Now that we are nearly two weeks into a new year, it's time to look ahead at the games we'll get a chance to play over the next 12 months. Last year was brutal for anyone covering (not to mention buying) indie games, with wall-to-wall new releases almost every month. I can already tell 2018 will be no different. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but here's 20 indie games to keep an eye out for in 2018.
Iconoclasts (PC, PS4, Vita)
January 23rd, 2018
Our first game on the list is one that you don't need to wait very long to play. This action-platformer has been in development for seven years, largely by a single person. Play as the renegade mechanic Robin on this story-driven epic to repair a dying world, and the people that call it home.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
The sequel to Fatshark's visceral Skaven murder simulator is just around the corner. Vermintide 2 will feature deeper character customization and a new threat in the form of the Warriors of Chaos and their demonic overlords. If you preorder the sequel right now, you'll get access to the beta and a free piece of DLC for the original game.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
February 13th, 2018
It's been a while since the historically accurate medieval sandbox RPG Kingdom Come was successfully funded on Kickstarter, but the final release is nearly upon us. Explore the massive Kingdom of Bohemia as you fight to repel an invading army and get revenge on the man that killed your family.
11 Bit Studios
The developers of This War of Mine have a new game in the works called Frostpunk. Like This War of Mine, Frostpunk is a survival game, except this time around it's about trying to manage an entire society on the brink of collapse. Make difficult choices to ensure your city survives another year in a frozen wasteland.
Griftlands is a 2D open-world RPG by Klei Entertainment, a personal favorite of mine when it comes to awesome indie developers. Build a gang and make your fortune in a lawless society where anything and everything can be bought for the right price. Klei has another game you should keep an eye on called Oxygen Not Included, which is currently in Early Access.
Death's Gambit (PC, PS4)
Adult Swim Games has developed a reputation for publishing rock-hard, retro-inspired indie games, and Death's Gambit looks to be more of their usual fare. You play as an agent of Death, executing your master's will as you slaughter all manner of beasts and monsters in a primitive, medieval world. Insert cliché comparisons to Dark Souls here.
System Shock (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Night Dive Studios
Long before BioShock was even an idea, System Shock was one of the franchises everyone thought about when it came to FPS/RPG hybrids. Following the release of System Shock Enhanced Edition and a successful Kickstarter campaign, developer Night Dive Studios started work on a complete reimagining of the original game. Hopefully we'll be seeing the fruits of their labor before the second half of 2018.
Underworld Ascendant (PC)
System Shock isn't the only classic first-person RPG franchise getting a new game this year. The Ultima Underworld series returns under the name Underworld Ascendant. Delve into the Stygian Abyss once again in this non-linear RPG that emphasizes player choice and emergent gameplay.
Aquanox: Deep Descent (PC)
Continuing the trend of classic franchises being reborn in 2018, the six degrees of freedom shooter Aquanox is getting rebooted sometime this year, thanks to a successful Kickstarter and the help of THQ Nordic. Customize your submarine and send your enemies' bullet-riddled corpses to the depths of an uncaring, dystopian ocean.
Indivisible (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch)
Lab Zero Games
Originally crowdfunded back in late 2015, Lab Zero's RPG Indivisible is due to release sometime later this year. The game features their signature hand-drawn animation, an active combat system, and action-platforming elements that play a role in dungeon exploration. The game already had a pretty solid foundation in the 2015 prototype, so I'm looking forward to seeing the final result.
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (PC)
The sequel to Obsidian's old-school RPG hit Pillars of Eternity is set to release sometime this year, though we don't have an exact date yet. The action this time around moves to the dangerous Deadfire Archipelago, as your party pursues a rogue god. Befitting the new tropical island setting, players will be given command of their own customizable ship that acts as both a means of travel and a home base.
Children of Morta (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Children of Morta is a story-driven action rogue-lite about the Bergson family. Not only will you be doing plenty of dungeon-crawling and monster-slaying (with optional co-op), but you'll also have to manage and care for your family back at their estate between adventures.
Cryptark was one of my favorite sleeper hits of 2017, and Alientrap already has a sequel lined up. Gunhead follows the same basic gameplay loop of raiding heavily-armed space hulks for artifacts and resources, but switches the perspective from a 2D twin stick shooter to a fast, old school-inspired FPS.
Alientrap is going to have a busy 2018, because they plan on releasing a second game this year, called Wytchwood. This crafting adventure places you in the shoes of the mysterious old witch of the woods, in a fantasy world inspired by ancient pagan fables and fairytales. Gather herbs, brew magical potions, and pass judgment on the nearby townsfolk.
Industries of Titan (PC)
Brace Yourself Games
The developers of Crypt of the Necrodancer are back with a new game that is quite the departure from their hit rhythm rogue-like. Industries of Titan is a city building and management sim set in a dystopian cyberpunk future. Build a thriving industrial metropolis on Saturn's moon, Titan. Design warships and amass your own private armada to protect your assets from rival corporations.
MOTHERGUNSHIP (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Terrible Posture Games
MOTHERGUNSHIP is the spiritual successor to Terrible Posture's bullet hell FPS rogue-lite, Tower of Guns. MOTHERGUNSHIP promises to keep the core gameplay formula of Tower of Guns intact, but will add the ability to design your own arsenal of insane and over-the-top weaponry.
Hellmut: The Badass from Hell (PC)
Hellmut is an upcoming bullet hell rogue-lite about slaughtering hordes of demons with absurd guns and abilities. The key feature of the game is the Transformation mechanic, which allows you to polymorph into different characters with unique attacks. Preordering the game on GOG gives you instant access to the current beta build.
Tunic is an adorable isometric Zelda-like adventure game where you play as a tunic-wearing fox boy. Explore a massive low-poly world full of intricate puzzles and dangerous foes. The developers eventually want to bring Tunic over to consoles, but no systems or release dates have been specified.
The Last Night (PC, Xbox One)
If you watched the Microsoft E3 conference last year, you probably remember this gorgeous 2.5D narrative platformer. The Last Night quickly became one of the most talked about surprise reveals at E3 2017, and hopefully we don't have to wait long until we get a chance to immerse ourselves in it's pixilated cyberpunk world.
Finally we come to BattleTech, the triumphant return of turn-based mech combat in FASA's classic tabletop universe. I didn't have a chance to back the original Kickstarter, but this is probably one of my top three most anticipated games of 2018. We can only hope that it's inevitable success results in a revival of BattleTech and MechWarrior games.
This is but a small taste of the games we have to look forward to in the coming year. Hopefully they all meet or exceed our expectations, and may 2018 be another awesome year for unique and interesting indie games.
Edited by Frank Streva