The 100 Best Indie PC Games

70. Transistor From the creators of Bastion, this sci-fi themed action RPG seamlessly blends strategic planning and frantically fast-paced combat. the beautiful art-style hides a deep and intricate game with centred around your extraordinary weapon, the Transistor, which has thousands of different customisation options. Explore a stunning sci-world vibrant with life on the hunt to […]

70. Transistor

From the creators of Bastion, this sci-fi themed action RPG seamlessly blends strategic planning and frantically fast-paced combat. the beautiful art-style hides a deep and intricate game with centred around your extraordinary weapon, the Transistor, which has thousands of different customisation options.

Explore a stunning sci-world vibrant with life on the hunt to understand the mysterious origins of the weapon you now possess. With a dynamic soundtrack to back it up, Transistor offers players an RPG that delivers the best of both worlds. Exciting action with strategic elements that require you to not only to react in the moment through stunning combat but plan your loadout and combinations to defeat the enemies before you. Couple all this with the rich narrative and you’ve got a game worth your attention, especially if you’re a fan of Super Giant’s previous work.


69. Terraria

Terraria

If someone had to describe Terraria in three words, the answer would be “Minecraft but 2D.” And they’d be right, to a point. But this simplification would actually be doing Terraria a major disservice. Yes, there are a lot of similarities – you mine the game world, collect resources, build a base and fight subterranean monsters. There are some key differences, however.

Whereas Minecraft is primarily known for its creativity – all of those mind-boggling creations people spend days or even years of their life creating – Terraria instead doubles down on the adventuring and progression aspects. It had NPCs long before Minecraft added them, and the sheer amount of loot makes its 3D peer pale in comparison. It’s a denser world filled to the brim with creatures and bosses, and when you defeat one of the latter it impacts the game world and provides access to better gear. If this gameplay loop appeals more than the less structured nature of Minecraft, you should check Terraria out.


68. The Red Strings Club

Take VA-11 HALL-A, add a little Black Mirror and mix well with a tiny bit of Deus Ex and you’ll have something similar to The Red Strings Club. Deconstructeam’s cyberpunk adventure title places us in the role of three characters in a technology fuelled dystopia. The first, Donovan, is the owner of The Red Strings Club bar, a small hideaway in which he convenes with associates Brandeis, a human with an implanted chip courtesy of the Supercontinent Ltd corporation and Akara-184, an ex-Supercontinent android with a remarkable insight into human feeling. 

Each of these characters is playable, with the game split into three distinct sections of varying gameplay mechanics and goals. Overall, the aim is to stop the Supercontinent corporation from updating the chips they have implanted into the majority of humanity with a new system that prevents negative feelings. The Red Strings Club has been praised for its deft combinations of gameplay mechanics and characterisation, allowing both to feed off one another and contribute to a wider story with some thoughtful lessons on offer. What does it mean to alter humanity through technology, and how much of this have we already accomplished? That’s the central question put to you as a player throughout your experience in The Red Strings Club, and it’s a question that has earned the game massive critical praise since launch in 2018.


67. Dwarf Fortress

Dwarf Fortress

No game has a greater legacy than the strategy simulator Dwarf Fortress. Often described as the most intricate simulation game ever made, it has been updated over the last decade and continues to be updated to this day. The premise is simple, you build a fortress and try and help your dwarves survive in a deeply generated world.

In many ways the game is endless, continual moving forward through the ages as you watch the rise and fall of entire civilisations. It’s not just your mountain fortress either, Dwarf Fortress is a whole world simulator taking into account the creatures and cultures of the world external to your own struggle.

If you’re looking to lose hours of your life than this game almost guarantees. As one of the deepest game out there, and no intention of stopping any time soon, Dwarf Fortress remains one of the greatest PC games of all time. Consoles just aren’t ready for this level of depth.


66. Path of Exile

Path of the Exile is an ARPG that has built its reputation over the last few years releasing a stream of content. Taking on the big dogs, such as Diablo 3, it has grown to become well-regarded for its excellent gameplay and well-designed free to play mechanics, which is not a sentence you often get to say.

Set in a dark fantasy world you create a character from a plethora of choices and options fitting it to your exact play style. Designed for so-called ‘hardcore gamers’ if there is such a thing, Path of the Exile mixing classic RPG elements with fast-paced action and replayability.  Of course, loot is the main aim of the game and Path of the Exile has bags of it. There are thousands of combinations and customisation options leading to endless discoverability. And, when you’re feeling suitable OP you can run the gauntlet of the brutal PVP, online tournaments and competitive play. Endless hours of fun for potentially free is a tempting proposition.


65. That Dragon, Cancer

Ryan and Amy Green’s story of love and heartbreaking loss takes place in an abstract world. Based on the Greens’ real experiences with their son, That Dragon, Cancer takes you through the desperate four years between Joel’s terminal diagnosis and his unfortunate passing aged five. It’s a story of love, hope, loss and the raw human emotion that can never be expressed in mere words. That’s why much of the gameplay mechanics and underlying art style present that emotion through abstraction. 

Rather than attempting to explain the thoughts and feelings of the young parents during this painful process, the experience offers players the chance to understand a semblance of this feeling through atmosphere and actions. Experience the drowning dread of Joel’s diagnosis through surreal visuals, or pedal your way to victory in a bittersweet race around the children’s ward of Joel’s hospital in a bid for a fun few minutes. That Dragon, Cancer is often overwhelmingly organic, laying out the building blocks for emotion in only the way an interactive experience can and allowing its players to pick up on the parts they are able to understand or empathise with.


64. West of Loathing

West of Loathing

Compared to other forms of media, comedy is an oft-overlooked or poorly realised genre of video games. You could argue there’s a little too much focus on grizzled war shooters, spreadsheet-filling strategy games and tough survival sims. West of Loathing is a clear antidote to all this brow furrowing, refusing to take itself seriously and offering some genuinely hilarious humour in the process.

Like many a story set in the Wild West, West of Loathing sees you leaving home to seek your fortune elsewhere. Along the way you’ll meet all sorts of zany characters and fight an unusual selection of enemies, from cowboy skeletons to demonic cows. It’s an RPG with turn-based combat, but it keeps things pretty light and breezy, avoiding getting bogged down in too many stats and mechanics.

West of Loathing’s world is drawn in black and white with simple stick figures, but this only adds to its personality. Crucially, the writing is absolutely fantastic, and will keep you laughing up until the final credits roll.


63. SOMA

Indie games are renowned for taking narrative in new and interesting directions. SOMA, however, excels at just telling a good story well. It’s a psychological horror game first and foremost, with players exploring the mysterious PATHOS-II facility, an underwater lab in the year 2104. As protagonist Simon Jarrett, players avoid the lurking horrors of the deep and piece together the history of humanity’s final days. While the gameplay itself offers a good challenge, and the monster design and art style are impressive, its the story that really sunk its teeth into players on release in 2015. 

With twists and turns around every corner, SOMA grapples with questions of identity and AI right from the get go and with deft insight. An exploration into the true nature of what it means to be conscious, and whether that consciousness can ever be replicated, and what happens to that replica, and what does that mean for identity and… it’s a dangerous tunnel to dig. Essentially, there’s a lot going on under the surface of SOMA. While there’s certainly a good gameplay experience waiting for you, if you’re willing to go a little deeper there’s also an intriguing debate at work here.


62. This War of Mine

Call of Duty and Battlefield may be rolling the tanks out and upgrading machine guns, but This War of Mine tells a far more important story. Taking the war game into the domestic space was a bold move for 11 Bit Studios, but the game strategy survival game has been celebrated for its depiction of a narrative never spoken; the stories of the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. 

There’s a war raging in the fictional city of Pogoren. Your tasked not with manning artillery or making grand combat strategy plans but instead with keeping a group of civilians alive until a ceasefire is announced. As your wards huddle in their home, you must control their every action to ensure their survival. From keeping their health and mood up to making sure they only venture outside during rare periods of relative safety, you must gather materials and supplies, ensure your food rations are maintained, and craft unique objects to aid your survival. Inspired by the struggle of Bosnian civilians during the Siege of Sarajevo, This War of Mine looks beyond the glamorisation of warfare bigger budget titles are often guilty of and instead maintains a grounded focus on the daily struggles of the innocent.


61. Crypt of the Necrodancer

We’ve heard of unconventional control schemes, but have you ever played a roguelike with a dance mat? Crypt of the Necrodancer, the 2015 dungeon crawling rhythm experience from Brace Yourself Games offers up just that challenge. You can play with the traditional game pad, of course, but why pass up the opportunity? 

As you explore a crypt searching for the evil Necrodancer who quite literally stole your heart, you’ll find new weapons and skills, and upgrade your armour and abilities just like any other roguelike. Except everything is achieved through the power of dance. Pumping through every dungeon is the rhythmic tunes of Danny Baranowsky and it’s your job to keep up with the techno vibes by matching your every move to the beat of the music. What follows is a raucous affair of learning your enemies’ movement patterns and staying on vibe yourself but that’s not all – you’ve only got the length of one song to complete a dungeon. Once the song ends it’s onto the next and you can say goodbye to any rewards left waiting for you. Crypt of the Necrodancer has been celebrated across the industry for its sound design, with critics praising its innovative implementation and recognition from the SXSW Gaming Awards, Edge Awards, Game Developers Choice Awards, and the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 

Next Up: Island survival, owls, and unconventional puzzles