The sheer amount of titles released each year makes getting to every single one a mammoth task for any gamer. While you may have found the time to finish the biggest AAA games, such as God of War Ragnarok and Elden Ring, in 2022, there are countless other interesting titles that you may have missed. This list features the best underrated games of 2022. You won’t have to do the research and can instead devote that time to playing some of the more offbeat but standout titles.
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3D platformer Tinykin allows you to live out a bite-sized fantasy, exploring a ’90s-era house as a tiny researcher from the future. The novelty of running around a regular-sized home as a shrunken guy is enough to last the short six-hour run of the game. The plot revolves around you commanding cute little Tinykin creatures to accomplish various tasks through different areas of the home overrun by intelligent insects. It’s a laid-back adventure relying on fun movements and humorous interactions with bug NPCs.
- Overall pleasant experience
- Satisfying navigation
- Beautifully-designed and rendered levels
- Plot mostly works, considering the length of the game
- Lack of challenging puzzles
- Plot can feel a little obtuse
2. Redout 2
In 2016, Redout arrived on the gaming scene as a self-proclaimed Wipeout and F-Zero tribute. Six years later, Redout 2 attempted to expand on what worked the first time around. With an impressive roster of vehicles, visually stunning tracks, and most of all, driving at ridiculous speeds, Redout 2 manages to retain and build on all of the fun from its prequel. Its punishing mechanics are not for everyone. Players hoping for casual gravity-defying whooshing and vaulting without nailing precise inputs may want to abandon the game from the get-go. But Redout 2 is not trying to please everyone. It’s clear about what it wants to be but may require another sequel.
- Breakneck racing that never gets dull
- Gorgeous and varied locations, each with its own backstory
- Huge career mode for players to sink their teeth into
- Vehicle upgrades as you progress
- Satisfying gameplay for those willing to stick with it
- AI assist still needs work
- No online multiplayer
- Difficulty is needlessly high at times
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3. Midnight Fight Express
Midnight Fight Express is a lesser-known entry in the beat-’em-up genre. Side-scrolling fighting games might be commonplace, but the ones with an isometric 2.5D perspective are relatively rare. This is not the only unique aspect of Midnight Fight Express, as its brutal and realistic motion-capture combat immediately hooks you. Created mostly by a single developer, the game manages to make the most of its collaboration with stuntmen of God of War and The Last of Us: Part II fame.
The combat never gets boring, with the incredible variety of weapons and context-specific moves you have access to, making Midnight Fight Express a treat to play. The game also sprinkles in some pop culture references and the occasional satire, but it mostly just interrupts the combat and doesn’t add anything valuable to the experience.
- Authentic and incredibly satisfying combat
- Addictive, techno-bassy soundtrack
- Diverse locales that provide context-specific fighting styles
- Mo-capped animations keep things fresh, especially the finishers
- Weak writing provides a protagonist with no personality
- Dialogue appears as lines of text in the absence of voice acting
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include the point-and-click must-play adventure game Norco. What makes this title memorable is its subject matter and how deftly it handles it. Sometimes, this is only accomplished by small-budget, focused narratives. Norco tells a fictionalized story of a real Louisiana town but draws from the very real issues the town grappled with over the years. Using gratifying pixel art, Norco lets you choose meaningful conversations and poignant social commentary over fast-paced action.
The protagonist is modeled after some of the developers’ real-life experiences living in the actual city of Norco. This is masterfully used to tell a tale of how capitalism and climate change affect the lives of real people.
- Complex themes and a thought-provoking narrative
- Genuine moments of connection with NPCs and side-mission stories
- Amazing soundtrack that elevates the story
- Can be an emotionally-charged gaming experience
- Lack of voice acting may put off some players
- Too short
5. Rogue Legacy 2
Roguelikes are pretty common when it comes to indie games, but the Rogue Legacy games have managed to put a popular spin on the genre while excelling on all of the roguelike trappings. Rogue Legacy 2 was a hotly-anticipated title after the first game’s stellar success. The initial gameplay loop of traversing a dangerous and ever-changing castle and amassing riches for your next generation of warriors was highly rewarding. Yet, Rogue Legacy 2 enhances that formula and gives players more classes, weapons, and movement abilities to make playthroughs even more action-packed and rewarding.
- Doesn’t change the core elements of previous game
- Tense and chaotic combat with satisfying boss fights
- Still as visually arresting
- Well-designed levels and enemy challenges
- Awesome soundtrack keeps the player engaged
- Difficulty can hinder gameplay
- Backtracking on some levels can become a grind
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6. Hyper Demon
Hyper Demon is a weird, unusual, and trippy experience that is technically a first-person shooter. Hyper Demon is best experienced firsthand, as the way it decides to present its world, enemies, and combat is both wondrous chaos and unintelligible pandemonium at the same time. There’s no story here – only the knowledge that you need to kill every “skull and bone” jumping at you. Your vision is always a swirling mess of rainbow-infused oil spills, and your remaining senses are assaulted with the haunting soundtrack.
- Singular experience that’ll stay with you long after you put the game down
- Psychedelic graphics verging on incomprehensible
- Soundtrack adds to the tension
- Near-unstoppable gameplay encourages learning the game’s tricky mechanics
- Constant failures can make even the best players give up
- Visuals can be disorienting for some players
7. FAR: Changing Tides
FAR: Changing Tides flew under the radar of many gamers in 2022, but it’s a side-scrolling adventure that deserves much more attention, especially from those who enjoy atmospheric, narrative-driven games. The sequel to 2018’s FAR: Lone Sails puts you in the shoes of a nameless protagonist tasked with navigating a post-apocalyptic world in a huge ship that must always remain functional. Despite the survival-style gameplay, FAR: Changing Tides is a relaxed adventure, where you can soak in the world and let the soundtrack completely pull you in. Composed of varying puzzles that are intuitive and mostly satisfying, the game ranks among some of the best indie sequels we’ve come across.
- Chill, atmospheric tone that invites you into the narrative
- Stunning visuals based on the oil painting aesthetic
- Brilliant soundtrack acts as an able wingman to the visuals
- Deeply detailed soundscape helps the ocean come to life
- Intuitive gameplay won’t make you frustrated
- Puzzles may feel too easy to some players
- Unexplained environmental elements can hurt gameplay on occasion
Saturnalia is a horror game by an Italian developer and is set in the fictional village of Gravoi in 1989. Inspired by Sardinian folklore, the game sets out a lofty objective for the player: explore the eerie village with an ensemble cast and try to uncover the truth before the village shapeshifts each time all of your characters die. Saturnalia’s art design is as unique as its premise. Stop-motion and rotoscoping-based visuals combine to paint an unsettling, dream-like world filled with cryptic mazes and an evil entity.
The roguelite gameplay mechanics let you use what you learn in every iteration to stop a malevolent ritual before the village overpowers your characters. Equipped with only a handful of matches, your ensemble cast needs to solve challenges deeply linked to the mystery at the heart of the narrative.
- Nails the visual aesthetic for a horror experience set in an isolated village
- Great soundscape
- Doesn’t live up to its scariness potential
- Can seem too obscure at times
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Cultic is a first-person shooter game (and kind of in the horror genre) created with retro-style pixel art and many 2D assets. It also borrows from ’90s classics like Blood to deliver a gory, crispy, skull-crunching experience with plenty of movement flexibility and weapon variety. Your character is a guy hellbent on rampaging hatchet-wielding and machine gun-toting cultists. Cultic is meant to be an action game with gratifying cultist-killing mayhem but often borders on being terrifying, especially in its more claustrophobic locales. The game’s first chapter is currently out, with plans for the next in full swing. If you’re feeling an itch for some good ol’ FPS goodness that evokes a bit of nostalgia, give Cultic a try.
- Compelling tribute to retro FPS games
- Beautiful and creepy retro visuals aided by modern elements
- Great soundtrack
- Gratifying physics system, especially when “headshotting” enemies
- Impressive variety of weapons
- Plenty of level variety
- Some movement aspects are broken and need to be fixed
- Only the first chapter is currently available
10. Grapple Dog
The final entry on our list is Grapple Dog, a 2D platforming adventure that blends challenging platforming with cute, lovable characters in a visually delectable package. Platformers rely on gamers gradually mastering the movements to reveal the rewarding gameplay experience underneath. Grapple Dog doesn’t disappoint in this area, as its titular character jumps and swings through its six colorful worlds equipped with a grapple hook.
The oft-used pixel art visuals really shine in this game, and the built-in flexibility options to play without restrictions will appeal to players who simply want a lighthearted adventure without the punishing penalties.
- Gorgeous pixel art visuals bring the colorful levels to life
- Grapple hook feels deeply satisfying to use
- Plenty of challenging levels to keep platforming fans hooked
- Well-balanced mechanics help keep the momentum going
- Same soundtrack within worlds gets boring
- Some mechanics are not as well-implemented as the grapple hook
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are these games available only on Steam?
All of these titles (except Saturnalia) are available on Steam, with some of them, such as Norco, Redout 2, and Rogue Legacy 2, also available on the Epic Games Store. Steam is still the place to find the most unknown and offbeat games, with Epic Games Store stocking some of the more well-known indie games. In terms of AAA games, both stores have similarly stocked libraries.
Where can I bargain shop for indie games?
Steam is known to run various sales throughout the year, and you can grab popular indie games for a bargain. But if you’re looking for sites dedicated to stocking games at bargain prices, check out our list of the best sites to buy cheap PC games. You may not find each of the titles listed above on these sites, but sites like Humble Bundle often have popular games at discounts.
Do I need a powerful computer to play these games?
No, the bulk of the titles on this list will work on any PC from the past 10 years. However, some of the more modern titles may require you to turn down settings to achieve playable framerates. You can always refer to the Steam/Epic Games Store links of the games to check out the specific system requirements before purchasing. If you’re thinking of upgrading your PC or building a new one, check out our guide on things to consider before building a gaming PC.
Image credit: Steam
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