Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

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Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

A look back at 12 months of great experiences. 

Hello everyone, how was your 2021? For me, 2021 has given me opportunities to play more games than in previous years, as having access to PlayStation 5 has not only removed most of the wait time to get into the games I want to play, but also their loading times thanks to the console’s blazingly fast SSD. 

Throughout the year, we have seen lots of amazing, charming, beautiful and totally engaging indie games on PS4, PS VR and PS5. Here are 12 of my personal favourites. 

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights

This beautiful yet oppressive Japanese explorative platformer has an interesting approach to combat: discover downed knights and cleanse their souls to have them fight for you, while defeating certain enemies allows you to adopt their abilities for your own use. 

Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

Chicory: A Colorful Tale

At first glance Chicory may seem like an interactive coloring book, yet at its heart lies an engaging adventure. The story’s themes – self-doubt, redemption – are universally relatable. 

Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!

Of all the games I’ve played this year, this one left the biggest mark. It’s also the one game I can’t reveal much about without spoiling some of the huge twists and turns that await you. I’ll say this only: don’t be deceived by its dating sim-like appearance. 

Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

Puzzling Places

This photogrammetry-powered puzzler challenges you to recreate various real-world places by picking up – and putting together – their fragmented parts like a jigsaw puzzle in VR. 

Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch

A game featuring a heroic rabbit with a huge mechanical fist attached on his back needs to offer satisfying melee combat, and this delivers. (And the dieselpunk Shanghai-inspired aesthetic is beautiful.)

Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

Hades

Everything about Supergiant Games’s roguelike is sublime: razor-sharp combat, superb gameplay mechanics, captivating characters, amazing voice-acting…  you cannot stop playing. It’s a perfect game.  

Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

A third person action-adventure game with beautiful character animation and engaging combat. You collect “Rot”  – cute little creatures – to aid you in combat and puzzle solving. 

Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

Song in the Smoke

A PS VR game set in a prehistoric era in which staying alive hinges on your ability to craft, hunt, and fight. Encounter fearsome creatures and soak in the sights of this atmospheric survival sim. 

Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

Jett: The Far Shore

The first 30 minutes of this game is the most cinematic opening of any game released this year and perfectly sets up your role as your civilisation’s chosen one who is tasked to survive in a new colony. 

Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

Death’s Door

This isometric action adventure mixes varied combat scenarios with light puzzles for an engaging story set in the afterlife.  

Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

Solar Ash

Glide across clouds and grind on rails in a fantastical sc-fi world. Between combating foes and defeating leviathan-sized bosses, exploration will yield collectables and deepen the story of this world’s past.    

Shuhei Yoshida’s favorite PlayStation indie games of 2021

Among Us

One of the most fun multiplayer experiences I’ve had this year. Try and work out who on your spaceship crew is helping prep for launch, and who are imposters intent on killing you all. 

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23 Comments

  • Nice to see two VR games make the list. Song in the Smoke is a fantastic survival game. Can’t wait for PSVR2.

    • I mean, most indie games are born on PC, so I don’t see anything wrong with it. Especially since it’s his job to bring them to PlayStation.

    • Ender Lillies was solid and I recently bought Kena and FIST, both of which look superb.

      PlayStation had some great indie exclusives this year. It’s a shame ppl overlook them and consider PS5s 2021 a failure simply because Xbox released two whole meaningful exclusives. That’s two new, meaningful exclusives in 13 months and nothing in the pipeline for the next few yet articles pop up about XB rocking 2021. It’s a joke.

      Look at the indie exclusives since the launch of PS5 and through the next several months.

      Kena
      Sifu
      FIST
      Stray
      The Pathless
      Bugsnax
      Solar Ash
      Tribes of Midgard
      Chicory (no longer exclusive)
      Fracked
      Jett

      We also have Little Devil and others on the way.

      PlayStation has delivered with third party and indie exclusives. Games like Kena and Sifu are hardly even indie level productions. These are $40 games and up with the visuals and production to match. These games matter. Even in a down year PS5 still smoked the competition imo.

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  • Damn, Shuhei, I thought you had better taste. I’m sure you prefer PC, but just aren’t allowed to say. 🤫

    • Kena was indie game of the year at TGA. 80+ Metacritic.

      Ender Lillies is excellent. Mid 80s Metacritic.

      FIST looks fantastic, I recently purchased it. It’s the first game from Sony’s China Heroes project and it’s an 80+ Metacritic.

      Solar Ash looks terrific and it’s nearly an 80.

      Chicory and Death’s Door are high 80s Metacritic.

      Hades is overrated but obviously 90+ Meta.

      What’s wrong with these games? These are some of the best indies this year. Certainly better than 12 Minutes..

  • I’m tired of flat world games like Hades it’s like playing on a game boy we’re not stuck in the ’80s people or in the 90s so please stop making those kind of style games.

    • Variety of games is a great thing. We need 3d games, 2d games, and 2.5 isometric games like Hades. Please make more of all these types of games.

    • It took me some time to try and adjust to the kind of 2d/2.5d style games because I’m not use to, but eventually I learned to get use to and re-adjust how to think about the perspective and enjoy this way in dimension. One key thing is about applying a bit more of using one’s imagination to relate from the alternate perspective and work with how it is from there – some get these more or less, sooner or later, or not and/or depending on mood of the kind of style someone is up for playing or not at the point in time.

  • So basically every indie game that released on ps5 this year.

    Very believable list.

    Won’t lie I own some of them and plan to buy the others at some point.

  • Keep your eye on Zenith VR Shu, played the Beta and it ROCKS. So ready for PSVR 2 as well! Cheers from PSVR Underground! Thank you for all you do and have a great 2022!

  • Why did you censor Doki Doki? Censorstation 5.

  • Hapi new year shuhei sensei! 😊

  • This is a nices list Shu

  • Will there be an upgraded PS5 by the time it is available for everyone to purchase? It will be an extra 2 years of development time, so you’d think they’d be working on something.

    • Nope, their focus is greed. There will only be slims.

    • Greed?

      The PS5 Digital is the best deal going. Sony is taking a loss on every console. It’s not a gimped system at every level like the Series S which I do own.

      alkalinetp is the most pathetic troll here. He’s obviously a fanboy for another platform with a fake PlayStation profile.

    • Digital is the best deal?

      Digital ps5 is locked behind the monopolization of the ps store.

      You can buy used copies of ratchet and returnal for $50, beat them, and then resell for the same price you paid. That would be enough money for the difference of the price of the 2 ps5 console versions.

      Fail – try harder.

  • What’s nice is that I played a few of theses games and heard of almost all of them before this post. I’ve still got the juice oooooh yeah😁😏🎉👏🏽

  • Have already played some of these and they have each been excellent for my taste. Will need to give the rest another look. Some of them I didn’t know existed until this blog article recommending them.

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