Indie games for the PlayStation 4 are a blast to play. Short for “independent games,” these titles are done without the backing of the well-known game publishers. In contrast with the so-called “AAA games,” these indie games offer somewhat shorter game times, and are often seen as something to just pass time while waiting for the next big thing to hit the console.
But then, there are the best PS4 indie games. These titles have shocked the community with how well-developed they are. From the gameplay, music score, lore, and the overall themes, these games have proved that big budget games aren’t the only ones that can make or break a release.
For those who are looking for something different, or if you have some hungover energy from the Final Fantasy 7 Remake that you need to spend on something else, then why not try these? By the way, some of these games have ports on other consoles like the Switch. If you don’t have a PS4 and you are leaning more on the Nintendo side of things, then maybe you would like to check our article on the best indie games for the Nintendo Switch.
Best PS4 Single Player Indie Games
These games are some of the cream of the crop when it comes to making someone feel the joy of playing a well-developed game. A lot of games right now are just carbon copies of each other, so these are great breaths of fresh air.
Fans of the PlayStation love Dark Souls. Or Bloodborne. Or probably both, as well as other “souls-like” games. These games are very challenging in their own right, and a lot of people find the challenge to be quite rewarding. But if you think that these kinds of games are only limited to AAA titles like the ones mentioned above, then you are dead wrong.
People, meet Hollow Knight.
Hollow Knight is an action-adventure indie game released in 2017. It follows the “Metroidvania” genre, in which the game borrows mechanics and design from Metroid and Castlevania – two of the most renowned action-adventure game franchises in history. Adding to that, Hollow Knight is also dubbed as a “souls-lite,” which borrows inspiration from Souls games in terms of difficulty. This makes Hollow Knight an interesting challenge in which players face trial upon trial to uncover the game’s mystery.
Hollow Knight lets players take control of the Knight, and enigmatic wanderer that is out for an adventure in the ruined kingdom of Hallownest. The place is filled with former inhabitants of the kingdom, infected by an orange-looking goo called the Plague. Guiding the Knight throughout the kingdom’s various traps, enemies, and other challenges, players must uncover just what is the deal with Hallownest and how the Knight is connected to this place. There are multiple endings in this game, in which the ending you get depends on whether you have done (or are carrying, hint hint) certain things.
There are two DLC expansions for Hollow Knight: The Grimm Troupe and Godmaster. Both of them introduce new characters to interact with, adding more flavor to the game’s already immersive environment. Godmaster also adds two new endings to the game.
If you are interested in hard games but don’t have the guts – yet – to pick up rage inducing games like Dark Souls, then why not give these souls-lite games a try? Hollow Knight is a true masterpiece, in which you can use it to ease in to the genre.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Game developers keep pushing past the limits of what is “common sense” in their field. The top indie games are popular for their 2D or 2.5D settings, side-scrolling, Zelda-ish action-adventures, and more. People aren’t used to indie games that look like something that is churned out by a big studio. But well, one-game, the so-called “AAA indie game,” changed all that. Guys, we are talking about Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Hellblade is an action adventure game made by independent game development studio Ninja Theory. It is set in the world inspired of Norse myth and old Celtic culture with a dark fantasy tone. Led by the game’s writer and director Tameem Antoniades, the team that made this game consisted of only twenty developers. They wanted to create a game that is a mix of several game genres, focusing on large aspects of hack and slash as well as puzzle solving. It also has a psychological horror feel to it, due to some mechanics in the game inducing creepy and disturbing vibes mainly for the way it uses sounds. Hellblade also focused on the theme of psychosis, with the titular Senua experiencing a form of the said mental condition. She believe that this is a curse in which she is haunted by an entity as she hear voices in her head. The small team of indie developers wanted to convey psychosis as best as they can, so they worked with neuroscientists, mental health experts, as well as actual patients in order to represent the condition well.
The game is set in the 8th century. Our protagonist, Senua, is on a quest to save her partner and lover, Dillon from the grasp of the goddess of Helheim, Hela. Amidst the all the hacking, slashing and puzzle solving, Senua struggles with the voices in her head, what she call the Furies, mocking her and her journey. She is also somewhat haunted by an entity she calls the Darkness. Players need to navigate all the beautifully rendered landscapes of re-imagined places on Norse mythology as you get closer and closer to your goal. The game is dark AF, so be prepared for some downer moments as you help Senua on her quest.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice blurs the line between AAA titles and what indie game developers have to offer. Between the solid gameplay, stunning graphics and amazing use of sound and music to enrichen the atmosphere, Ninja Theory made sure to deliver one of the best games in the previous decade. Not being able to play this is something no gamer should go through.
By the way, did we mention how amazing the game used sounds to its fullest? From the whispering Furies, the well voiced characters, and the immersive music, the game delivers some of the most stunning sound use from an indie game. To make sure you hear everything the game has to offer, check out the best ps4 headsets under $100 article we have and see if you fancy one of them. We promise that the experience won’t disappoint!
Bastion is an old game, with it being first released way back in 2011. It is also somewhat bordering on not being an indie game. Even though it was developed by the independent game developer Supergiant Games, it was published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment back in the day. But these two are probably the only “downsides” of this game, because boy oh boy, this is game is an utter masterpiece in every sense of the word.
The game is an action role-playing game (ARPG) set in a unique fantasy world of floating lands due to an event in the past called Calamity. This event shattered the city of Caelondia, killing off plants, animals, and people alike. Players control the Kid, a traditional take on the silent protagonist trope. The Kid somehow awakens one of the relics of the old world. He now journeys to find the titular Bastion, a place that people should go to when the world is in peril. It is up to the players to help the Kid complete his journey and learn the mystery of the Calamity, and maybe save the inhabitants of the world along the way. Maybe. Winky-face smiley.
Since the game is an ARPG, real-time battles happen as you progress. Think of Square’s Mana titles and you get the idea of how it plays out. The field is portrayed in an isometric view ala Diablo. The Kid can carry two weapons at once, which can be changed as you find specific locations known as arsenals. He can also perform several special attacks that are limited but can often turn the tide of battle in your favor. Each level you go through contain an item called a shard or a core at the end of the map. These items hold the floating land together, and when the players take them, the map will start to disintegrate. These then turn into a frenzy to retreat back to a certain point and escape the place. Upgrades will be available as you progress, keeping the game fresh and frantic while still providing an amazing storyline underneath it.
So yeah, while Bastion might be old, it is still one of the best indie games that you can play on the PS4. Grab a copy while you can so you can enjoy the experience unlike any other.
If a game made the gaming community wait more for its release after a date it is announced, then it would probably get scrutinized once it comes out. When the developers make people wait for almost a decade, then interest probably goes down or the scrutiny will multiply a hundredfold. But when the game is so well-polished that the gaming community can’t say any negative things (except fo a few nitpicks) then it has to be an extremely amazing game. That’s what Owlboy is.
As mentioned, Owlboy was D-Pad Studios’ baby for almost a decade. The development took longer than expected since they kept restarting the project several times. The team was really worried on how the fans would have perceived the game after it was released, and they wouldn’t want to let them down. The development went on for years, but the end result was an insanely great PS4 game for kids and adults.
Owlboy is a game set in a world where the lands in the sky and the earth below have been separated by a cataclysmic event. The game lets players control of Otus, an owl-like humanoid creature who was actually born mute. Before I continue, I’d like to interject that this is quite a smart way to explain the “silent protagonist” trope. Anyway, the players must help Otus in journeying across the world in order to save his village and uncover the lost truth of his heritage. In order to do this, players need to take advantage of Otus’ ability to fly and carry objects in order to succeed. These objects can be used as ranged or throwing weapons, or as tools in order to solve puzzles while you go about your quest. Along the way, you will meet tons of lovable characters that will assist Otus throughout the game. These characters are eccentric and fun, and have their own unique skills that help our protagonist in combat. Later on, a certain item will also allow these supporting character to fly together with Otus.
Owlboy is a masterpiece that every indie game fan should experience. It just goes to show that some things are definitely worth the wait.
Silent Hills, please make it happen Kojima. We are willing to wait.
Those who own the PSVR, do not fret! If you are looking for an amazing indie game that you can play with your PS4 extension, then we have the right game for you. It’s so good, that it was nominated and actually won a lot of awards. Yeah guys, we are talking about Moss.
Moss lets player control a moss, err, mouse named Quill. The story formula is really generic: a kingdom has fallen to an evil baddie – this time a fire breathing snake named Sarffog – ruining the lives of all the inhabitants of said kingdom. The evil regime decides to capture an old mouse, which unfortunately for them, is our protagonist’s uncle. It is up to Quill to save her uncle, and the whole kingdom as well. Pretty generic? Yeah that’s because it is. And because that isn’t really the point of this game.
Now, where does the player come in, you ask? Well, the player is in the library, and was suddenly transported to Quill’s world. It is up to the player to help and guide the protagonist rescue her uncle. The only difference this game has is – and get this – you are in their actual world, and Quill is aware of you. Yes, you do control our little mouse, but she is 100% aware that you exist.
See that screenshot above? Yeah that’s you and Quill, face to face!
You are represented by a masked figure and an orb. Players do control Quill, but they also move inside the world completely separate from the protagonist. There are several puzzles and other stuff that can only be solved if you manipulate the environment or change your perspective of things. Players can also communicate with Quill using the American Sign Language (or ASL.) This might sound ridiculous, but we assure you it’s not. There are a lot of emotional responses that are very unique and makes players feel like they are actually in the journey themselves together with Quill.
Moss is an extremely innovative game that raises the bar on how PSVR games should be. If you own a PSVR, then this game is must-have.
Best PS4 Multiplayer Indie Games
If you thought that only big publishers and developers can make the best multiplayer games, then you are dead wrong. Some of the best games out there are from independent companies, and they are out here for the piece of that online multiplayer pie.
Rocket League has become one of the most interesting multiplayer video games in the recent years, for an indie game that is. The concept is simple to understand, yet the fun factor is top notch. It’s five years old yet the community behind it is still growing like wildfire, and it even got its own E-sports league.
The game is basically a soccer game, except instead of people, players control high-octane, rocket-powered cars. And instead of a small soccer ball, you get to drive around a huge metal-looking ball. The cars have the ability to jump so players can hit the ball in mid-air. There are also tons of speed boosts around the playing field, so each player can cross the field to catch up with the opposing team, or use it to send the ball flying farther. There are a lot of advanced tactics with speed boosts and mid-air maneuvers that players can take advantage of in order to win their matches. Each match takes around five minutes, and a sudden death mode activates if the match reaches overtime. It can also be a one-on-one match, and up to four-on-four matches can be held. There are casual matches where players can practice their moves, as well as rank matches to test the limits of a player’s skill against other similarly ranked players.
Rocket League is actually a sequel to developer Psyonix’ previous game on the PS3, named Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. Despite the long-ass name, Battle-Cars was quite fun, although it did not gain popularity that they envisioned. Still, the developers wanted to make this game theme something big. This led them to accept contract work for several other games, just to fund their own independent studio’s next creation. What they envisioned and painstakingly worked for eventually turned into Rocket League.
Now, the game has reached critical success by having it get played on large E-sports tournaments such as ESL and Major League Gaming. They even have their own Rocket League Championship Series, which they started even before they were acquired by a bigger company.
As what was once a console indie game, the developers can’t be more proud to see that all their hard work had paid off. If you enjoy a competitive scene with a community that’s as supportive as the development team, then do try out Rocket League.
Friends come and go, that is a universal truth in life. But with Overcooked 2, friends come and go faster. Kind of like in Monopoly, although less tycoon and more chef. Of course, that is all a meme, until someone forget to prepare the ingredients although you already freakin’ told them to watch their damn stations. Argh!
Overcooked 2 is a cooking simulation game that revolves around player cooperating with one another in order to complete meal orders. These orders are from insane restaurants, and players go through hell and back just to make sure that all orders are served completely. Players gather and chop ingredients, cook and plate the dishes, serve, and get the plates so you can wash them for the next order. The higher the level of the restaurant is, the harder and more hectic the run gets. And the more it gets rewarding whenever you finish a really challenging level. Despite that crappy intro I wrote, the game is really fun and frustrating at the same time.
As mentioned, Overcooked 2 features a cooperative style of gameplay. This is where it gets really fun. Two teams of up to four players can join in on your runs and try to clear the challenge of running a restaurant. Players can bump into each other, in which you lose important progress, which can lead to various frustrations, blaming, and name-calling. Which we all know is the very basic of multiplayer games these days, lol. Players can co-op in a traditional couch style, or via online multiplayer. We highly appreciate the couch style co-op though, as not many games are enjoyable that way nowadays.
If you fancy a game that you can play with your buddies and test your friendship, then we highly recommend getting Overcooked 2.
Most games right now are all about the breakneck action or intense pacing that leave players in the edge of their seats. These games always has a large portion of the market, so game developers choose this genre a lot, whether it is indie or AAA. But sometimes, people just want to relax, and chill, you know? Live a life in the countryside, maybe fish, mine, do some farming, hunt animals, and just enjoy the slow life. And delivering that specific feel is where Stardew Valley shines.
Stardew Valley is a simulation RPG that pits players in the slow life on the countryside. Like seriously, the main character is someone who literally came from the city and wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life. The player then helps the character breathe life to the dilapidated farm that their deceased grandfather left them. If this sounds a bit too familiar, it’s because heavy inspiration was taken from a certain game called Harvest Moon. Don’t worry though, as Stardew Valley is so good, that even the creator of HM called SV a game that continued the legacy of the former. According to him, “Instead of Harvest Moon being forgotten, it has become powered up and it has gotten even better.” Talk about one of the biggest compliments a game developer can get from his senior!
The multiplayer aspect of the game revolves around up to four players playing at the same “map.” Depending on their division of labor, or what they want to actually do, they need to help each other in order to rejuvenate and build the farm back to its former glory. Since this game is super open-ended, each player can go on living as they like and enjoy the freedom of not having to be shackled by anything. Just remember your responsibilities, guys.
If all of this sounds good to you, then do check the game out. It is one of the most relaxing farming experience you can have without actually picking up a shovel.
There are still a lot out there!
These are only a small fraction of indie games for the PS4. Like really, we haven’t even included the likes of Cuphead, Dead Cells, Hyper Light Drifter, Hotline Miami 2, Journey and many others. It’s just that the games above has been really fun for us and we would really like to share them to those who are not aware that these games exist.
There you go – the best PS4 indie games in the market right now! If you have other indie games that you would like us to check out or include in this list, please don’t hesitate to comment below. Now, you have something to play as you wait for the next FF7 Remake and cry when Aerith di – oops! Spoiler!