Clockwork Pile

Out: 2022

Demo/Wishlist

OMG, it’s a cross between Project Zomboid and X-COM. Shardpunk: Verminfall is a survival squad-based strategy game, which seems to be a combination of wandering RPG, tactical turn-based combat, and survival resource management. Which both daunts and entices me. Definitely watch the trailer above, because the longer I looked, the more I wanted to be playing.

Developer: SmoothBrainDev

Out: Fall 2022

Demo/Wishlist

Yes yes yes. As many 90s-styled shooters as you can make, please, indie games industry. Ever since DUSK, I can’t eat enough of ‘em. Incision looks like exactly what I’m after, with its grotesque gibs, creepy-ass Build-like graphics, and heavy Quake vibes.

What’s so great about this so-called Boomer Shooter genre is that they’re how we remember FPS games of the 90s being, rather than how they actually were. Nostalgia smooths out all the rough edges, and games like these are crafted to match. This one’s going to come out in three episodes, each made of seven maps, hopefully starting this fall. Can’t wait.

Developer: 502 Studios

Out: 2022

Demo/Wishlist

This is such a lovely concept! First-time developers 502 Studios are making a collection of arcade games, played in an in-game arcade, with the intent that players flit between them, trying to get the high scores. Except, instead of just whoever stumbles into your local arcade, those leaderboards can recognise everyone else playing in the rest of the world.

The games aren’t all old-school arcade, either, which is certainly over-trodden land. Instead they seem quite different ideas, little action rogue-lites, complicated Puzzle Bobble-style puzzlers, single-screen shoot ‘em ups… My only concern is the name, since “502″ is not going to grab anyone’s attention. The World’s Arcade maybe? I dunno. They’re not paying me a consultancy fee.

Interesting tidbit: 502 say when this appears on Switch, it’ll be the first ever Guatemalan game on any Nintendo platform ever!

Developer: Selva Interactive

Out: 2022

Demo/Wishlist

OR WILL IT? (see above) Because Illuminaria is also a Guatemalan game! There’s no word yet if it’s coming to Switch (I’ve asked), but I really hope it is, so this can become an official race. My personal idiocy aside, this looks like a properly fun time, a game in which you control a swarm of robots with the intention of resource gathering and base building, along with some tower defency battling. Do check out the trailer, because it looks like there’s an awful lot to this.

Developer: Noisy Head Games

Out: 2022

Wishlist

Well, this game had better have good audio—Beyond The Long Night is being made by a team of three former audio devs from Frontier. It’s a twin-stick roguelite, where you float about a lovely pixelated world on a bunch of balloons, with what look like some really interesting boingy attacks. It has successfully Kickstartered itself, and is aiming to be “uplifting” and “charming,” which sounds just the tonic.

Developer: Triheart Studio

Out: Now (early access)

Buy

There is a law that says that all game genres must be crossed with deckbuilding, before the Great Curse can be lifted from the land, and Metroid Prime 4 can be released. Golfie is fighting the good fight here, combining deckbuilding with…golf. Yup, golf. A “run-based, roguelike minigolf deck builder” says its Steam blurb in case you thought I was lying.

It’s out in Early Access as of a few days ago, and appears so completely batshit that I can’t resist taking a look.

Developer: Cyberpooch Studios

Out: TBA

Wishlist

A love letter to Freelancer is likely something an awful lot of people would want to read. That’s the pitch for Solara: Starlight Horizon, which intends to offer players options to “trade, mine, chase bounties, or smuggle illegal goods.”

“I feel like Freelancer,” explains the developer, “more than any other space sim, made space feel ‘alive’ with how they handled intra and inter system travel, and I want to recapture that feeling.”

Developer: ub4q

Out: 2023

Wishlist

A visual novel, with all the sexy-times you might expect, but with an atypical art style and a focus on stuff going wrong. Or indeed, “trainwrecks, trysts and treason,” as the description puts it. Eight years in the making, this is the work of solo developer Ruqiyah, under the name ub4q, with the intention to release it some time next year.

According to Ruqiyah, you will have “the ability to befriend, bonk, betray or wingman four party members,” as you go on a roadtrip to “take down a tyrant.” I really like the darker tone to this.

Developer: Kodo Linija

Out: September 15, 2022

Wishlist

I’m going to argue it’s a good sign when I see a first screenshot of Stardeus and find myself saying “Oh wow,” out loud. A “wow” encompassing both, “This looks enormously impressive,” and also, “My brain will never contend with this.” Fortunately, you’re not an idiot like me, so will far more likely adore the idea of such a complex ship-building, resource-managing space game in which you explore a procedurally generated universe.

Take a look at the trailer above to get an idea of the scale. Lithuanian indie team Kodo Linija is aiming to see this come to Early Access this September.

Developer: 9FingerGames

Out: TBA

Demo/Wishlist

Well this both looks and sounds splendidly revolting. A metroidvania-me-do in which you play a hivemind alien monstrosity that murders enemies, absorbs their consciousness and memories, and then wears their skulls. All while creepily slurping and slinking about its levels. You’re trying to find a cure for a virus, so it’s OK that you’re like this. It’s OK.

I love the animation details in the trailer, the way your alien’s tentacles hold the wall, or how it sort of morphs into different shapes as it jumps and glides. This really reminds me of two favorites, Carrion and MO Astray.

Developer: Vertical Reach

Out: TBA

Wishlist

Ooh give me them PS1 horror vibes. Alex Young is trapped in a weird old mansion, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s packed with traps, puzzles and all manner of ways for her to die.

It’s brain rather than combat-focused, but with what looks like a constant sense of lurking danger, and a bunch of other captives to attempt to rescue as you go. It’s really cool to see a PS1 horror game developed as a full-length game, and I’m really interested to follow this one’s progress.

Developer: Excellent Rectangle

Out: December 30, 2022

Demo/Wishlist

As any fule no, there hasn’t been a good hockey videogame since NHL 97. Don’t @ me, puckfaces. Maybe Tape To Tape can break that Truth, by combining the noble sport of punching on ice with…roguelite elements. Seriously, check out the trailer above, because I need you too to have the “I’m sorry whathefuck?” moment right at the end.

It’s in the midst of a Kickstarter, but has always iced past its goal (that’s like a hockeyball term, right?), with more than a week to go.

As it happens, it doesn’t matter how good this game ends up being, because it’s already a winner in my heart thanks to the name of the developer. Look up, look at it.

Developer: Psychic Software

Out: TBA

Wishlist

I’ve typed “RPG” a lot today, but not yet in terms of what immediately springs to my own mind when I read the term. For me, those three letters mean Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, that sort of business. And The Necromancer’s Tale evokes those same vibes.

It’s got spells and characters with circles stuck to their feet and skellingtons to hit at with swords. You know, a proper RPG. It also boasts 150 NPCs to natter with, a whole proper quest-filled storyline, and the turn-based combat your grandmother used to make.

Developer: DirectDoggo

Out: Now

Buy

There’s not a lot of science behind what I include in these lists, but beginning an email with the words, “A game about dating telephones and laying eggs,” does the trick. Not a phone-dating sim, a phone dating sim.

Dialtown came out in February, and I cannot understand a universe in which I haven’t heard of this already. As its own store page says, this is a game where “most people have phones for heads.” Oh, and dogs have gramophones for heads, while cats replaced theirs with keyboards. It’s, naturally, a visual novel, and you’re looking for that one sweet telephone to settle down with, because of your desire to find “a dank pit in which to lay your eggs.”

Developer: Dapper Dog Digital

Out: 2022

Demo/Wishlist

And of course we finish with a game about playing a vaccine based on pig DNA being injected into the body of a dog.

Bio-Gun is a metroidvania-pops, set in the super-cartoony insides of your canine host, with some twin-stick shooty action and proper old-school 2D frame-by-frame animation. All in the name of saving dog-kind.

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