Online video game distribution platforms, consoles, social media and even good old fashioned meet-ups are all great places to look for indie game gold. If you’re wondering where to find indie games worth playing, check out our huge list below!
Steam Indie Games
Yeah, this is one that most, if not all of you will know about.
Steam has been around for almost 20 years, having initially been launched by Valve (developer of Half Life, Counter Strike) as a platform through which it could provide updates to its own games.
It has since grown into the dominant digital video game distribution service, with tens of thousands of titles available for purchase.
A big chunk of the AAA titles that get a PC release can be found on steam and the mammoth library of games naturally also includes a ton of the most popular indie releases.
Indie developers can submit their game to Steam by fronting up a fee of $100 (or regional equivalent) which is recouped once their game has earned $1000 in Adjusted Gross Revenue for Steam Store and in-app purchases.
This deposit system for product submission helps to reduce the amount of shovelware on Steam and ensures the focus remains squarely on quality over quantity.
Users can leave ratings and write reviews for games, which makes it easy for gamers to check out the pros and cons of a particular game before pulling the trigger on it.
There are regularly huge sales on Steam where you nab all sorts of games at massive discounts. There are also plenty of free indie games on Steam.
You’ll soon end up with a huge library of games that you’ve bought but haven’t got round to playing yet as many of these deals are simply too good to miss out on!
You can browse the store specifically for indie games and from there the search can be further refined by selecting one or more of the absolutely huge list of different tags.
The list of tags is displayed in order of the most popular tags searched for globally and, at the time of writing, indie was the tag most often applied to searches. That, if nothing else, should convince you that it’s a top destination for finding indie games.
In terms of criticisms and limitations, searching for games similar to one’s you’ve played is not always the easiest task: There is a ‘More Like This’ section on each game’s profile which showcases a few games but in our experience, it’s not really that useful.
We’d also point out that while the product submission deposit does what it’s supposed to do in the sense that it stops the Steam store being flooded with absolute rubbish, it does inhibit some developers who aren’t able to stump up the fee.
That potentially excludes a huge amount of awesome games, which you might be able to find at the next site on our list instead…
Like Steam, Itch.io is a digital game store but, unlike Steam, when it comes to video games, Itch.io is one hundred percent dedicated to indie titles.
It’s been around for almost ten years now and the main goal of the site is to provide indie developers with a free platform on which to advertise their creations.
The platform is based on an open revenue sharing model, which gives creators total freedom to charge as much or as little (i.e., nothing) as they like for their games, and the freedom to decide exactly what cut they feel like itch.io should get from any revenue generated by the games they upload.
Those sorts of terms, coupled with itch.io’s impressive reach (100k+ followers on Twitter and over 45k subs on YouTube – where it regularly showcases the top games available) make it a bit of a no-brainer for any indie developers who want to get their games in front of gamers.
No surprise, then, that there are over 400,000 games available for download.
The general intention, then, is slightly different to Steam in that you may have to wade through piles of absolute rubbish to unearth games that are worth playing, let alone games that are absolute gems.
However, there’s a fantastic satisfaction in stumbling upon some obscure or weird creation that somehow ticks all the right boxes, or a crazy modded version of something you’ve played previously.
The tags and search filters are pretty much standard fare (genre tags, price, etc.) but we reckon the navigation is nicer on itch.io than it is on Steam.
The randomizer brings up often hilariously bizarre results that you never would have simply stumbled upon otherwise, and if you are feeling apprehensive about having to trundle through loads of absolutely trash projects to find something, then check out the staff-curated picks that are featured on the front page.
If you’re looking for the sort of Indie games that get released on platforms like Steam or Game Pass (we mean stuff like Hades, Terraria and Among Us), then you most certainly won’t find them on itch.io (good to know: if a game is on both Steam and itch.io, the download on itch.io will be DRM-free and include multiple keys).
However, you might just happen upon the next game to get picked up by a big YouTuber or Twitch streamer and, well, how smug would you feel then!
While most of us gamers are kind and friendly folk, there’s always some bad actors who might look to take advantage of our supportive and curious natures and sneakily include naughtly stuff in their game files.
It does fall on you to make sure that what you’re downloading is safe but, I mean, that’s the same with any digital product, right?
If something looks suspicious, is offensive or infringing copyright or other laws, you can report that to the itch.io admins who will take action.
Buyers can request refunds if necessary by contacting support and it is also possible for sellers to issue refunds if required.
We absolutely LOVE Steampeek.
It’s a pretty simple site, all things considered: web developer loves video games, web developer finds it difficult to find great new games to play and doesn’t want to miss out on anything, web developer creates site that uses a ‘unique recommendation algorithm’ to suggest games similar to your chosen title.
Simple doesn’t mean poor quality, though. Far from it. We’d go as far as to say that of all the different stores, tools and platforms featured on this list, the ProCasual team has spent the most time browsing Steampeek to find new stuff to play.
There’s something almost charming in its ease of use – literally just type in a game that you enjoy playing and Steampeek will spew out a ton (up to 60) of suggestions for you.
The algorithm is ‘indie friendly’. That means that, while you’ll still get the usual AAAs appearing in your suggestion results, Steampunk tries to make sure that you get shown the indie gems, too.
The site is super-easy to use and the inclusion of price information from several different sources (like Steam, Epic Game Store and itch.io) is really useful.
The obvious downside to Steampeek is that, as the name suggests, it is based on information from the Steam game store.
It’s essentially a much-improved search tool for Steam games – that means that if it ain’t on Steam, then it ain’t on Steampeek.
That being said, we’ve found some absolute gems here that I am convinced we never would have found using Steam’s own browse and search functions.
Steampeek is an essential resource for anyone looking to bulk out their Steam library with some fun new content.
The site is funded by ads for featured games, and you can also send the creator a bit of cash via patreon if you’re so inclined.
Indie Games on Twitch
It’s hard enough trying to explain to your grandparents that the game you’re playing isn’t actually real. It’s even harder to explain to them that you’re not actually playing the game, you’re watching a stranger play a game over the internet.
Perhaps that’s a little unfair to tar all grandparents with the same brush (TacticalGrandma has over 50k followers), but you get the general point.
Twitch has been around over ten years now, which makes us feel old. Even ten years ago most of us would have struggled to imagine that this is the path gaming would follow, but here we are.
And I’m glad we’re here because, surprise surprise, Twitch is awesome for finding indie games.
Indie games are well suited to this platform, and you can filter channels using an indie games tag.
It’s exciting to watch games being played live before you make the decision to go ahead and purchase them, and Twitch has been an amazing launchpad for obscure or low-budget titles to make it big time.
It often only takes one big-name streamer to pick up on an indie title for it to explode in popularity.
Top Twitch Streamers for Indie Games
Reddit Indie Games
According to Wikipedia, Reddit is a ‘social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website’.
That’s just fluffy business marketing speak – it’s basically just a centralised collection of different user-created forums about whatever those users want them to be about.
There’s a subreddit for pretty much everything. And, fortunately for us, there’s several great subreddits for all things related to indie games, including:
There are many, many more subreddits that we could add to that list but you get the idea. Of the above, we like r/indigames the most.
The posting rules on that subreddit state that each post submitted must be a direct link to some sort of media (image, gif, video, etc.) showing game footage (or a self post that includes a link to one or more of those things).
That means it’s an amazing place to find out about indie games, especially those that are in production or soon to be released.
Instead of doom scrolling on social media, just browse through the practically endless posts about exciting new games being developed all over the world.
r/indiegames has 125k+ members, so there’s constantly new stuff to look at.
One other thing we often find ourselves doing at ProCasual is adding ‘reddit’ onto the end of any Google search we make about indie games.
That’s a quick way to find out if that particular game has a dedicated subreddit, or if there are any game reviews, tips, recommendations or whatever else.
Nintendo really killed it with the current gen.
The release at roughly the mid-cycle point for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 definitely helped, but the Switch is just a damn good console with some unbeatable exclusives that are just as playable now as they were on launch day back in 2017.
There are also plenty of cosy couch co-ups that means the Switch is a go-to for couples who play video games together.
We think the handheld capabilities of the Switch, with its gorgeous screen (even on the non-OLED original models) make it a perfect match for a whole host of indie titles.
Certain games just work better in handheld format – we’re thinking specifically of genres like roguelikes and platformers which are staples of any indie gaming catalogue.
Nintendo’s online store is packed full of indie titles – it seems like anything worth a port from an original PC release tends to land on Switch first before finding its way on to Xbox and PlayStation, if it ever does release on the latter.
A word of caution, however. The indie titles are easy to browse through on the Nintendo site, but we find the store when accessed via the Switch itself to be quite difficult to navigate.
It’s full of a surprising amount of trash, so our advice would be to use one of the other discovery platforms we’ve highlighted on this page first and then search the store on Switch once you know the name of the game you’re looking for (rather than browsing on the Switch in the hope of chancing upon something great).
Alpha Beta Gamer
Now this is a very cool site. If you like to be that one person in your friend group that’s always finding the freshest new games – even months before they’ve finished development and actually been released – then do not sleep on Alpha Beta Gamer.
This site is essentially a directory of any and all alpha and beta game tests that are available to sign up for. That means you get to test a small slice of a new game – for free.
Feedback from gamers, whether you’re a pro or a casual, is critical in the development of any new title, whether that’s the latest triple-A being worked on by hundreds of staff at any one time, or a passion project indie that one dedicated dev has been plugging away at on evening and weekend for years.
The site is not exclusively dedicated to indie games (there is a huge selection of test titles to try in the ‘Mainstream’ category but, as you can imagine, the likes of 343 aren’t choosing Alpha Beta Gamer to test Halo on the community so the focus remains quite heavily weighted towards the smaller projects.
There’s a ton of different categories to browse through, a helpful page showcasing YouTubers that play games they’ve found via Alpha Beta Gamer, as well as a ‘Showcase’ section highlighting staff picks (the people at Alpha Beta Gamer are definitely horror game fans!).
All in all, this is such a cool way to discover new indies.
Not only do you get to mess around on new projects for free, but your feedback and the data your play provides could also actually make a significant impact on the development process.
YouTube Channels Featuring Indie Games
As we mentioned in the above section on Alpha Beta Gamer, there are loads of YouTubers who like to focus their content on indie games.
While the major titles are of course popular on YouTube, not everyone wants to have their feed flooded with clip after clip of COD, GTA 5 or League of Legends.
There are channels with reviews and previews, channels with more ‘top 10’ list videos than you ever imagined could possibly exist, channels focusing on kickstarter projects and hidden gems, channels deep-diving into indie gaming industry news and culture, channels streaming gameplay and lots, lots more.
Like when watching videos on any other topic on YouTube, it’s pretty easy to get sucked down a content wormhole thanks to the autoplay feature that shoves another video in your face as soon as the last one’s finished and the recommendations sidebar.
Whether you want information on a specific title or are just generally looking for new game inspiration, you’ll probably be able to find what you’re looking for on YouTube.
Some of the more well-known channels for indie gaming include:
- Get Indie Gaming
- I Dream of Indie
- Best Indie Games
Xbox Indie Games
Microsoft’s flagship gaming product is probably more associated with mega-budget triple-A releases like Xbox exclusive franchises Halo and Forza.
However, it’s now a top-tier destination for indies too thanks in no small part to the introduction of Game Pass.
Game Pass is a subscription service which gives users access to a huge library of games for a monthly fee.
It’s available on loads of different devices, including PC, Xbox One plus Android and iOS devices (thanks to the magic of Xbox Cloud Gaming) but it really comes into its own when combined with the high performance and neat features like quick resume on the Series X and Series S.
It does seem like Microsoft is in the lead in the so-called console wars for this generation (if we’re just talking about the 1v1 between PS5 and Series X/S that is, because the Nintendo Switch still routinely tops sales charts five years after its intital release).
We reckon Game Pass is a big reason for that – there are now more than 25 million subscribers worldwide.
As you’d expect, Microsoft have pumped it full of triple-A exclusives like the aforementioned Halo and Forza franchises. But this is an article about where to find indie games, and we wouldn’t be including Game Pass if it wasn’t a veritable treasure trove for those of you who like to play the independently developed titles.
In fact, we’d go as far as saying the monthly fee is great value even if you never touched any games made by the big-name developers and stuck exclusively to indie releases.
You can find smash hit indie games like Hades, Among Us, Hollow Knight and, uh… Goat Simulator.
You can also discover games you may have missed or that haven’t truly hit the big time yet.
Humblebundle Video Games
Here at ProCasual we like it when people do nice things for others.
We like it extra-specially much when people set up websites that make it easy for us all to do nice things without even having to break our indie game-buying habits.
Humble Bundle is an online store that sells games, books, software and other bits and boss besides. What makes it different from every other site selling these products is that a portion of sales goes to charity. Nice.
As mentioned, you can get all sorts of stuff at Humble Bundle now but its origins are firmly rooted in indie gaming.
The concept was initially delivered by US indie dev company Wolfire Games and it first came to mainstream attention thanks to the creative way it sold indie games.
Humble Indie Bundle
The Humble Indie Bundle – a selection of indie games available to purchase as collections at a price decided by the purchaser – is this store’s OG product.
These bundles are a fabulous way to discover new indie games and support good causes while you’re at it. It’s win-win.
It’s clearly popular too: As of September 2021, Humble Bundle has managed to raise over $200 million distributed across 50 different charities.
Many of the individual bundles have grossed over $1 million dollars and the Humble Original Bundle made over $10 million in sales. Mental.
Anyone interested in all things indie games who has yet to sign up for a Gamejolt account is truly missing out. We almost pity those people.
Gamejolt is a platform which hosts fan-run communities for practically every game under the sun.
The Gamejolt wiki page says that there are over 1.6 million communities for different games. Frankly, we didn’t even know that over one and a half million different games existed but hey, 150 million people use Gamejolt and we aren’t about to argue with them all.
Each individual community is fan-run and provides space for those fans to share all of their creations relating to that game, including music, fan art, videos and game art.
Just sign up, select a few of the different communities that you’re interested in and you’ll be presented with a customised feed of all the content uploaded for those communities (in the same fashion as any of the big social media platforms).
As well as the classic ‘Following’ feed described above, there’s also an ‘Explore’ section and a ‘For You’ tab that you can check out which shows you content Gamejolt thinks you might like based on your selected interests.
Those are the sections where new indie gems can be uncovered – and you don’t even have to do any digging yourself! The content literally gets fed to you.
We think it’s a really nice looking site and it’s also one of our favourite video games apps.
It looks fantastic on mobile devices and there’s a chat function, forums and shop to help get really stuck into the indie gaming scene.
GGJ (Global Game Jam)
Global Game Jam is rather unique in this list in the sense that it’s the only indie game-finding suggestion that isn’t strictly online or console based.
Yes, I know it’s crazy to think about in 2023, but some people do actually still meet up in person to discuss hobbies and work on projects with each other!
Global Game Jam is an annual, international event where developers and other creatives working on video games meet up to hash out new concepts, start new projects and generally tinker and pitch ideas to whoever’s willing to listen.
GGJ typically consists of 48-hour events (sort of like hackathons for video game developers) across multiple countries which are all loosely coordinated with each other.
The first event in 2009 had 1650 participants from over 50 countries, while the last in-person event in 2020 (the 2021 GGJ was online-only due to COVID) featured almost 50,000 participants in almost 120 countries.
It’s perhaps not something that the strictly casual indie gamer might get directly involved in, but if you do fall into the casual category, then it’s a good idea to follow GGJ accounts and tags on social media to keep up with any standout projects that emerge.
PlayStation Indie Games
PlayStation’s doesn’t really have a great answer to Microsoft’s Game Pass just yet – with PS4 and PS5 users making do with two separate subscription services: PlayStation Now (for downloading or streaming older titles) and PlayStation Plus (which is needed to play online multiplayer.
At the time of writing, there are rumours about a spring 2022 launch of some sort of service that merges Plus and Now (dubbed ‘Project Spartacus’) – we reckon this is pretty critical if Sony is going to compete in the current gen.
A well-executed Project Spartacus would open up what is a fantastic library of indie games that are already available for download/purchase.
Many indie titles have found huge global audiences of PlayStation users over recent years (Fall Guys, for example, was a particular COVID lock-down favourite for many of us at ProCasual), so Sony knows the appetite for indie is certainly there.
The indie games showcase on playstation.com is actually one of the most polished sites out there for finding new indie games.
There is plenty of news, previews and reviews of the top new indie titles, as well as info about free games and demos, developer spotlight interviews and a discover section that you can filter by genre.
If you’ve got a PS4 or 5, you’ll not be lacking indie content.