The new year holds a slew of possibilities, not least of which for indie gaming. From first person brawlers to top-down shooters, action adventures to platforms and so much more, the year’s release schedule is packed with titles primed to take gaming in several exciting new directions while celebrating where its been. Of the many currently in development however, these five indie games stand out as titles well worth keeping on your radar as we move into the new year.

Xeno Crisis

Inspired by the top-down arcade shooters of the late ’80s and early ’90s as well as the SciFi classic Aliens, Bitmap Bureau’s Xeno Crisis aims to bring the genre further into the current generation while also giving some love to the classic consoles which inspired it. Using a wide variety of weapons, players battle through randomly generated maps against waves of alien enemies, taking on bosses through five different areas. While it’s already notable that they’ve enlisted the help of a seasoned veteran with experience designing for classic games, the team also plans to release playable cartridge versions of the game for the Sega Genesis Mega Drive, set to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the classic console. Having well surpassed its Kickstarter funding goal and with an October release window, this will be a title you’ll want to keep an eye on as its development cycle continues.


Another Kickstarter darling, Arcade Distillery’s SkullPirates has made waves among the indie community since its reveal at PSX 2017. Players take the role of the Skull Queen and her crew, determined to plunder the island nation of Catannia in order to pay off the Skull Queen’s debts to Sharktavia and her fearsome band of loan sharks. Packed with witty humor, charming style and fast paced gameplay, the title has already garnered a passionate fan base, easily surpassing its funding goal and increasing the scope of what it hopes to include in the game. Slated for an October release on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Nintendo Switch, indie fans won’t want to miss this playful take on high seas hijinks.

Travis Strikes Again

You know you’ve made it when industry veterans take pages from your book, as is the case with Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture’s next title. After being sucked into a game world by the Death Drive Mark II, No More Heroes protagonist Travis Touchdown must battle through six different game worlds inspired by indie hits, including Hotline Miami, Shovel Knight and several more. The team will also be working alongside the creators of the original titles to make the game, setting the stage for what could be a one of a kind collaborative indie experience. Though the game only has a broad release window of 2018 at the moment, it has been pushed as one of the standout Nintendo indie titles to watch out for and shows no signs of breaking that notion any time soon.

Fight Knight

Who says a knight needs weapons to take on evil hoards? Using first person fist flailing action, players take the role of the titular character as he chases after the dark and mysterious moving fortress known as The Tower. Armed only with the knight’s fists, players must explore ever changing dungeons and battle through legions of the undead, bashing and smashing their way through them to uncover the treasure hidden at the top of the tower as well as the reason the Fight Knight refuses to pick up a weapon. Those interested can look out for the title on Steam and PC when it releases this June.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

After offering one of the most visually striking and punishingly difficult platformers around with Ori and the Blind Forest in 2015, Moon Studios is set to recapture the magic with their follow up, Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Players once again step into the role of Ori, a white guardian spirit, and Sein, the light and eyes of the Spirit Tree, as they seek to restore balance to the world once again. Based on the trailer, players will also deal with the aftermath of the events of the first game, as seen by the young owl mourning the remains of two larger owls at the trailer’s end. In addition to the original game’s composer returning to create The Will of the Wisps’ score, Milton Guasti, creator of the fan game Another Metroid 2 Remake, has been brought on board as a level designer, which anyone who played AM2R will tell you is a huge boon. No release window has been given at this time, but Xbox One and PC owners won’t want to miss any news that comes out about this promising title over the course of this year.

Know any other great indie games to watch out for this year? Be sure to mention it in the comments section below, and be sure to stay up to date on all of the latest happenings in indie gaming with Cliqist.

(ed: Conrad Zimmerman of Arcade Distillery worked briefly worked at Cliqist as an editor)

About the Author

Keenan McCall

Keenan McCall is a freelance journalist with experience in a variety of areas, but for whatever reason, he decided to cover everything related to nerd culture. From games to comics, anime to figures, TV to books and music, he’s always looking for what’s new from the world of entertainment and what it means for the people who consume it. It should also be noted that his Twitter feed is less a series of insightful thoughts and opinions so much as it’s a steady stream of memes, references and cute animal videos.

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