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18 most anticipated indie games for PS5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch and PC

Rot close-up
(Image credit: Ember Lab)

With the PS5 and Xbox Series X remaining difficult to find six months after release, there hasn’t been much pressure by Sony and Microsoft to push out AAA content. Since launch, major game launches have slowed to a trickle, and even titles like Resident Evil Village have opted to release on last gen alongside current gen. 

While AAA game developers are still trying to figure out remote development thanks to the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, indie game developers are used to collaborating from different time zones. We feel that indie games don’t get enough love. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the most anticipated indie games we’re looking forward to in 2021. 

Cris Tales (PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Stadia) 

Cris Tales Battle Sequence

(Image credit: Dreams Uncorporated)

Cris Tales is a game so committed to its art direction that some could easily mistake it for an animated cartoon. In Cris Tales, you play as Crisbell, the newly awakened Time Mage on a mission to bring down the Time Empress, who’s threatening the four kingdoms. The lineless art and up-beat voice acting would seem straight out of studios based in Burbank, CA. Yet, the teams at Dreams Uncorporated and SYCK have created a style that’s both joyous and menacing. The combat seems to be a standard turn-based affair, with callbacks to Persona 5. We’re hoping it delivers on more than just style. – Imad Khan

From: Dreams Uncorporated, SYCK, Modus Games
Release date: 2021

Skate City (PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC and IOS 

Skate City

(Image credit: Agens)

Skateboarding games are enjoying something of a resurgence at the minutes. Tony’s Hawk Pro Skater 1+2 and EA’s fourth Skate game are leading the charge, but there’s plenty of indie fare out there as well. That includes Session, Skater XL, and later this year Skate City will be joining the party. This side-scrolling skateboarding simulator is technically already available on Apple Arcade but it’s coming to console and PC later this year and looks like a wonderful little time waster. Hopefully, the transition from mobile to more powerful gaming hardware will be a smooth one. – Rory Mellon

From: Agens, Snowman
Release date: 2021

Solar Ash (PS5, PS4, PC)

Rei standing in front of Ultravoid

(Image credit: Heart Machine)

From the minds behind Hyper Light Drifter comes Solar Ash, a 3D platformer that takes place inside a giant black hole. In Solar Ash, you play as Rei, a Voidrunner on a quest to save her world from being sucked up by the Ultravoid. Solar Ash is highly exaggerated and stylized, accentuated by teal and rust. Its world is totally alien, but very cool to look at. The game is all about movement and high speed movement, and we can’t wait to skate around the galaxy. – Imad Khan

From: Heart Machine, Annapurna Interactive
Release date: June 2021

Edge of Eternity (PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC)

Edge of Eternity open world

(Image credit: Midgar Studio)

Tom’s Guide actually wrote a preview of Edge of Eternity way back during E3 2018. This love letter to classic Japanese RPGs has come a long way since then. From a single press demo, Edge of Eternity has evolved into a full-fledged Early Access game on Steam. Later this year, it will receive a full release for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. If you’ve played a Final Fantasy game from the early 2000s, then you already know how to play Edge of Eternity. You take control of a young soldier named Daryon, as he gathers a party of misfit adventurers, explores a gorgeous high-fantasy world and faces down a variety of enemies in strategic turn-based battles. – Marshall Honorof

From: Midgar Studio, Dear Villagers
Release date: June 8

Shadow Warrior 3 (PC)

Shadow Warrior 3

(Image credit: Flying Wild Hog)

Shadow Warrior 3 picks up where Shadow Warrior 2 left off. You once again take on the role of former corporate hitman Lo Wang, a snarky man at the best of times. If you loved the first two games, odds are that you’ll love this one, too. Developer Flying Wild Hog has dialed up the frenetic combat even more, letting you carve your way through baddies in a glorious blood bath. You’ll have a wide variety of weapons to choose from, including a katana. Shadow Warrior 3 also introduces a free wallrunning system, offering even more movement capabilities. – Jordan Palmer

From: Flying Wild Hog, Devolver Digital
Release date: 2021

ProtoCorgi (Nintendo Switch, PC)

ProtoCorgi screen

(Image credit: Kemono Games)

ProtoCorgi is a game that exudes such cutesy charm it’s hard not to immediately fall in love with it. In it, you play as Bullet, a C³ (Cute Cyber Corgi) class robot dog that’s on a quest to save his owner, a cybernetics scientist who’s been kidnapped by strange aliens. It’s a shoot-em-up style game, but instead of taking command of a starship in space, you control a Corgi… in space. Much like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, the music will be an integral part of the experience. Composed by Chilean musician Francisco Cerda, we’re getting some serious Anamanaguchi vibes. – Imad Khan

From: Kemono Games, Deep Silver
Release date: 2021

12 Minutes (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC)

12 Minutes

(Image credit: Luis Antonio)

12 Minutes is a top-down adventure game that tasks players with repeatedly playing through a never-ending time loop. It’s all in order to solve a tragedy that befalls a man after a night out with his wife. As the name implies the game is experienced in repeated 12 minutes chunks as you learn from each failed attempt and slowly inch towards a resolution that will allow you to break free from the loop. The premise is intriguing enough, but it’s the voice cast that is truly putting 12 Minutes on our radar. James McAvoy will be playing the leading man, with Daisy Ridley voicing his wife and Willem Dafoe also in the ensemble. We can't wait to unravel the mysteries of this time loop later this year. – Rory Mellon

From: Luis Antonio, Annapurna Interactive
Release date: 2021

Kena: Bridge of Spirits (PS5, PS4, PC via Epic Games Store)

Kena and the Rot hanging out

(Image credit: Ember Lab)

Kena: Bridge of Spirits looks so graphically stunning, one could easily mistake it for a first-party offering by either Sony or Microsoft. But Kena comes instead from Ember Lab, an animation studio founded by brothers Mike and Josh Grier, known for creating commercials and other digital shorts. Kena is actually the first game by Ember Lab, which makes what we’ve seen so far all the more impressive. In the game, you play as Kena, a spirit guide who helps the dead move from the physical to spiritual world. It also features adorable wide-eyed companions known as the Rot. – Imad Khan

From: Ember Lab
Release date: August 24

Inkulinati (PC)

inkulinati

(Image credit: Daedalic Entertainment)

Have you ever perused the colorful illustrations in a medieval manuscript and wondered if its part of a fantastical story? The team at Yaza Games has, and that inspired them to create Inkulinati. In this stylish strategy game, you’ll take control of a medieval scribe, who does battle against other illustrators by bringing artwork to life. You’ll control small armies of dogs with bows, rabbits with swords and donkeys with bagpipes — all of which really did appear in medieval manuscript marginalia. Inkulinati aims to combine challenging turn-based strategy gameplay with an unforgettable art style, the latter of which alone arguably makes the game worth a look. ­– Marshall Honorof

From: Yaza Games, Daedalic Entertainment
Release date: 2021

The Wild at Heart (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC via Windows)

The Wild at Heart

(Image credit: Moonlight Kids)

The Wild at Heart from Moonlight Kids is a Pikmin-like action-adventure game with a charming art style and aesthetic. In it you play as twelve-year old Wake and his friend Kirby in a mysterious hidden realm with monsters, guardians and abandoned arcade cabinets. The pair have somehow been caught in the midst of an ancient conflict and must survive through the night. That overnight survival structure reminds us of mechanics in Don’t Starve or Minecraft. Apart from that, not much else is known about the game, but we’re looking forward to giving it a try when it launches in May. – Imad Khan

From: Moonlight Kids
Release date: May 20

Venba (PC)

Venba

(Image credit: Visai Studios)

Growing up as a child of Pakistani immigrants, I might have some bias in recommending Venba by Toronto-based Visai Studios. Venba is a narrative cooking game where players play as an Indian immigrant mother who immigrates to Canada in the 1980s. The game is largely narrative driven, and will have players cooking authentic South Indian dishes. There are also branching conversation paths and a Soundtrack inspired by Indian movies and musicals. Beyond that, not much is known. But I’m personally interested in giving it a try. – Imad Khan

From: Visai Studios
Release date: Winter 2021

30XX (PC)

30XX screen

(Image credit: Batterystaple Games)

When I first played 30XX at PAX East 2020, it was probably my favorite game from the whole show. This sequel to the similarly impressive 20XX combines a roguelite structure with the gameplay of Mega Man X. You take control of either Nina or Ace: good-hearted robots who must traverse a series of procedurally generated levels, gathering new equipment and upgrades as they go. Dying will send you back to the very beginning of the game, but you’ll be able to purchase some lasting perks after each run, giving you a better chance at success next time. 30XX looks brisk and breezy, with a lot of replay value. – Marshall Honorof

From: Batterystaple Games
Release date: 2021

She Dreams Elsewhere (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC via Windows, Linux, Mac)

She Dreams Elsewhere battle sequence

(Image credit: Studio Zevere)

She Dreams Elsewhere by Studio Zevere is probably the most stylish 8-bit RPG we’ve seen. It’s brushed not with NES-style 8-bit graphics, but rather original black-and-white 8-bit Game Boy graphics. As the name suggests, it’s a surreal RPG that takes place in dreams. You play as Thalia, a comatose woman who must navigate her dreams to finally wake up. Looking at gameplay footage, She Dreams Elsewhere is not shy with profanity, even if the characters are simple pixel models. It’s juxtaposed by a modern soundtrack and Persona-style turn-based gameplay. It also has some definite Earthbound vibes, in that it takes place in the modern world but has supernatural elements. – Imad Khan

From: Studio Zevere
Release date: 2021

Puzzle Quest 3 (PC, iOS, Android)

Puzzle Quest 3 screengrab

(Image credit: Infinity Plus Two)

If you’ve played a Puzzle Quest game before, you don’t need me to tell you why Puzzle Quest 3 will probably be worth a look. This strangely captivating series captures simple match-three gameplay with fairly deep RPG mechanics, including leveling up, managing a party and even crafting your own equipment. In other words: Imagine Final Fantasy crossed with Bejeweled, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what the Puzzle Quest series is all about. Puzzle Quest 3 will let you choose your own hero, upgrade your equipment and even duel other players. It will also be free-to-play, so you have very little to lose by trying it out. – Marshall Honorof

From: Infinity Plus Two, 505 Games
Release date: 2021

Neon White (Nintendo Switch, PC)

Neon White

(Image credit: Ben Esposito)

Ben Esposito certainly has an eclectic imagination. He’s one of the minds behind Arcane Kids, which made the bizarre and surreal Sonic Dreams Collection. Esposito also made the excellent Donut County and Tattletail. But his latest project, Neon White, might be his least weird project to date. Neon White is a fast first-person action game about exterminating demons in heaven. You play as White, an assassin from hell, that must compete against other demons for a shot at living permanently in heaven. The game is all about getting through a level as fast as possible. Using soul cards, it’s possible to unlock special abilities to more quickly traverse landscapes. We already imagine this game to be popular among speedrunners. – Imad Khan

From: Ben Esposito, Annapurna Interactive
Release date: Winter 2021

Re:Legend (PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC)

Re:Legend riding atop Magnus

(Image credit: Magnus Games)

Re:Legend is a Malaysian-made co-op simulation monster-raising RPG. In it, you venture into the world of Ethia, ready to start a new life on a quest to recover your memories. To do so, first you’ll have to survive on Vokka Island by cultivating the land, making friends and expanding your village. You’re also able to raise magical creatures known as Magnus. As you raise your creatures, they too will be able to go into battle. So, it’s a little bit Stardew Valley mixed in with some Pokemon. The game was Kickstarted back in 2017, and at $630,000, became the highest-backed Southeast Asian project ever. So, it’s definitely had a long development. But there are plenty of early access videos on YouTube, and the consensus overall is positive. – Imad Khan

From: Magnus Games, 505 Games
Release date: 2021

Exo One (Xbox Series X|S, PC)

Exo One orb in desert

(Image credit: Exbleative)

I played the demo of this atmospheric sci-fi exploration game last year and instantly fell in love. Using a gravity and momentum-based movement system (not unlike the Tribes series’ skiing mechanic), Exo One has you hurl a shapeshifting orb across some impressively vast alien landscapes. The combination of these fantastical planets, high-speed but cerebral maneuvering and a beautifully evocative soundtrack makes Exo One feel like it could be truly special. And I can’t wait to soar through some of the more mysterious worlds glimpsed in the trailer. – James Archer

From: Exbleative
Release date: 2021

Sifu (PS5, PS4, PC via Epic Games Store)

Sifu stance

(Image credit: PlayStation | YouTube)

Sifu has a simple enough premise. You play as a kung-fu student on a quest to avenge someone close to him. What sets Sifu apart from a thousand other third-person action games is its attention to detail. Sifu features stylish, realistic, kung fu action, in addition to colorful, vibrant environments. Just as in real life, you'll start with the basics, and learn additional martial arts skills as you progress. You can also use the environment to your advantage, whether it's grabbing nearby weapons or tossing opponents out of windows. This game seems like a solid bet for anyone who enjoys a good Hong Kong action flick. – Marshall Honorof

From: Sloclap
Release date: 2021