The best new indie games on Steam

Ignore these smaller gems at your own risk [updated for October 2016]

Great news! There's never been a better crop of indie games available for a pittance of the price of a premium title.

But bad news! The selection is so large, it can be a tough job working out which of the many new wonders is actually worth your time.

Fortunately, we've spared you hours of agonising labour and scoured Steam for the latest and greatest indie games on offer. We'll be adding the cream of the crop from the world's largest game delivery platform each month, ensuring you never have to endure going outside into the glaring sunlight again.

Prepare yourselves for long-term vitamin D deficiency as we keep you locked to your screens for the rest of time.

Paladins (Free; Early Access)

Paladins looks a lot like Overwatch. There you go, we said it. It’s pointless ignoring the similarities so let’s just clear the air. Both are team-based hero shooters that blend MOBA and FPS mechanics. Both feature a scary-looking bloke with a chain hook and shotgun. And yes, both require players to take control points and sometimes, guide payloads.

There is, however, one regard in which the products differ wildly: cost. Paladins is in Early Access and is free to play. Overwatch is very much not free, and costs anywhere from £35 upwards before you even begin to count its monetised loot boxes. The Steam community rates Paladins’ particular flavour of ability shooter, and even if you already own Blizzard’s rival, it’s probably still worth taking it out for a spin.

Platforms: Windows

Buy Paladins

Aragami (£14.99)

There will be no Assassin’s Creed release in 2016 leaving some players with hole where third-person sneakery used to reside. Aragami could be the answer to said woes; a stealth game where creeping and backstabbing is the order of the day, along with a few supernatural upgrades including the ability to blink from one location to the other and merge with the shadows.

The game doesn’t promise the same open world shenanigans as AssCreed, but for £14.99 you buy yourself a unique-looking shank-sim offering its own challenges.

Platforms: Windows, Mac

Buy Aragami

Osiris: New Dawn (£18.99; Early Access)

Colony building is the latest trend amongst indie games and Osiris is a particularly gorgeous-looking example of one such title. Players work cooperatively to establish a colony whilst defending from hostile aliens and raids from other unscrupulous colonists.

The game’s principle sell is emergent stories. Maybe someone on the team isn’t pulling their weight and the arachnid xenomorphs hack you to death in the night. Maybe those seemingly friendly neighbours don’t actually have the best of intentions. You don’t know until the simulation turns.

Platforms: Windows

Buy Osiris

Battlerite (£14.99; Early Access)

What if you could do away with all the faff involved in traditional MOBAs? Slowly accruing gold by killing minions isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, so Battlerite cuts straight to the chase by divesting itself the usual three-lane map. What is left in its stead is a battle arena, best played 2 vs 2, that reduces the MOBA formula to the most thrilling element: the teamfight.

The game has proven wildly popular on Steam and the general feeling from users is that if you hate MOBA’s, you may still love Battlerite.

Platforms: Windows

Buy Battlerite

Brigador (£13.99, early access)

Brigador’s vibe rests somewhere between Hotline Miami, Desert Strike and the Batmobile sections from Arkham Knight. 21 missions of top-down isometric mech destruction are accompanied by a smoother-than-thou electro soundtrack. Sharp synth beats and fast-paced action are tempered by the clever, less in-your-face design of its levels, allowing players to take a more considered approach.

Or you can just enter the fray gung-ho. After all, who dons a giant mech to be inconspicuous.

Platforms: Windows, Mac

Buy Brigador

Quadrilateral Cowboy (£14.99)

Hacking and high-tech don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Quadrilateral Cowboy takes players back to the days of CRTs and cassette decks to conduct jobs that no one else will take. Imagine Deus Ex-Lite with a series of hacking mini-games which are, in fact, the centre of the action rather than the side salad.

It only lasts a few hours, but they’re a short, sweet few hours, after which you’ll be dying to try it all over again.

Platform: PC

Buy Quadrilateral Cowboy

Ratz Instagib (£6.99)

DOOM was a surprise smash hit this year, but the FPS genre is unlikely to drift back to the halcyon days of when shooting was simpler. Of course, there are exceptions; Ratz Instagib is a tongue-in-cheek take on Quake III with two easy to understand rules: only rodents, only railguns. The result is a fast-paced fight to the first hit (the game is exclusively one-shot KO) where rodents explode left right and centre.

Its simplicity is its greatest strength, forcing players to become ever more creative in their strategies for success. These Ratz got brainz.

Platforms: PC, Mac

Buy Ratz Instagib

Human Fall Flat (£11.99)

Games need more silliness. Not the kind of zany, annoying attempts at slapstick that come from badly scripted sequences, but the kind of silliness which arises from systems that go kerspllurrrt.

Human Fall Flat’s wibbly avatars are governed by the same ridiculous bonelessness that makes Gang Beasts and Octodad such a scream, but this game asks players to solve a series of physics-based puzzles. Fling yourself in a catapult over a wall, fling yourself on a mattress down a stream, fling the thing at the other thing to make the other thing fall over. As you might have guessed, flinging is this game’s raison d'être - and it’s jolly good fun.

Platforms: PC, Mac

Buy Human Fall Flat

Polarity (£6.99)

Polarity is a 3D puzzler about carting cubes between lasers, across platforms and through a variety of logical challenges, but not, as far as we’re aware, through portals. Portal… portal… why does that word ring a bell? I’m sure we’ll remember at some point.

The game is named after one of the mechanical changes that separates it from Unnamed Valve Puzzle Games 1 & 2. Players can switch between red and blue polarity, allowing them to access certain platforms or gates. If this is your sort of thing, we’d also recommend brain-teaser, Qube.

Platform: PC

Buy Polarity

Rimworld (£22.99, early access)

Rimworld might as well be called ‘Emergent Storyteller Deluxe’. The game’s premise is simple: you command a handful of colonists in their mission to create a home on a new world. The game’s mechanics, on the other hand, are a complex web of numbers, statistics and autonomy, balanced with direct management.

Incredible narratives emerge from the game’s interlocking system, most of which unfurl like a lovechild of Lord of the Flies and The Empire Strikes Back. Insurrection, starvation, cannibalism: it all can, and will, happen.

Platforms: PC, Mac 

Buy Rimworld

Klocki (£0.79)

Puzzles are one of the purest forms of gaming abstraction - why do they need any of the contextual frills like storytelling or avatars? Klocki is puzzle-solving at its simplest (and cheapest) that lets you gently work your brain in a series of one-screen puzzles. At the measly cost of £0.79, you have no excuse for saying no.

Platforms: PC, Mac

Buy Klocki

Poly Bridge (£8.99)

Bridge building doesn’t rank highly on the list of gaming fantasies, but somehow Poly Bridge manages to make the affair of getting from A to B exciting.

Plan your structures from the base upward, ensuring that they can support their load. Keep playing the 100+ level campaign and things start getting a bit crazier, with catapults and mechanised see-saws that must must be used to solve increasingly complex challenges. It’s a good time to build a bridge over troubled waters.

Platforms: PC, Mac

Buy Poly Bridge

House of the Dying Sun (£14.99, early access)

No Man’s Sky wasn’t necessarily the game that many were hoping for, with a greater focus on resource harvesting and gentle galaxy plodding than starship pew-pews. Enter House of the Dying Sun to fill the void.

This title is a much more traditional space sim, in which you are tasked with avenging a fallen emperor in the most direct way possible: lasers, lasers and more lasers. This is no Freelancer or Elite Dangerous: linearity is the order of the day, but the crafted (chortle chortle) experience it offers is one hell of a space odyssey.

Platform: PC

Buy House of the Dying Sun

Rec Room (Free, early access)

Still in its infancy, VR is testing the waters of its capabilities slowly, and some of the best titles for the new platform are low-fi. Rec Room is the perfect solution to virtual reality’s ‘unable to wander’ problem, as it lets players take part in golf, dodgeball and and even ‘3D charades’ - which is as ineffectual as it is hilarious.

Rec Room’s participants are all sourced from the internet, so you can occupy a virtual space with your friend in Australia, assuming they can also afford £800 for an HTC Vive.

Platform: PC

Get Rec Room

Glitchspace (£9.99)

Filling the gap in our hearts left by a completely nonexistent Portal 3 is a tall order. In the relatively recent past The Talos Principle and The Witness kept us from banging down Valve’s front door, and now it’s Glitchspace’s turn to fill the void.

This 3D puzzler asks players to modify the environment - what it calls ‘reprogrammable geometry’ - by engaging in logical conundrums like those to be found in simple coding. It’s seriously clever stuff, and sports a gorgeous aesthetic reminiscent of the Mirror’s Edge Time Trials pack. It's weightlifting for the brain, and a sumptuous treat for the eyes.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Buy Glitchspace

Duskers (£14.99)

Humanity has mysteriously disappeared and you are the lone human attempting to find out what the fudge happened to your fellow homo-sapiens. Rather than risking your precious life, in Duskers players pilot remote drones that must search the galaxy’s derelict ships for clues and supplies.

Instead of using directional keys, drones are directed using text in a command prompt, like in the days of yore before ‘ye internetz’ and ‘cybermice’. The background hum of cavernous ships and 80’s monitors lend the game a distinctly Alien kind of vibe, and it’s remarkable how scary Duskers manages to be in spite of its basic visuals.

Atmospheric and unique - a steal for any fans of sci-fi horror.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS + Linux

Buy Duskers

Parkitect (£13.59, Early Access)

Parkitect looks so much like Rollercoaster Tycoon that we imagine a gaggle of Hasbro lawyers are sat around a cauldron spitting fire (please don’t hex us). Regardless, we’re glad it’s here to serve us a dose of classic management sim.

At some point in the mid-noughties the master of theme-park megalomania lost its way. Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 was the series’ first truly three dimensional entry, but lacked much of the depth and semi-homicidal magic that made the series so entrancing. Parkitect ditches the 3D visual frills for a traditional top-down camera and broad customisability. Right now Rollercoaster Tycoon World is rather a mess, and while it could improve before final release (it's currently in Early Access), Parkitect is a very fine alternative that's available right now.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS + Linux

Buy Parkitect

Melody’s Escape (£6.99)

‘Gamifying your music’ is far from a new idea. Many moons ago the brilliant Audiosurf transported us to luscious multicoloured tracks based on our mp3 libraries, and there have been many variations on the theme in the years since. Where Melody’s Escape stands out from the crowd is in the quality of its conversion algorithm (stay with me), which picks up on vocal and instrumental cues that other games miss.

It’s also a more relaxing, hypnotic experience than other games of this type, which tend to induce Guitar Hero-style button thrashing. Don’t stress - relax, and hop your way through some of your favourite tunes.

Compatibility: PC, Mac, SteamOS + Linux

Buy Melody's Escape

Atlas Reactor (£15.49)

If you’ve ever dreamed of playing X-COM against human opponents then Atlas Reactor could be your indie dreamboat.

Marrying turn-based combat with online multiplayer was never going to be easy, but this game reaches a satisfying compromise by using ‘simultaneous turns’. Both teams commit to their next move at the same time, and when the round ends, players watch as their decisions unfold. You may strike that all important volley, or you might end smultched filling of a double-fist sandwich.

It’s volatile, unpredictable, and a whole lot of fun.

Compatibility: Windows

Buy Atlas Reactor

Enter the Gungeon (£10.99)

Top-down dungeon crawlers are experiencing a second renaissance with the likes of The Binding of Isaac and Nuclear Throne. Now it's time to add Enter the Gungeon to that list; this over the top bullet-sprayer is a second by second blast in which the goal is to find the ‘gun that can kill the past’.

A word of warning - the top-notch design here is rather unforgiving for the first few hours. If you don’t enjoy a challenge then you’re probably better off playing tiddlywinks, or cup and ball, or whatever people who don’t enjoy kablamming everything in sight do with their time.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

Buy Enter the Gungeon

Ori and the Blind Forest - Definitive Edition (£14.99)

Ori and the Blind Forest recently won the gaming BAFTA for artistic achievement and it’s easy to see why. Just look at it. Ori alone is a one-way ticket to a cuteness overload, but hand drawn environments and luxuriant animation are also a large part of what makes this platformer such an entrancing experience.

Now this achingly beautiful indie title is back for a second bout with a Definitive Edition, which adds a suite of features including extra environments and new abilities. Fifteen quid is a small price to pay for a trip to such giddy aesthetic heights.

Compatibility: Windows

Buy Ori and the Blind Forest - Definitive Edition

Don’t Starve Together (£10.99)

Each month there is a single star that outshines the other releases on Steam in sheer popularity. Last month it was The Culling, this month it’s Don’t Starve Together.

Don’t Starve Together is a standalone two-player expansion of the critically acclaimed single-player survival game Don’t Starve. There’s nothing else quite like this pair on Steam - matches can go on indefinitely as players attempt to brave the world’s many horrors and avoid starvation, monster attack and fire.

There’s also the pesky problem of player versus player corruption to take into account - not everyone is an honest Joe out to help you. Maybe it’s time to raze their camp to the ground before they do the same to yours…

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

Buy Don’t Starve Together

The Banner Saga 2 (£14.99)

There’s nothing we don’t like about Vikings. Pointy hats - check, code of honour - check, satisfying turn-based combat - check.

Okay, so the last part has less to do with real Vikings and more to do with The Banner Saga 2, but we still think that there should be more turn-based games about amazing dudes in pointy hats.

Following on directly from the first Banner Saga (launched in 2014), this sequel is an improvement in almost every way. If, like us, you’ve been yearning for a turn-based game to grip your heart ever since you completed Invisible Inc and XCOM 2, this could be just just the ticket.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Buy The Banner Saga 2

Audioshield (£14.99)

Dismissing for a moment the depressing notion that less than one percent of you actually own VR equipment, we’re going to add our first VR title to this list. Our apologies to the rest of you, just continue what you’ve been doing for the past four years, i.e. looking on in bubbling envy.

By combining the elements of rhythm music games with VR’s intense visual punch, Audioshield creates a non-stop dopamine rollercoaster. It’s like playing Guitar Hero with your fists, asking you to punch the helll out of your music whilst it rushes at you from all directions. It’s time to slap on Daft Punk and begin a uniquely dazzling workout.

Buy Audioshield

The Culling (£10.99, Early Access)

Call it an homage Battle Royale, call it a rip off of The Hunger Games, call it a prescient glimpse into the future of reality television, whatever you decide to call The Culling, it’s taken Steam by storm.

Given the above references, the game’s premise doesn’t require too much explanation. 16 contestants are challenged to be the last man standing in a gladiatorial fight to the death. Players must make do with whatever weapons they find - you might be lucky and find a chainsaw, you might draw the short straw and have to make do with a pointy stick and harsh language. The real fun is to be found in making a friend, trading with them, and then bashing their skull in once their back is turned.

Don't look at me like that - it's only a game!

Compatibility: Windows

Download The Culling from Steam

Sheltered (£9.99)

Let’s face it, the vault dwellers of Fallout actually had a pretty cushty time of it: robot slaves, regular meals, snazzy jumpsuits. Sheltered is a management game with its own, less forgiving take on subterranean survival.

Making it through the apocalypse was just the beginning, now comes the arduous challenge of ensuring your family’s survival by gathering supplies, warding off hostile interlopers and preventing everyone from having irreversible nervous breakdowns as trauma after trauma shatters their minds.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

Download Sheltered from Steam

Day of the Tentacle Remastered (£10.99)

Forget Skynet, the real apocalyptic threat is hyper-intelligent tentacles and their quest to enslave humanity. I've always been a (bad pun alert) sucker for point and click adventures, and Day of the Tentacle, originally published in 1993, is a high-point of the genre.

Taking place across three time periods, players must solve puzzles that span hundreds of years, where actions in each time zone affect one another.

DoTT’s mix of lateral thinking and quick wit is a thing of beauty, and now it’s art been beautifully re-rendered for the HD era thanks to Tim Schafer (the game’s original creator) and his game studio, Double Fine.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Download Day of the Tentacle from Steam

Samorost 3 (£14.99)

First thing’s first, if you’ve not played Machinarium, another of Aminita Design’s adventure puzzlers, then halt whatever you’re doing now, even if it’s CPR (ok, maybe not if it's CPR), and play it. I hesitate to use the word "perfect", but it’s, well, perfect.

The Samorost games never quite reach the same giddy peaks, but they exude the same organic beauty - strange creatures in even stranger lands. The third in the series is no exception: listening to the primitive mumbles of its cast and pondering its many excellent puzzles is an effective and delightful antidote to the drudgery of real life.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Download Samorost 3 from Steam

Hyper Light Drifter (£14.99)

"Highly stylised top-down action indie game" doesn’t narrow down the potential list of titles like it used to, but Hyper Light Drifter is special. Just look at it - its pixelated magnificence is a wonder to behold and matched only by the haunting score by Disasterpiece.

This game seduces you even before you delve into the superbly executed mechanics, which place HLD somewhere between the old-school Zelda games and Dark Souls. Fans of the likes of Bastion and Hotline Miami need look no further for their next indie thrill.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

Download Hyper Light Drifter from Steam

Superhot (£17.99)

Some would say that the first person shooter has been stagnating in a pool of lacklustre ideas for years now, which is why Superhot is such an exciting proposition - it’s fresher than still-wriggling sushi.

The game’s core principle is simple: time only moves when you move, so you're able to contemplate how best to avoid the torrent of bullets speeding toward you or even take the time to slice them in two with a sword.

Sprinkled atop this delightful concoction is a colourful aesthetic comprising a dash of Mirror’s Edge and and a couple of glugs of Tron. It’s striking, it’s bold, and you’re unlikely to play anything like it any time soon.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

Download Superhot from Steam

Factorio (£15.00)

Factorio reminds me of the happier days of yore when I would revel in creating intricate, interweaving loops of chaos in Rollercoaster Tycoon or arachnoid rail networks in Transport Tycoon Deluxe.

Factorio is actuallymore concerned with making these arrangements efficient, instead of tempting us to make vomit-inducing rides and laugh at the poor sods paying 15 pounds for the privilege.

Here, players must construct vast highways of conveyor belts and mechanical wonders in order to create saleable produce. These sprawling networks are a sort of living, breathing organism that must be carefully expanded to maximise the small amount of space you have to play with.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

Download Factorio from Steam

Gnomoria (£10.99)

What did the gnome say when she broke up with her boyfriend?

…..

"I love you gnomoria!"

No? Ok, on with the review:

Gnomoria is a sandbox construction game featuring - you guessed it - gnomes. In Minecraft-style, the world is constructed of blocks, which in this case can be ferried about and turned into pint-sized buildings anywhere the player chooses.

For the relatively small price-tag this is the real deal; procedurally generated worlds, substantial crafting, and even combat mechanics. If Prison Architect just isn’t turning your crank like it used to, this might well be the substitute for you.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

Download Gnomoria from Steam

Plague Inc. Evolved (£11.99)

Plague Inc. was originally developed for mobile back in 2012 and has since become an iOS and Android epidemic. The game is premised on an unexpected role reversal - you play the contagion rather than the fragile homosapiens succumbing to its apocalyptic grip. Using its fierce power you must spread, evolve, and eventually wipe-out the entire human race.

The desktop version includes a suite of enhancements including a 3D modelled world, multiplayer, and a scenario creator. It’s been in early access on Steam for just under two years now, which means the kinks have been ironed out and it’s more than ready to get under your skin.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

Download Plague Inc. Evolved from Steam

Layers of Fear (£14.99)

I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that games are more suited to psychological horror than the endless stream of action horror titles that the industry regurgitates, and Layers of Fear is yet another high-octane glug of nightmare fuel.

You take the role of an obsessive artist who is desperate to finish one last piece. Notes of the great Victorian writers are here - think Edgar Allen Poe and Oscar Wilde. It doesn’t sound breathtakingly original, but Layers of Fear has a seemingly endless bag of tricks from which it continuously pulls cleverly constructed scares.

In an age in which horror set-pieces have become formulaic to the the point of monotony, this is a highly valued prize to say the least.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

Download Layers of Fear from Steam

Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak (£30)

While it’s a slight stretch to label Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak as an indie game, the tag is so fluid we think it’s ok to apply it here. And we’re going to, because we really like it.

This luscious prequel to the much loved Homeworld RTS franchise abandons the reaches of space, instead placing its strategic action planetside. Everything that made the originals so sublime is back - serene atmosphere, glacial pacing, and a never-ending game of ‘rock, paper, scissors’ that will keep you on your toes. In fact, the transition from three dimensional space-faring to a more manageable, two-dimensional map is a vast improvement. Whether you loved the originals or simply never found the time to play them, this is the best strategy title of the year so far and well worth your time.

Compatibility: Windows

Buy Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak

Scrap Mechanic (£14.99, Early Access)

In a post-Minecraft world it’s hardly a surprise to see more multiplayer sandbox construction games cropping up, but Scrap Mechanic is no substandard imitation. Players construct their own mechanical inventions that can then be wired up (simply programmed) to do all sorts of interesting things. Walking boats, flying cars, you name it, the choice is yours. The possibilities of its complex toolset are vast, and even though the game is still in early access, reports from the Steam community have been glowing.

Compatibility: Windows

Buy Scrap Mechanic

Oxenfree (£14.99)

It wouldn’t be an indie-games update without a sterling adventure game to brighten up your February. Oxenfree is a narrative-based horror story that takes a beat from games such as Heavy Rain and The Walking Dead in which relationships with your comrades are defined by branching conversation trees.

Here, lateral thinking takes a backseat to an unnerving ghost story in which a set of teens, as they are want to do, ‘unwittingly open a ghostly gate spawned from the island’s cryptic past’. It all sounds a little Scooby Doo, but the results are undeniably arresting.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Buy Oxenfree

Slime Rancher (£14.99, Early Access)

In Slime Rancher players are challenged to successfully lasso a slippery Donald Trump and draw the struggling billionaire slowly back to his pen whilst he swishes his comb over and mutters racist nonsense about Mexicans.

I jest, Slime Rancher is actually a delightful first-person management game that is 100% free of appalling would-be Presidents. You play Beatrix LeBeau, a space-bound cowgirl who must capture and care for unnervingly cute blobs of brightly coloured gloop on another planet. Feed your slimey pets diligently and they poop out the game’s prized resource: plorts, which will keep the ranch in the green.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

Buy Slime Rancher

That Dragon, Cancer (£10.99)

Some would argue that That Dragon, Cancer isn’t a videogame at all, but rather an interactive story experience. This short, somber title draws the player through the story of a young boy’s terminal affliction. We suggest purchasing this one with a box of man-sized Kleenex.

Its an experimental form which is light on mechanics, but That Dragon, Cancer is no less absorbing for it. Clever direction and a dream-like art style pull on the heart and grip the mind.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Buy That Dragon, Cancer

Squad (£29.99, Early Access)

Did you think that Star Wars: Battlefront’s 40-player battles were intimidatingly huge? Think again. Squad’s developers have set their sights on creating gargantuan servers that can accommodate 50v50 skirmishes. To prevent the swelling numbers from descending into chaos they’ve implemented an intuitive chat system that allows players to communicate over multiple channels, whether that be those in the local vicinity or simply to the members of their own squad.

The project is still in Early Access and is therefore incomplete, but the response from players so far has been overwhelmingly positive. If you’re looking for an alternative to the toxic communities of semi-mute players to be found in other team FPS games, then Squad could be the breath of fresh air your online life so desperately needs.

Compatibility: Windows

Buy Squad

Who’s Your Daddy? (£3.99, Early Access)

Here to deliver your monthly dose of WTF?! is Who’s Your Daddy?, an asymmetric two-player game in which one player takes the role of a dad trying desperately to baby-proof the house while the other player plays the baby and actively attempts to do itself a mischief.

It sounds far more controversial than it actually is, instead providing loads of cheap laughs, especially for real-life dads. The experience currently lacks longevity and it’s a bit basic and buggy, but it’s still in Early Access and costs just £4.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

Buy Who's Your Daddy?

Aviary Attorney (£10.99)

Engage your imagination for a moment. Picture an adventure game that centres on a series of legal conundrums in 19th Century France. Your role: the hotshot lawyer who must interrogate witnesses, uncover evidence, and find his way to the truth by any means necessary. Sounds good, right?

Now I’d like you to imagine that the cast is menagerie lifted from the pages of Farthing Wood and that you are a bird by the name of Jayjay Falcon - a good sounding game just became an awesome sounding game. Aviary Attorney is a whimsical satire that hits all the right notes.

It looks great, it sounds great, it plays great. In fact, we think it’s one of the most delightful titles to be released recently and is definitely worth a download.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Buy Aviary Attorney

Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star (£6.99)

‘Avian Drama’ is a running theme in this update of must-have indie titles. Hatoful Boyfriend, the bizzare adventure game about love and loss in pigeon-packed high school, returns for a seasonal sequel. In the words of one Steam reviewer ‘the birds are back with less murder, a good amount of feels, and more birds’.

If you’re not a fan of eastern-inspired strangeness then you might want to skip this feathery outing. On the other hand, if you played the original Hatoful Boyfriend and already know that you’re nuts (seeds?) about these pigeons, then you should probably pick up the deluxe copy titled the Dove, Actually Edition. Guffaw.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Steam OS

Buy Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online (£3.99, Early Access)

Ghost in the Shell is back in the spotlight of late. The cult classic anime recently received an additional mini-series, Arise, and word is that Scarlett Johansson is set to play the central role of Motoko Kusanagi in a 2017 live-action remake of the original film.

Now the transhumanist franchise is expanding into the world of videogames with First Assault Online, which takes its cue from the 2003 series Stand Alone Complex rather than the 1995 film Ghost in the Shell. First Assault is a team FPS featuring special abilities in the vein of which we’ve become so familiar of late, but there’s a twist: each ability can be periodically shared between teammates, allowing a huddle of allies to become invisible or attain a burst of speed simultaneously.

Compatibility: Windows

Buy Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online

Apotheon Arena (free)

Here at Stuff we’re particularly fond of free things and Ancient Greek things, which is why Apotheon Arena caught our eye immediately. Apotheon was a sidescrolling action RPG with a an aesthetic taken from Ancient Greek pottery that bedazzled us early last year. Now the developers have released a completely free online component to let potential players have a taste of Apotheon’s skirts and spears.

Several game modes are available including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Team Elimination, and did we mention that it costs the same amount that you pay for the air you’re breathing? There’s no excuse not to download Apotheon Arena and give it a go, save for a deep-seated fear of pottery.

Compatibility: Windows

Download Apotheon Arena

Nuclear Throne (£8.99)

Humans are dead and only monsters and mutants roam the Earth in this crazily popular top-down shooter. It’s incredibly frenetic and makes the likes of Hotline Miami look positively calm by comparison, but there’s real depth here that begs to be explored.

Build your arsenal, collect radiation to evolve, and eventually reach the titular Nuclear Throne. Or die continuously until you lose any hint of the sanity you once possessed and throw your beloved computer out of the window. Which outcome prevails will largely come down to your own patience and skill.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Steam OS

Buy Nuclear Throne

Reveal the Deep (£0.79)

Why are underwater tales so invariably terrifying? Whatever happened to The Little Mermaid where the lobsters were friendly and no one was being dismembered? Instead gamers are constantly exposed to the likes of BioShock or SOMA where submarine and psychological horror are synonymous because that’s just what happens under da sea.

Not wanting to buck the trend at all, we present to you Reveal the Deep, a short game of underwater exploration and things that go bump in the night. It’s 2D, it’s pixelated, and it already has us wishing we’d kept the lights on.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Steam OS

Buy Reveal the Deep

Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist (free)

Game designer William Pugh has already established his avant-garde gaming creds by working on The Stanley Parable with David Wreden, and now he’s back. Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist is the deliberately ungainly name for this twenty minute satire that is pretty much guaranteed to make you laugh.

Do you recognise the smarmy nasal tones of the narrator? You should, as each word is uttered by former Never Mind the Buzzcocks host Simon Amstell.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Download Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist

Emily is Away (free)

Before the days of Telltale, creatures called ‘text-based adventures’ roamed the Earth. These lumbering beasts used things called ‘words’, which can, according to rumour, invoke whole worlds without the use of fancy drawings.

Emily is Away is one such textual escapade that draws its players through a branching narrative that takes place in AOL messenger. Chat, laugh, and gently wend your way through its conversational maze.

Oh, and it costs absolutely nothing.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

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12 is Better Than 6 (£6.99)

We can’t think of many ways to improve Hotline Miami, but we freely admit that we wish it had lasted longer. Luckily, 12 is Better Than 6 is here to step in and fill the void.

The journey from one to the other is simple: remove Hotline’s pixelated graphics and neon stylings and insert in their place a sleek line-drawn aesthetic that renders cowboys blasting cowboys. It’s super pretty, super bloody, and is just dying to supply your latest dose of ultra-violence.

Compatibility: Windows, SteamOS

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The Deed (£0.49)

Have you ever wanted to get away with murder? Perhaps there’s a racist auntie or tight-fisted grandfather you can’t wait to bump off? If so, it’s probably best not to admit to it publicly (murder being a punishable offence and all) and instead invest in this indie gem.

The Deed is an adventure-RPG whose anti-hero finds himself disinherited in favour of his deranged sister. Naturally, this doesn’t go down to well, and he decides it’s high time she was cut loose from the mortal coil. Each decision you make affects the game’s eventual outcome. Choose your weapon, plan who you’re going to frame, and lay down a cunning spider’s web to conceal your nefarious act.

Compatibility: Windows

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Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul (£39.99)

The PC is a haven to many a nomadic gaming genre, but the beat em up isn’t one of them. We may be ashamed to admit it, but our console brethren have always possessed the upper hand when it comes to Mortal Kombat and its ilk, and the balance of power isn’t likely to change any time soon.

For this reason it’s a great surprise to see an all-fists, smacky smacky simulator getting some positive attention on Steam. Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul has made quite the splash, and if you’re willing to shell out the cash to cover its hefty price tag, it could provide many an hour of insane moves and cell-shaded beauty.

Compatibility: Windows

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Mayan Death Robots (£10.99)

We miss Worms. Not the icky kind that invade your digestive tract, the ones that used to massacre one another in turn-based slaughter. The holy hand grenade, the super sheep, the good old fashioned cluster bomb; those were the days.

Mayan Death Robots is a twist on the classic Worms formula. Players select a robot from the cast of death machines and then wage war against one another simultaneously. Unlike its wriggly ancestor this game is fast-paced and requires more quick thinking than methodical planning. Perfect for settling a family feud or having an entertaining break during that seasonal LAN party.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

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Mordheim: City of the Damned (£29.99)

This adaptation of the classic Warhammer tabletop game by Games Workshop, Mordheim, allows you to form warbands and take them into battle against AI opponents as well as human foes.

A word of caution: City of the Damned isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s a deep, unforgiving experience that has more in common with its board game origins than the RPGs and RTS titles that most gamers are now accustomed to. Expect heavy losses and head scratching.

Compatibility: Windows

Download Mordheim: City of the Damned

Turbo Pug (£0.79)

Pugs are innately silly. Those faces, that walk - comedy gold. Pug lovers everywhere may now thank the heavens; someone has immmortalised the world’s most ridiculous canine in a scrolling platformer packed with pugs, pugs, and more pugs.

Each level of Turbo Pug is procedurally generated, so you can keep pushing your pug to the max indefinitely. It’s completely ridiculous but it costs less than a pound so there’s no excuse not to add it to your Steam collection.

Compatibility: Windows

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Mini Metro (£6.99)

Our favourite user review of Mini Metro on Steam describes it as “the most elegantly designed anxiety attack you will ever have”.

Players are tasked with constructing a tube network in a busy city that must transport an ever increasing number of commuters using limited resources. Like all great management games and puzzlers it’s easy to learn, but hard to master.

The game also chooses to adopt an abstract aesthetic resembling the London Tube map, lending it a striking look that keeps all of its mechanical aspects as clear as possible.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

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Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (£10.99)

Bombs are no laughing matter except in highly specific circumstances. When you're watching is Wily Coyote or playing Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, for example. The latter tasks you with defusing a payload before the timer goes off and you're blown to smithereens. The catch? Only one person can see the bomb and they aren’t allowed to look at the instructions.

What ensues is a verbal race against the clock as your friends desperately fumble to explain which cut wire leads to ‘phew’, and which leads to ‘kabloo’. It even includes Oculus Rift support to add an extra dimension of stress to the proceedings.

Compatility: Windows

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Noct (£6.99, Early Access)

Noct’s aesthetic has clearly been inspired by images of modern warfare captured by attack helicopters. This top-down survival game is viewed through a thermal imaging camera within a satellite orbiting a post-apocalyptic Earth. It’s striking, resonant, and decidedly eerie.

Players find themselves in a wasteland known as the Noct and must fight what remains of humanity as well as a selection of nasty mutant beasties in order to survive. Hotline Miami meets S.T.A.L.K.E.R in minimalistic visual bliss.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

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Five Nights at Freddy's 4 (£5.59)

Who would have believed that a game about homicidal toys in a fifties diner would become such an overnight success? Five Nights at Freddy’s has become the go-to indie horror experience as players attempt to make it through the night by keeping tabs on their knee-high assailants.

Number four in the series moves the action into the bedroom and ditches security cameras in favour of peeking around corners and nervous glances under the bed. Parents everywhere should keep this one under lock and key lest it confirm to their children that monsters are real, they’re evil, and they will kill in your sleep.

Compatibility: Windows

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Rebel Galaxy (£14.99)

If you're like us, after watching Joss Whedon's Firefly you proceeded to spend the next 10 years dreaming about your own starship. Sadly, that's a dream that most games publishers no longer wish to indulge since space sims started struggling for popularity.

Enter the soothing space-tonic that is Rebel Galaxy. Take charge of a spaceship and trade, battle, mine, and mingle with the population of an open world galaxy. At £14.99 it's more expensive than most of the games on this list, but its reception from fans has been rapturous. Quit dreaming about that corvette covered in lasers and grab yourself a copy.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

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The Flame in the Flood (£14.99, Early Access)

Since the closure of games developer Irrational Games, the talented team behind the BioShock series has been spotted here, there and everywhere on the indie scene. Some projects such as the sublime looking Black Glove have crashed and burned, but others have been successfully born into the real world as bonafide games.

The Flame in the Flood is one such treasure. Its developer describes it as "a rogue-lite river journey through the backwaters of a forgotten post-societal America". Deep.

You'll be forced to scavenge resources, avoid predators, and stay one step ahead of the surging waters. Take a peek at the trailer and you'll fall in love with the gorgeous southern soundtrack and rich, colour-soaked visuals. When the weather outside is frightful this could be just the ticket for a comforting winter's evening in front of the screen.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

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Ashes of the Singularity (£39.99, Early Access)

Real time strategy games have forgotten the days when scale was everything.

Ashes of the Singularity is the spiritual sequel of Supreme Commander which was in turn the spiritual sequel of Total Annihilation. Those who can that remember back that far, we salute you, but for those who didn't play either, they were real-time strategy classics with a simple M.O: cram as many mega-death-machines on screen as is physically possible. 

In honesty, it doesn't look like the setup has changed a great deal since Supreme Commander: a transhuman future sees mankind adandoning its fleshy bodies in favour of metallic warbots. Then again, the formula ain't broke, so why go messing around with something that has always been titanic levels of fun?

Compatibility: Windows

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The Beginner's Guide (£6.99)

Davey Wreden's last project, The Stanley Parable, was a postmodern interrogation about the nature of storytelling and videogames. Originally created as a mod for Half-Life 2, the game made such a splash that it won itself a full release on Steam a short time after. 

Now Wreden is back and once again thinking outside the box. The Beginner's guide, in his own words has 'no traditional mechanics, no goals or objectives. Instead, it tells the story of a person struggling to deal with something they do not understand.' In some ways, much like the Stanley Parable, this doesn't quite qualify for the status of 'game', but it's hard to know what else to call Wreden's highly experimental form.

Things you should know: The Beginner's Guide has recieved an outstanding reception from critics, it's only about an hour and a half long, and it will most likely mess with your woefully insufficient human brain.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

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Broforce (£11.99)

Machismo is the achilles heel of so many games which take themselves too seriously. Broforce is an A-Team inspired platformer parody that takes ‘guns, men, girls, and more guns’ to the next level.

This month the Steam community has fallen head over heels for Broforce’s sidescrolling antics. It’s game page shows over 9000 reviews and a score that is ‘overwhelmingly positive’. If that doesn't convince you of its quality, we don't know what will.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, SteamOS

Buy Broforce here