There are a lot of great options for finding indie games on PC. There's Steam, which has been a longtime storefront for those in the indie space. There's also the Epic Games Store, which has gone as far as to encourage indies to sell exclusively on their service.
But then there is Itch.io. Since 2013, the marketplace has gone on a mission to help indie developers get their games noticed by providing a solid place to host and sell their products. Because of how easy it is to get set up on there, lots of games have come out of Itch.io. But a few notable titles have stood out over the years of its existence.
Updated by Chris Birsner on January 14, 2022: Itch.io is such a major source for indie gaming content that there are always new games being added to its massive collection. There is something for everyone, from massive adventures to small stories. As the new year begins, we're looking back at a few more games that have truly stood out.
15 We Become What We Behold
The best thing about online storefronts like Itch.io is that they'll happily invite developers of incredibly short games to have a platform to showcase their work. One of the best short titles on the platform is a five-minute game called We Become What We Behold.
Developed by Nicky Case, the game takes a look at humans in the age of social media and how people tend to act in horrible ways thanks to negativity being at the forefront constantly. The gameplay revolves around taking photos of some sort of action in order to get an interesting story to put on the news.
14 Goodbye Doggy
A lot of the games on Itch.io's platform were created in various game jams around the world. Goodbye Doggy is a game that was made for Global Game Jam 2019 and has one over the hearts of many players who have given it a try.
Players take on the role of a dog who has recently passed on. In ghostly form, they roam around the house and help the family left behind grieve over the passing. The game was made by Picogram and the music is by Graham Nesbitt.
13 Sort The Court
Those growing up in the 2000s may remember what it was like to play browser games that were addicting to pick up and play. Sort The Court has that energy, and it packs hours of intriguing simulation gameplay.
Players take on the role of a king who is tasked with saying yes or no to certain proposals that are presented to him as his kingdom is building. Players will need to manage the total population, the happiness of their citizens, and the amount of gold they have at all times. While there are plenty of straightforward decisions, others take some time to mull over.
12 Project Kat
Itch.io has plenty of horror titles on its platform. One of the highest-rated horror games in the store is Project Kat: Paper Lily Prologue by Leef6010. This RPG puzzle game follows the story of Kat as she attempts to meander her way through a mystery revolving around a strange letter she received.
The core concept revolves around the idea that the puzzles in the game can be solved in different ways if players look hard enough. This version of the game is only the opening sequence of a longer game that is still in development.
11 Adventures With Anxiety
Nicky Case was already brought up once on this list, but another one of their games is near the top of Itch.io's top-rated games. Adventures With Anxiety is another short interactive story that has players take on the role of anxiety. Specifically, Case made the game for people with anxiety to see how it works in a humorous way.
Anxiety is manifested as a wolf that is tasked with "protecting the human" from the world around them. Players are given prompts to warn them about different things they should be nervous about, with hilarious dialogue that follows.
10 Doki Doki Literature Club
Continuing on the horror trend, one of the biggest cult hits in the indie space is easily Doki Doki Literature Club. From the mind of Dan Salvato, the game revolves around a boy joining a literature club with four girls who each form a connection with him.
It's the player's job to interact and get to know them in a dating sim-like experience, but then the game does take a turn into something a lot more sinister. The Itch.io version of the game was its first before moving to other platforms and eventually getting an expanded edition.
9 Butterfly Soup
Visual novels tend to get a bad rap for being clickbait, but there are some truly charming entries in the genre. One of the top visual novels on the Itch.io platform is a game called Butterfly Soup. The story revolves around four gay freshmen girls who are part of the high school baseball club and the blossoming relationship between two of them — Diya and Min-seo.
While the game's plot is linear, players do get to make some choices in the game. The game was made by Brianna Lei, who drew inspiration from her time growing up in predominately Asian-American neighborhoods.
8 When The Night Comes
Those looking for something a bit more supernatural should look into When The Night Comes. Led by a fully LGBTQ+ cast, this adventure puts players in the shoes of a creature slayer who comes to the town of Lunaris to look into suspicious murders that seem particularly abnormal.
The game revolves around the mystery that lies within the society, but it also offers the chance to bond with various individuals that you meet along the way. While there is a dating element to the game, it is not a requirement to beat it. The narrative takes place over 11 chapters and is well north of 490,000 words long.
7 Andromeda Six
Opting for a science-fiction space setting always tends to be a crowd-pleasing move, but Andromeda Six brings the story-driven vibes of a Mass Effect and blends it with the gameplay of a visual novel. It is the year 3025, and a lost traveler awakens on a spaceship to find that they have no memories of the past.
Luckily, the traveler isn't alone as they have a crew of characters who are here to help achieve a common goal. However, players will have a chance to get to know these characters better (including the lost traveler) as they try to put together the pieces of who they are and what happened prior to the events of the game.
In terms of the biggest indie hits of all time, Undertale is among the greatest. So when developer Toby Fox decided to release a prototype of a new game, fans were all in. Set in an alternative universe from Undertale, Deltarune revolves around a kid named Kris who is paired up with notorious bully Susie for a project.
However, things take a turn when a trip to the school supply closet gets them sent to the dark world. Unlike its spiritual predecessor, Deltarune makes it clear the player's choices do not matter. The first two chapters of the game are out now, with up to seven chapters expected in the full game.
5 Friday Night Funkin'
Those who were on the internet in the early 2000s will know about the popularity of Newgrounds, a site dedicated to providing entertainment options such as animations and games. While the website isn't as popular nowadays, four users teamed up to create a game that has brought some people back to the website.
Friday Night Funkin' is a rhythm game about a boy who kissed his girlfriend and now has her rockstar dad furious with him. Similar to other games in the genre, players must use the WASD keys to hit the right note at the right time.
4 Our Life: Beginning & Always
Visual novels can sometimes be a bit intense in terms of heavy plot points. However, Our Life: Beginning & Always considers itself a more feel-good story that is meant to put players in a position to express themselves however they see fit.
The story is told in stages, as a player's customized character starts as a child and transitions slowly into a fully grown adult. Along the way, they will meet various characters. This includes Cove, the only romantic interest in the game whose personality is also customized based on his interactions with the player.
3 Night In The Woods
There are a lot of great narrative games out there, but one of the better indie narrative games that has been released in the last decade is Night In The Woods. The game revolves around a college dropout named Mae who is returning to her small town of Possum Springs.
Unfortunately, the town is changing and there are some mysterious disappearances occurring. At the same time, Mae will look to patch things up with her friends Bea, Gregg, and Angus since she hasn't been with them in so long. The game does have a great few mini-games in addition to its story.
2 A Short Hike
Some people may not be into playing a short indie game, but A Short Hike is regarded as one of the best indie games out there despite it being a rather quick play. Players take the role of Claire, a bird who is staying with her Aunt May at the park where May works as a ranger.
The game is all about exploration, with Claire running or flying around the island to find all sorts of treasure and different people to talk to. The goal of the game is to figure out a way to get to the island's peak, the only place nearby that has cellphone service.
2D platformers are not as popular as they once were in the triple-A space. That's why indie developers have taken on carrying the mantle for the genre. Arguably the greatest indie platformer that has come out in recent times is Celeste by Maddy Makes Games, the creator of TowerFall.
The journey revolves around Madeline as she looks to climb Celeste Mountain while also struggling with her mental health. The game is known for its 700 challenging "levels" and a lovely soundtrack by award-winning composer Lena Raine.
Bears, cats, plorts. The lineup of indie games slated for 2022 is promising for animal and ranched slime enthusiasts — here are our favorites.