The 9 Best PS4 Indie Games of 2019

Sometimes it's fun to play a title that's not a blockbuster

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What makes an indie game different from a commercial game? Traditionally, commercial games are backed by big-name publishers with enormous, million-dollar budgets and large teams with studio oversight (which can make the final result exceptional or downright sloppy). Indie games, on the other hand, are a little more focused, with smaller teams that can give a more streamlined form of development, and they are often crowd-funded. Here, creativity is more important than whether a game is sellable or not. Indie games come in many different forms and provide a realm where avant-garde creations come to life and sometimes completely innovate the video game industry. So if you’re looking for something entirely new and fresh, something fun or your next favorite game, then please read on. We put together a list of the best PS4 indie games to play right now.

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Our Top Picks

Best Platformer: Owlboy

Owlboy is a dazzling, platform indie game for the PS4 that is a fully fleshed out, 2D-pixel art, side-scrolling adventure. Players take the role of a young student named Otis who can fly, roll and spin around while relying on friends to complete levels in an expressive world bursting with life and detailed moments of creativity.

In order to survive, Otis must pick up his allies with his talons and rely on their abilities to overcome obstacles he can’t take on alone. These allies can have equipment such as pistols and other items that can take out enemies and crush through barriers in order to progress. Owlboy does a fine job in keeping its gameplay varied with enemies and always presents a challenge to the player, with unique puzzles, a ton of clever boss fights and a whole bunch of exciting sequences that’ll have you hooked.

Want to go on an exciting journey? Check out our picks for the best PS4 adventure games.

Best for Hilarity: Octodad: Dadliest Catch

While it's hard being a father, it’s even harder being an octopus posing as a human father with a normal human family like in Octodad: Dadliest Catch. The wonky, wacky, third-person indie adventure game will test your abilities to perform chores as you jostle around your lanky limbs looking like a complete fool all while safeguarding your identity and expressing your love.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch becomes a challenge as you control one of two sets of tentacles that mimic arms and legs, switching between the two with a single button and trying to replicate human movement. In order to keep your identity hidden, you’ll have to avoid causing too much chaos, as you flop around to pick up cereal at the grocery store, mow the lawn without chopping the flowers and spill coffee grounds. No matter what type of gamer you are, Octodad: Dadliest Catch will put a smile on your face because hard to not love a creature that's just trying his best to bring joy to the world.

Best for VR: Superhot

Superhot is not your ordinary first-person shooter game, but rather an incredibly innovative experience where time moves only when you move. The best indie game for VR throws you in a Matrix-like simulator against an army of angry, red, polygonal men who shatter like glass upon impact.

Enemies in Superhot will react fast as they bust through doors and rush you, knowing well aware of your special abilities and taking all the chances they get to fire their bullets in hopes of hitting you. But don't worry. You’ll be able to stop their movement by standing still, dodge projectiles and picking up weapons of your own to exercise control. When you run out of ammo in Superhot, you can throw your empty gun at an enemy, grab their weapon as it floats in static in the air and then continue your onslaught of intense and choppy combat.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best PS4 VR games article.

Best Animation: Night in the Woods

Night in the Woods has a charming art design that looks like the pages of a nostalgic kids book. The story focuses on a young girl named Mae (who happens to be a cat) who dropped out of college and returns to her hometown and old friends only to find that everything has changed.

A dark mystery surrounds something in the woods and you’re compelled to explore and uncover it. Night in the Woods’ fluid animation, color schemes and ambiance creates an adventure you just can’t take your eyes off of. The plot always makes you ask “why?” and has you diving into a world of cigarette-smoking alligators, hyperactive foxes and other zoomorphic humans with a story to tell. You’ll be able to control Mae as you run, jump and learn aspects of your small town through narrative-based gameplay and decision making that effects how the story unravels and how you feel at the end.

Best Puzzle: Thomas Was Alone

With an interesting title, Thomas Was Alone is an indie puzzle platforming game where players take control of one or more 2D rectangles that represent chaotic AI beings. Though it may look simple, there’s great depth to the game, bringing with it a kind of sophistication you’d expect to see it in a kiosk at a bookstore.

It’s simple: each level challenges players to direct (one at a time) multiple shapes to exits specifically designed to them. Each shape you control has specific unique abilities like being able to be turned into a staircase or float and act as a boat. The differences in each shape help and complement one another, creating a gameplay style that focuses on critical thinking, with a narrator describing the personalities and thoughts of each shape, from minimal to emotional.

You may also be interested in our roundup of the best PS4 puzzle games.

Best RPG: Victor Vran

Victor Vran is an indie, action RPG about a demon hunter who arrives in a fantasy city to help rescue people from a demon infestation. The game won't overwhelm you like typical RPGs since it sticks to the basics and focuses on addictive gameplay, with easy-to-understand mechanics and features.

With a nice and tidy overhead view, Victor Vran throws you straight into the action without any lengthy intro as you sword swipe against giant spiders and familiarize yourself with the controls of the game, following objectives and collecting various items that’ll power you up. Though you have no character class, you’ll be able to tweak your character by changing through different weapon types, consumable items (like potions and bombs) and spell powers all while leveling up as you battle against the hordes of evil. Diablo III fans will love Victor Vran’s combat system because encounters have this solid physicality to them that provides a rewarding feeling as you dodge, anticipate and overcome your enemies.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best PS4 RPG games

Best for Patience: Spintires: MudRunner

Spintires: MudRunner is a good example of how video games aren’t always used for recreation, but instead, to learn important values like patience. The all-terrain, simulation, PS4 indie game tasks you to drive on muddy Russian roads with over 19 all-terrain Soviet vehicles using nothing but a map and compass.

Spintires: MudRunner will have you really appreciating the physics and environment of its strict design because gameplay here requires thoughtful control. The challenge of the game comes from the drive itself, as you roll over dynamic terrain that changes, going through the densities of squishy mud and rapid rivers while shifting in gears to get ahead. As you transport cargo to different destinations, you’ll be met with different challenges where you'll have to do your best to overcome obstacles, reserve fuel and make sure your vehicle isn’t damaged.

Best Physics-Based: Human Fall Flat

Human Fall Fla
Courtesy of Playstation 

Human Fall Flat is a balancing act where you are thrown into multiple fantasy worlds and are free to explore them as you choose. The physics-based, PS4 indie game presents itself as both relaxing and fun as you solve puzzles and interact with the environment around you.

Human Fall Flat has you playing as Bob, a human with no special powers and a wobbling walk who journeys through fantastical worlds full of different distractions and puzzles to figure out. Every rule can be bent and every solution is welcomed, but ultimately, you’ll be set out on exploring each level’s features. For example, you'll have to operate a crane to knock over blocks, jumpe over bridges in the sky or tumble down a staircase. Players who want a more relaxed and silly game where they can take their time and enjoy funny physics systems should check out Human Fall Flat.

Best for Kids: Cat Quest

Cute and adorable, Cat Quest is an indie-action RPG game played from a top-down perspective where players play as – you guessed it – a cat. The best indie game for kids on the list offers enough action and excitement but is still both friendly and approachable. It is also an age-appropriate choice for young children.

Cat Quest gets you straight on your journey as you traverse the open world green fields of Felingard and battle — in real time — against big dragon bosses, evil foxes, blue rams and other foes, using both your sword and magical spell powers while simultaneously dodging their attacks. Along the way, you’ll accept various quests, level up, discover treasures and gain various distinct armors that’ll improve your skills and abilities. Do you have what it takes to rescue your kidnapped sister from the evil Drakoth?

Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best PS4 kids' games​ can help you find what you're looking for.