15 of the Best Indie Games to Play on Your New Xbox

15 of the Best Indie Games to Play on Your New Xbox

There are so many great indie games on Xbox Series X, but combing through the hundreds of titles available can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with what’s on offer. To help, we rounded up 15 of our favourite indie games we think every Xbox owner should play.

All 15 games are available for purchase on the Microsoft Store app or are downloadable at no additional cost to Xbox Game Pass subscribers. Note that Microsoft regularly adds and removes games from the Game Pass library, so some titles may no longer be available in the future, but they’re all included at the time of writing.

There are obviously way more indie games on Xbox Series X and Game Pass than those we cover here, so feel free to offer additional suggestions in the comments, too. And hey, if you’re a PlayStation player, we also have a companion list for PlayStation indies you should check out — though many of these games are also available on PS4 and PS5, as well.

Tunic

In this Game Awards-nominated action-adventure title, you’ll explore a mysterious island as a tiny sword-wielding fox. The tightly-designed world is packed with ancient woodland fortresses, eerie crypts, and strange ruins. Each location is teeming with tough (but surprisingly cute) monsters, mind-bending puzzles, and plenty of exciting secrets that will have you thinking, “wait, you can do that?” as more of the game is revealed to you through a novel in-game “instruction manual.” Tunic’s default difficulty is, well, difficult, but there are options to tune the challenge to suit your playstyle.

Signalis

Signalis is a spooky survival-horror game set in a dystopic far future where humans have colonised other solar systems. Players control LSTER (pronounced “Elster”), an android that awakens in an abandoned mining facility on the remote planet Leng. What follows is a mind-bending test of your survival and puzzle-solving skills that may have you questioning the very nature of reality. While Signalis is a spooky game that takes inspiration from classic Silent Hill and Resident Evil games, it’s not necessarily scary. You can play this one without fear of jump scares.

Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Blind Forest and its sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, are gorgeously animated 2D Metroidvania platformers. For those who don’t know what “Metroidvania” means, you’ll explore large, intricately-designed levels filled with platforming challenges and hostile monsters. As you explore, Ori unlocks new abilities that let you access new areas of the map and take on tougher bosses. Along with the rewarding exploration and fun 2D platforming, both games feature moving stories about protecting a magical forest from evil.

Weird West

This isometric action-RPG is set in a dark-fantasy reimagining of the wild west where gunslingers battle monsters with six-shooters, and magic is as common as horse-drawn wagons. Players have a surprising level of freedom over their adventure, outfitting their character with powerful skills that can affect the in-game environments in surprising ways. Players also have a remarkable degree of agency in the narrative — unlike some games that claim “every decision matters,” Weird West is one of the few that really means it. You may be surprised by just how much a small decision will alter the course of the story.

Deep Rock Galactic

Deep Rock Galactic is a cooperative first-person shooter with a novel theme. You and your friends take the role of space-faring dwarves employed by the Deep Rock mining company. Players need to work together to survive in the procedurally-generated mines of Hoxxus IV, a remote planet teeming with vicious alien life. You’ll use the precious minerals you find to upgrade your weapons and tools, enabling you to take on more dangerous missions and rise through the ranks of the Deep Rock’s company’s elite miners.

Death’s Door

In this action-adventure game, you play as a cute crow reaper. Claiming the souls of the recently deceased is your day job, but recent events see you stranded in a dimension where creatures can no longer die. Gameplay is a mix of exploration, combat, and puzzle-solving through a collection of imaginative realms filled with memorable characters, culminating in epic boss fights. A game about death might sound like an unpleasant experience, but Death’s Door pulls it off well. There’s no edgelord angst or sardonic nihilism, here. Rather, it’s a fun and charming adventure with a wholesome message about confronting life’s many challenges.

Outer Wilds

The universe is stuck in an endless time loop, and you’re here to find out why — and, hopefully, put an end to it. Players explore a varied solar system where each planet has its own unnatural weather, giant alien ruins, and anomalous events that you must solve before the time loop resets. As you learn more about the solar system and how it works, you’ll unlock even deeper mysteries about this strange solar system and its ultimate fate.

Chained Echoes

Like all great RPGs, Chained Echoes follows a party of heroes on a journey to bring peace to a war-torn world of Valandis, a technologically-advanced magical society where warring nations battle with giant, sword-wielding mechs. (Yes, you get to pilot them.) Chained Echoes features fresh twists on old-school RPG gameplay, and a mature story filled with well-written characters and surprising plot twists that help it stand out from the many other indie RPGs out there — a surprising feat for any game, but especially one made by just one person.

Hollow Knight

There are many indie 2D metroidvanias out there — maybe too many — but Hollow Knight is one of the few to reach the heights of the subgenre’s namesake. From the beautiful hand-drawn art style and meticulous world design, to the engrossing exploration and tense boss fights, Hollow Knight is a remarkable game that every search-action fan should experience.

Citizen Sleeper

Citizen Sleeper is an RPG that takes the genre back to its tabletop roots. You play as a “Sleeper,” an android imbued with an uploaded human consciousness, living on a ruined space station where thousands of people struggle to make ends meet. As if that existence wasn’t difficult enough, the megacorporation that built your mechanical body wants you back. You’ll use a mix of dice rolls and unlockable skills to explore the station, befriend (or betray) its inhabitants, and try to find a way to survive amid interstellar economic collapse.

Immortality

Immortality is an award-winning interactive fiction game where players investigate live-action videos of a missing fictional actress, Marissa Marcel (played by Manon Gage). As you scrub through three in-game films and “behind the scenes” footage featuring Marcel, you can pause and click on characters, objects, and other items to see if they appear in other clips, and eventually piece together clues into Marcel’s disappearance. While it’s hard to visualise how this all works, trust us when we say Immortality is a must-play for anyone who loves a good mystery story.

Norco

This point-and-click adventure game takes place in a dystopic near-future version of southern Louisiana. Players explore backwater swap sheds, crumbling strip malls, and giant industrial plants in search of their missing brother. The game features memorable characters, well-design puzzles, and lush pixel art drawn with a painterly style that captures the game’s suburban sci-fi setting.

Powerwash Simulator

Yes, this is a video game about power washing stuff, but don’t let its seemingly mundane premise turn you away. Powerwash Simulator is a surprisingly relaxing and rewarding game. Armed with your industrial-strength powerwasher, you’ll take on various cleaning challenges like stripping paint from a fence, or restoring an entire theme park from the ravages of rust and grime. There’s no better game on this list to unwind with after a long day.

Prodeus

Prodeus is a high-speed first-person shooter inspired by the gameplay of classics like DOOM, Quake, and Duke Nukem, but with modern controls and design. Like those beloved old-school shooters, Prodeus features a roster of sci-fi weaponry to use against the hordes of demonic enemies stalking the game’s labyrinthian levels. The game uses a unique rendering style where the in-game models resemble 2D sprites, but are still affected by the modern, real-time lighting effects, resulting in a colourful — and chaotic — art style.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley opens with your character inheriting their grandfather’s farm just outside the idyllic Pelican Town. Players sew and grow crops, mine for ore, fish, and even battle monsters in the surrounding wilderness, then sell their harvests to upgrade their homes and tools. Along with the farming sim and light action-RPG gameplay, you also venture into town to mingle with the townsfolk, taking on errands and side-quests for them. You can even date and marry several of the characters.

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