The best independent video games of 2022: which ones to buy?

The best independent video games of 2022: which ones to buy?

The best independent video games of 2022

Having digested the Christmas lunch, unpacked the presents and finalized the preparations for the New Year, the time has come to reflect on the best independent video games of 2022. I admit it, it's always wonderful to look at the past, look for new stimuli and remember beautiful experiences, but how important is it, instead, to look for the beauty that so many noble productions dream of in the most unusual productions? It was an incredible year for the independent market, with homegrown productions that sailed the sea of ​​panorama with the wind in their sails and many others that no one would have given a penny to, not expecting acclaim of any kind at all.

Many works have lived, some have been detailed and even unforgettable. The independent market, however, is not only this: on GameDivision I spoke to you in various previews of Amber City, Paper Cut Mansion and many other works that have outlined an impressive qualitative line. On the other hand, what could we ever expect from a panorama that, year after year, is defining the market itself with new ideas and additions?

When it comes to indie, however, someone immediately thinks of music, and mentions almost always Death Cab For Cutie or Dashboard Confessional. With video games, however, everything takes on a different meaning, because now everything revolves around what is independent and what, on the other hand, is not. But better to proceed calmly, talking about the best productions released this year.

The best indie games of 2022


Let's start right away with a bang, and it couldn't be otherwise. Tunic, developed and curated by one person, is the example of self-sacrifice and commitment that truly belongs to a few game designers. Andrew Shouldice is second to none in that respect.

By squeezing Zelda-like mechanics into a more modern context, he was able to create one of the best experiences of the year. You play a fox armed with a sword and shield in a world which, according to the creator, sees the little protagonist in a foreign and unknown world, where everything is pleasant and mysterious. The events, which are discovered gradually, therefore tell of a land of irresistible charm, dominated by corrupt creatures, skeletons and other amenities .

A feature that struck me, however, as I explored the work and all its branches better, was the use of the game manual in the options menu , useful for better understanding the evolution of the experience as much as to assimilate every facet of it. A work that captures with its artistic direction and its seraphic ways, projecting itself into a panorama that badly needed productions of this caliber. When past and present meet, something absolutely unique can only be born.


NORCO is a city in Louisiana, a chaotic place, full of factories and artificial rivers. The water is dirty with blood, pitch and chemicals that have erased the vegetation. It's December, in NORCO , and Santa Claus has no presents to deliver , but he is asking for money in the main alley of the city to get food so as not to starve, wearing a rumpled and ruined red suit.

Like him, other citizens, who however manage to unravel it, while the corporations get richer. Someone counts the coins and someone else loses count of the people killed, not remembering whether they are eleven or twelve. He will write ten, to round up and because he doesn't want to start counting again.

NORCO is a pixel art narrative adventure developed by Geography of Robots. The main feature of the game is the carefully implemented investigation part. Kay is a young girl who left the city years ago, and who returns to NORCO for the funeral of her mother, who died of a terrible disease. He learns that his brother, who disappeared mysteriously, is involved in shady deals that could endanger not only their lives but also the rest of the city.

A story written with care and attention, enhanced by a narration fluid and descriptive, and that leaves nothing to chance. Not a breath of fresh air due to the chemical fumes from the NORCO factories, but still a video game to consider especially for those who are subscribed to Xbox GamePass.

Endling – Extinction is Forever

Always in the guise of a fox even if without a sword and shield, it turns out that the world has collapsed due to an apocalyptic event that has pulverized almost all living beings. Probably the causes are nuclear bombs dropped during yet another war that never changes, judging by the trees and craters.

It is never wise to bring children or puppies into the world at a time like this, but Herobeat Studios decided to have its own way, telling a sad story. The mother fox, giving birth to her cubs, is forced to protect them and procure food, making complex and questionable choices for their survival.

Playing Endling – Extinction is Forever , I felt empathy towards the mother fox, who finds herself in a drastic situation. It's a difficult, different world and no one seems to be willing to have mercy on those who want to give a new light to the world. The past one is dormant, dead and consumed. It needs a new glow. And if it has to be an animal, then so be it.


Unmissable as never before, Sam Barlow's work is one of the best of this long year made up of many different productions that helped make it memorable and meaningful. Having tested a winning system that is now able to have its say, the famous game designer who has collaborated in the past on some Silent Hill chapters has managed in recent years to offer various very detailed and significant experiences, combining cinema and video games with the care that it only distinguishes great talents.

The story is about Marissa Marcel, played by the actress Manon Cage, who participates in some films that have never been released in theaters. She is a curious and talented young woman, a pearl of American cinema who is just waiting to be successful. The story may actually seem quite classic and already seen elsewhere, but there is much more under the surface: a mystery to be solved in a completely original way, although already tested by Sam Barlow himself in the past with Her Story and Telling Lies.

By breaking down, arranging and adjusting the films of three films that have never been released, we rediscover the story of the young woman, who finds herself in a limbo to be understood through confused frames. Can cinema and video games coexist? The answer to this question, looking at Immortality, is a resounding yes.


Fear is a primary feeling that strikes unexpectedly. It comes suddenly, when there is something so scary that it is impossible to resist. Signalis , developed by rose-engine, starts with these premises , making people talk about itself and its excellent qualities .

Developed by only two people, the German team managed to recover the atmospheres of Resident Evil from the past and of Silent Hill, creating an interesting and intriguing context of the game. Strong in iconic characters, which can be encountered throughout the story, Signalis is striking for its game structure, which combines investigation, exploration and puzzle solving to continue within it.

A a certainly less successful detail, which I have already pointed out, is the shooting: sometimes imprecise, not very accurate and out of focus, it fails to be as convincing as the rest of the production. Net of this, however, Signalis is certainly one of the best video games you can get your hands on. And it is also available on Xbox GamePass.

Gerda: A Flame in Winter

Developed by PortaPlay, Gerda: A Flame in Winter is an independent production available on PC and Nintendo Switch. It is another narrative adventure which, unlike the others, is set during the Second World War. The protagonist is the young Gerda Larsen, a nurse who finds herself having to search and rescue her husband Anders, held captive by the Germans.

A moving, terrible and engaging game world, told as if it were a sad fairy tale during one of the darkest times in human history. Gerda finds herself talking to people torn between duty and humanity, while the Third Reich, now almost defeated, is even more dangerous and lethal. A story of passion, friendship and love. A young heroine of modern times who finds herself having to fight for survival, while the Nazi regime crushes the lives of the desperate. After all, war never changes.

Freud's Bones

I have already spoken of the independent video game Fortuna Imperatore in the past, citing it among the most iconic works of the landscape. Doing it again costs nothing: I'm talking about a video game that deals with the theme of psychoanalysis and the life of Sigmund Freud, the famous Austrian neurologist. Vienna, city of luxury, literature and science, is the setting for this truly unique point-and-click narrative adventure.

A story based on inner discovery and one's own weaknesses, which coexist with each other. the others, creating something truly new and unmissable, capable of both enhancing a story and making people understand how complex the human mind is.

Vampire Survivors

How not quote what is, after all, the work of the moment? Developed by Luca Galante, Vampire Survivors is certainly the most popular roguelite of this year. After a period in early access, it was released in its full version, and a DLC was recently released that further expands the gaming experience.

Incredible and always ironic, are the names chosen for the various protagonists of the events, which recall the Italian trash in all its various forms. An example is the Clerici and the wad, which someone will surely remember very well. To make the experience characteristic and fun, there are achievements that can be unlocked as you progress through the game experience. A successful video game that encourages you to grind hours after hours, born from the mind of a game designer who would never have expected such a success.

I Was a Teenage Exocolonist< /h3> When it comes to global warming and climate, the world of video games is certainly the most sensitive to the issue. Developed by Northway Games and Sarah Northway, I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is about a future in which the Earth, hit by natural disasters caused by rising temperatures, has now become uninhabitable. The only way to survive at the end of everything is to reach the planet that hosts life most of all, rebuilding a new home for mankind.

The work, openly ecological, is designed for a vast audience and certainly sensitive to the issue, yet he knows how to speak superbly even to those who have never followed the campaigns in this regard with dedication. It is a video game with a moving story, backed by a masterfully written and detailed narrative. A video game that makes you think, wonder where you're going and understand how to become better to save the planet. Humanity has only one available at the moment. Better take care of it.


Inevitable in such a list, is Sifu , developed by the independent team Sloclap. Nominated for the recent The Games Awards, it is the most significant fighting game of the year, in which I enjoyed taking and giving (more taking than giving, actually), clearly raising the qualitative bar of the indie market.

An impossible work not to have on the shelf, especially if you love Bruce Lee, kung fu and his arts. In Sifu you beat yourself up, you defend yourself, you die and it repeats itself endlessly, growing old without losing your hair, which however becomes longer and whiter. Warning: it could be addictive.

What to expect from the independent world in 2023?

The year, certainly filled with iconic and unique productions, is drawing to a close in better way . Normally, it is from garages and small development houses that wonders happen, where we study, improve and refine ourselves to create noteworthy works. This 2022 has been an absolutely productive year.

In one way or another, everything has been improved. And we could have mentioned South of the Circle or Paper Cut Mansion, but it's impossible to mention them all without going into length. 2023, considering the many releases, could offer quality ones as early as January. We just have to wait for next year.

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