The PS5 reveal was jam-packed with massive announcements from major studios, but amidst all the AAA splendor, there were quite a few promising indies. Sony has had a tight relationship with indie developers ever since the PS3, and there’s no sign of that slowing down in the next generation as a handful of incredible PS5 indies were present at the “Future of Gaming” console reveal event. Every one of these games is a standout in its own right, so it was challenging to rank which stood out the most. But eventually, we were able to sift out the clear winners, so here are our Top 5 PS5 indies from the reveal showcase.
Remember the YouTube sensation Octodad? That game set the internet on fire with its physics-based comedy a few years ago, and now its developers are back with Bugsnax, an all-new game that is just as wacky and bizarre. Bugsnax is an exploration adventure game that drops you in the exotic island of Snaktooth, which is populated by over 100 species of “Bugsnax,” which the game describes as “legendary half-bug half-snack creatures.” Eating one of these creatures will turn part of your body into the corresponding snack. For example, if you eat the strawberry Bugsnax, your hand will become a strawberry. The same goes for the rest of the island’s culinary critters, which include sausages, sub sandwiches, and more. Each bug can grant different abilities, and it looks like these can be used to solve environmental puzzles and unlock more of this strange, mysterious island. There are currently more questions than answers for this title, but it’s an intriguing one to look out for when it releases this holiday on both PS4 and PS5.
Dozens of games have hopped on the cyberpunk craze lately, but not many have tackled the potential of the cybercat genre just yet. Stray is an adventure game where you play as a stray cat in a world that has been overrun by robots, where you must solve an ancient mystery to escape the clutches of these cyborg overlords and return home.
There’s currently not much info on the game available just yet, but from the teaser trailer shown at the event, it certainly looks promising based on its concept alone—who wouldn’t want to control a heroic kitten? It’s also looking like a gorgeous game that takes full advantage of the graphical capabilities of the next generation, with the player cat looking just as realistic as the androids look metallic. Its choice of publisher also bodes well for its quality, as it’s been picked by none other than Annapurna Interactive, the boutique indie publisher behind icons like Journey, Kentucky Route Zero, Her Story, and Sayonara Wild Hearts. There’s sure to be more info about this one coming out in the run-up to its launch next year on both PS4 and PS5, along with PC.
3. Solar Ash
With its breathless action, stylish aesthetic and heart wrenching story, Hyper Light Drifter was one of the most beautiful and impactful indie games ever created at the time of its release in 2016. Now its developers at Heart Machine are back with Solar Ash, an all-new project that is even more ambitious than the game that came before it.
Solar Ash is an action game that adopts a similarly ethereal visual style and tone as its predecessor, but this time brought into the third dimension. This time, the world seems even more expansive than ever before, as the game teases huge 3D environments that you can zip through with fluid skate-like movement. With an ambient soundtrack by famed indie composer Disasterpeace and promises of a personal and impactful story along the lines of the studio’s previous work, Solar Ash has the potential to be a similarly unforgettable experience when it releases on PS5, PS4, and PC next year.
2. Kena: Bridge of Spirits
It is no exaggeration to say that Kena: Bridge of Spirits looks like a playable Pixar movie. Indies might not be known for pushing the technical envelope when it comes to graphics, but Kena bucks that trend by featuring absolutely stunning visuals that really take advantage of the added capabilities of the next generation. Better yet, it looks like the game itself should live up to its visuals.
Set in a gorgeous world that looks like it’s taken straight out of a modern Disney film (we’re thinking Brave), Kena is an action-adventure game that follows a young woman named Kena who ventures across the land with the help of her small spirit friends called the Rot to solve the mystery of the decaying world. The trailer showcases elements of combat, puzzle-solving, and platforming, and the game’s description teases that the gameplay and narrative intertwine to create a cohesive experience. If the gameplay and narrative are half as impressive as the graphical presentation, then players should be in for a treat when it launches as PlayStation console exclusive across PS5, PS5, and PC.
1. Little Devil Inside
Every game on this list is notable for its incredible polish and ambition, but nothing quite reaches the level of Little Devil Inside. This game might have been a known quantity on Kickstarter for years, but when it appeared on Sony’s livestreamed presentation, it easily stole the show with gorgeous stylized graphics, Wes Anderson-esque aesthetics, action-packed combat, and classical string quartet soundtrack.
This action RPG follows a young man exploring a massive semi-open world that is filled with monstrous creatures to face in Zelda-style action combat. Tons of different environments were showcased in the trailer, including lush forests, arid deserts, ocean depths, stark cliffs, barren wastelands, and a classic Victorian city, all of which are rendered in stunning graphical detail, creating a pleasing contrast with the game’s cartoonish character designs. It all hints at an action-packed game filled with back-to-back thrills presented with picture-perfect visuals.
The trailer is packed with humor and reckless ambition, so it will be thrilling to see how the game develops ahead of its release as a PlayStation console exclusive on PS4 and PS5, with a PC version on the way as well. Little Devil Inside is not only the best PS5 indie from the Future of Gaming, but it is easily one of the best games from the showcase in general, a true showstopper.