6 upcoming Xbox and PC indie games you may have missed

Another Crab's Treasure key art
(Image credit: Aggro Crab Games)

Summer gaming event season is always a thrill; trailers for new games abound as gamers flock to events streamed live online. Big franchises like Mortal Kombat and Fable have made waves in the gaming community during these showcases, but indie games are also having their time in the sun. From oceanic souls-likes to adventure games in the afterlife, there were many great indie games playable at Summer Game Fest's Play Days demo event. This list encompasses many of the independent games playable at the event for media and influencers, but not all of them.

Games like Cocoon and Thirsty Suitors were also playable at the event, but unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the (play) day. All impressions in this piece reflect my experience playing early builds of each game, so things are subject to change between now and when these games release.

Another Crab's Treasure

Another Crab's Treasure wraps souls-like and 3D platforming gameplay into a charming nautical package that provides several clever innovations in the souls genre. In the half-hour that I played, I had the opportunity to play an early part of the game up through a boss fight, as well as a boss fight that takes place later on in the game.

Although this is pretty different from Aggro Crab's last outing, Going Under, Another Crab's Treasure maintains the same wit, charm, and socially conscious themes that made Going Under so enjoyable while delivering more challenging and methodical combat. Riffs on souls-like standards abound as you attempt to rid the ocean of pollution. For example, instead of equipping suits of armor, Kril (the hermit crab that you play as) will pick up pieces of garbage found at the bottom of the ocean floor and use them as shells.

Each shell type has its own benefits and unique properties, letting players pick and choose how they want to fight their battles. Soda cans, shot glasses, and coffee mugs are just some of the armor you might find.

Another Crab's Treasure has been confirmed to launch on Xbox and Game Pass, Steam, and Nintendo Switch next year.

Henry Halfhead

Henry Halfhead almost defies explanation; this offbeat puzzle game draws from games like Super Mario Odyssey, Katamari Damacy, and Wattam. You play as Henry, who — you guessed it — is only half a head. The twist? He can possess and control just about every object in the game. The objects are everyday things; toilets, toasters, tables, and other household objects that don't start with 'T.'

Using these powers and the magically mundane objects around you, you're tasked with completing a series of tasks assigned to you by a disembodied voice. Chaos ensues as you do your best to accomplish ordinary tasks in an extraordinary way; you might need to possess chairs, tables, and cups just to make a cup of coffee.

Playing the demo in co-op only multiplied the kooky chaos. Once we completed the demo's main objective, developers from Lululu Entertainment provided us with extra challenges, changing the game from a cooperative experience to a competitive one.

Lululu hasn't provided a target date or window, so it's likely we'll be waiting on this one for a while before it comes to PC.


For most of the people I spoke to, Viewfinder was the belle of the ball thanks to its all-but magic gameplay loop and willingness to push the boundaries of what feels possible. Even in a short demo, Viewfinder blew my mind multiple times.

The premise is simple but spirals into some truly wild territory; walking around the minimalist levels, you can pick up pictures of new vistas. After a little aiming and a quick press of the right trigger, you can place that vista in front of you and walk right in. Later on, you'll pick up a camera that allows you to not only go anywhere your viewfinder can reach but to clone objects in the environment and place them in new places. The demo had me use it to place a wall section over a gap, acting as a bridge.

Not only does Viewfinder play with perspective, but art style. The possibilities that even a short demo set up lit my mind on fire. This is the nearest release, with publisher Thunderful and developer Sad Owl Studios bringing Viewfinder to Steam and PlayStation 5 on July 18. A demo's also available on both platforms if you're interested in checking it out for yourself.


At a glance, Beastieball sounds a bit overwhelming. It's a tactical RPG that blends Pokemon and Volleyball from the creators of Chicory: A Colorful Tale and Wandersong. Luckily, developer Wishes Unlimited expertly threads the needle, making a delightful mélange. The build I played seemed early, but the game's core is there.

The parts I played highlighted a competent, team-focused battle system built around passing, blocking, and hitting like in a normal volleyball match but set to a turn-based battle system. Like in Pokemon, different creatures have different strengths and abilities. You even start the game by choosing from one of three Beasties to go on your adventure with.

Unlike Pokemon, however, your team will grow alongside each other and develop relationships that might impact how the two work together in battle. One of the game's developers also mentioned that there would be some form of multiplayer to come.

Beastieball's set to release on PC sometime in 2024. With names like Lena Raine and Greg Lobanov attached, this is one to pay attention to.


Hauntii's distinct take on the underworld is as fun to look at as it is clever. The developers' backgrounds in animation and illustration shine through as you haunt different objects to solve puzzles or clear a combat encounter.

Its isometric, locked viewpoint helps to keep the detailed world of Eternity feeling alive. Each individual possession has its own distinct feel to it. Sometimes you'll take over a turret-like structure that you can use to raze down corrupted souls. Others, you'll take over a Moai head-like statue to move it into place to open a door. You can even take over a hill, which doesn't do anything, but it's very funny.

While my time with the game was short, Hauntii set a clear precedent for fun puzzle-solving and top-notch gallows humor. At the end of my demo, I ran into an Eternian, one of the NPCs that will guide the main character through the world of Eternity. The trailers indicate that they'll play a major role in the game, but my demo ended before I could see what the characters had to offer.

Hauntii is slated to hit "PC and console" sometime next year. Developer Moonoop hasn't confirmed any specific platforms in those categories yet but promised more information soon. 

Saltsea Chronicles

I wish I had an opportunity to spend more time with Saltsea Chronicles. The demo I played lasted about half an hour and gave me enough time to understand the cozy feel of Saltsea Chronicles, but the sections I played were so rich with things to see that I couldn't help but feel rushed.

Saltsea felt like a playable storybook. Instead of moving around the world in a traditional environment, you're provided with a series of places in the background to interact with. Selecting an object or room in an environment will start a conversation between two characters or an internal monologue for a character.

Very little dialogue is required to progress, but skipping out on the additional side dialogue is paramount to skipping out on the game's meat and potatoes. Every time I stopped to smell the roses in Saltsea Chronicles, I felt rewarded, not through a shiny trophy or experience points, but through a moment that revealed more about characters and their relationships and personalities.

Die Gute Fabrik hasn't confirmed a firm date, but Saltsea Chronicles is currently scheduled to release later this year for PC, Switch, and PS5.

Even though a number of these games are still a ways out, some of them have demos available now on Steam via Next Fest or on their respective platforms! 

Charlie Wacholz
Freelance Contributor

Charlie's a freelancer for Windows Central based in Chicago, IL.