HomeTheXboxHub FeaturesOpinionsBest Xbox Indie Games of the Year 2023

Best Xbox Indie Games of the Year 2023

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best indie xbox games 2023
What are the best indie Xbox games of 2023?

There have been a fair few big hitters in terms of Xbox games in 2023 –  the likes of Starfield, Hogwarts Legacy and Remnant II, all of which made an appearance on our best Xbox Games of 2023 list.

But enough of them, it’s time to celebrate gaming’s unsung heroes – the indie gems that have illuminated the Xbox landscape in 2023 and proved that big adventures can come in small packages. Here are TheXboxHub team’s choices for best indie Xbox games of 2023.

Planet of Lana

planet of lana
Planet of Lana is an indie stunner

Planet of Lana Review – 4.5/5 score

“Planet of Lana is a five-hour masterpiece. A game that deserves to be mentioned in and amongst the finest of the genre. A game that brings moments of joy and despair, of hope, found and lost. A visual and audio treat, we urge you to navigate your way over and through Planet of Lana at the very earliest opportunity. ”

Let’s kick things off with a real stunner. Planet of Lana is a scrolling puzzle platformer that captivated us with its breathtaking visuals and emotionally resonant storytelling.

You play as Lana, a girl on a mission to find her kidnapped sister. With the help of an alien cat-like creature, Mui, you collaborate to solve puzzles and progress through your journey.

The hand-painted landscapes, atmospheric soundtrack and seamlessly integrated puzzles contribute to an immersive gaming experience that leaves a lasting impact. This is a must-play for those seeking a deeply engaging indie adventure. 

Marble it Up! Ultra

marble it up! ultra
Marble rolling is back!

Marble it Up! Ultra Review – 4.5/5 score

“It’s an absolute joy to have Marble It Up! Ultra on Xbox. And aside from a few little hiccups, this is the best marble rolling game you can play on Xbox today. Period.”

We were more than a little bit excited to see the return of Marble Blast Ultra to Xbox in the form of Marble it Up! Ultra, and were even more excited when it proved to be a worthy successor.

It got our balls rolling down ramps, jumping over chasms, slipping across ice and collecting power ups like they were going out of fashion, all set against colourful visuals and a pumping soundtrack.

Brilliant game design gives you an assortment of over 100 different levels, all with their

 fair share of hazards, bounce pads, see-saws and the odd change in perspective or gravity to really keep you on your toes.

Games don’t come more addictive than this as you try and shave a few milliseconds off to earn the gold medal, and an online multiplayer mode offers plenty of showboating opportunities with friends.

DREDGE

dredge
DREDGE – the best fishing game you can play?

DREDGE Review – 4.5/5 score

DREDGE is just that good. We felt digested whole by the game’s fishing loops, as we couldn’t escape the need to gather every fish, to complete every quest, and to upgrade our ship until we could fit a hammerhead or two in its majestic hull.

DREDGE is a fishing game, but don’t let that put you off because it is so much more than just a fishing game. It’s dark and murky, strange and scary, and totally addictive with a ‘try and catch ‘em all’ mentality.

DREDGE puts you into the boots of a fisherman who arrives in the town of Greater Marrow. The sunken-eyed locals give you quests that require you to fish the surrounding waters day and night to find weird and wonderful marine organisms. And it’s at night that things get really dark, in more than one way, as horrors start to rise from the sea, and you’ll have to be alert for monstrous tentacles threatening to drag you to a watery death.

We loved DREDGE so much that we were thrilled to see the release of DLC – The Pale Reach, which adds new areas to explore and keeps the fishing nightmare alive. 

Venba

venba
A tasty cooking treat

Venba Review – 4.5/5 score

Cooking is an enjoyable pastime and the puzzling does enough to provide a sense of reward. The presentation of Tamil culture throughout Venba is done brilliantly too.”

Never have we craved a biryani more than playing Venba, a narrative-driven cooking game that immerses players in the life of an Indian mother, the titular Venba.

You’ll get to cook delicious South Indian delicacies such as idlis and dosas by translating an old smudged recipe book Venba brought to her new life in Canada. The cooking of each dish is placed inside a poignant narrative about adapting to a new culture while staying connected to another. 

Venba may be a short game at around two hours, but it sure is sweet. We can almost smell the spices from here.

Cocoon

cocoon
The beauty of Cocoon

Cocoon Review – 5/5 score

At every turn, I was left almost breathless by the beauty and ingenuity in COCOON. It’s a staggeringly brilliant game with which words cannot really do justice.

COCOON is a puzzle adventure game published by Annapurna Interactive, who consistently provide us with some of the best indie games going. It’s a truly mesmerising adventure which sees you play as an insect-like creature newly hatched from its cocoon. You’ll be moving between worlds contained in orbs that nestle inside each other like a fantastical Russian doll.

We loved the stunning cel-shaded visuals, the loving use of sound and the meticulously crafted puzzles. It’s not a game we can compare to others because it’s just not like any other game. It’s mysterious and surprising and, as you can tell, quite difficult to explain. If you want to know more we recommend you give it a play – you won’t be disappointed.

Jusant

jusant
Going up with Jusant

Jusant Review – 4.5/5 score

A near masterpiece that should be played by anyone and everyone. If you’re after a narrative, it nails it. If you’re looking for a serene game to kick back with for an evening or two, equally so. And if you just want to go up, there’s not a better game to do it with than with Jusant.”

Climbing the heady heights to an almost perfect score, Jusant easily made the list of best indie games in 2023. Coming from the DON’T NOD team, it is an action climbing game set in a mysterious world with an intriguing narrative. 

With a near-flawless climbing mechanic, awe-inspiring visuals and serene audio, we couldn’t get enough of the almost hypnotic feeling of climbing the ginormous tower in Jusant. Finding your path up will require you to traverse across rock faces, swing across crevices and rappel down overhangs with the help of your little backpackable buddy Ballast. 

Jusant has got just the right level of difficulty, with you having to stop occasionally, take a look at where you need to get to next and plan your path accordingly. Just don’t look down!


Whether you’re a fan of atmospheric adventures, puzzle-solving prowess, or emotionally charged narratives, the indie scene on Xbox in 2023 had something special for everyone. But what about you? Share your thoughts and let us know which indie game was your top pick in 2023.

Gemma Young
Gemma Younghttp://www.snapshotscience.co.uk
I'm a part-time gamer and a full-time writer of science-y things. On the few odd occasions that I'm able to wrestle the Xbox controller away from the avid gamers in my family, I enjoy spending time playing puzzle and adventure games.
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