16 Extraordinary Games You Need To Wishlist This Indie-Penance Day!

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A battle scene in My Familiar, set in a diner.

Astonishingly, this is the fourth year in a row Kotaku has celebrated Indie-Penance Day, since the holiday was invented to mark the liberation of gaming from the cruel rule of the British monarchy. To mark the occasion, we’ve picked a selection of some of the most interesting, enticing, unknown upcoming indie games that deserve to be on your radar.

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Oh my goodness, I cannot believe the range of fantastic-looking games we’ve got here. And I feel overwhelmingly guilty over the literally hundreds of games we haven’t included, that responded to our call-out.

I implore you, please go look through the 363 (at the time of writing) replies to this tweet, to see the most astounding variety of intriguing games. I’ve picked 16 of them at random here, but I could have kept going forever.

Yes, this is a slideshow. You will cope. It means we can write about unknown games and pay the staff. If you’re reading on mobile, it scrolls anyway, and if you’re not, narrow your browser until it tricks the site into thinking it’s in portrait.

It’s a roguelite! It’s a claw machine game! It’s a deckbuilder! No, agreed, that sounds like it makes no sense, but look at the video above! See! It’s a 2D Slay the Spire-style battling roguelite, but you get your weapons and attacks from a claw machine above you. I mean, that’s scientifically genius. It looks amazing, and will be in Early Access toward the end of 2024, and there’s a demo already. Also, it has the best name.

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Developer: Stray Fawn Studio

Release Date: Q4 2024

Wishlist

Forget whether you can pet the dog. What about whether you can be the dog? Tailgate has you playing as a Labrador trying to find his way back to his owner, while solving a mystery. It’s a sniff-based third-person game, from a doggy’s perspective.

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Developer: Dmytro Yarynych

Release Date: 2025

Wishlist

Kimmo Lahtinen is the developer behind two brilliant and woefully under-noticed games, Barbearian and Day Repeat Day. The two games couldn’t be more different, and the same is true for Lahtinen’s next game, Sektori, a bullet-hell twin-stick techno shooter, with the stated intention to “transport you into another state of consciousness.”

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Developer: Kimmo Lahtinen

Release Date: 2024

Wishlist

Very strong Zelda vibes in this “bite-sized” top-down retro RPG, except you’re not rescuing a princess. Nope, you’re rescuing your pup. This is from Canari, who gave us last year’s too-ignored Lunark, and promises a story-mode that’s then followed up by a “50-floor ‘Death Tower’.”

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Developer: Canari Games

Release Date: TBA

Wishlist

A Bollywood-inspired game, Aikyam looks beautiful. It describes itself as an RPG, while the footage seems to show some sort of QTE-based turn-based combat, all set within a paint-based explosion of color that seems very inspired by Holi.

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Aikyam is coming to consoles as well as PC, with the support of various Canadian funding groups. It looks very special.

Developer: Thousand Stars Studio

Release Date: TBA

Wishlist

We first saw a glimpse of Exophobia back in 2021, and now the 2.5D shooter is due to finally release toward the end of the month. Combining boomer shooter with Metroidvania, it’s about exploring a crashed spaceship, upgrading your weapons and powerups, and shooting hordes of enemies. And it looks fab.

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Developer: Zarc Attack

Release Date: 23 July

Wishlist

A black-and-white time-loop murder mystery, set in Brazil! It’s hard to argue you’ve played too many of those. However, rather than just looping against your will, here the game is about manipulating the situation to uncover all the secrets and solve the crime.

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The Posthumous Investigation is inspired by the works of 19th century Brazilian author, Machado De Assis, who I could pretend to have heard of, or just link you to the same Wikipedia article I just read.

This is coming from the co-developer of mobile game Slash Quest, which by odd coincidence is the game I’ve been playing on my tablet all week.

Developer: Mother Gaia Studio

Release Date: Q4 2024

Wishlist

Crafting games pretty much took over for a while there. But oddly, not a single one of them actually involved any crafting. CraftCraft looks to address this anomaly, letting you scavenge parts to build your own objet d’art, which you can then sell in your shop.

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Add to that the ability to befriend and romance your customers, and this looks like a winner. This is from the same team that gave us delightful oddity Death and Taxes back in 2020, so it’s great to see them return.

Developer: Placeholder Gameworks

Release Date: November 20

Wishlist

Nope, not a typo, it’s really Mushroom Musume. A spelling that isn’t even close to as strange as the game. This is about raising your very out mushroom child, from spore to… young woman? Calling itself a “life simulation game,” it sure looks a lot more like a super-fucked-up RPG to me, and I am very much wishlisting it as I type this. (Literally, I stopped mid-sentence and did it.) Ooh, and there’s a demo.

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Did the trailer… did it say “commit murder”?

Developer: Mortally Moonstruck Games

Release Date: Q4 2024

Wishlist

OMG, you have to check out the trailer above. Not only does My Familiar look utterly incredible, but the song! It’s by Mega Ran, and what a track.

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Meanwhile, back at the game, this is a turn-based “Isekai” RPG, where you must “fight, flee, and aggressively rap your way through a vibrant inner city gauntlet.” It looks stunning, and despite the far-off release date, there’s a demo already. Which I am now downloading. This looks like it deserves to go huge.

Developer: Chintzy Ink

Release Date: Q4 2025

Wishlist

Meanwhile, check out Mega Ran’s ode to fruit.

Are they voxels? They are voxels! Dawn Apart is a fully destructible base-building sim, that’s combining building a space colony with the high fashion of factory building. It’s about, um, colonizing a planet and exploiting its resources, so you’ll also want to defend your buildings from the locals. Except—phew—apparently you can just jack all that in and instead try to destroy the corporation by starting a rebellion!

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Developer: Industrial Technology and Witchcraft

Release Date: TBA

Wishlist

My job here is to write a useful summary of what the game’s about, but having watched the trailer above I just want to make explodey-bang noises with my mouth, then pa-chew pa-chew sounds as I pretend to fire magic spells. I think that would be the perfect description of Blood For The Old Gods.

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It describes itself as “a flintlock fantasy roguelite where you shoot, summon, and survive your way across the war-torn countryside,” but I still think “pa-chew!” captures it better. This looks stunning!

Developer: Foggy Box Games

Release Date: “Early Access Soon”

Wishlist

In case you’ve ever wondered what the criteria for guaranteed inclusion in a list like this might be, I will reveal it to you for reading all the way through this slideshow. It’s making your game entirely out of scanned-in pieces of fabric. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone else.

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That’s why Hyperdrive Inn is here, an adventure game set in an infinite hotel “on the edge of collapse.” It looks spectacularly bonkers, and there’s a demo to make sure.

Developer: Horsefly Games

Release Date: October

Wishlist

Third-person story-led game Spiral has a wonderful-looking aesthetic, and a very tough-sounding subject matter. It’s a game about cognitive degeneration, as an older man called Bernard says goodbye to his childhood memories. Handled well, this could be very touching. There’s a demo ahead of a September release.

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Developer: Folklore Games

Release Date: September

Wishlist

This looks a bit like if Hades hated you. A really ace-looking roguelite brawler, set in the world of an ‘80s graphic novel, in what promises to be a “punishing” game.

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What stands out to me in the trailer is how your own character’s attacks are telegraphed in the same way as the enemies’, with marks on the ground in front of you—I think that could be a really neat design. Oh, and all the blood. There’s a demo, too.

Developer: Viral Studios

Release Date: 2024

Wishlist

The stranger the premise, the more intrigued I become. Underboard wins here, with an aut0-battler set on a chess board that’s all about team-building. Yes please.

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You apparently will assign rules, spells and tactics to your team of characters before a battle, and then watch it play out accordingly. It looks absolutely ludicrous, and I can’t wait.

Developer: Headless

Release Date: 2025

Wishlist

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