10 indie gems on Steam that are worth your time and hard-earned dosh

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It's basically raining indie games on Steam, all the time. You can't go a day without looking at the New Releases section of the Steam Store and seeing a list of indie games. They're everywhere! But if you've dipped your feet into the indie pool before, you know they can be a gamble without some research.

What's the best way to find indie games on Steam you'd like? Well, going to a game's Store page, checking out the similar titles at the bottom of the listing, and checking their reviews and discussion forums are technically the best way.

But man, that takes effort.

More often than not, I just buy my indie games based off recommendations from other similarly-minded individuals. Most of my friends also make their purchases based off word of mouth. You can make a bad purchase even when going off recommendations -- but that's what refunds are for. Sweet, sweet refunds.

There's a lot out there to wade through, and you mostly base your indie buys off word of mouth anyway. Don't lie, I know you do. Why not take a look at some of mu suggestions? You (probably) won't be disappointed. I think. Maybe.

Only one of these games is an early access title, and many have demos. What's there to lose? Aside from your future.

Published Feb. 25th 2016
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Featured Correspondent
    Devil Daggers and Superhot.

    Devil Daggers is just a super well made easy to learn hard to master wave shooter, set in hell. It had amazing sound design and looks beautifully horrific. http://store.steampowered.com/app/422970/

    Superhot is the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years, where time only moves when you do (well... it crawls at a very very very slow speed when you don't move. http://superhotgame.com/discount/#9EFC95319845
  • Ashley Gill
    Associate Editor
    I agree Devil Daggers is a good game, I'd considered including it on this list but ultimately it got cut this time around. Definitely fun and just brutal enough to keep coming back to and trying to get a high score.

    I haven't played SUPERHOT yet, but I've had my eye on it. May find its way on my next recommendation list if it can make the cut.
  • topher339
    If I was to add one game it would be Dust: An Elysian Tale. I don't usually play indie games (in fact the reason I got the game was that it was free with XBox Live Gold) but I really, truly enjoyed this one. I actually wound up buying it on Steam as well.
    The game was well done in every aspect. Considering that the game was done almost entirely by one guy, it's rather impressive.
  • Ashley Gill
    Associate Editor
    Dust: An Elysian Tale is deceptively good. A lot of people are put off by the art style and just brush it aside, but it plays really well and is just a great game overall.

    It was actually on my shortlist of games to include in this list, but ended up getting cut for a lack of variety (half of what's listed here are platformers). It will definitely be getting a mention next time I compile noteworthy, less mentioned indies on Steam.

    If you liked Dust, you may want to give Valdis Story a shot as well. It's not a far cry from it, though the combat is a different, more meticulous type of beast. I highly recommend trying the demo.
  • topher339
    Valdis Story certainly held my interest more than others on the list. As said, it looks a lot like Metroid in style and gameplay. I'll download the demo and check it out.
  • Mathenaut
    Bonus points for Endless Legend.

    The entire Endless series is great.
  • Ashley Gill
    Associate Editor
    Agreed. I loved Endless Space despite its faults and am looking forward to the sequel. Dungeon of the Endless is a great roguelite strategy, though I admit I haven't played it in quite some time.

    Amplitude really know what they want to make, and when they do they bring their A game. They're an independent studio shooting for the stars and they are doing an amazing job.
  • Samuel Smith
    Featured Contributor
    Some great games here, I'm a huge Risk of Rain fan and just starting to get into Valdis Story. Have wanted to try Wings of Vi but don't think I can cut it!
  • Ashley Gill
    Associate Editor
    Risk of Rain is one of my favorite games of all time. I've spent far more time playing it than I'd like to admit and I am most certainly looking forward to the dedicated servers on the PS4 version. The PC version's netcode just doesn't cut it.

    Valdis Story is really great, just keep at it! From the two default characters, Reina is definitely more fun in my opinion. Wyatt isn't bad for sure, though.

    Wings of Vi is really fun regardless of difficulty. Easy mode is obviously slapped together (obviously inserted platforms, etc.) but it's far more do-able than Normal for your average skill level. It was definitely one of my favorite games last year and it's great, but it's entirely unforgiving.

    If you like the games you talked about, you very well may want to try Vagante. I was really surprised by it and it's really amazing if you like action roguelites and platformers. Check out the demo!
  • ZGoten
    Featured Contributor
    Valdis Story is a great game with an amazing soundtrack. It definitely deserves more attention!
  • Ashley Gill
    Associate Editor
    Agreed, it's definitely a hidden gem even among primarily indie game players. Maybe it's because they took so long to release the third and fourth characters? Maybe one playthrough too short? I don't know, but it's one of my favorite platformers released on Steam in the past few years.

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