The most anticipated Indie Games for 2021 is a common post title on every other gaming website in January. If you think you’ve already seen everything, this is my own personal list. Enjoy it!
With a devastating virus running free out there, we didn’t exactly have a lot to do in 2020 other than consuming the last drop of entertainment available through our streaming services and from our game libraries. It was hard. It was fun. It was boring. It was sad. It was everything, from the delightful Among Us to the disastrous Cyberpunk 2077.
Now we’ve just turned a merely chronological page of history that, through a collective illusion, we are forced to believe will be better than the 365 days ago. We make plans believing a change will come. We’re thirsty for a way out. Isn’t that the whole point of game playing: escaping reality?
I don’t mean to sound negative. I’m just a realist. A realist whose desire to escape this reality is as strong as your own. I’m sure you’re like me. We’re in this together. Otherwise, why would you be reading these words right now?
Yes, indie gaming is my thing and yours, and now we all know COVID is still sticking around for a while in 2021, we could even make more solid plans in that area. If quarantine is my fate, I want to spend my 2021 playing what’s left in my wish list. Here’s what I want to do with my spare time. There’s no set theme here, these are just a list of indie games I’m looking forward to get my hands on.
A Space For The Unbound
Having played through the prologue of this game in anticipation for its release (available on Steam), I am eager to experience more of its beautiful world and captivating story. A slice of life game set in rural Indonesia during the late ’90s, the game explores themes of mental illnesses from anxiety to depression as well as love and the struggles of being alive.
Add in some pretty awesome superpowers and an emotionally driven storyline and you get this gem of a game. It’s one of those games that you play to experience and understand the struggles and lives of others that are different from your own (or perhaps to relate to). It’s worth keeping an eye out for and is estimated to be released in September.
Gestalt: Steam & Cinder
A Steampunk RPG platformer, a slightly rare mix of genres that works for the adventurous. Gestalt: Steam & Cinder was open for a demo on Steam in 2020 but the developers have decided to push its full release date to somewhere in 2021. Playing as Aletheia, a redhead with a killer aim, there will be monstrous automata for players to decimate all while trying to unravel the brewing conspiracy behind the city’s secrets.
There will also be side quests and craft abilities to complete. Most definitely a game to try out for the steampunk and RPG lovers who especially enjoy beautifully done pixel graphics. An action-adventure set in a steampunk world equipped with choice-driven dialogue, unique NPCs and exhilarating combat is not for the faint of heart.
The Big Con
Bring in a splash of colour and sneakiness into your life with this game. The Big Con is a vibrant adventure game set in ‘90s America in a time where video games had pick up speed in the world of entertainment. Players will embody Ali, a teenager/con artist in an attempt to save her family’s video store from a huge amount of debt by some money-hungry loan sharks.
Get sneaky and avoid trouble as you disguise yourself and steal from large corporations, pay off a cop to pickpocket people and even befriend some people to eventually rip them off. This game is more than just stealing, it’s strategizing and making sure you don’t get caught while making money. A whole lot of fun for those who want to be devious on the low.
Chinatown Detective Agency
If being taken back into the past isn’t your cup of tea, how about being taken to the future instead? Chinatown Detective Agency is set in 2032 Singapore where players meet Amira Darma, an INTERPOL agent turned private detective as she hunts down a serial killer. In terms of graphics, the game combines retro and modern in a cyberpunkish noir art style which is already a unique concept.
This is a cyber noir mystery adventure game which includes point and click mechanics as players research and investigate their way through the game. By research, we mean players will literally have to Google up solutions and cases on their own to solve cases in the game. An interesting concept, involving the player in a more hands-on way. A prologue of the game (Chinatown Detective Agency Day One: A Prologue) is already available on Steam but the full game is set to release in the Summer of 2021, so get ready for that!
Let’s take a turn into the darker side of things. Mundaun is a folklore-inspired, horror game with pencil-drawn graphics. It’s a rare gem of a game, not every day you get to experience a folklore horror game set in the Swiss Alps hand-drawn in pencil. From the trailer itself, the game’s visuals are enough to draw you in and leave an eerie feeling behind. Now we just can’t wait for the storyline and uncovered mysteries to blow us away.
For those interested in watching the behind the scenes creation process, MWM Interactive is releasing a bi-weekly series on it in anticipation for the game’s release! The game will be out on March 16th, so mark your calendars.
Ever dream of manipulating time? Well, in Cris Tales that’s exactly what you will be doing, but it’s not all fun and games. Crisbell, a time mage can look into the past, present and future but her every action will have long term consequences, especially if she is not careful. In an attempt to defeat the Time Empress before she comes into absolute power, Crisbell will need to make the right choices.
There will be puzzles and encounters with powerful enemies to defeat. With the help of her companion frog, Matias who has the ability to pull objects from the past, present and future; Crisbell can alter the events that happen. The game was postponed from November 2020 to an early 2021 date, so perhaps we’ll see it soon enough!
This game has been widely anticipated since 2019, in fact, some people have played multiple runs of its prologue which is currently available on Steam. Backbone is an anthropomorphic noir detective RPG where you play as Howard Lotor, a private detective raccoon and a lower class citizen of the city. You’ll uncover the dirty secrets of the higher regime and face systemic inequality as well as interrogate witnesses in your own home (literally and figuratively).
As one who has breezed through the prologue, the game draws you in and keeps you moving – like someone dangling a piece of meat in front of a dog to keep them walking into a trap. The game has its intricacies and mysteries coupled with surrounding darkness to it. It is immersive and keeps you wanting to know more, so hopefully, 2021 is the year we get to have more.
An adventure game revolving around a young girl and an old man as they make their way out of their subterranean city on the verge of collapse and ruin, to a new life on the surface. The two characters will be interchangeable as you navigate through the game. There will be combat and puzzles as you make your way through desolated lands in search for a home.
Although the game takes place in a post-apocalyptic situation where you will be running away from a toxic presence, there is a sort of charm to the game. It doesn’t make you feel dark or scared, but instead hopeful and inspired to live. The game is set to release soon, after being pushed from 2020.
Another game taking in the folklore concept under its wing. Kabaret’s entirety (characters, story, gameplay) is inspired by SouthEast Asian folklore. A visual novel where you will be playing as Jebat who was transformed into a monster with 30 nights to break his curse.
As visual novels go, there will be a lot of talking and storytelling. You will be interacting with a lot of characters and by the end of each session, there will be a tea leaf reading. The game encourages a lot of self-reflection and thought for Jebat and you as a player. In the end, there will be a choice whether you would like to turn back human or remain a monster – who knows, being a monster might end up a sweet deal.
Hollow Knight: Silksong
Every indie fan and beyond has heard of Hollow Knight before but we thought to include it anyway. This also happens to be the only sequel on the list, so that has to count for something right? Hollow Knight: Silksong will have you playing as Hornet, the secondary character from the first game.
For those who are unfamiliar, Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania platformer that has been described as “soulslike” with its crazy bosses and amount of times you will find yourself dead. In Silksong, you will have to climb to the top to escape the unfamiliar world you are trapped in. Originally announced in 2019, the game has been pushed back multiple times and we hope to see its release by this year.
There are a whole lot more games out there which has me excited but these would have to do for now. Hopefully, this list got you as excited as I am! Drop a line on the comments section below. Let me know what your most anticipated indie games for 2021 are.