14 Great Indie Games for Steam Deck in 2023

Fill your Deck for a low, low price

Andrew Johnston
ILLUMINATION Gaming
4 min readDec 7, 2023

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With more than 12,000 games hitting Steam this year, keeping track of what’s coming out can be challenging. It’s even harder if you want to find something that will look and run well on Steam Deck.

To give you a slight advantage, here are 14 great indies (grouped by genre) that are deck-verified. If you’ve been eager to patronize smaller developers, this is a great place to start. Fill your device with great titles at a low price.

Gravity Circuit. Source: Steam.

Platformer

Gravity Circuit

Domestic Ant’s homage to Mega Man Zero is one of the fastest, most fluid, and most exciting action platformers to come out recently. A must-have for fans of 2000s handheld platformers.

Pizza Tower

This is a perfect time if you haven’t tried this fan-pleasing title yet. Featuring manic cartoon-inspired graphics and speed-run-friendly mechanics, this is perfect for on-the-go gaming.

Tiny Thor

There are plenty of throwback puzzle platformers, but few bring as much to the table as Tiny Thor. The protagonist’s bouncing, physics-defying hammer adds a novel approach to both puzzle-solving and combat.

Super Catboy

Capturing the mid-90s aesthetic like few other games can, Super Catboy is a great pick for SNES super fans. At $9.99, it’s also a budget-friendly choice that should fit nicely among your larger sale purchases.

En Garde. Source: Steam.

Action

En Garde!

The campy swashbuckling film makes its interactive debut with the duel-focused En Garde. Fight against legions of hapless guards and quick-witted swordsman using the environment to level the odds.

City of Beats

The often predictable twin-stick shooter subgenre gets a clever remix with City of Beats. Both the movement of enemies and the protagonist’s weapon are tied to the beat of the music, so you’ll need to get into the groove to survive.

OTXO

Fans of the Hotline Miami games got a real gift this year in OTXO. Take control of a masked man on a quest to find his beloved, fighting through a merciless army of goons in a mansion that never looks the same twice.

Cassette Beasts. Source: Steam.

RPG

Sea of Stars

Sabotage Studios’ homage to RPGs of yesteryear is one of the finest JRPGs to come out in years. Combining an intuitive, tactical combat system with unique visual and sound design, this is a must for any RPG-loving Deck owner.

8-bit Adventures 2

For those who prefer games of the NES era, 8-bit Adventures 2 is a full-featured RPG with much to offer. With an extensive main storyline and many sidequests, 8-bit Adventures 2 will keep your interest for dozens of hours.

Deathbulge: Battle of the Bands

Deathbulge is a short but intense ride through a world of lethal music. It features a novel combat system, highly customizable characters, and enough surreal humor to keep anyone hanging on until the end.

Cassette Beasts

This year’s biggest creature collector is far more than a mere Pokemon pretender. Remix monsters into new forms master a nuanced elemental system where one attack can change the flow of battle — there’s a lot here for RPG fans to figure out.

Bramble: The Mountain King. Source: Steam.

Puzzle

Storyteller

Daniel Benmergui’s long-awaited storybook puzzle game finally hit the market in 2023. Move characters and plot elements in and out of the story to reach a predetermined end — or just cause chaos for the fun of it.

Moonleap

Sometimes, it’s the most uncomplicated game with the most going for them. Moonleap takes a simple premise — a platformer whose levels change each time the player jumps — and makes it work with challenging and clever stage design.

Bramble: The Mountain King

It’s one of the most frightfully beautiful indies of the year, and now you can carry it with you. Explore a dark fantasy world through the eyes of a child, avoiding monstrous trolls on a journey to reunite with your sister.

For more on this year’s best indie titles, check out my GOTY list:

Or get a preview of what’s coming up in 2024:

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Andrew Johnston
ILLUMINATION Gaming

Writer of fiction, documentarian, currently stranded in Asia. Learn more at www.findthefabulist.com.