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In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry, we are looking at Indie Games.These are games made by small studios or individual developers. This can mean that the art and production are simpler, but because of no company constraints, these games are often the most inventive and enjoyable for families. They can take risks on strange ideas and push the boundaries of play in new directions.The games in this list offer a range of acclaimed Indie games that are a good place to start. Because the games don't have big marketing budgets they are often off the radar for families. This list includes 31 games from the last 11 years, with 1,272 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play your first indie game.
Release Date: 05/04/2019, updated in 2021
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Open World, Pixels and Weather
A Short Hike is an adventure traversal game where you play the penguin-like character Claire, who needs to climb a mountain in a beautiful national park to receive an important phone call. Presented in cute pixel graphics, the game invites you to...
Release Date: 01/09/2021, updated in 2024
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
Lake is a narrative adventure where you play Meredith Weiss on a career break in 1986 while she returns to her hometown and ends up delivering the mail. As you talk to locals, meet up with old school friends and even fan a few romantic flames from your...
Release Date: 20/05/2022, updated in 2022
Out Now: Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid and Pixels
Apico is a simulation game where you play a beekeeper and conservationist. You explore environments, breed rare bees and release them into the wild while growing your business. There are no enemies, time constraints or set objectives so you can focus on...
Release Date: 10/01/2017, updated in 2017
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
Night in the Woods is a narrative adventure which follows college dropout Mae Borowski returning home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs. Play involves exploring the town, interacting with the locals and working out what has happened...
Release Date: 23/01/2018, updated in 2023
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
Celeste is a platform game that requires players to use jumping and climbing moves to ascend an increasingly challenging two-dimensional mountain. You play Madeline, who is haunted by self-doubt at the scale of the task at hand. She presses on but is...
Release Date: 03/02/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 2D Overhead, Cards, Grid, Hand-Made and Pixels
Loop Hero is a dungeon-exploring adventure game where you use cards to create a world for your character to survive. Rather than control the hero yourself, you are tasked with playing cards to create a level that is hard enough to be rewarding without...
Release Date: 12/01/2016, updated in 2016
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person
That Dragon, Cancer is a game about a family with a young son who has terminal brain cancer. It sounds off-putting and morbid but this living biography invites you to join the family and find hope, faith and love in the face of an insurmountable...
Release Date: 26/09/2014
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Thief Town is a stealth traversal game where you play in a crowd of identical characters. You must first work out which one you are and then spot the other human players to attack them. Get it wrong and all you do is reveal yourself.
Release Date: 03/10/2019
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
Untitled Goose game is a tongue-in-cheek puzzle game where you play a dastardly goose intent on ruining the day of the inhabitants of a sleepy English village. Play involves working out the right order of interactions and distractions to let you steal...
Release Date: 17/10/2013
Out Now: iOS
Device 6 is a narrative puzzle where you piece together a mystery through unusual interactions with your device. As the story unfolds, you rotate your screen, hold it up to a mirror to read backwards text, and generally search for clues in unusual ways...
Release Date: 08/08/2013, updated in 2017
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita and iOS
Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds
Papers, Please is a narrative puzzle game where you play the role of a border-crossing immigration officer in the fictional dystopian Eastern Bloc-like country of Arstotzka. You review each immigrant’s and returning citizen’s passports and paperwork...
Release Date: 24/06/2015
Her Story is a narrative puzzle game where you attempt to solve the 1994 mystery of a murdered man by searching an old police computer archive of interview videos of his wife. The game presents a retro computer interface but the interviews themselves...
Release Date: 08/11/2014, updated in 2023
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Risk of Rain is a running, jumping and fighting game where you defeat hordes of monsters and the difficulty steadily increases the longer you survive as you try to scavenge the parts to make a way back home. When you die, you start over but do keep some...
Release Date: 21/02/2013, updated in 2015
Out Now: Mac, PC, Wii U and iOS
Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On
Year Walk is a horror narrative traversal game where you partake in the ancient Nordic tradition of Year Walking to see glimpses of the future. As you travel the snowy landscapes by moonlight, you see creatures and characters from Swedish mythology and...
Release Date: 07/10/2021
Out Now: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks, Cartoon and Day and Night
Moonglow Bay is a role play game where you play a rookie angler. Unlike other slice-of-life games, fishing isn't tucked away as a side quest here, it's front and centre. Set along the Canadian coastline in the 1980's, you live in a fishing town that has...
Release Date: 31/12/2022
Out Now: Mac and PC
The Professional is a traversal game where you attempt to steal a diamond from the museum with a wacky twist: you control each of your character's limbs individually. This makes even the simple goal of moving forward a challenging (and hilarious) task...
Release Date: 15/02/2022
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Arctico is a meditative, exploration and base-building game where you play a lone scientist on a quest to continue your mentor's legacy and grow food in the arctic. You explore the vast frigid wilds of the island of Arctico with your sledge dogs, create...
Release Date: 27/02/2018, updated in 2020
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Stadia, Switch and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Grid, Hand-Made and Pixels
Into the Breach is a fantasy turn-based battle. It's set in a future where humanity fights an army of giant monsters. You control mechs equipped with a variety of weapons and armour in carefully coordinated actions played out on super-small tile-based...
Release Date: 08/05/2024
Coming Soon: PC, Switch and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead and Hand-Made
Pocket Oasis is a gentle horticulture simulation where you care for plants and pets on your balcony. It's a meditative experience where the end goal, rather than being a defined objective, is simply to create a beautiful balcony with an array of...
Release Date: 10/03/2022, updated in 2022
Out Now: PC and Switch
Iron Lung is an exploration puzzle game where you navigate a submarine through a sea of blood with only your instruments to guide you. With no visibility in a small enclosed space, you need to make repairs, stop leaks and take recognisance pictures...
Release Date: 11/03/2015, updated in 2019
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Ori and the Blind Forest is a running and jumping game that places you in control of a diminutive guardian spirit. You traverse and solve platforming challenges to progress through the world while fighting off monsters. It's familiar territory but...
Release Date: 16/03/2023, updated in 2023
Components: 2D Overhead
Flame Keeper is a strategic fighting and collecting game where you gather energy to restore the eternal flame and save the world from evil monsters. As you explore and fight enemies in fast-paced combat, you sacrifice your health to collect energy and...
Release Date: Coming soon
Coming Soon: PC
Selini is a running, jumping, and fighting game where you explore a desolate world and defeat monsters. With no dialogue or visual distractions, it's up to you to decipher the story that skirts the topics of environmental and social responsibility. It's...
Release Date: 09/04/2024
Coming Soon: PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person and Cartoon
Botany Manor is a peaceful puzzle game where you explore a 19th-century English home and gardens and care for the plants you find. By reading the newspapers, postcards and posters in the house, you discover how to look after each species, from pot size...
Release Date: 09/02/2022
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 2D Side-On and Text
Letters: A Written Adventure is a running and jumping literary puzzle where you write letters to your pen pal throughout the stages of your life. What's unique is that you physically explore each letter, using the lines as platforms and changing words...
Release Date: 17/11/2021, updated in 2023
Out Now: Android, PC, Switch and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks, Cartoon and Grid
Rob Riches is a puzzle game about a treasure hunter in search of precious artefacts. You carefully navigate a safe path through the small stages, pushing blocks, avoiding pitfalls, and collecting the coins to advance to the next stage. Like [link to...
Release Date: 04/10/2022
Out Now: PC
Components: 3D Third-Person and Hand-Made
1428: Shadows over Silesia is a historical adventure where you explore 15th-century Europe through the eyes of two characters intertwined at the outbreak of war. You fight opponents, sneak around enemy sites, and solve puzzles to progress through the...
Coming Soon: Mac and PC
Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels
Hermit and Pig is an action-adventure game about a socially anxious hermit and his pig companion who must save a village from hunger. Along with exploring the world to complete quests, you fight a menagerie of whimsical creatures by picking attacks,...
Release Date: 30/05/2022, updated in 2024
Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
I Commissioned Some Bees is a puzzle game series where you search original artwork to find bees hidden in them. There are many bees in every picture, so you can normally find one in a couple of seconds, although finding all of them can be challenging...
Release Date: 03/08/2021, updated in 2022
Components: 2D Overhead and Blocks
The Ramp is a relaxed skating game where you perform stunts, jumps and flips with no timers, penalties scores or objectives. It's this simplicity that, along with its deep-yet-simple controls and laidback soundtrack, make it a uniquely calm and...
Release Date: 10/06/2023
Smushi Come Home is a running, jumping, climbing and gliding game where a small mushroom explores a whimsical forest to make its way home. You talk to the people you meet, search for items, and use the oversized environment to get around as you move...