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7 Best Indie Games of 2022

Indie games are the birthplace of special ideas and sometimes, they are almost as successful as AAA games. Deciding how to define indie gaming is debatable.

But whether it’s created by a small team of people, on a small budget, or whether simple story and feature ideas set apart from the norm, the top indie games of 2022 all bring something to the table that can’t be found anywhere else. Here are the best of the year, in no particular order.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Hit: Bridge of Spirits |

Ember Lab started out as an animation studio, having released several animated commercials as well as a short film based on The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask before migrating to the gaming industry.

Its first game, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, will win Best Indie at The Game Awards earlier this month. It follows the young female character Kena, a spirit guide who helps souls cross from the land of the living, but some troubled souls have particular difficulty accepting their death.

To help him in his quest to deal with evil spirits, Kena collects a small Pikmin-like creature called The Rot, which can assist with tasks such as solving puzzles and moving objects.

In addition, Kena’s staff acts as his weapon and can transform into weapons such as bows and tools such as hooks. Kena’s artistic designs received some of the highest praise among critics, but the narrative is another compelling and heartwarming adventure that includes death.


Inscryption follows YouTuber Luke Carder, who finds a floppy disc bearing the title of the same name, the PC version of the collectible card game Inscryption.

He interacts with shady dealers, and roguelikes sow stories between rounds against NPCs and bosses that Carder encounters virtually. Eventually, the Carder will fight the dealer, but beating him and trapping him in his own cards is only the beginning of the story.

Thankfully, this is something that many critics of Inscryption have highlighted, that the gameplay changes drastically and steps aside for the story before it becomes too monotonous. Reviewers were thrilled with the haunting mystery, and it would be nominated for Best Indie and Best Sim/Strategy at The Game Awards.

The Forgotten City

Back in 2022, The Forgotten City originally started out as a Skyrim mod that turned destiny into an ancient Roman empire, though the plot changed significantly when it was released as a full standalone game this year.

The critically acclaimed mod was created by Nick Pearce, who later quit his job to hire several developers, forming the studio known as Modern Storyteller.

During those four-and-a-half years, instead of imposing crisis on his employees, Pearce overworked about 80 hours per week into hallucinations, but the end result would be to win awards for Excellence in Narrative as File of the Month and Best Interactive Media have won.

Additionally, The Forgotten City will feature professional voice acting, original orchestral scores, new gameplay mechanics, and a script twice the size of the mod.


Valheim was also released in early Access, but unlike Ender Lilies, it hasn’t fully launched yet. Nonetheless, the game developed by a team of five will be widely acclaimed by critics for its PvE survival and story elements.

Dropped into a procedurally generated world, players must build shelters, craft tools, and battle enemies to survive in their biomes.

It’s easy to get lost in the gameplay of Valheim’s crafting and fighting gameplay, but the atmosphere that every swamp, mountain, and sea provides is ambient, both filled with monsters and filled with beautiful textures.

The goal of the game is to kill the bosses of each of the different biomes, but the gameplay is much wider than that, especially with Iron Gate Studio continuing to build on unfinished areas.

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights

Although Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights fully launched in June, it was first released via Steam Early Access in January to positive reception and comparisons with Hollow Knight, Dark Souls, and Vanillaware titles.

This Metroidvania platformer follows Lily, the last heir of the White Priestesses, who has a warrior soul bound to her for protection.

While trying to find the source of the “Rain of Death”, Lily uses the power of the soul she purged to fight alongside her loyal knight as her sword.

Having successfully replicated beloved elements from other games, Ender Lilies was acclaimed for its puzzle platform gameplay, art style, setting, combat, and orchestral soundtrack, which critics called “indie darling”.

Death’s Door

Another nomination for Best Indie at The Game Awards, Death’s Door. In this game the player assumes the role of a crow who collects the souls of the dead in Death’s Door.

After harvesting the souls of a monster that doesn’t want to leave the mortal world, the crows are informed of a conspiracy involving the disappearance of another raven, and they must now embark on a journey to open the Doors of Death through a series of dungeons.

In addition to the Dark Souls and Zelda inspiration, the combat and puzzles are simple but so satisfying, that the game won the Best Game Feel award at the INDIE Live Expo Winter 2022 Awards.

Before Your Eyes

Indie games can also be excellent sources for emotional journeys, and Before Your Eyes is the most moving title this list has to offer.

A play on the expression in the game’s name, Before Your Eyes tracks the player’s eye movements and blinks to continue the story of Benjamin “Benny” Brynn, who recently died and is transitioning to the afterlife.

Watching his memories play out before him, Benny will be judged at the gates of the afterlife, either accepted into eternal heaven or transformed into a seagull.

The simple yet sophisticated nature of the flashing mechanics paired with its impactful and heartbreaking story makes Before Your Eyes one of the most cathartic tales to come out of 2022 and is not to be missed for players who enjoy deeply grim stories.

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