Best Xbox Indie Games: 40 Of The Best To Try In 2022

What are the best Xbox indie games you can play as of December 2022?

Microsoft has got an absolutely fantastic indie program on the go these days, and the team at ID@Xbox have released some incredible games over the past few years, with many of them included on Xbox Game Pass.

Amidst the usual hustle and bustle of huge AAA releases, some of these smaller indie offerings have managed to strike out and captivate audiences, proof that many players are now hungry for the sort of gaming experiences that the more rigidly structured nature of multi-million dollar releases rarely allows for.

Indies really have managed to create some truly magical experiences over the years, and now more than ever, they've started creeping into awards listings and earning the kind of recognition and respect they've always deserved.

The Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are home to three entire generations of excellent indie titles, amongst them some bonafide classics, so we've gone ahead and highlighted over 60 (!) that we reckon you should absolutely check out as soon as possible. We've also gone ahead and noted whether or not each title here is available to play via Xbox Game Pass in December 2022, because we're nice like that.

Some of these games are already part of our best Xbox Game Pass games roundup, and we've also got guides for other types of games on Pure Xbox such as the best Xbox RPGs and best Xbox exclusives, with both of those featuring plenty of indie games as well. There's so much to choose from!

Right let's jump in.

Among Us (Xbox Series X|S)

We're sure you know what Among Us is at this point — the game has proved a massive success for developer Innersloth, and finally made its debut on Xbox consoles in 2021, as well as being included with Xbox Game Pass. It's a multiplayer title in which The Crew is required to complete tasks and try and identify the Impostors, while the Impostors' job is to try and kill the crewmates and frame bystanders. It leads to some hilarious fun, and if you've got a big enough bunch of friends for it, we highly recommend giving this one a try.

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes

Axiom Verge (Xbox One)

Thomas Happ's superlative Metroidvania feels like a little bit of a miracle to us. How on earth did one single person manage to create a game with so much depth and detail, an entry in its genre that can sit proudly beside your Metroids and your Hollow Knights? We don't know, but we're sure glad he pulled it off.

Axiom Verge is a delight from start to finish, a slick and polished action game with stunning visuals and a cracking atmosphere that reminds of us of the wonderfully oppressive and heavy vibes we got the first time we sat down with Super Metroid. There's brilliant level design here, plenty of upgrades and skills to unlock and secrets to find as you unravel the mystery at the heart of the story.

With Axiom Verge 2 having recently been released there's now a whole ton of Happ's incredible work to dig into but for us the first one is still the best and an experience fans of the Metroidvania genre owe it to themselves to try out.

  • Xbox Game Pass? No

Bastion (Xbox One)

Back before we had Hades, Supergiant Games gave us their very first game, Bastion, a fantastic action RPG in which you can see the DNA, the structure and bones of what would eventually become their future all-star Greek Odyssey.

Featuring some wonderfully crafted combat, the game has you running through a beautiful isometric world as "the kid" defeating all manner of enemies and slowly accruing the means to build up and develop your own settlement, the titular Bastion. All of this is backed by a narrator who cleverly describes your every move through the world. It has a fantastic painterly art style, too, and going back to it now it holds up just as well as it did the first time we played it back in 2011. It may have been around for a while, but Bastion is still a trip well worth taking and a really fascinating little history lesson for Hades fans to look back on.

  • Xbox Game Pass? No

Call of the Sea (Xbox Series X|S)

Out of the Blue's Lovecraftian puzzle adventure, Call of the Sea, first arrived on our shores back in 2020 and it still more than holds up as a striking, thought-provoking and artistically impressive experience that everyone should dive into.

The story of Norah's journey to a mysterious island in the South Pacific in search of answers related to her unexplained illness, this is a highly inventive game packed full of ingenious puzzles and excellent voice acting that helps drive along a truly engrossing core narrative that's packed full of surprises.

You can't help but get caught up in the style of this thing too, quite apart from all of the delightful puzzles and mystery, there's a striking Lovecraftian/1930's cinema/Del Toro-esque vibe here that really does just keep you hooked in for the entire five hour ride.

  • Xbox Game Pass? No

Celeste (Xbox One)

One thing the indie gaming scene always seems to nail is super tough, highly addictive platformers, and Celeste is perhaps the best of the bunch. What makes Matt Makes Games' sublime effort so brilliant is how it seamlessly weaves its narrative with gruelling but completely fair platforming that'll have you pulling your hair out whilst utterly unable to stop diving in for just one more shot.

Every tiny little room here feels like an almost insurmountable obstacle to overcome, acting as analogies for the protagonist's inner demons, demons she battles as the narrative progresses. It really did hit us on multiple levels and, even without the incredible gameplay, we'd have been pushing through to see the ending. It's a fantastic platformer, for sure, but an even better story.

  • Xbox Game Pass? No

Chained Echoes (Xbox Series X|S)

Matthias Linda's retro-styled RPG, Chained Echoes, arrived on Xbox Game Pass recently to rave reviews and, having just got to grips with it ourselves over the past week or two, it's not hard to see why.

There's a ton to admire here, with a deep and unique combat system that allows pairing of partners in exciting turned based battles and features an ultra move meter to get filling up in order to unleash fancy power moves. It's quick-paced stuff too, your team of fighters heal automatically after battles, so there's no need to count your health packs, just get stuck in and battle your hardest.

With a mature and satisfying story, impressively open level design that rewards exploration - and even allows you to choose your own path forward in places, this is a game that RPG fans would do well to jump into at the nearest opportunity.

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes

Citizen Sleeper (Xbox Series X|S)

One of the most unique and original life-sim RPGs we've ever clapped eyes on, Jump Over the Ages' Citizen Sleeper is yet another must-play indie triumph on Xbox.

With gameplay that's kind of like a tabletop RPG spliced with a visual novel, here you assume the role of a sleeper on the run from the clutches of an evil corporation, you find yourself on a space station with a body that's deteriorating and in need of constant repair. You play the game in cycles, heading to work, completing tasks and securing the supplies you need to keep on surviving.

In our 8/10 review we called this one "a game you simply need to sit down an experience for yourself", it's a gorgeous, haunting, wonderful thing that's got real substance about it, and style to spare. Trust us, you need to play this one.

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes

Cult Of The Lamb (Xbox Series X|S)

Massive Monster's Cult of the Lamb is yet another roguelike that's a fantastic example of all the very best parts of this highly addictive genre.

With a super cute art style and satisfyingly brutal action combined, this is a base-building game at heart, and one that's nailed a very moreish core gameplay loop of heading out on bloody crusades to collect supplies and level up, enlarging your camp, tending to and growing your flock of followers and partaking in tons of fun side activities.

There are a handful of roguelikes that just have that special something that keeps you playing for far, far longer than you initially had planned or expected to, and Cult of the Lamb is one of them!

  • Xbox Game Pass? No

Cuphead (Xbox One)

The delightfully stylish Cuphead is a fiendishly difficult run and gun/bullet hell effort that's grown a huge fan base since it originally released back in 2017.

Plonked into a glorious animated world that recalls the golden age of American animation, early Disney efforts and the likes of Betty Boop, players here are tasked with tackling a non-stop gauntlet of tough bosses, each of which is more challenging than the last. It's addictive, stylish and unique stuff and a title that's rightfully garnered almost universal acclaim since release. If you like your games tough as nails and stylish as heck, this one's for you.

  • Xbox Game Pass? No

Cursed to Golf (Xbox Series X|S)

Chuhai Labs' Cursed to Golf is one of our favourite indie games of 2022 because it manages to take the addictive core of a properly good golf game and fuse it with a whacky, witty adventure that's packed full of highly replayable good times.

Yes, in Cursed to Golf you begin your story being killed by a lightning strike and finding yourself in a hellish underworld run by the Greenskeeper. Here you'll need to play your way through 18 holes of hell golf in order to escape, but you've only got a limited number of shots to do it. What follows is a clever game with a solid roguelike setup that gets its mechanics spot on, serving up delightful golf action that's imbued with a ton of OTT abilities, abilities you'll need to make full use of to survive the madcap rounds you're pitted against here.

A super fun golf game packed full of crazy powers and courses and a surprisingly heartfelt story to boot? Sign us up!

  • Xbox Game Pass? No

Darkest Dungeon (Xbox One)

Red Hook Studios' 2016 roguelike is a dark and dangerous delight, packed full of Lovecraftian horrors and unimaginable terrors that must be dispatched if you're to restore order to your family house and name.

With a couple of wonderfully unique game mechanics, including an Affliction System that sees your units struck down with all manner of psychological states, and an ever-encroaching darkness that pits you up against the clock in dungeons, it's a thrilling turn-based RPG that keeps you tense and sweating all the way through as it explores the brutal toll that adventuring and battle takes on the heroes we place in harm's way.

There's a beautiful hand-drawn art style here, wonderfully detailed monstrosities to face off against, brutal and satisfying combat, sixteen classes to choose from and some tasty DLC to get stuck into once you complete the main game. Darkest Dungeon is a top-notch roguelike RPG and, with the sequel on its way, now is the perfect to dive in!

  • Xbox Game Pass? No

Dead Cells (Xbox One)

We've been playing and enjoying Dead Cells ever since it first appeared in early access on Steam way back in 2017. A heady mix of classic Metroidvania, roguelite and Dark Souls difficulty, Motion Twin has served up one of the truly great platformers of the last decade here, an atmospheric, slick and addictive experience that's grown and expanded over the years into something really quite special.

With new content constantly being added and new DLC recently released, this is a game we can see ourselves playing for some time to come and an experience you absolutely need to try for yourself. Dead Cells is a modern classic.

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes

Death's Door (Xbox Series X|S)

Acid Nerve has followed up the wonderful Titan Souls with this Zelda/Souls inspired action adventure that looks sublime and plays even better.

Death's Door is a beautiful, intricate little thing with surprisingly tough and moreish combat, clever puzzles and a world that's chock full of secrets and hidden areas for you to find as you blaze through its bosses, unlocking new skills that allow you to access more areas as you go.

There's so much style here, so much atmosphere, and it also doesn't outstay its welcome. Death's Door is a perfectly formed bit of magic from a developer everyone should be starting to sit up and take notice of!

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes

Deep Rock Galactic (Xbox One)

Have you played Ghost Ship Games' amazing Deep Rock Galactic yet? No? You fools! We discovered this one on Game Pass about a year ago and it's now one of our absolute favourite random finds on the service.

What you've got here is basically Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead, as you play as one of four dwarf classes, heading out on mining expeditions fraught with danger and delights. The hook? These mines and caves are home to some dreadful creepy crawlies that will attack you and your party at a moment's notice. The gameplay loop is super addictive, a wonderfully well balanced mix of risk and reward that challenges you, tempts you to push on further, deeper, in search of more treasure at the risk of death. Even the downtime between missions here is a great time as you can chill out playing mini-games, or downing pints at the bar. If you've yet to give this one a whirl, please do so, as it's absolutely guaranteed to please!

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (Xbox One)

ZA/UM's superlative noir detective adventure/existential nightmare generator is a staggering piece of work that combines table-top RPG mechanics with stellar writing and a brilliant cast characters to create something absolutely otherworldly.

We've played through Disco Elysium a handful of times now and there's always tons more to go back for. What kind of detective will you be, an absolutely straight-down the line investigator or mad, violent, drunken mess? How will you shuffle points around between intellect, psyche, physique and motorics? Which special skills do you wish to develop in order to help you investigate the body that's been hanging from a tree that kickstarts this wild adventure?

With amazing visuals and endless trippy conversations and dialogue choices to make along the way, this is a game like no other, a vast thing, a work of true depth and intelligence and a game you need to get stuck into ASAP.

  • Xbox Game Pass? No