15 of the Best Indie Games to Play on Your New PS5

Abzu
Abzu

The PlayStation Store is flush with hundreds of awesome indie games featuring unique gameplay styles, imaginative art, and genre-pushing experimentation that provide a refreshing change from mainstream AAA releases. The problem is, with so many to choose from, finding one to play can be daunting. To help, we curated this list of 15 awesome indie games available on PlayStation 5 (and PS4) we think everyone should play, whether you recently received a new PS5, or you’ve had one for a while and are looking for something new to play.

We could’ve easily listed double or triple the number of games, but we whittled the picks down to just 15 for the sake of simplicity. Each game on our list is available through the PlayStation Store app or website, though you can also download each at no extra charge if you’re subscribed to PS Plus Extra ($15 per month) or PS Plus Premium ($18 per month). If you have additional suggestions we didn’t cover, be sure to drop them in a comment below.

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Abzu


ABZÛ - E3 2016 Launch Trailer | PS4

In this aquatic adventure game, you’ll explore vibrant undersea levels as a solitary scuba diver, observing sea life, solving puzzles, and even befriending a great white shark. Each area of the vast ocean has its own theme, from coral reefs and seaweed forests, to mysterious ancient ruins filled with strange technology. While there’s no dialogue in Abzu, it still tells a genuinely moving story over its tight two hour play through.

Ashen


ASHEN | Accolades Trailer

Ashen is a challenging action RPG with combat and level design heavily inspired by Dark Souls, but unlike numerous other “soulslikes” that crib FromSoftware’s melancholic atmosphere and art style, Ashen’s colorful environments and charming NPCs make for a more welcoming adventure. While combat can be tough, Ashen uses a unique “ambient multiplayer” system where players seamlessly appear to aid one another. And if no one else is online, the game’s capable AI companions will step in instead.

Blasphemous


Blasphemous - Announcement Trailer | PS4

Blasphemous is one of the most visually-striking games of recent memory, featuring gorgeous (and often unsettling) pixel art inspired by Spanish Catholicism. Players explore the ruined medieval world of Cvstodia, collecting powerful relics that unlock new combat and traversal abilities and reveal new areas, and help you take down the game’s many grotesque bosses.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night


Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - Official Gameplay Trailer | Summer of Gaming 2021

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is the latest game from famed game developer Koji Igarashi, best known for his work on the Castlevania franchise. Like Igarashi’s other games, Bloodstained follows the popular “Metroidvania” format where players explore a large, non-linear world filled with powerful upgrades, shortcuts, and other secrets to uncover. Longtime fans will also appreciate Bloodstained’s music and art direction, which heavily resemble Igarashi’s previous works, as well as the many easter eggs and allusions to Castlevania.

Bugsnax


Bugsnax - Announcement Trailer | PS5

This first-person adventure game casts you as a nameless journalist investigating reports of missing people on the strange Snaktooth Island, a place where edible “half bug-half snack” critters known as “Bugnsax” live. There are over 100 Bugsnax to find and catalog, numerous quirky characters to befriend, and dozens of side quests to complete as you search for clues into the island’s many mysteries.

Celeste


Celeste - Launch Trailer | PS4

On its surface, Celeste is a tough-but-fair 2D platformer with colorful pixel art and excellent music. However, the game’s setting and story serve as a dream-like metaphor for the processes of bettering one’s self and overcoming hardships—in this case, a gauntlet of bite-sized levels that see the player character, Madeline, jump, dash, and climb her way up a giant mountain. Celeste can be a difficult game, but there are optional settings that lower the difficulty while still preserving the sense of accomplishment you get from overcoming each level.

Chicory


Chicory: A Colorful Tale - Official Trailer | PS5, PS4

Chicory is a 2D adventure game where you play as a dog with a magical paintbrush on a quest to restore color to the world. Players explore hand-drawn levels where they solve puzzles, help NPCs, and collect items to customize their cute doggo painter’s outfit. Despite the adorable aesthetic, Chicory carries a surprisingly poignant message about the joy and importance of creating art for the sake of expression, instead of fame or mastery.

Dead By Daylight


Dead by Daylight | Launch Trailer

This multiplayer 4-versus-1 survival horror game pits teams of four players against a solitary “killer.” The survivor team must work together to complete objectives throughout the match, while the killer hunts them down before they can escape. The game feature 18 unique maps and a large roster of survivors and killers to play as, including iconic characters from other horror franchises like Resident Evil, Evil Dead, Scream, and more.

Frostpunk: Console Edition


FROSTPUNK Trailer (2019) PS4 / Xbox One / PC

Frostpunk is set in an alternate history where volcanic eruptions plunged 19th-century Earth into an endless worldwide winter. Gameplay melds city building somewhat similar to the Sim City series, but with diplomacy, social management, and survival elements befitting the frozen post-apocalyptic setting. Players must protect their citizens from the harsh weather and other hazards, while also working toward technological, social, or financial goals the game’s numerous scenarios and gameplay modes impose.

Hollow Knight - Voidheart Edition


Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition - Announce and Gameplay Trailer | PS4

Hollow Knight is one of those games that are so good it’s hard to believe it was made by a team of just two people, but it’s true. This 2D Metroidvania is set in the ruined land of Hollownest, a subterranean world inhabited by cute little bugs. The game world is massive but never repetitive. Every area you explore, boss you fight, and NPC you meet feels distinct thanks to the game’s gorgeous hand-animated art style and beautiful soundtrack.

Moonlighter


Moonlighter | Official Launch Trailer

Ever wondered what all those shopkeepers in RPGs do when the heroes aren’t around? Well, Moonlighter has the answers. During the day, players manage their store, selling trinkets to wandering adventurers. By night, you crawl through the nearby dungeon, exploring procedurally-generated caverns and battling monsters for valuable loot to sell in your shop. It’s a compelling and novel gameplay loop that successfully mixes seemingly disparate genres into one of the best rogue-lite action RPGs out there.

Outer Wilds


Outer Wilds - Launch Trailer | PS4

As the newest recruit in the Outer Wilds Ventures space exploration team, you’ll explore a strange solar system stuck in a time loop where the sun goes supernova every 22 minutes. Instead of destroying everything, the cataclysmic event resets the solar system—and the player—back to the beginning of the game. Outer Wilds uses realistic astrophysics to simulate the various anomalies found in the game’s solar system. Through exploration, you’ll learn new ways to navigate each planet on your mission to prevent the supernova and break the time loop.

Stray


Stray - Launch Trailer | PS5 & PS4 Games

Yes, this is the cat game that everyone on Twitter fell in love with earlier in 2022. Stray is a 3D adventure game that puts you in the paws of an adorable cat living in an underground cyberpunk city populated by androids. Players climb, hop, and meow their way through the city and, ultimately, to the surface world above with the aid of their robotic companion named B-12.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War


Valiant Hearts E3 Trailer [US]

World War I is an uncommon setting for video games, especially cartoony adventure games like Valiant Hearts: The Great War. This is not a shooter or action game. Instead, this is a narrative-driven side-scroller where players control a cast of characters from various backgrounds and allegiances whose paths cross over the course of the war. While the game is never gory, it doesn’t shy away from the realities of war, either, and juxtaposes brief moments of violence against the cartoony art style to deliver a powerful anti-war story.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter


The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Trailer | PS4

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter follows Paul Prospero, a private detective and occult researcher investigating the disappearance of a young boy, Ethan Carter. Players control Paul, utilizing his unique mix of skills to uncover clues hidden in the richly-detailed town of Red Creek Valley, and even talking with the spirits of recently deceased characters who may have insight into Ethan’s whereabouts. While The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is certainly an eerie game with obvious inspirations from pulp horror fiction, there are no sudden jump scares, though players who don’t like bloody crime scenes should stay away.

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