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

What are some of the best indie games on Xbox? Microsoft has got an absolutely fantastic indie program on the go these days and the team at [email protected] have released some incredible games over the past few years.

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 now want intimate gaming experiences that the more rigidly structured nature of multi-million dollar releases usually doesn't allow 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 Series X and S are home to three entire generations of excellent indie titles, amongst them some bonafide classics, so we've gone ahead and highlighted over 40 that we reckon you should absolutely check out as we roll in 2022. We've also gone ahead and noted whether or not each title here is available to play via Xbox Game Pass.

So, let's jump in!

Among Us (Xbox Series X|S)

Among Us (Xbox Series X|S)Among Us (Xbox Series X|S)
Publisher: Innersloth
Release Date: TBA

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

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Axiom Verge (Xbox One)

Axiom Verge (Xbox One)Axiom Verge (Xbox One)
Publisher: Thomas Happ Games / Developer: Thomas Happ Games
Release Date: 2016 (USA) / 2016 (UK/EU)

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)

Bastion (Xbox One)Bastion (Xbox One)
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive / Developer: Supergiant Games
Release Date: 12th Dec 2016 (USA)

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

Celeste (Xbox One)

Celeste (Xbox One)Celeste (Xbox One)
Publisher: Matt Makes Games / Developer: Matt Makes Games
Release Date: 26th Jan 2018 (USA)

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

Cuphead (Xbox One)

Cuphead (Xbox One)Cuphead (Xbox One)
Publisher: StudioMDHR / Developer: StudioMDHR
Release Date: 29th Sep 2017 (USA) / 29th Sep 2017 (UK/EU)

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

Darkest Dungeon (Xbox One)

Darkest Dungeon (Xbox One)Darkest Dungeon (Xbox One)
Publisher: Red Hook Studios / Developer: Red Hook Studios
Release Date: 28th Feb 2018 (USA)

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? Yes

Dead Cells (Xbox One)

Dead Cells (Xbox One)Dead Cells (Xbox One)
Publisher: Motion Twin / Developer: Motion Twin
Release Date: 7th Aug 2018 (USA)

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)

Death's Door (Xbox Series X|S)Death's Door (Xbox Series X|S)
Publisher: Devolver Digital / Developer: Acid Nerve
Release Date: 20th Jul 2021 (UK/EU)

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)

Deep Rock Galactic (Xbox One)Deep Rock Galactic (Xbox One)
Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing / Developer: Ghost Ship Games
Release Date: 13th May 2020 (UK/EU)

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)

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (Xbox One)Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (Xbox One)
Publisher: ZA/UM / Developer: ZA/UM
Release Date: Q3 2021 (UK/EU)

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

Firewatch (Xbox One)

Firewatch (Xbox One)Firewatch (Xbox One)
Publisher: Campo Santo / Developer: Campo Santo
Release Date: 21st Sep 2016 (USA)

If you want a narrative driven experience with a little less weight than What Remains of Edith Finch, then Firewatch seems like pretty much the perfect alternative. Not only is this game gorgeous, with its highly evocative and instantly recognisable aesthetic, it has some incredible voice acting and writing to boot. There's very little 'plot' in the traditional sense here, but what makes it all work so wonderfully well is the core relationship between its two central characters, and how you see this relationship grow and develop throughout the story. The actions you take, the events that occur...it all shapes who they are and who they become, giving you some level of agency over how it all plays out. Once the credits roll, you'll find you miss these characters and may want to experience it all over again.

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes

Genesis Noir (Xbox Series X|S)

Genesis Noir (Xbox Series X|S)Genesis Noir (Xbox Series X|S)
Publisher: Fellow Traveller / Developer: Feral Cat Den
Release Date: 26th Mar 2021 (USA)

Feral Cat Den spent six years working on this four hour long point and click adventure, and you can see and hear every one of those years on your screen as you play through the magnificent madness that is Genesis Noir.

A magical realist jazz trip that explores the cosmos, music and more through some stunning imagery and an excellent soundtrack, you're funnelled through a series of minigames here, working out how you interact with what's set before you, solving the task and hand and then settling back to enjoy wherever you're whisked off to next. It really is sensory overload, a truly unique and magical experience that you should absolutely seek out and enjoy - which shouldn't be too hard to do as it's on Game Pass. Enjoy the ride!

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes