Best indie games 2024: the greatest gems from smaller studios

Sea of Stars cover art showing protagonists stand back to back against a moonlit forest backdrop
(Image credit: Sabotage Studio)

The best indie games offer up a wide variety of genres and stories for players to enjoy. But in this, at times, overwhelming sea of games, it can be hard to find out which one is right for you. 

Many of these indie games cover a wide range of genres and topics; we have entries that also lie on our best roguelike list, such as Vampire Survivors or Cult of the Lamb. If you're a fan of horror games then it's best to check out our best indie horror games list. 

Many of these entries have heart-warming stories, exciting fights, or just adorable art styles, which are great to sit and stare at. Regardless of what your preference is, there are so many indie games out there that you'll easily find the one that suits you best. If you need a bit of help to find your footing, then this list has you covered with all the best indie games, which you should definitely check out. 

Best indie games 2024

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A ship sails out of a cove at night

(Image credit: Team 17)


Some things are best left forgotten
Why we love it

Dredge is equal parts beautiful and ominous the setting and story for this single-player fishing game immediately made it stand out. You'll surely have a great time navigating this indie title.

Available on: PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, Switch and PS4

Dredge is a single-player fishing game with a dark and ominous undercurrent. You man a small fishing trawler and venture out into the deep dark ocean in search of more than 125 deep sea critters, valuables, and hidden secrets. 

You can travel from island to island, reaching new places and completing quests for random citizens that you meet along the way. There are tons of islands, each with its own unique opportunities, inhabitants, and, importantly, secrets. The possibilities are endless in this addition to our best indie games list.

While Dredge may look cute and cuddly with its beautiful art style and landscape, there's more than meets the eye under the water and in the depths of this Lovecraftian adventure which is why it's one of our top picks for the best Steam Deck games list.

Sea of Stars screenshot showing characters standing on a cliff, overlooking a huge canyon

(Image credit: Sabotage Studio)

Sea of Stars

Defeat the Fleshmancer
Why we love it

This classic RPG has a combat system that is easy to learn but hard to master. This means players are encouraged to sink time into Sea of Stars if only to master its high skill ceiling. 

Available on: PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and Nintendo Switch

Sea of Stars is a delightful gem that is full to the brim with exciting adventures, wholesome laughs, and some thrilling threats. In this turn-based RPG, players will follow the story of two children of the Solstice who must combine their powers of the sun and the moon to use Eclipse magic. This is the only way to defeat the evil alchemist known as The Fleshmancer. 

Other than an engaging story, you'll also learn to love Sea of Star's fantastic soundtracks and stunning visuals, which tie together the whole experience, making you love every second spent in this fantastical land.

The lamb plays a drum, as followers dance around in a circle holding torches

(Image credit: Devolver Digital)

Cult of the Lamb

A lamb in a cult's pelt
Why we love it

Cult of the Lamb is an artistic and fun look at what it would be like becoming a cult leader. It's unique premise and art style will always stick out.

Available on: PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

Ah, video games. Where else can you play as a cute cartoon lamb leading a cult of colorful animals? Cult of the Lamb mixes several gaming genres and adds a theme that's as unusual as it is fitting. Your task as a loyal follower of a demon is to grow a cult. This means you must satisfy your follower's needs, increase your power by fighting monsters and clearing dungeons, and sometimes sacrifice someone.

The game is a fun mix of Stardew Valley and Hades, as you can marry, eat, and resurrect your spouse. It's tough to put down in the way only the best indie games are.

If you really want to immerse yourself in this roguelike, then check out our guides on how to bring followers back and how to marry them.

Farmer with a straw hat standing near several vegetable beds

(Image credit: Eric Barone)

Stardew Valley

Try a different lifestyle
Why we love it

Stardew Valley is a fantatsic game to play if you're a fan of sitting back relaxing and quietly sinking time into one game. Expanding your farm and helping the community has almost no end so you'll get to have tons of fun with this one. 

Available on: PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, iOS, and Android

Suppose you’ve ever played a Harvest Moon game. In that case, you’re likely already familiar with Stardew Valley's premise – a farming game in which you need to become both a successful farmer and a local community member.

Sole developer Eric Barone sought to make a Harvest Moon experience that was as good, if not better, as the game he remembered. As one of the most famous games on our best indie games list, we could argue that he succeeded. That's why you have lots to do – you farm, tend to livestock, fish, and even make your way through the local abandoned mine.

The game's farming is easy to pick up and fun; it's a great way to unwind. There are plenty of secrets, events in the local town, a bunch of characters to romance, and much more. If you're playing on PC, you should also look at its brilliant modding community, which has tirelessly worked to make even more features available in this simulation RPG.

Mae and friends stand outside Miller's bar on an autumn day

(Image credit: Finji)

Night in the Woods

Blue collar blues
Why we love it

This indie game has a brilliant story and protagonist which is exciting and engaging from the get go. You'll also get to play some brilliant mini-games along the way.

Available on: PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

An unconventional side-scrolling adventure game that revolves around a 20-year-old protagonist named Mae who drops out of college and moves back in with her parents, Night in the Woods is one of the more quirky additions to our best indie games list.

Featuring a story primarily based around dialogue choices and mini-games that put a spin on mundane tasks, like carrying boxes up the stairs and eating perogies. Night in the Woods is a timeless coming-of-age tale that effortlessly makes its way onto our best PC games with Queer characters list. Not only will you experience middle-class America through the eyes of a personified cat, but virtually every interaction in-game will have you laughing aloud. Thanks to its subject matter and how much Mae and her friends grow on you, it's one of the best indie games—a genuine pearl of the narrative genre.

A Knight with a flaming orb instead of a head castes a blue spell in its right hand

(Image credit: Motion Twin)

Dead Cells

Something different with every run
Why we love it

Dead Cells is on the more difficult side of indie games but this challenge is thrilling and engaging to the point where you always want to keep going.

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android

If you’re looking for a game that’s as unforgiving as it is fun, look no further than Dead Cells. It takes gameplay inspiration from so many places – from roguelikes to Metroidvania. There’s even a hint of Dark Souls in there, creating a unique action game that will test your limits and skills. It's one of the best indie games because of the sheer amount of stuff you get to do and the playstyles you can try,

Each time you play this game, it will feel new. And, while you’ll lose some progress each time you die – and you will die a lot – the game will become even more rewarding as the complex and fluid combat becomes second nature. Thankfully, Dead Cells hasn't only grown in content over the years; it's also become more accessible, meaning you can also attempt to play it at a less punishing difficulty.

An explosion, as a character gasps to the left of it

(Image credit: Brace Yourself Games)

Cobalt Core

Ready set fire!
Why we love it

Cobalt Core's single-axis combat system is great fun to interact with as you try to dodge attacks and target weak points. It really is a game of cat and mouse.

Available on: PC and Nintendo Switch

Cobalt Core is a sci-fi roguelike deckbuilder game that sees you fight other spaceships and overcome obstacles on your quest to get to Cobalt Core and discover what is causing the strange time loops. 

You give orders during fights by playing cards. You can raise your shields and protect your spaceship from incoming attacks, try to dodge oncoming missiles, or try to destroy your enemies' missile launchers before they even have the chance to use them against you. There are multiple ways of facing problems in this roguelike deckbuilder. 

Thanks to hundreds of different character and ship combos, you can test your abilities and replay scenarios in various ways, so you'll never be at a loose end. 

A hooded survivor holding a long brown whip with both hands

(Image credit: Poncle)

Vampire Survivors

No one gets out alive
Why we love it

Vampire Survivors is a great way to relax despite it's chaotic premise. For whatever reason the roguelike perma-death is incredibly exciting and even addictive.

Available on: PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, iOS, and Android

For the price of a coffee to go, Vampire Survivors can ruin your life. Yes, this is both a recommendation and a threat, because if you enjoy idle games or any games that ask you to do stuff repeatedly, then Vampire Survivors is both very good and very bad for you.

In this visually minimalistic game, you're attacked by hordes of monsters, which you drive off with an array of weapons and buffs until you eventually lose. You will fail, so the fun in Vampire Survivors, just as with any roguelike, is really to see how long you can make it and see yourself slowly mastering different weapons and approaches. Rounds in Vampire Survivors don't take long, which makes it a perfect game to play on the go on the Steam Deck, but it's also a game you will want to play again. And again. And again. Don't say we didn't warn you.

A bedroom with a PC, desk and office chair beside open moving boxes

(Image credit: Witch Beam)


Everything has its place
Why we love it

Unpacking is the best way to unwind. The simple premise and calming music allow you to lose yourself in rearranging rooms and unpacking boxes.

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

If you're looking for the perfect way to spend a cozy night, then Unpacking will definitely help out with that. In this relaxing indie game, you follow a girl's life as she moves into different spaces. You see her grow up, encounter challenges, and finally settle down all through the lens of unpacking boxes. 

Unpacking is also incredibly satisfying. You work to find a place for every single item you unload, but you can do so in any way you choose. While this indie game isn't particularly long it is still worth a look in. 

Best indie game FAQs

The protagonist of Dead Cells looks out at a castle, which floats up above the water

(Image credit: Motion Twin)

What is the most popular indie game?

According to Steam Charts, the indie game that has the most concurrent users is Rust. 

Are indie games cheaper?

Indie games are generally cheaper than AAA experiences. They're also frequently on sale, and features as part of subscriptions like Xbox Game Pass. Of course this doesn't apply to all indie games, with some being much larger, and therefore more pricey experiences.

How we picked the best indie games

Picking the best indie games is no small feat. There's an infinite amount of choices out there, many of which we may never play. However, over at TechRadar Gaming, we live and breathe all sorts of games, and are always up for new challenges. 

Every spare chance we get we spend browsing for new games to fall in love with. While we love a triple-A game as much as the next person, there's something about playing an indie game with boundless creativity and possibilities that we can't get enough of.

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Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased. 

With contributions from