7 exciting indie games releasing January 2021

Posted on January 2, 2021

Hundreds of video games release every single month across multiple storefronts and platforms. Whilst it’s great to have a huge amount of variety, it can also be incredibly challenging to sift through all the shovelware and low effort asset flips to find the true indie gems amongst the releases. Traditionally January isn’t the most stacked month when it comes to video game releases, but there’s still certainly enough here for us to get excited about.

A few bigger releases are hitting us this month, including Hitman 3, The Medium and Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy. Although if you want the hidden indie gems, look no further! Here’s 7 awesome indie games releasing in January of 2021, presented in no particular order.


Orange Cast

Developer: Team Rez
Release Date (Aus): January 22, 2021
Platforms: PC via Steam
Genre: Third-Person Shooter

“As humanity’s elite space trooper, you take on a heroic, action-packed adventure throughout the galaxy. Explore planets, protect colonies, and be the first to meet the unknown! Dive into the original story inspired by James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse series…”

Orange Cast is the first commercial game release from Russian studio Team Rez. They’re a small studio creating the game as an ambitious passion project within their free time. They describe the game as a science-fiction, third-person shooter with RPG elements and a strong focus on narrative. Orange Cast is set in 2046 after all of Earth’s greatest nations have colonized Mars. You’re an elite space trooper who’s tasked with exploring planets, protecting colonies, and facing unknown threats for the betterment of mankind. You should expect to see plenty of third-person shooting, dialogue, cutscenes, quests, side quests, story choices, and heaps of in-universe lore as well. The team have even compared the experience to the Mass Effect games. Lofty goals, no doubt. But I honestly can’t wait to see what they’ll be able to achieve.

Don’t you love a good game demo? I love a good game demo. And thankfully Orange Cast’s entire prologue is available on Steam for those interested in checking this game out before committing to a purchase.


Cyber Shadow

Developer: Aarne “MekaSkull” Hunziker
Release Date (Aus): January 26, 2021
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Switch, Game Pass, and PC via Steam, Humble and GOG
Genre: Action Platformer

“The world has been taken over by synthetic lifeforms. A desperate plea for help sets Shadow on a journey to uncover what started the path to perpetual ruin. Slash through the techno hordes, leap past traps, and nimbly navigate the ruins of Mekacity.”

This ninja action platformer is giving me some seriously good vibes. The retro style, animations, 8-bit art, bombastic combat and slick platforming has me thinking back to a whole bunch of fantastic games with which Cyber Shadow has clearly taken inspiration. The game promises to showcase the best of both old design and new sensibilities. Some nostalgic, retro stylings are clearly visible including the classic difficulty we’d know and love from games of this format. Yet modern touches such as fluid animations and added conveniences are promised too and it honestly has me super stoked to leap into Cyber Shadow and hone my Ninjitsu skills.

The game is also being published by Yacht Club Games who you may know as the developer behind the unbelievably successful Shovel Knight series. If this well-respected team trusts and supports a title like Cyber Shadow then that just adds another layer of credibility to an already promising release.


Sword of the Necromancer

Developer: Grimorio of Games
Release Date (Aus): January 28, 2021
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC via Steam
Genre: Dungeon-Crawler

“Help Tama to save Koko using the powers of the forbidden Sword of the Necromancer. Turn your foes into allies and reach the depths of the Necromancer’s dungeon. Defeat the guardians to gain enough soul power to bring Koko back from the dead, no matter the cost.”

With an incredible €201,526 raised via Kickstarter, it’s clear that there’s some excitement for Sword of the Necromancer. This game describes itself as a dungeon-crawler, action RPG with roguelike elements. Add some cooperative fun and you have a pretty tantalising formula. The real kicker here though is that enemies you slay in battle can be resurrected to fight alongside you. It’s a really cool premise and one that has me genuinely excited to check this title out. There’s also a focus on narrative here that we can see from some of the game’s more cinematic trailers.

There’s also a free demo available for this one too so it’s hard to pass up that opportunity!


Gods Will Fall

Developer: Clever Beans
Release Date (Aus): January 29, 2021
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch & PC via Steam and Epic
Genre: Action / Adventure

“The gods’ torturous rule over humanity has lasted for millennia. Bent on cruelty and suffering, they demand to be served with blind worship through an oath of fealty pledged from every man, woman and child. To those who don’t submit to the gods’ will; a slow and merciless death awaits.”

From the development team who previously worked on the Wipeout Omega Collection comes something completely different. The devs have clearly moved away from developing PlayStation exclusives and are now focussing on an entirely different style of game releasing across multiple platforms with assistance from publishing label Deep Silver. Gods Will Fall puts the player in control of 8 Celtic warriors whose anger towards the gods leads them on a quest to slay them in single combat. This hardcore action game will undoubtedly draw comparisons to the likes of Dark Souls, but whether or not it’s as crushingly difficult is yet to be seen.

Randomly generated dungeons, character development and personal narratives forming between the Celtic warriors, and some pretty cool ideas when it comes to the game’s combat will all help to give this game a unique edge and I’m intrigued to see it all play out when the game releases.



Developer: Skeleton Crew Studio
Release Date (Aus): January 29, 2021
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch & PC via Steam
Genre: Action / Adventure

“Olija is a game about Faraday’s quest, a man shipwrecked then trapped in the mysterious country of Terraphage. Armed with a legendary harpoon, he and other castaways try to leave this hostile country to return to their homelands.”

With its beautiful pixel graphics, buttery smooth animations, and frenetic action gameplay, it’s hard not to get a little excited for Olija. This action / adventure title combines punchy hack and slash gameplay with quick 2D platforming. It’s also a narrative-driven title that’s said to contain Metroidvania elements too. The game will have you wondering around a rather grim land as you kill enemies, acquire new powers, save outcasts, and slay powerful bosses. All in all it sounds like a winning formula.

Olija is being developed by a small team but it’s also backed by publisher Devolver Digital. Will certainly be interesting to see what secrets this title may hold!


Skul: The Hero Slayer

Developer: SouthPAW Games
Release Date (Aus): January 21, 2021
Platforms: PC via Steam
Genre: Action-Platformer

“Guide ‘Skul’ on his quest to single-handedly take on the Imperial Army and rescue his King from captivity, in an action-packed rogue-lite 2D platformer for the ages.”

Graduating out of Steam’s Early Access this month is Skul: The Hero Slayer. This beautiful pixel game is an action-platformer with roguelike elements. You’ll venture out into the 2D world, clear rooms by slashing through your many foes, and likely eventually die where you return to a hub, spend your currency on upgrades, and jump back into the hostile world to try again. A unique aspect to the title is the hero’s interchangeable heads. You’ll be able to throw your head like a weapon and teleport to it for some extra platforming finesse, but you’ll also find new heads on your journey and can swap to a new one to adjust your playstyle!

Skul: The Hero Slayer has been quite the popular Early Access title with the game currently sitting at a ‘very positive’ review aggregation. It’ll be great to see this one reach its complete “1.0” release state that hopefully brings about some exciting new content.



Developer: Chaosmonger Studio
Release Date (Aus): January 26, 2021
Platforms: PC via Steam and GOG
Genre: Point-and-Click Adventure

“Neo Berlin 2062. Tina – a nine-year-old orphan – lives with SAM-53 – her big clumsy robot guardian –in a rooftop makeshift shelter in Neo-Berlin, a dark megalopolis controlled by corporations.”

Another Kickstarter success story is releasing this month by the name of Encodya. Taking on the topical Cyberpunk genre, Encodya is set in a dystopian, futuristic megalopolis in Neo-Berlin where a little girl and her big robot protector team up to finish the girl’s father’s world-saving mission. The game is said to be inspired by “the sweetness and creativity of Studio Ghibli, the setting and atmosphere of Blade Runner and the humor and game style of Monkey Island”. This point-and-click adventure will most certainly be a narrative-heavy title.

The game is being made almost entirely by a single developer by the name of Nicola Piovesan. Nicola’s experience comes from the film industry and he’s looking to bring his talents across to a new medium. The gorgeous visuals, animation quality, sound design, narrative, dialogue and voice acting could prove to be the winning formula upon Encodya’s release.

If you’re as excited about gaming in 2021 as I am then you should no doubt be able to find something tantalising amongst the releases above. Let us know if there’s an indie release you’re excited for this year and get ready for another round of hidden indie releases in February!