With more and more indie games coming out every year we wanted to give them their own special spot in our Year In Review lists. To round up our top indie games of 2021 we looked at writer’s personal favorites and scores across our site to pick our top 10. Whether it’s roguelikes, dating sims, or just something cozy, we’ve got you covered.
To make our top indie games of 2021 list the game had to have had a release in the calendar 2021 year – this does not include ports (sorry Hades…again), only games having their first outing. While the publishers could be AAA publishing studies with indie arms, each game on this list had to have been developed by an independent or small team of developers. Without further ado, here are our top indie games of 2021.
Developer: Flight School Studio
Publisher: MWM Interactive
Platform: PS4|5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
Stonefly is an action-adventure RPG in which you pilot a tiny robot mech. Hop along rocks and canopies while you upgrade your rig with an arsenal of wind abilities. Follow the journey of Annika as she attempts to recover a stolen family heirloom, strategically battling bugs across an epic story.
Developer: Worldwalker Games
Publisher: WhisperGames, Worldwalker Games
Wildermyth follows heroes over their whole careers, from their pitchfork days to their powerful primes, and on into old age and memory. It’s a party-based procedural storytelling RPG where tactical combat and story decisions will alter your world and reshape your cast of characters.
8. Genesis Noir
Developer: Feral Cat Den
Publisher: Fellow Traveler
Platform: PC, macOS, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
A noir adventure spanning time and space. When a love triangle between cosmic beings becomes a bitter confrontation, you’ll witness a gunshot fired by a jealous god—otherwise known as The Big Bang. Jump into the expanding universe and search for a way to destroy creation and save your love.
7. Cozy Grove
Developer: Spry Fox
Publisher: Spry Fox, The Quantum Astrophysicists
Platform: PS4, Xbox Series X|S, iOS, Nintendo Switch,
Welcome to Cozy Grove, a game about camping on a haunted, ever-changing island. As a Spirit Scout, you’ll wander the island’s forest each day, finding new hidden secrets and helping soothe the local ghosts. With a little time and a lot of crafting, you’ll bring color and joy back to Cozy Grove!
Developer: Kitfox Games
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Date your weapons! Romance swords, daggers, and polearms to level them up in this “shack-and-slash” dungeon crawling adventure.
5. Loop Hero
Developer: Four Quarters
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, macOS
The Lich has thrown the world into a timeless loop and plunged its inhabitants into never ending chaos. Wield an expanding deck of mystical cards to place enemies, buildings, and terrain along each unique expedition loop for the brave hero.
Developer: Greg Lobanov, A Shell in the Pit
Publisher: Greg Lobanov, Finji
Platform: PS4|5, PC, macOS
A top-down adventure game in a coloring book world full of vibrant characters. Use painting powers to explore, solve puzzles, make friends, and draw on anything! From creators on Wandersong + Celeste.
3. Death’s Door
Developer: Acid Nerve
Platform: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4|5, Nintendo Switch
Developer: Tarsier Studios & Supermassive Games
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform: PS4|5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC
Little Nightmares II is a suspense adventure game in which you play as Mono, a young boy trapped in a world that has been distorted by an evil transmission. Together with new friend Six, he sets out to discover the source of the Transmission.
1. It Takes Two
Developer: Hazelight Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, PC, PS4|5
Embark on the craziest journey of your life in It Takes Two, a genre-bending platform adventure created purely for co-op. Play as the clashing couple Cody and May, two humans turned into dolls by a magic spell. Trapped in a fantastical world, they’re reluctantly challenged with saving their fractured relationship by the suave love guru Dr. Hakim. A huge variety of gleefully disruptive gameplay challenges stand between them and their return to normal.
So that’s it! It’s been a long cozy, adventurous, romantic, and so much more year in indie games. Picking our top indie games of 2021 wasn’t easy, so if we missed one of your favorites this year, let us know on social media: @butwhytho.
Game descriptions of the titles on the Top Indie Games of 2021 were pulled directly from product pages.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.