The Best Indie Games of 2017

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2017 is overloaded with potentially great upcoming games, but most of the games on your radar are likely big budget AAA titles. Why is that? Well, because the big budget titles have dollars to throw at marketing, so it’s more likely that you’ve seen an ad for them or seen game trailers for those games somewhere around the web. But what about the indie games of 2017?

We here at Nerd Much generally love indie games, as they tend to be more unique or have an undeniable charm to them. If 2016 taught us anything in the video games market, it’s that indie games can be just as popular as those major AAA releases (take Enter The Gungeon, for example). It’s probably the reason why we’re seeing a shift in the landscape, with gamers flocking to the PlayStation Store, Xbox Live Marketplace and Steam Early Access to purchase these hidden-away gems. Of course, it also helps that these games are typically cheaper than AAA games, so gamers are more likely to buy them.

So if you’re looking for some brand new indie games to play, we’ve got you covered with this ultimate list of the top 36 most anticipated new and upcoming indie games of 2017 to look forward to:

**Note: These are not ranked in any order, and expect this list to be updated as more releases are announced.

1. Rise & Shine

Developer: Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team
 Adult Swim Games
Platform: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: January 13, 2017

Rise & Shine looks like the next big puzzle-platformer in the indie space, and it’s set to release in January. It’s from the team who brought you Plants vs. Zombies and Worms, and the gameply looks incredibly fun. It’s being touted as a “think and gun” game that has elements of arcade shooters, and bullethell games like Enter the Gungeon. The game’s visuals are hand drawn illustrations, and there are no tiled or repeated elements. It looks beautiful and there’s a clear attention to visual detail. We can’t wait to get our hands on it. Check out what other Xbox One console exclusives of 2017 are on the way here.

Read More Here.

2. Kona

Developer: Parabole
Platform: PC
Release Date: January 2017

Kona looks like an absolutely beautiful game, and it’s expected to leave Early Access in January. It’s set in Northern Canada in 1970, where a blizzard overtakes Atampek Lake. The game has an apparent focus on being a narrative-driven game, and players will have to battle the elements to survive. The game will be the first installment in a series of four games.

Read More About Kona here.

3. Old Time Hockey

Developer: V7 Entertainment
 V7 Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA Q1 2017

Do you miss the glory days of hockey with missing teeth, bloody messes, and no headgear? Well, then V7 Entertainment has a surprise in store for you! Check out Old Time Hockey in the trailer above, a game that aims to bring back those glory days to hockey through gaming. It’ll be a major contrast when compared to top-notch hockey games like NHL 17, as it aims to capture an entirely different audience. In a discussion with Polygon, the devs say that they “wanted to also have a good emphasis on all that stuff that you usually don’t get to see, you know — the dirtier side of hockey”.

4. Paradise Never

Developer: Kitty Lambda Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux (Probably on consoles in the future)
Release Date: TBA

Paradise Never is an upcoming action RPG set on a remote island of a fictional kindgom, and the game uses complex organic algorithms to generate its world. The main characters in the story are fixed, but a random subset of other characters will be regenerated every time you go back to day 1 (when you die). Each time you die, you’re sent to a purgatory, in which you can buy certain special items and make choices that might make your next attempt at beating the game easier (or harder). Use the knowledge of what happens in the future to get further along in the game. It’s an interesting concept, and we can’t wait to see more from the game in the near future.

Read more about Paradise Never here.

5. Tacoma

*Update 3/15/16: Tacoma has been pushed back into 2017. Bummer.**

Developer: Fullbright
Platforms: PC, Linux, Mac, Xbox One
Release Date: Spring 2017

From the creators of the acclaimed Gone Home indie gem comes Tacoma, a game that places you on the Lunar Transfer Station Tacoma as you unravel the story of Amy Ferrier’s first day. It’s a first-person exploration game that looks to have an interesting story, and it’s set in a zero gravity environment. It also has unique bits of augmented reality bits of knowledge scattered about the world, and you’ll have to find them and interact with them to discover the story.

Read more about Tacoma here.

6. Megaton Rainfall

 Developer: Pentadimensional Games
Platforms: PC, PS4
Release Date: TBA

Megaton Rainfall describes itself as a first person superhero game that gives players an unprecedented level of freedom of movement and scale of destruction, and we’ve seen gaming outlets refer to it as a Superman sim. In the game, you’ll fly around a real-size Earth, fly through space, and even wage unintentional destruction on cities as you attempt to stop an alien invasion.

Read more about Megaton Rainfall here.

7. Perception

 Developer: The Deep End Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA

From a veteran development team that includes the developers of BioShock, BioShock Infinite, and Dead Space comes Perception, a first person narrative game. Your character sees using echolocation, with every sound creating its own unique visual. There aren’t many horror adventure games on this list of upcoming indie games in 2016, so hopefully Perception can fill the void this year. The first few trailers we’ve seen so far look absolutely fantastic, and the game’s unique visual style will surely keep us on the edge of our seats.

Read more about Perception here.

8. The Time Project

upcomign indie games 2016

Developer: The Voxel Agents
Platforms: iPhone, iPad
Release Date: TBA

The Time Project is a gorgeous looking iPhone/iPad game from The Voxel Agents. It’s an adventure puzzle game with players helping two companions on a quest toward a mysterious light. The story revolves around growing up and the relationship between Arina, a headstrong girl, and Frendt, a boy “wise beyond his years.” The devs say that the game can be played by any age and any language, so we suspect it’s going to be mostly if not entirely emotion-based with no dialogue. To progress, players will slide time forwards and backwards to solve hand-crafted puzzles in the gorgeous 3D world. The game was intially supposed to release in 2016, but we haven’t heard much about it. Hopefully, it’s still in development. We’ve reached out to Voxel Agents for more info.

Read more about The Time Project here.

9. Kieru

Developer: Pine Fire Studios
Platform: PC
Release Date: TBA Early 2017

In Kieru, there are just three colors: Black, white, and red. It’s a first-person deathmatch game that pits white ninjas vs black ninjas. White ninjas are completely invisible in the light, whereas black ninjas are completely invisible in the dark. Use your surroundings to create a tactical advantage, and strike your unsuspecting foes. It’s a unique concept that looks like a hell of a lot of fun to play. Kieru was also initially slated for 2016, but it has since been pushed back to sometime in 2017.

Read more about Kieru here.

10. Desync

 Developer: The Foregone Syndicate
Platform: PC
Release Date: TBA Early 2017

Desync is an intense single-player first-person action game that is highly stylized with neon, futuristic graphics. But it’s not just another “aim here, shoot this person” type of FPS, thankfully. In Desync, there are attack sequences (special moves that deal a great deal of damage and bonus effects) for players to discover. The more creative your kill, the more likely you are to discover new attack sequences that will then be added to your AS-Codex. Some enemies are more efficiently killed with certain attack sequences. You’re also able to overkill your enemies, exploding them into pieces, and create streaks by quickly stringing your colorful kills together. And although it’s a solo game, players will be able to compare their scores with a leaderboard.

Read more about Desync here.

11. Below

 Developer: Capybara Games
Platform: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2017

I don’t ever remember being so excited for an indie game in my life, and we’ve been closely following its development since its initial announcement in 2014. Below looks like it just might become one of my favorite games of all-time. I’m enthralled by the art style, the environment, and the gameplay we’ve seen so far. It’s a top-down adventure game in which players take on the role of a tiny warrior who explores the depths of a remote island. It looks to be a delightfully mysterious world with randomly-generated environments, and it’s supposed to be an unforgiving tale with “brutal but fair” combat and permadeath. There’s also supposed to be a multiplayer mode to it, although we haven’t seen it in action yet. We were super depressed when Below was delayed out of 2016, but hopefully, we’ll see it at some point in 2017.

Read more about Below here.

12. Rime

 Developer: Tequila Works
Platform: PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA

Rime is an upcoming open world adventure puzzle game in development exclusively for the PS4, and if you’re a PlayStation gamer, it’s likely that you already have it on your radar after its breathtaking reveal trailer from Gamescom 2013. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard much from developer Tequila Works about its development, excluding a tweet back in December which noted that the game is still in development and on track. They’ve remained relatively quiet in 2016. Rime will follow a boy who must survive and escape from a mysterious island and a terrible curse. It looks to be an encapsulating single player game that will draw you in deep into its story. We also know that there’s a Rime port for Nintendo Switch in the works as well, as it’s on our list of the upcoming Nintendo Switch games of 2017.

Read more about Rime here.

13. Hellblade: Sanua’s Sacrifice

 Developer: Ninja Theory
Platform: PS4, PC
Release Date: TBA 2017

Heavenly Sword and DmC: Devil May Cry developer Ninja Theory is currently deep in development on Hellblade: Sanua’s Sacrifice, an third-person action, hack and slash game. At face value, it might look like just another adventure game, but you really have to be following Ninja Theory’s development of the game to fully appreciate what they’re trying to do. Little nuances that are frequently overlooked by other developers (like how a character doesn’t always walk exactly the same in every moment of their adventure) are being implemented into the game, and it looks like it’s really going to be a well-thought out, polished game. Ninja Theory wants to create their most believable and completing character yet, and by the looks of it, Senua (protagonist) will have multiplayer layers. We can’t wait to get our hands on the Hellblade game at some point in 2017, and it’s one of our MOST anticipated indie games.

Read more about Hellblade here.

14. Season of Heaven

upcoming indie games 2017

Developer: AnyArts Production
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: TBA 2017

The first official Nintendo Switch game announced is from AnyArts Production, as they’re set to release Season of Heaven in 2017. We don’t know much about the game unfortunately, but we’re still super excited, if not only for its visuals and protagonist, a young boy.

Read more here.

15. Thousand Miles Out

Developer: northworks Software
 Travian Games
Platform: PC, MAC
Release Date: TBA 2017

We’re hoping Thousand Miles Out is still in development, but for now, the Kickstarter has been cancel. We’ll reach out to Northworks to see if the game is still coming soon.

16. Disc Jam–AFgMU

Developer: High Horse Entertainment
 High Horse Entertainment
Platform: PC
Release Date: TBA 2017

Disc Jam is such a great competitive multiplayer game already, we can’t wait for the finished product. We’ve been playing in the alpha every Thursday evening, and loving every minute of it. The game was announced at E3 2016and we’ve been closely following its development since. We’re hoping that Disc Jam will make its way to consoles as well, because everyone needs to play this game.

17. Conan Exiles

Developer: Funcom
Platform: PC
Release Date: Early Access January 31, 2017, Xbox One Game Preview Spring 2017

Conan Exiles touts itself as a brutal open-world survival game, and the gameplay we’ve seen so far appears to show that that’s, indeed, the case. In Conan Exiles, players are placed in the role of an exile who is sentenced to walk alone in the barbaric wasteland where only the strong can survive. You’ll fit to survive, build, and dominate in an online world, making both enemies and allies. The game will have a large seamless world filled with ruins of ancient civilizations, and there are plenty of dark secrets to behold. Like many survival games, you’ll start with nothing and have to forge your way to survival. According to the devs, it’s going to be more than just tracking down food and water to survive, as you can explore mysterious ruins for treasure, and it’s not just another “empty sandbox”. Conan Exiles is one of our most anticipated games of Spring 2017.

18. Liege

 Developer: Coda Games
Platforms: PC, PS4
Release Date: TBA 2017

Liege is another Kickstarter game that caught our eyes in 2016. It’s billed as a dark fantasy told in classic JRPG form (and our dedicated readers already know how much we love JRPGs). The game is excitingly planned as a trilogy with a continuous story arc which begins after the King, Queen and their loyal heirs of the Kingdom of Liege fall asleep and never wake. Following their unfortunate deaths, a civil war breaks out, and the game follows numerous characters through the story.The devs promise a more mature story aimed at adults. The art is gorgeous, and instead of typical 16-bit retro soundscapes, the game uses an epic and orchestral soundtrack that we can’t wait to hear more of.

Read more about Liege here.

19. Cuphead

 Developer: Studio MDHR
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2017

Cuphead quickly became one of our most anticipated games of 2016 when it was unveiled at E3 2015. The game is such an interesting concept unlike any we’ve seen before. Making a game in the style of old cartoons from the 1930s is a ballsy move, because it could’ve gone either way (either fans hated the idea, or they loved it). Luckily for Studio MDHR, the community appears to love the idea, and so do we. The game is heavily focused on boss battles, and the graphics are hand drawn and inked. Commendable in our digital everything age.

Read more about Cuphead here.

20. Miegakure

 Developer: Marc ten Bosch
Platforms: PS4
Release Date: TBA 2017

If you thought The Witness was a mind-fuck, get ready for Miegakure, a 4D puzzle-platformer that will mess with your psyche. Players will navigate through four dimensions to solve puzzles otherwise impossible. It’s been in development for quite sometime, and understandably; after all, there’s four dimensions. It’s going to take a lot of outside-of-the-box thinking to solve these puzzles. Probably a lot of aspirin, too.

Read more about Miegakure here.

21. Rain World

Developer: Videocult
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Platforms: PS4, Windows
Release Date: TBA 2017

Adult Swim Games has quite a few unique-looking indie games on the way, and its Rain World‘s super unique art style that initially makes it so appealing. You’ll take on the role of a nomadic slugcat with just a spear, and you’re tasked with hunting food to survive and taking down creatures who try to prey upon you.

22. Beat Cop

Developer: Pixel Crow
Publisher: 11 bit Studios
Platforms: PC
Release Date: TBA 2017

The renaissance of point and click adventure games is certainly upon us, and Pixel Crow’s Beat Cop will add fuel to the fire in 2017. You’ll take on the role of a cop named Jack Kelly, a former detective who has just been framed for murder. To clear your name, you’ll have one last chance to find the truth. Unfortuantely, all odds are stacked against you — your boss is a shithead, your wife is a “money sucking spawn from hell”, and you’re targeted for death by the local mafia.

23. Outlast 2

Developer: Red Barrels
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2017

Outlast remains one of the most terrifying games ever made, and that reason alone is enough to excite us about a sequel. Judging by the Outlast 2 gameplay video above, the sequel will be no different. It’ll take place on a farm — also a terrifying setting — and graphically, it looks like an upgrade over the first. The game appears to be pretty far into its development, so hopefully we’ll get an offiical Outlast 2 release date soon.

24. Tower 57

Developer: Pixwerk
Publisher: 11 bit Studios
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Linux, Mac OX
Release Date: TBA 2017

11 bit studios has a few upcoming indie games on this list, and Tower 57 is probably the one of theirs that we’re most excited about. It looks to have gorgeous art, and will play like a bullethell game. It appears to have strong SNES vibes from games like Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Jurassic Park, but mixed in with Enter the Gungeon. The characters look interesting, and the gameplay trailer above certainly piques our interest.

25. Artika.1

Developer: 4A Games Malta
Publisher: 4A Games
Platforms: Oculus
Release Date: TBA Q2 2017

We don’t have an Oculus, but if we did, you’d better believe we’d be picking up Artika.1 from 4A Games, and it hails from the devs of Metro: Last Light and Metro 2033. It’s set 100 years in the future following an apocalypse. All survivors flock to the equator, one of the remaining habitable regions of the planet, where both menacing enemies and creatures also frequent. The game will include some unique weapons like a gun that can shoot around corners or see through barriers, and the Artika.1 gameplay looks incredible. The game is currently slated for a Q2 2017 release date.

26. Nidhogg 2

Developer: Messhof
Publisher: Messhof
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows
Release Date: Summer 2017

Nidhogg will continue the franchise’s quest to have some of the most interesting level design choices and music in a game. With super tight combat mechanics and fluid animation, we’re pretty sure the highly anticipated indie game sequel.

27. Outward

Developer: Nine Dots
Publisher: Nine Dots
Platforms: PC
Release Date: TBA

“You are not divine…never will be.”

Outward is an open world RPG with a heavy emphasis on simulating the life of an ordinary adventurer, not a legendary hero that’s out to save the world. The game aims to simulate what it would be like to be a solo adventurer in a vast world filled with fantastical creatures, starting with living your day to day lifestyle and following up through passing on your knowledge after you retire.

28. Manifold Garden

Developer: Willy Chyr
Platforms: PC, PS4, Linux, Mac
Release Date: TBA

Manifold Garden was announced back in 2015, and its most notable quality is its immediately noticeable art design that’s vastly different from any game we’ve seen. This indie is a puzzle adventure game that appears to be beautifully strange.

29. Frostpunk

Developer: 11 Bit
Publisher:  11 Bit
Platforms: PC
Release Date: TBA

Frostpunk is exactly what it sounds like — a steampunk survival game set in a frozen landscape. It’s intended for a more mature gamer, and the devs are attempting to push the boundaries (like they did with This War of Mine). I’ve always had a borderline obsession with video games set in a frozen tundra (hell, I didn’t even think Lost Planet was THAT bad), so that’s a big reason why I’m feeling the vibe that Frostpunk is putting out.

30. Aven Colony

Developer: Mothership Entertainment
Platforms: PC
Release Date: TBA 2017

A city-building and management sim set in space, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Sci-fi city building is definitely something that speaks to my soul, and the beta is available now.

31. Finding Paradise

Developer: Freebird Games
Publisher:  Freebird Games
Platforms: PC
Release Date: Summer 2017

Finding Paradise is the upcoming sequel to To the Moonso if you were feelin’ that game — which judging by its overwhelmgly positive response you likely are — you’ll definitely want to check it out. The game will tell another standalone story following two doctors as they venture through a dying patient’s memories to artificially fulfill the patient’s last wish. The game certainly has a melancholy vibe to it, and if you like story driven games that tug at the heart strings, Finding Paradise is going to be a must-play.

32. Aviators

Developer: Eclipse Studios
Publisher:  501 Industries
Platforms: PC
Release Date: Q1 2017

It should be no secret that we here at Nerd Much? love us some good co-op games, and it’s for that reason we’re intrigued by Aviators, the upcoming multiplayer co-op game from Eclipse Studios. It looks to be a great party game that has both local and online 4 player co-op. It’s fast paced, super chaotic, and highly competitive. There are over 50,000 combinations possible when creating your aviator, and it has 4 premade teams. The game has full controller support on Steam, and that is just another reason to give it a +1 in our book.

33. Overland

 Developer: Finji
Platform:  PC, Mac
Release Date: TBA 2017

Overland is a 3D survival tactics game, in which players will guide their survivors on a road trip through a ruined continent. Players are tasked with scavenging for fuel, weapons, and other supplies to help aid their battle against sound-sensitive creatures roaming a desolate North American wasteland. The game’s encounters are randomly generated, and each takes place on a tactical grid. Not only are the encounters tactical, but players will have to make tactical choices as well (like whether or not to stockpile fuel for the next turn or who to leave behind when there’s only one seat available in the car).

Read more about Overland here.

34. Chasm

Developer: Bit Kid Inc
Publisher: Bit Kid Inc
Platforms: PS4, PC
Release Date: TBA 2017

Chasm is a procedurally generated adventure platformer in development for PC and PS4. The game takes heavy inspiration from hack n slash dungeon crawlers and Metroidvania-style games, and it’s set in a fantasy world filled with exciting treasures, secrets, and tough enemies. The game will follow a young soldier named Daltyn who is sent to investigate a small mining community’s silence, only to discover the town has been sealed off by paranormal forces. It looks to be filled with glorious pixel art, and it’s said to be a tough game.

35. AER

Developer: Forgotten Key
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, PC, Xbox One, MAC
Release Date: TBA 2017

AER is an upcoming adventure game with a unique cell-shaded art style. In the game, you’ll play as a girl who can turn into a bird to fly around the world of floating islands to behold secrets. Forgotten Key, the devs, have placed a heavy emphasis on storytelling through exploration. Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett noted that AER looks like if Wind Waker had flying, instead of sailing.

36. InnerSpace

Developer: PolyKnight Games
Publisher: PolyKnight Games
Platforms: PC
Release Date: Fall 2017

InnerSpace might be the most beautiful-looking game on this list of upcoming indie games, filled with pastel colors and gorgeous artwork. The game will have a player-driven narrative and will interact with the environment, cutting down structures, breaking through walls, and discovering your effect on the world. Scattered around the environment lies various relics that will reveal key information about the civilizations that once lived.

Read More About InnerSpace here.

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