Top 15 Hidden Gem Indie Games 2023: Gaming’s Best-Kept Secrets

2023 has been a remarkable year for indie games, with a plethora of titles capturing the imagination of gamers worldwide. The indie scene, known for its creativity and innovation, has once again outdone itself, offering a vast array of games that cater to every taste and preference. While it’s impossible to cover every deserving title released this year, we’ve curated a list of 15 indie games that, in our opinion, stand out for their uniqueness, storytelling, and gameplay yet remain underrated gems in the vast ocean of releases. From haunting adventures to whimsical journeys, these games not only entertain but also challenge and inspire. Let’s dive into these 15 under-the-radar indie games of 2023 that should make the holidays a little more interesting.

1. Meg’s Monster PC | March 2, 2023

Megs Monster

Meg’s Monster transports players to the Underworld, a realm where monsters feast on humans, setting the stage for an unexpectedly heartwarming tale. The story revolves around Roy, a formidable ogre, who, along with his friend Golan, encounters a little girl named Meg. Meg is no ordinary child; her tears have the power to unleash an apocalypse, a unique twist that drives the game’s narrative and mechanics. Players control Roy, tasked with protecting Meg while navigating a world where her emotional state can trigger catastrophic events.

We’re highlighting this adventure for its inventive approach to storytelling and gameplay. It’s a short, story-driven JRPG that blends traditional elements with innovative mechanics. Players must not only battle monsters but also manage Meg’s emotions, using toys and strategy to prevent her from crying. The pixel art style, characteristic of developer Odencat, adds charm to the game, making even the most fearsome creatures appear endearing. Meg’s Monster is more than just a game; it’s a journey through friendship and discovery, with emotional depth that lingers long after the credits roll. Its blend of narrative, unique gameplay, and visual appeal makes it a standout indie game of 2023.

In case you missed it, check out our review.

2. Fading Afternoon PC | September 14, 2023

Fading Afternoon

Crafted by the solo developer yeo, known for titles like Arrest of a Stone Buddha and The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa, Fading Afternoon offers a unique narrative experience. The game places players in the shoes of Seiji Maruyama, a middle-aged yakuza who steps back into society after a stint in prison. The overall narrative aims to challenge traditional yakuza game tropes, inviting players to explore the existential question: does anything really matter anymore? This philosophical underpinning sets Fading Afternoon apart from typical action games.

One of our favorite aspects of Fading Afternoon is how it offers multiple endings, adding layers of replayability and depth to the player’s decisions. Its combat system is intricate, providing a challenging and satisfying beat ‘em up experience. Mini-games and the freedom to explore the city add variety, ensuring that every player’s journey through Seiji’s life is unique. The game’s existential narrative, combined with its engaging gameplay, makes it a thought-provoking and memorable experience. Fading Afternoon isn’t just a game; it’s an exploration of life’s meaning and the choices we make, wrapped in an engaging, action-packed package.

3. Black Skylands PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Switch, PC | August 15, 2023

Black Skylands

Black Sklands melds elements of an open world, sandbox, top-down shooter, and action adventure into a captivating steampunk experience. Developed by Hungry Couch Games, this title thrusts players into the role of Eva, a brave young marshal. Players navigate an expansive world in the clouds, commanding their own airship to battle the invading Falcons and Swarm. The game stands out with its rich narrative, where players uncover ancient secrets and engage in intense aerial and ground combat.

The game offers a unique blend of sky and land battles, where players can customize their airships and weapons for different combat styles. The resource gathering and upgrade systems add depth, allowing for tailored approaches to challenges. Furthermore, the game’s visual aesthetic is striking, creating an immersive steampunk world that’s both visually stunning and rich in detail.

In case you missed it, check out our preview.

4. BOKURA PC | August 9, 2023


Bokura offers an interesting adventure to players as it is exclusively a co-op experience. This game requires two players on separate machines, each viewing the world through entirely different lenses—one sees a world of whimsical animals, and the other a realm of machines. This divergence in perspectives is central to the gameplay, as players must communicate and collaborate to solve puzzles and progress through the story.

The reason Bokura stands out as an underrated gem of 2023 lies in its innovative approach to cooperative gameplay. It manages to be an exploration of perception, communication, and connection. The fact that it cannot be played alone enhances its uniqueness, encouraging real-life interaction and teamwork. The narrative revolves around two boys who experience divergent realities after encountering a dead deer, which adds depth and intrigue to the gameplay. Its short playtime, around three to four hours, ensures a concentrated and impactful experience, perfect for players looking to immerse themselves in a unique and thought-provoking adventure.

5. Gravity Circuit PS4, PS5, Switch, PC | July 13, 2023

Gravity Circuit

Who really needs a new Mega Man when indie developers are proving that we can get by perfectly fine without him? Gravity Circuit is set in a futuristic world where sentient robots face a dire threat from the resurgent Virus Army. This game not only rekindles the spirit of classic 80s and 90s platformers but elevates the genre with intense action and an engaging narrative. Kai’s mission is to navigate through futuristic landscapes, combat the nefarious forces of the Virus Army, and thwart their plans for world domination.

Gravity Circuit excels in delivering high-octane platforming action, allowing players to channel their energy into powerful punches, achieving satisfying combos, and propelling enemies through the air. The game design smartly incorporates stages filled with secrets and civilians to rescue, adding depth and a sense of heroism to the gameplay. Each stage offers unique challenges and mechanics, ensuring that the players’ skills in platforming and combat are consistently tested. The acquisition of new powers as the game progresses keeps the experience fresh and exciting.

In case you missed it, check out our review.

6. RUNES Magica PC | June 28, 2023

RUNES Magica

RUNES Magica is a 2D roguelike magic action game with some pretty cool gameplay systems. Players embark on an avenging quest as Lunia, a young wizard whose life is upended by tragedy. Her father, a magician, falls victim to a false charge, pushing Lunia into a journey of vengeance against the knight king responsible for her father’s demise. This backdrop sets the stage for a deeply personal story interwoven with magic and the pursuit of justice. Players must navigate Lunia through a world filled with adversaries, from the relentless Knights commanded by the Knight King to bounty hunters with varied motivations. This constant threat adds intensity and urgency to Lunia’s quest.

RUNES Magica stands out with its intricate rune system, where Lunia has access to special rune magic, a legacy from her father, allowing her to utilize spells through rune synthesis. This system not only adds a layer of strategy to the gameplay but also a personal touch, as each spell reflects the legacy of Lunia’s father. The game further diversifies its playstyle with over 70 artifacts, challenging players to find the optimal combination for their journey.

In case you missed it, check out our review.

7. Absinthia PC | March 13, 2023


Absinthia is a turn-based RPG that intricately weaves the tale of Freya, a valiant yet scorned knight, and her apprentice, Sera, as they navigate through personal trials of loss, betrayal, and acceptance. The journey is marked by training, combat, and a deeper understanding of the threats they face, leading to a poignant exploration of the characters’ inner worlds and the realities of their external conflicts.

What sets Absinthia apart in the indie game landscape of 2023 is its harmonious blend of classic gameplay and narrative depth. The game revitalizes the traditional turn-based JRPG battle system with innovative features like a regenerating MP system, enabling a more dynamic and fast-paced combat experience. This, paired with the fun team-based attacks, adds to the strategic aspect of gameplay.

8. Slay the Princess PC | October 23, 2023

Slay the Princess 3

Developer Black Tabby Games has finally released their narrative adventure Slay the Princess. Imagine a path leading you to a cabin in the woods, and in that cabin’s basement, you find a princess. But here’s the twist: your mission is not to rescue her but to slay her. The stakes? Nothing less than the end of the world. This princess is no damsel in distress; she’s a cunning adversary who will charm, lie, and manipulate. She’ll promise you the moon and back, but beware, her promises come with a deadly price. Remember, the fate of the world is in your hands, so don’t get sidetracked by her deceptions.

This game is playfully deceitful in its premise and innovative in its execution. It features full voice acting by Jonathan Sims and Nichole Goodnight, adding a layer of immersive storytelling. Each background and sprite is hand-drawn with pencil and paper by the award-winning graphic novelist Abby Howard, lending a unique, artistic touch to every scene. But don’t let the art fool you; this princess is trouble with a capital T. Funny enough, it amusingly warns against any attempts at romance – it’s a no-go zone if you want to stay alive. With a narrative that branches based on your choices and beliefs, every decision impacts who you become and how the story unfolds. Slay the Princess is a refreshing roleplaying experience, fusing humor, intrigue, and the unexpected, making it a standout choice for anyone looking for something different in the indie game scene of 2023.

In case you missed it, check out our review.

9. Mediterranea Inferno PC | August 24, 2023

Mediterranea Inferno

Mediterranea Inferno offers a tantalizing journey into the sun-drenched landscapes of Southern Italy, but with a twist that goes beyond the typical summer adventure. Players join Claudio, Andrea, and Mida, three young men in their early twenties, as they attempt to rekindle their friendship and heal from the collective trauma of the 2020 pandemic. After two years of isolation, their reunion is marked not just by the joy of reconnecting but also by the exploration of deeper, more complex emotions. This isn’t just a story about friendship; it’s a journey into the heart of a bond that once seemed unbreakable, now tested by time and circumstance.

The gameplay in Mediterranea Inferno is as immersive as it is provocative. Players are in control of the trio’s daily activities, each choice unfolding new layers of their personalities, fears, and desires. Whether it’s a lazy afternoon by the pool, a night out at the club, or a haunting visit to a cemetery, each decision shapes the narrative in unexpected ways. The game promises to reveal not just the joys of rekindled friendship but also the shadowy realms of failed expectations, revenge, and retribution. Developed by the creator of Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star, this game is a blend of touching and disturbing elements, featuring a wealth of original illustrations and a soundtrack that captures the essence of this unique generational story.

In case you missed it, check out our review.

10. Amarantus PC | June 26, 2023

Amarantus 3

Amarantus presents a gripping tale of rebellion and personal growth set in a country under tyrannical rule. You play as Arik, a young man whose life is turned upside down following a midnight attack that leaves his parents captured and his home in flames. Faced with this harsh reality, Arik’s journey begins with a clear mission: gather a group of allies, journey to the capital, and overthrow the Lord who has plunged the country into despair. This quest isn’t just about the external struggle against tyranny; it’s also a deep dive into the dynamics of friendship, loyalty, and love.

The game’s allure lies in its intricate character interactions and the impact of player choices. As Arik, players navigate a world where their decisions not only influence the game’s political landscape but also define the nature of relationships within their party. The game playfully acknowledges the complexities of human connections through features like eye rolls from party members, learning to pronounce a comrade’s name correctly (which then updates in the UI), and the nuances of burgeoning romance. From playful banter to the thrill of unspoken affection, Amarantus captures the essence of human interaction in a way that’s both realistic and endearing.

In case you missed it, check out our review.

11. Rusted Moss PC | April 11, 2023

rusted moss

Rusted Moss invites players into a hauntingly beautiful world on the edge of collapse, where the remnants of humanity and their rusting creations are threatened by an impending faerie invasion. In this dire situation, humans have turned to their witches, arming them with stolen fae magic in a last-ditch effort to survive. However, amidst this bleak landscape, a twist in fate emerges: Fern, a changeling unknowingly raised by human parents, realizes her true identity and allegiance to the fae. Accompanied by the enigmatic shadow figure, Puck, Fern embarks on a quest to restore the fae to the world and end the Age of Men. Players face a pivotal choice: align with the humans or join the fae in their mystical crusade.

Rusted Moss stands out for its atmospheric storytelling and versatile gameplay. Players are tasked with mastering the grapple, navigating through a world enriched with over 20 unique abilities, customizable strategies, and a variety of weapons. The journey is punctuated by encounters with more than six formidable bosses, each presenting a distinct challenge. The game offers multiple endings, enhancing its replay value and inviting players to explore every facet of its rich narrative.

In case you missed it, check out our review.

12. The Silent Swan PS5, PC | November 2, 2023

The Silent Swan

The Silent Swan is an evocative first-person narrative game that takes players on a journey through the Land Beyond the Walls. The story centers around Mirov, who awakens seventeen years into the future and embarks on a quest to rediscover his past. This journey is not just a physical traversal across a changed world but also a deep dive into the mysteries and calamities that have reshaped his home. As Mirov inches closer to the truth, he is torn between the urge to continue and an unsettling feeling that perhaps some truths are better left undiscovered. The narrative weaves a complex tapestry involving two cities, Urzhum and Sernur, and explores themes of past conflicts and future uncertainties, all while intertwining the fates of Mirov and another key character, Selene.

The gameplay of The Silent Swan is a blend of exploration and storytelling. It is designed as a relaxed, slow-paced experience that combines open-level exploration with the immersive mechanics of a walking simulator. Players navigate a massive overworld defined by towering walls and sparsely located urban areas connected by landbridges. These terrestrial bridges traversed on quicycles add a unique dimension to the exploration. The urban areas themselves are vast, offering players the freedom to explore and unravel the story at their own pace. The game’s strength lies in its ability to engage players through its awe-inspiring landscapes and narrative depth.

13. Laika: Aged Through Blood PC | October 16, 2023

Laika Aged Through Blood

Laika: Aged Through Blood introduces a fresh and exhilarating twist to the gaming world as a Western-inspired motorvania set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. At its core, it’s a tale of oppression, resistance, and personal vendetta, narrated through the eyes of a mother coyote warrior. Driven by an unyielding desire for vengeance, she embarks on a relentless journey to reclaim what her people have lost to occupant forces. This narrative elegantly intertwines the broader theme of tribal struggle with the intimate story of a fierce warrior battling not just for her tribe but for her personal redemption.

Laika: Aged Through Blood is as dynamic and engaging as its storyline. Players get to navigate the vast, hand-drawn wasteland on a motorbike, an element that adds a distinctive flavor to the game. The motorbike isn’t just a mode of transport; it’s an extension of the player’s combat strategy, enabling fast-paced vehicular combat, thrilling jumps, and skillful maneuvers. The game elevates the excitement with slow-motion shooting mechanics and innovative ways to reload your gun, like performing a backflip. The power-ups are skill-based, adding depth to the combat and making each encounter with the game’s epic bosses and various missions a unique challenge. This blend of vehicular combat, a beautifully rendered post-apocalyptic world, and a deep narrative about familial bonds, vengeance, and loss make Laika: Aged Through Blood a standout title.

14. LAPIN PC | August 29, 2023


Lapin is a charming 2D platformer that tells the story of a group of adventurous rabbits forced to find a new home due to human renovations in their park. Players join Liebe, a white rabbit, and her companions – Captain, Bianca, José, and Montblanc – on a journey filled with new friends, rabbit-sized dangers, and stunning landscapes. This game is not just about the physical journey of these adorable rabbits; it’s an exploration of friendship, resilience, and discovery in the face of change. Each rabbit character brings their own unique personality to the story, enriching the adventure with diverse perspectives and experiences.

Lapin is engaging and dynamic, combining precise controls with speedy action to overcome various obstacles. Players navigate through different terrains, each presenting its own set of challenges to reach the end of the map. The game’s interactive elements extend beyond mere platforming; players can converse with their rabbit friends, gaining valuable information and forging stronger bonds. These interactions can lead to unexpected gifts and increase the player’s likeability with the rabbits, unlocking special photocards that capture memorable moments from the journey. The more players explore, the more they uncover about the rabbits’ past and present, enriching the overall experience.

15. Decarnation PC | May 31, 2023


Decarnation offers a unique and enthralling experience, blending the boundaries between reality and fantasy in a haunting, dreamlike adventure. Drawing inspiration from iconic surrealist works, including Silent Hill, Alice in Wonderland, and films by David Lynch and Satoshi Kon, the game immerses players in an intense, mesmerizing story that oscillates between dreams and nightmares. This eerie narrative journey invites players to explore the deepest and darkest corners of the human psyche, where everyday life intermingles with the macabre and the monstrous.

The story centers around Gloria, a cabaret dancer at a crossroads in her life. As she grapples with declining career prospects, troubled relationships, and waning self-esteem, a mysterious benefactor extends an offer that could change her life. However, this opportunity might either be a lifeline or a descent into a nightmarish abyss. Decarnation masterfully combines classic horror and adventure game elements with a diverse array of mini-games. Each challenge is carefully crafted, requiring players to exhibit thoughtfulness, quick reflexes, and coordination. From solving cryptic puzzles to confronting ominous adversaries, the game offers a rich and varied experience. Adding to the immersive atmosphere is the game’s soundtrack, featuring contributions from acclaimed artists like Akira Yamaoka of Silent Hill fame. The music perfectly complements the game’s themes, intertwining elements of horror and the paranormal to create an unforgettable experience.

As we’ve explored these 15 exceptional indie games, it’s evident that 2023 has been a year brimming with creative storytelling, innovative gameplay, and artistic brilliance in the gaming industry. Each game on this list offers a unique experience, whether it’s through captivating narratives, intriguing mechanics, or visually stunning worlds. While these titles may not have garnered the widespread attention they deserve, they undoubtedly enrich the gaming landscape with their distinct flavors and immersive experiences. So, if you’re looking to venture off the beaten path and discover some hidden treasures in the world of indie gaming, these 15 games are a great place to start.

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.