The 10 most anticipated indie games of 2021

Every year, indie developers end up pushing gaming into new and interesting places. In the past, you had to go searching for promising indie titles in the dark corners of the web, but now indie developers are well known enough that they can partner with major platforms for a bit of publicity. This has allowed us to draw up a shortlist of indies that we are personally excited for in 2021.

12 Minutes

You have 12 Minutes before a police officer breaks into your apartment, accuses your wife of murder, and kills her and your unborn child. You have to somehow figure out why and stop it in only this short amount of time. It’s a good thing you can go back in time and replay the events over and over again, or a bad thing if you are trying to avoid trauma. This interesting time loop thriller also has a killer voice cast featuring James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe.

30XX

The spiritual sequel to 20XX, which was a Mega Man X style rogue-lite that featured classic jump and shoot action, armor upgrades, elemental boss weapons, and more. If you played 20XX your biggest complaint was probably its awkward graphics. Well, 30XX is changing all that by going back to classic sprites.

Axiom Verge 2

Axiom Verge was one of the most interesting and compelling indie Metroidvanias to ever hit Steam. Now, Axiom Verge 2 will continue the story with a new 16-bit look, new items, new power-ups, and more. Even better, it’s now a Switch exclusive, meaning that it’s made the jump to the platform that made Metroid big in the first place. With Metroid Prime 4 in development limbo, this might just be where you have to get your Metroidvania fix in 2021.

Chinatown Detective Agency

This interesting little tale is basically Carmen Sandiego meets Cyberpunk 2077. You’ll have to manage a network of informants, question witnesses, and maybe even take to the real world internet in order to track down major criminals that have been evading the authorities. Like any good indie game, you’ll also have to manage personal relationships as well, striking a balance between your personal life and your job.

Cris Tales

A new variety of time travel RPG, this has you traveling through time in different sections of your monitor. The middle is the present, the right is the future, and the left is the past. This allows you to travel through time as easily as you travel through space. Is your informant dead? Move to the left a bit to go to a point where they were alive and you can talk to them just fine. This interesting love letter to games like Chrono Trigger was originally slated to release in 2020 but was delayed due to COVID and we can’t wait for it to finally release in 2021.

Goodbye Volcano High

This is a game about queer high-school dinosaurs coming to terms with the fact that the world is ending and their species is going extinct. I really don’t think I have to sell this one any harder. Be ready to cry.

She Dreams Elsewhere

Taking inspiration from the Persona series, She Dreams Elsewhere, tells the story of a girl caught between the world of dreams and reality. Your only goal? Wake up. This tells a compelling story with an all POC cast, written and developed by a POC game designer. Everything from its unique visual style to its chilling gameplay needs to be experienced, and if this has piqued your interest there is a demo available to download and play right now.

Stray

It’s the cyberpunk apocalypse. Humanity has been replaced with robots. The dark alleys are lit up by neon lights casting a glare on the homeless and downtrodden. The world suffers, and walking through this suffering is you, a cat. What can a little cat do? Well, it can certainly fit places a person can’t, giving it access to items and information the world wants to keep hidden. Can one cat change the future?

Tunche

Tunche just looks like a good time. While a lot of these other games are trying to tell a deeply emotional story, Tunche just wants to get you together with your friends and let you beat up a bunch of enemies in a unique amazon locale. You can even play as Hat Kid from A Hat in Time. The beat ‘em up genre really doesn’t have enough entries these days, and it’s great to see that Tunche is making the genre proud.

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion is certainly the winner for the indie game with the most interesting title of 2021. What’s even better is that this game pretty much does what it says on the tin.  You wander around as a cute little turnip, going on an adventure, and basically being a horrible person. Avoid paying taxes, dismantle the system, and cause havoc in this interesting and humorous Zelda-like.

What indie games are you most excited for in 2021? Let us know in the comments.