The 8 Best Indie Adventure Games You Can Play Right Now

Modern ‘AAA’ adventure games ask a lot of you. They often want 40+ hours of your time, an investment in complex game systems, an understanding of multi-game lore, or multiplayer capabilities. But sometimes all you want from a video game is a short, sweet trip that will leave lasting memories. A game that wraps you in a happy, self-contained story that never outlasts its welcome. This is where indie video games come in.

While the definition of “indie games” has become less clear lately, these are titles developed by smaller teams. They’re generally not as budget-driven or expectation-driven as AAA adventure games, which means they can explore more niche ideas and experiment with creativity. They can be weird and surreal, and dive deeper with more personal stories.

Xbox Game Pass has become an unlikely hub for these types of games, with plenty of weird, adorable, and beautiful indie adventure games available to everyone. If you’re already a subscriber and looking for your next heartfelt gaming journey, look no further than these excellent indie adventure games.

Tunic

Image: Andrew Shouldice/Finji

Tunic is a beautiful indie adventure game that follows a cute fox on a journey through forests filled with intriguing puzzles and powerful enemies. You’ll uncover strange mysteries, battle towering beasts, and even stumble upon secret pathways in Tunic. The game is designed with The Legend of Zelda in mind, and its inspirations shine through in every facet of gameplay.

Lily: Tunic Review – A Little Furry Hero in a Big Isometric World

The game has an in-depth combat system and also encourages exploration, with players having few clues as to where they should head and what they should do to solve each puzzle in the game. is led to Tunic have its own puzzle-solving community – a community that should prove very useful if you get stuck at some point along the way.

garden story

garden story game
Image: Picogram

garden story is a wholesome action role-playing game where you play as a young grape trying to protect his village from evil rot. As Tunic, it is also inspired by The Legend of Zelda series – but it relies more on a cartoonish, cutesy style that makes exploring an absolute joy at every turn.

As Concord (the Grape Hero), you’ll travel across a pastel-colored map, collect various weapons and tools, and take down enemies like the creepy Octopihi, using rolling and dodging to land the most effective attacks . When you’re not fighting enemies, you can also spend your time garden story completing daily quests and upgrading the local town. If you’re looking for an adorable, age-appropriate adventure on Xbox Game Pass, garden story is a real gem.

NORCO

norco game
Screenshot: GamesHub

NORCO is a phenomenal point-and-click adventure that examines the widespread scars on American society – issues like slavery, murder, economic collapse and inequality. It’s quite a heavy game in that regard, but with an extremely engaging and confident narrative and a tendency towards magical realism, it’s an eye-opening adventure game that’s definitely worth your time.

Lily: NORCO Review – Refinery Eyes

Here’s what GamesHub reviewer Nicholas Kennedy had to say about the experience:

NORCO is a confrontational video game; a confident, biographical, and unnerving point-and-click narrative experience that feels more like something you inhale rather than play, with an effective cocktail of magical realism, societal grief, and underwhelming freshness.

Even though this title wasn’t on Xbox Game Pass, we wholeheartedly recommend it.

Bug Fables: The Eternal Sapling

insect fable game
Image: Moonsprout Games

Bug Fables: The Eternal Sapling is a colorful adventure that draws much inspiration from paper mario series. You play as three insect warriors on this journey: Vi, Kabbu, and Leif, all of whom have special combat and puzzle-solving abilities. Use their skills in tandem and you can conquer the region of Bugaria and its many deadly warriors.

The paper mario The simile is most apt for this game, not only because of the game’s cel-shaded art style, but also because it uses a similar hybrid combat system. It’s not just turn-based, you can also maximize the damage of your attacks by properly timing your button presses and performing frantic moves. Even if you’ve never played a classic paper marioyou will definitely enjoy this dense and delightful adventure game.

hollow knight

hollow knight game
Image: Team Cherry

hollow knight, from Australian studio Team Cherry, is one of the most critically acclaimed indie adventure games on Xbox Game Pass – and for good reason. With fast-paced combat, incredible locations, and a supremely satisfying storytelling, hollow knight is a complete triumph. You owe it to yourself to give this game a try whether you think side-scrolling adventures are for you or not.

You can reach a point in hollow knight where the action becomes a bit too hard, and everything seems hopeless – but the joy of finally beating this a the boss makes the whole experience interesting. Plus, you get brilliant visuals and a gorgeous score along the way. Australia plays great games, and hollow knight is a fantastic example.

The artistic escape

bafta nominations 2022 clever unboxing escape xbox game pass
Image: Beethoven and dinosaur

Speaking of great Australian games on Xbox Game Pass, The artistic escape is another one worth noting. In this crazy music-inspired adventure, you play as a young man named Francis Vendetti, a musician who struggles to escape the shadow of his famous uncle – all the while traversing a path filled with cool, neon-infused visuals and lots of spice.

Lily: The Artful Escape Review – A Sight and Sound to Behold

Here’s what GamesHub reviewer David Wildgoose had to say about the story:

‘A triumphant journey of transformation, The artistic escape is a joyful musical odyssey of self-discovery that sweeps you away with breathless enthusiasm and leaves you wide-eyed and grinning from ear to ear. It’s the story of someone coming to terms with who they are and realizing that it’s okay to dream of being someone else. Most of the time, though, it’s about how trash folk music is.

paradise killer

killer paradise game xbox game pass
Image: Kaizen Game Works

paradise killer is the kind of game we wish we could forget and play again. In this Vaporwave-inspired story, you play as a detective working to solve a futuristic murder on an island reputed to be paradise. But while this city’s facade is perfect, its cracks soon start to show – and they get deeper with every step you take.

Whereas paradise killer has a linear ending, that is not a linear game. In its first moments, you’re immersed in a vast open world, and it’s really up to you to use your detective skills and uncover all the secrets lurking in the game. hand and no real clues to begin with – but the further you travel this world, the more its threads begin to unravel. paradise killer is a fantastic experience, and having it on Xbox Game Pass is a real godsend.

Forager

xbox game pass browser game
Image: HopFrog

If you like the other games on this list, especially Tunic and garden story – there is a good chance that you will also enjoy Forager, a pixel-perfect adventure game that combines city exploration and management. Unlike other sandbox games, Forager actually has a story-driven end state, with players having to travel far and wide to defeat major bosses, collect certain artifacts, and complete a variety of unique quests.

The game is best described as a combination of The Legend of Zelda and Stardew Valley, with a bit of room for his own sense of personality in between. It’s a cute experience no matter what aspect of the game you choose to focus on, and having an end goal helps tie the whole adventure together.


Xbox Game Pass is an AU$10.95 per month subscription service that gives you access to a range of the best games for Xbox consoles and PC at no extra cost. You can browse the service’s full game library here.

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