New and upcoming game developers are going wild with crazy ideas in the indie space. Gaming is becoming more and more accessible for the average game developer, which makes it no surprise that so many awesome indie titles are hitting the market. But among the masses of indie titles out there, not many are free. So, which are the best indie games free right now on Steam? So, here’s a list of our top picks.
There are tons of creative and inspiring indie games bustling on the Steam store these days, and it’s hard to pick one good indie game among the masses of many mediocre titles. If you play indie games daily or enjoy casual gaming from a new developer now and then, there are plenty of free options on Steam.
1 – Helltaker
Helltaker is pretty exquisite in its soft but reddish art style, but aesthetics aside, the game is damn-fun and addicting from the get-go. It’s basically a short puzzle game where you navigate the depths of hell through various stages and meet up with demon girls. But this short puzzle comes with a challenge. You have to complete every stage with a limited number of moves and reach the end goal.
Despite its simplistic nature, the game oozes charm and quality, and just from the presentation alone, you can tell this was made with love and passion. Right off the bat, the art style and writing of Helltaker is second to none, giving players a taste of memorable designs paired with some hilarious interactions. It’s funny and witty but also challenging. And the best part is that this game is free with no entry price, and you can pick it up on Steam with a simple click.
The gameplay loop is intuitive and fun enough to keep you engaged for hours on end. It’s a good replacement for those big-budget AAA games. The game was released in 2020, but it still has so much fun with its timeless gameplay.
2 – Cave Story
Cave Story is practically a cult classic at this point. This phenomenal indie game managed to change the whole indie game development landscape as a whole. If you don’t know how old this game is, it was initially released in 2004 and was one of the first-ever Metroidvania games to hit the market. And the most amazing part is that a one-person team developed this game.
So, what do you do in Cave Story? You take control of a chibi, angry pixelated fellow with a red cap and traverse numerous subterranean environments. The game mostly focuses on exploration and platforming with a sprinkling of combat. You wield a gun and battle many small subterranean creatures like frogs. This game holds up incredibly well today, and the gameplay loop is still satisfying–owing to its fast-paced nature.
And the cherry on top is the timeless-pixelated art style that wreaks of charm. There’s lots of exploration and things to discover in Cave Story, and the best part is that you can do it all for free.
3 – Brawlhalla
Brawlhalla is, without a doubt, an indie fan favorite now. This game is practically free to play on all platforms, and you can also pick it up for free on Steam. It’s basically a fighting platforming game similar to Super Smash Bros, along with cross-platform multiplayer support. From the get-go, you get access to a roster of 6 characters with their own set of unique attacks and combos. And with this fighting game comes a skill ceiling, and multiplayer matches can be pretty challenging.
Brawlhalla is a mix between platforming and fighting. The combat, all-in-all, is pretty fast-paced, and you’re tasked to master the basics of the mechanics of its movements which involve dashing, wall-jumping, and jumping in general. It features loads of versatility and verticality. And paired with an always active online community, you can jump head-first into hours upon hours of end.
And aside from the online aspect, you can also participate in local co-op and couch with some friends and family members. Overall, Brawlhalla is a top free pick on Steam, and it continues to offer loads in terms of gameplay and fun.
4 – Doki Doki Literature Club!
Doki Doki Literature Club! It was an indie game that seemed to be a virtual dating sim on the surface, but it was a lot more than that. It has a lighthearted charm from the get-go, where you meet up with a classmate on the way to school. This indie game presents itself as a cute, anime-style visual novel where you meet some girls as a part of your school’s literature club, but things get pretty serious right off the bat.
In its essence, Doki Doki Literature Club! is more than just a casual visual novel as it tends to break the fourth wall from time to time and manages to even scare the living daylights out of you if you end up being too immersed. We’re trying to keep it as spoiler free as possible because the less you know about it, the better.
The game offers loads of content to indulge in and deeply emphasizes creepiness. And you might as well find some weird files on your PC if you’re not too careful. Even after you end the game, you can continue replaying it to unlock all the alternate storylines. And when you’re done with the entirety of the game, you check out some mods put up by the Doki Doki community.
5 – Super Auto Pets
Super Auto Pets was a hit back when it was released in 2021, and it’s still a pretty fantastic auto-battling game for the low price of nothing. What makes it so great is that it removes the complexities of the mechanics seen in games like Hearthstone and TFT and presents it in an easy-to-understand manner to anyone who can fire up a PC. Yet despite all that, it has a pretty easy learning curve, holding your hand as it ramps up the complexity factor.
The gameplay is pretty simple to get by. You stack a team of five animals together and have to duke it out with the enemy team. Different animals are granted other functions and abilities. The game aims to get around ten wins within an allotted time frame. But if you lose, you’ll have to start from the beginning.
The game presents itself in this visually bright but simplistic art style with cute animals, bowls of salad, or mushrooms. The animals get even cuter as some of them dawn fedoras. As for the gameplay loop, it gets addictive as an indie game can get.
6 – The Supper
The Supper is a short indie game for the most part. But where it shines is its simple yet masterfully crafted pixelated graphics that ooze with detail. You play as the curious Ms. Appleton, who embarks on a journey to collect ingredients to make a special dish for her customers. The world has a spooky and mysterious, pixelated look to it.
The game’s whole premise revolves around exploration, finding ingredients and solving puzzles, unlocking secrets to attain said ingredients. And it wouldn’t be wrong to say that this game shines with character. It’s one of the more memorable indie games we’ve played. So try it out and have a spin–it’s something you haven’t seen in an indie game before. It’s available on Steam for next to nothing.
All-in-all, the Supper left us craving more when we finished it. The unfortunate part is that it’s more like an appetizer rather than a full meal. But it hits all the great hallmarks of a spectacular point-and-click adventure.
AAA blockbusters are all fine and dandy, but the world of the best free indie games is full of life as new developers release more and more indie titles for players to enjoy. The indie scene has never been as lively as in 2023, with many undiscovered gems waiting to be unearthed. From charming and alluring graphics to simply addictive gameplay loops, indie games sometimes scratch that gaming itch better than AAA games ever do.
Whether it’s the dark and creepy nature of the seemingly lighthearted nature of Doki Doki Literature Club or the button-mashing, action-packed, fighting gameplay of Brawlhalla, you can’t go wrong with any of our top free indie game picks on Steam.