IGRU: Top 10 Indie Games of 2022
Indie Games are a passion for me, and for those who know the history of Game Infinite; it is where we started. Game Infinite started way back as an idea on how to help and support indie developers. Today is much more than that, but it is still part of our core. We do weekly and monthly indie support events, as well as partner with dozens of indie developers. This year we kicked off two new aspects with regularly to featuring them in Indie Game Round Up and our Indie Trailer YT Project. I am proud to bring our popular Top 10 Indie Games article back during our Best of 2022 Event. Here we list off 10 amazing indie games we absolutely loved, and crown our pick for Indie GOTY 2022.
This year, like every year, delivered some absolutely PHENOMENAL indie titles. While many indie games made just about every list on every outlets picks for indie titles, because I am convinced that the big outlets only ever play the same 5-7 indie titles each year that their friends talk about, I am happy to say I have several picks I have yet to see get the love they deserved. While there will definitely be some indie games you recognize on here, I think I found some hidden gems that need more people to know about them. Hopefully some of these picks will be new to our readers so that you will have some new games to try!
Also note, that Game Infinite follows a similar year to the Game Awards in order to not give an unfair disadvantage to games releasing in December. Our qualifying year is December 1, 2021 - December 1 2022. Games releasing after Dec 1 can qualify for next year's list. This allows me to not have to rush December games. In order to qualify a game must either be completely new, a 1.0 release, or an early access in 2022. Games that have a major cultural impact in 2022 such as being "discovered" by the masses are allowed. Games that originally launched on a limited platform but received a major port are allowed. Games that saw a launch in a region outside the US but came to the US in 2022 are allowed. Remasters and ongoing games in general are not allowed and get their own list. Developers who chose to participate in our Indie Game Round Ups, GIFriends Indie YT Project, may appear with developers who have yet to do so, but ranking is unaffected by participation.
Sokochess is one we came across in our search for Indie Game Round Up and we just absolutely loved it. At first glance this may look like any other of a million digital chess games out there. If you look up chess on any game store you choose you'll most likely be overwhelmed with choices. Thankfully this is not that.
Sokochess only uses the concept of chess for an entire new puzzle game. Chess pieces move the way they do but the game is different and presents different puzzles each level. I found it refreshing, challenging, and fun.
9. Patrick's Paradox
It is an absolute sin to gaming that this game is not on more people's radar or major outlet lists. I found Patrick's Parabox to be completely challenging, mind bending, and fun. It implements infinite puzzles in a way I've never seen before, and frankly this game is hard to describe. It must just be experienced. I think it is one of 2022's most underrated games. This game is up there with the likes of Thomas was Alone and Baba is You in terms of vibe and uniqueness.
This is one of those games that had it not been on most major outlets and gotten the praise it was; I might not had tried it. This is also one of those games that are a testament to the success of Game Pass. There are some games that myself and other gamers might have passed on had it not been part of subscription. This game is just not my normal cup of tea, as it's a FMV game. This is a genre I usually scrunch my nose at, and I have to admit I was apart of the group that would have called this genre "not real games". If you are unfamiliar, FMV are essentially live action films that have been created in such a way that they play like a game. Players can sometimes choose branching paths or have minor impact on stories.
Immortality doesn't feel like those and maybe that's why I enjoyed this more than I expected. It doesn't feel like you are watching a movie where every so often you have to make a minor decision. You are actually scrubbing through short clips from several films and in random order. You click on characters to jump to other clips. It is all very unique. It's a little jarring and hard to follow in my opinion to figure out what's going on. It's like trying to watch 7 different movies when a cocaine addicted hamster is chewing on the Netflix shuffle button. However, the atmosphere and mystery makes up for it in the end. If you are like me and go "eww" at the mention of a FMV game, give this one a shot, it's worth it.
7. Freshly Frosted
A game we initially found during one of Xbox's demo fests, and later reached out the the developer to work with them on our indie features. We loved Freshly Frosted. It starts off as a simple puzzle game, but over the course of levels builds in difficulty to offer some good challenge. The premise is simple, "get the donuts to the other side". It is relaxing, with good music and lovable bright art style. It is just so...HAPPY. Have a rough day? Stare at bright, colorful, cartoon donuts and solve some puzzles. This is a must try for puzzle lovers and the stressed out alike.
6. Solar Ash
Solar Ash came out December 2, 2021, so I might be easy to forget about this one as it makes onto this lists calendar by ONE day. However, I will say that this was a game I was absolutely excited for. It sold me with one simple moment, as it was the first game I saw to implement the new modern representation of a black hole. When I saw it in the trailer, I had to have it. The opening scene where the protagonist is looking out into space and sees it was just beautiful moment. On top of that moment I wanted to experience, this game has a beautiful art style that must be experienced.
This is another one of those under the radar games that I just feel like needs more people talking about it. I absolutely loved Stuffed. The premise is so goofy and fun. I really need a popular streamer to play this and give it the among us treatment because I feel like this is a perfect indie stream worthy game.
You play as teddy bears, using weapons made out of house hold items, and you are protecting your child owner from nightmares and monsters. I mean HOW CUTE is that concept. It reminds in some ways of my childhood playing toy soldier games on the N64 by playing as a toy from a small perspective. It is just a fun concept, and I loved every minute of it.
4. Needy Streamer Overload
Needy Streamer Overload will overload your visual senses. It is just so painfully bright and pink. There is so much pink. I feel like I fell in a different universe made of pepto bismol and retro pixel art. It is also so just "UWU cringe" and goofy and even a little offensive in a funny way at some parts.
I remember watching a fellow gamer friend play it and just be like "wow... that's a lot". It is a lot. It is not for everyone.
However, if you have a broad open sense of humor, and can enjoy parody of twitch and "uwu culture" this might entertain you.It does feel like it's laughing "with" all of that and not "at". It is just very goofy and fun. You play as a mod for an upcoming streamer. You help them pick themes and handle comments. It's weird, and very different. It's great though.
3. Entropy Centre
Entropy Centre is a game that the moment I first saw it, I had to play it. The moment I first played the pre-release demo, I had to buy it. It is BEYOND me HOW this game is not on every outlet list. In fact, sadly, I haven't seen the major outlets even talking about this one! This game proves to me that the major outlets only ever play the same few indie games their friends talk about because this is fantastic. This game is proof the same 7 indie games are played by the likes of IGN, Gamespot, Kotaku, etc... because this game is one of the best games of the year! This game proves the necessity of smaller platforms like Game Infinite to showcase more indie games. No offense to some of the common indie appearances this year, but Entropy Centre is FANTASTIC.
It is a portal-like, with that CLASSIC wake up in an abandoned science lab premise. However, instead of a portal gun, this gun rewinds an objects entropy. Rewinds it in time essentially. This game is just beautifully done. The endless science lab is on the moon and just incredibly well done. This game is affectionally referred to as the only Portal 3 we are ever going to get. The voice acting and story is terrific. The puzzles start of easy but get hair pulling difficult. Gosh there's this one puzzle I must have tried 37 times before I eventually just youtube'd it. If valve were smart, they would buy this developer and give them a huge budget and team to make Portal 3 and watch it print money.
The entire purpose is to repair the stations power in oder to save earth which is in the process of disintegrating and exploding. Watching the Earth explode, shoot a laser at it, and watch it rewind? It is a phenomenal watch. This game is a MUST PLAY.
There is a 5 letter word. It could be any 5 letter word in the English language. You have 6 guesses. Go.
Sounds impossible right? Well not if you have played Wordle. Wordle is a remarkably simple puzzle game that only ever gives you two types of clues to narrow down the 150,000 something words down to one. However, if you play it every day, use some strategy, you could have a 97% success rate like me!
Wordle became a cultural phenomenon in 2022, so the fact that it is excluded by every major outlet can only be explained by the idea that I will admit it is DEBATABLE where or not this could be classified as a "video game". I admit...this is not an undeniable point. However, it is a digital game. You play it on a browser on a device of your choosing. It is not a puzzle like sudoku or word search where it can be easily played on pen and paper. This is a puzzle that needs a digital presence to be best.
Also...for the sake of technicality it the only game on this list that in a way "Stopped" being an indie game. It started as an independent developer, who had no idea how massively popular his game was going to become, so he sold it to the New York Times.
I debated on this as well...but since I and countless others play this game on our phones every day, this is a game. It is played on a digital device. It is a video game to me. If Immortality can be a video game, I think so can Wordle.
Wordle has become a daily part of my life, as I can't go to bed without completely my daily puzzle. I remember when it first started spreading everywhere, my coworkers and I would gather around an iPad and solve for the day's word. I would greet my closest friends with "Hey did you solve today's Wordle yet?" I am content with knowing that for the foreseeable future, 2-3 minutes of my days will be spent solving the day's Wordle.
1. Vampire Survivors - INDIE GOTY 2022
Vampires Survivors is a game that is a testament to the benefits of GamePass. I support indie games all the time, but every now and then even I come across a game that I only would have tried because it was on GamePass. I remember exactly my first reaction to Vampire Survivors' store page screenshots. I heard people talking about it, and it was getting some buzz, so I checked it out and I judged the book by its cover for sure. I remember making a face, mentally going "EWW" when I saw it. I'm sorry on the .00001% chance the developers see this but my first impression was this game looked UGLY.
And to be honest...I still think it looks ugly. Pixel art and retro games can be done in a way that is still visually appealing. I don't hate games trying to be retro...this just did it poorly in my opinion. Retro and Pixel can be pretty. This is not it. This game's looks remind me of browser based games I played on my childhood school computers that were made of beige plastic. I remember clicking on the game's page and looking at it and going NOPE. I remember looking at it, and leaving.
But...it kept getting more and more praise, it started making early lists, it got Game Awards nominations. I finally just had to give it a chance. It was free with game pass after all.
I was so wrong.
To say that this game is an absolute Trojan horse of fun is an understatement. This game is that moment in a romantic comedy where the ugly unsuspecting nerdy girl is given a total makeover and everyone is shocked at how beautiful she turns out to be. This game is that trope. I absolutely expected to hate it and loved ever second. It is perfect for long game sessions or short ones. On top of its deceptive appearance, I also really dislike roguelites so the fact that this one sold me only speaks to its quality. It has everything I hate. It is an autoplaying game where all the attacking is done automatically, and I always hate that. I hate the visuals, I hate roguelites. I hate auto players. I usually hate everything this game is except the fact that I love this game. I can't explain it either...it's just fantastic. It is my favorite pick for INDIE GAME OF THE YEAR 2022.
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