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2020 was a disastrous year in nearly all facets of everyday life, but video games provided a wonderful respite from the bleakness of a pandemic-affected world. The sheer number of incredible games launched and teased, however, meant some indie titles were unjustly overshadowed by their AAA counterparts.

With 2021 finally here, these are the five games that should be at the forefront of all gamers’ minds.

Bendy and the Dark Revival

Bendy and the Ink Machine fit right into the Five Nights at Freddy’s vein of indie horror games with deep lore hidden throughout the adventure. The story of an animation studio creating abominations in its quest to create the next big cartoon is getting a sequel in 2021, yet The Dark Revival doesn’t seem to be getting the attention the original game garnered. This is one title horror fans and fans of games who like exploring for dense lore should keep an eye on, because whatever Joey Drew Studios cooks up next is bound to scare the heck out of us.


Remember that game from Annapurna Interactive debuted during Sony’s June livestream, the one with the amazing neon-lit city inhabited by robots which ended up being a game where we play as a cat? Why haven’t we seen more on that? Stray piqued a lot of cat-like curiosity with its debut trailer, and yet we’ve heard nothing about the game since that summer reveal. We hope this Stray finds its way home to the PlayStation 5 soon, because we’re expecting purring to be felt through the DualSense Controller’s haptic feedback and that will be the cat’s meow.

Metal: Hellsinger

A first-person shooter set in a Hellish universe? Sounds like Doom, of course, but take that familiar setting and change it so every level is played in rhythm with a pounding heavy metal soundtrack, with more points gained for keeping with the beat and you’ve got Metal: Hellsinger. Swedish developer The Outsiders have a rocking idea here, and we can’t wait to see more of this face-shredding game in action.

Cyber Shadow

Take Strider and Ninja Gaiden from the good ol’ days, mix them together in an 8-bit stew and deliver it to the 21st century and Cyber Shadow is the result. Yacht Club Games continues to deliver the retro-themed goods, following the excellent Shovel Knight series by publishing this new old-school action game developed by a new studio in Finland’s Mechanical Head. Luckily, the wait won’t be too long, as Nintendo’s recent Indie World presentation confirmed a Jan. 26 launch date for Cyber Shadow. We’ll be slicing and dicing only a few weeks into the new year, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity.

12 Minutes

Annapurna Interactive strikes again, this time with a narrative-driven game about a man stuck in a time loop. 12 Minutes made an impressive statement on Xbox’s stage at E3 2019, the trailer showcasing a game we’d later find out is being developed by a single person, a Portuguese developer named Luis Antonio based in California. Since then we’ve learned that James McAvoy, Willem DaFoe, and Daisy Ridley will provide the voices for the three main characters, which sent our excitement levels sky high. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too long to live these 12 Minutes in 2021.


Photo courtesy of Joey Drew Studios