YEAR IN REVIEW: Top Indie Games of 2022

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Top Indie Games of 2022 - But Why Tho

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 2022 we looked at writer’s personal favorites and scores across our site to pick our top 15. Whether it’s roguelikes, management sims, or just something cozy, we’ve got you covered.

To make our top indie games of 2022 list, the game had to have had a release in the calendar 2022 year – this does not include ports, 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 2022.

15. Nobody Saves the World

Nobody Saves the World - But Why Tho

Developer: Drinkbox Studios
Publisher:Drinkbox Studios
Platform:  Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S,  Xbox Game Pass, and PC

Nobody Saves the World is another fun-filled game by the team at Drinkbox Studios. While there were very few memorable NPCs, the forms are really what shines the most. From being able to customize them for any need to quickly switching between them, Drinkbox Studios nailed their hook of this game.”

14. OlliOlli World

OlliOlli World - But Why Tho

Developer: Roll7
Publisher: Private Division
Platform:  Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S,  Xbox Game Pass, and PC

“OlliOlli World is a BLAST to play. Roll7 did an excellent job changing up their formula while still making this feel like an OlliOlli game. While it isn’t faultless with its difficulty, OlliOlli World is welcoming for just about anyone with any skill level…Once you conquer the skill gaps and reach gnarvana, you yourself will feel like a skate god shredding through Radlandia.”

13. Moonbreaker

Top Indie Games of 2022 - But Why Tho (2)

Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
Publisher: KRAFTON
Platform: PC, MacOS

“Moonbreaker offers a unique turn-based strategy experience coupled with a ton of personality. The presentation brings the world to life like no traditional table top game could and the painting feature ensure every person can make their favorite list truly their own.”

12. Fobia — St. Dinfna Hotel

Fobia - But Why Tho

Developer: Pulsatrix Studios
Publisher: Maximum Games
Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC

“The puzzles are challenging but satisfying, the spooks are wonderful, and the story draws you in from the very start—Fobia – St. Dinfna Hotel has all the right elements, just may need a couple of gameplay tweaks for the console. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a horror game with all the puzzles you could ever need, look no further.”

11. Norco

Norco - But Why Tho

Developer: Geography of Robots
Publisher: 
Geography of Robots
Platforms: PC

“NORCO is a game I could not stop thinking about. Even long after completing my first playthrough, I find myself thinking about Kay, Catherine, the AI security robot Millions, Private Investigator Leblanc, and the multitude of ordinary citizens I encountered that profoundly impacted me throughout my time in NORCO. It’s been a while since a game has managed to cause so much emotional damage in such a short period of time, and I cannot recommend NORCO highly enough.”

10. Hardspace Shipbreaker

Hardspace: Shipbreaker

Developer: Blackbird Interactive
Publisher:
Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: 
PC

Hardspace: Shipbreaker has cemented itself as one of my top three games of the year. It’s not without faults, like its superfluous room you’re forced to visit. However, the complete package is marvelous in the way it mixes a powerful story with some chill yet stressful gameplay. Everything feels like it went through mounds of scrutiny to make it feel like it’d fit in this world and work in space. My hat is off to every single developer who worked on this game.”

9. Dune Spice Wars

Developer: Shiro Games
Publishers: Shiro Games, Funcom
Platforms:
PC

“Everyone knows I have been going on and on about Victoria 3, but the game that was my “biggest shock” of the year was Dune: Spice Wars. I loved the intricacies of the game of not only having to try to control the map via military or by politics. Knowing that your power can be determined by votes and relationships made the game intriguing, and you really don’t see it all that often. The game is still in Early Access and has a great variety of content along with tons of content coming in the future. It was a game I knew was coming and not thinking about a game that I am constantly following and seeing what all new features and changes they are making.”

8. Thymesia

Developer:OverBorder Studio
Publishers:Team17 Digital Limited, Team17
Platforms:
  PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox Series X|S, Amazon Luna

“Thymesia provides a unique take on the Souls-like genre by providing challenging but fair battles through satisfying and fast-paced combat. However, its unique lore and fantastic art direction are what make it so memorable and why it stands above its counterparts.”

7. Citizen Sleeper

Top Indie Games of 2022 - But Why Tho

Developer: Jump Over The Age
Publisher: Fellow Traveler
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Cloud Gaming, PC, macOS, Xbox Series X|S

“Citizen Sleeper is a nuanced take on the effects of mega-corporations on the lives of the people working under them. The interpersonal connections in Citizen Sleeper make it a delight to play, and give the game a more personal approach to critiquing capitalism.”

6. Neon White

Neon White - But Why Tho

Developer: Ben Esposito and Angel Matrix
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch

Neon White nails the “one more try” mentality. With complex and fast levels, great enemy variety, and easy readability, it feels like a fantastic intro to speedrunning. My biggest gripe? I want more! Not that there isn’t enough, but I just can’t get enough of the Neons and the gripping nature of this game.”

5. Sifu

Sifu

Developer: SloClap, Sloclap S.A.S.
Publisher: Sloclap, Sloclap S.A.S., Microïds
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Epic Games Store

Sifu is surprisingly difficult, at a level that will deter most players. However, getting past that wall will reward you with an amazingly crafted game that stays true to the developer’s vision, one that celebrates kung fu and its core meaning. While the story isn’t presented as something truly impactful, it too pays off near perfectly during the true ending of the game. It’s going to be VERY hard for Sifu to be topped as one of my games of the year this year. My one request is for the developers to add an option to allow anyone to experience Sifu to its fullest.”

4. Cult of the Lamb

Cult of the Lamb Review 1

Developer: Massive Monster
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S

“It is very difficult to imagine a player that wouldn’t enjoy Cult of the Lamb. Its visuals are so beautiful and full of character. Its writing is witty and charming. Its action is simple, but fun and thoroughly engaging. While its weapon selection and combat mechanics may not be as varied or dense as its peers, its unique aspects more than make up for the deficit.”

3. Tunic

Tunic

Developer: Finji
Publisher: Finji
Platform: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC

I honestly can’t remember when a game has gripped me the way Tunic has. For the past two weeks, I haven’t stopped looking into certain puzzles, finding new secrets, and thinking about what I could’ve missed. It’s just amazing that the small team behind Tunic has created a game with this much depth. While it borrows many elements from very well-known games, it makes each of them its own. Combat synergy, secrets galore, and a brief but gripping story make Tunic a must-play for everyone. Just don’t be afraid to look up and ask for help whenever you find yourself lost.”

2. Vampire Survivors

Top Video Games 2022

Developer: Poncle
Publisher: Poncle
Platform: iOS, Android, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox Cloud Gaming, PC, macOS

“Vampire Survivors is so uniquely genius with its pick-up-and-play style gameplay, quick 15-30 minute rounds, and clear goals for each attempt with its missions. Plus, getting that perfect run with the right upgrades and strategizing/synergizing with the character you pick is still unbelievably satisfying 80+ hours in. The hype is real for this game; you should do yourself a favor and stop sleeping on it. You won’t regret it. ”

1. Stray

most anticipated games 2022 - But Why Tho (1)

Developer: BlueTweleve Studio
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Platform: PS4, PS5, PC

“Playing in the paws of a cat is enough to make plenty of people buy this game, but Stray astounds with its beautiful graphics, quirky characters, and puzzles that bring out the best and worst in a cat. If you’re looking for a game that is as intriguing as it is silly, look no further.”


So that’s it for our top indie games of 2022! It’s been a long cozy, adventurous, action-packed, and so much more year in indie games. Picking our top indie games of 2022 wasn’t easy, so if we missed one of your favorites this year, let us know on social media: @butwhythopc.

Synopses for the Top Video Games of 2022 list were taken from our previously written reviews or our writers. 

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