Everyone has played or at least heard of, a triple-AAA game before. These are big-budget, professionally made games by big companies, backed by big publishers. They make up some of the most widely known and loved games out there, and it’s no surprise that they dominate the market. But another type of game that has grown incredibly popular in the last decade is indie games! These are smaller budget games made by teams with no major publisher, and many of them are just as good–if not better than–some of their triple-AAA contenders. That’s why we’ll be going over and ranking the top-10 best indie strategy games for PC that we love to play!
10 Best Indie Strategy Games for PC, Ranked From Good to Best
Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
Bloons TD 6
- Developer: Ninja Kiwi
- Release Date: December 17th, 2018
- Download Size: 2048 MB
Let’s kick off this top-10 ranking with a simple one. One you’ve probably played, or at least heard off, before: Bloons Tower Defense 6!
You may recognize this IP from your childhood, as the Bloons Tower Defense series has been around since 2007. The game returned for its sixth installment back in late 2018 with a fresh coat of paint and all-new mechanics.
The game features brand new towers to use and new upgrades for them as well! The upgrading system is perhaps the best part of this game, as there are multiple different ways for you to spec out each tower, giving you access to a variety of different specializations.
There are also plenty of long-term upgrades for you to invest in, giving you plenty of reason to keep playing.
If you get lonely popping balloons on your own, there are several multiplayer modes for you to choose from as well! Considering all of the content that this game has–as well as its regular updates–it should be no surprise that this game made our list.
- Developer: Beetlewing
- Release Date: June 3rd, 2021
- Download Size: 1 GB
Next up we have a sci-fi strategy game that oftentimes feels more like a puzzle game. Regardless of it’s true genre, it’s an incredibly satisfying and fun game to play, especially if you are a big fan of the science fiction genre.
Slipways has you sending out units to discover and settle the various different planets in your star system. All of the different planets you control will have different needs which can’t be fulfilled on their own. They will also produce resources of their own that can be shipped off to other planets. This is where the name Slipways comes in.
You can connect each of the different planets together to create “Slipways” which are trade routes that help each planet fulfill its respective resource need. It’s a really fun and interesting take on the genre that does a lot to keep things engaging and fun to play. It can start out a little slow, but over time your space-faring nation will become more complex and demand more and more.
Combine its core gameplay loop with a large tech tree, several different options for how you want to play, and numerous other features and you have a great strategy/puzzle game that will keep you entertained for hours.
Into The Breach
- Developer: Subset Games
- Release Date: February 27th, 2018
- Download Size: 400 MB
Coming in at spot number 8 on our ranking for the top-10 best indie strategy games for PC, we have the tactical turn-based game Into The Breach.
You might recognize this game from the same studio that made FTL! This is a new and different take on their style of tactics games with the same pixel art style we all know and love.
The game sees you play as a group of time travelers visiting various dimensions, trying to save Earth from being overrun by an invasive species of giant bugs. You take control of several large mechs that each have their own unique abilities and playstyles.
Your objectives vary from level to level, but generally, you’ll spend a lot of time protecting citizens and even more time squashing bugs.
My favorite thing about this game is that there are several different ways to play it, giving it loads and loads of replayability. You have access to several different teams that you can choose from, each with its own playstyle.
Eventually, you’ll unlock the option to create custom teams of various different mechs, which can lead to some devastating combinations!
- Developer: Skydome Entertainment
- Release Date: August 25th, 2016
- Download Size: 3 GB
Taking spot number 7 is a game I don’t see very many people talking about. I am referring to the 2016 real-time strategy game The Hive.
The Hive is a unique little indie gem that sees you playing as a hive mind of insects deep underground. It features a decent-sized campaign, some really unique environmental designs, and all the bells and whistles of your typical RTS.
The game sees you expanding and growing your hive in order to build up your insect army to accomplish a variety of different objectives. You have one central building you need to protect and can build a variety of other structures, such as defensive towers, barracks, and special buildings for producing more advanced units.
In addition to all the typical features of an RTS, The Hive features several elements borrowed from the RPG genre. Throughout the game’s maps, you’ll randomly find items dropped from enemies or tucked away neatly in treasure chests.
You can collect these items and give them to your units to boost their combat capabilities. Alternatively, you can turn these items into DNA, which can be used to unlock special unit upgrades!
Slay The Spire
- Developer: Mega Crit Games
- Release Date: January 23rd, 2019
- Download Size: 1 GB
Now at spot number 6, we have the beloved deck builder strategy game known as Slay The Spire! It is a rogue-like game that sees you climbing up a great spire to reach the very top. As you get higher and higher, you’ll run into a variety of different enemies and bosses. So you’ll need to make the most out of your deck in order to come out on top!
Personally, I don’t really play all that many card games, but Slay The Spire is one of the few deck builders I could get into. There is a lot of depth and complexity in how you use your cards, and combining everything together feels incredibly satisfying and fun.
Being a roguelike, you are destined to fail many times. But with all of the replayability this game packs, each subsequent playthrough never gets tiresome or boring.
If you are new to deck builders, this is a pretty easy game for you to get invested in. And if you are a veteran, there is a high skill ceiling that will reward the most dedicated of players.
- Developer: Wube Software LTD.
- Release Date: August 14th, 2020
- Download Size: 3 GB
Halfway through our list and we have one of the most popular games on our ranking for the top-10 best indie strategy games for PC. Factorio sees you playing as an engineer whose ship crashes onto a strange, hostile planet. You must gather all the resources you can and create a massive factory to build a star ship that can deliver you to safety.
You are able to construct a huge variety of different items using the resources at your disposal. You’re given lots of creative freedom with how you want your industrial facility to function, and you have access to many different things to build. But be warned, while you are busy constructing your flight home, you’ll have to fight off hordes of hostile alien creatures!
If you are a big fan of engineering-type games, then you will feel right at home with Factorio. The whole game is a test of your optimization skills and your ability to organize your facility for maximum productivity.
The gameplay is always engaging, and with the hordes of aliens, there is never a moment that isn’t tense or suspenseful.
- Developer: 11 bit studios
- Release Date: April 24th, 2018
- Download Size: 8 GB
Up next, we have the indie strategy game Frostpunk from the same creators of This War of Mine.
This indie gem is a mixture of city-builder/strategy games. It sees you playing as the leader of a group of survivors in the post-apocalypse. A new ice age has come to Earth, and society has collapsed. Every decision you make counts, and you’ll need to give it your all to lead your people to prosperity.
You will need to ensure all of your people’s needs are getting met and that they have the means to survive the eternal winter. You’ll be able to create and adjust laws that will affect your society–for better or for worse–while developing new technologies to advance society.
Explore the frozen wastes to bring in new resources and discover new intel to help your city thrive.
The most interesting part about Frostpunk is all of the interesting moral choices that it forces you to make. Throughout the game, random events will occur that present you with one of several options. In one event, a group of sick survivors will show up at your city demanding to be let in. You could allow them entry to give them aid at the cost of resources or damn them to die for your own survival.
FTL: Faster Than Light
- Developer: Subset Games
- Release Date: September 14th, 2012
- Download Size: 175 MB
Filling in spot number 3, we have one of the most popular and beloved rouge-like strategy games of all time: FTL: Faster Than Light. This is a science-fiction game that sees you play the role of a ship captain tasked with delivering a vital message to the frontlines of a galactic war.
Along the way, you’ll encounter a huge variety of alien species, special random encounters, and dangerous situations!
The core gameplay sees you command your crew, manage the power of your ship, and use the weapons at your disposal to take on enemy vessels. You can power down your shields to allow yourself to use more weapons at once, or you can redirect power from your systems for stronger shields. There is a huge variety of weapons and upgrades available to you, and you can even hire new crew members.
Once you’re done with your first playthrough, you’ll be happy to hear that there are well over a dozen ships that you can unlock and play with. There is a stealth ship that can turn invisible, an alien craft staffed entirely by robots and drones, and even a ship made entirely out of crystal.
With all the replayability, you’ll never run out of things to do in this sci-fi adventure.
- Developer: Chucklefish
- Release Date: February 1st, 2019
- Download Size: 1 GB
And now we get to discuss a personal favorite of mine! Does anyone remember that classic game Advanced Wars which was released for the GameBoy Advanced? Well, it’s got a spiritual successor that you can play on PC. Known as Wargroove, the game takes on many familiar aspects of Advanced Wars while introducing some new features to keep things fresh and interesting.
In the game, you will play as one of several factions, with each faction having up to three leaders to choose from. Each of these choices features its own unique benefits and abilities. Leaders can fight alongside your infantry, and each one features its own special move sets that can be used to buff your units or deal heavy damage to the enemy team.
As for the core gameplay loop itself, you can construct a wide variety of units and use them to take over little towns scattered across the map which give you money every turn. Your objective varies, but generally, you are meant to destroy your opponent’s base. The game is incredibly fun and satisfying to play, and the pixel art style looks gorgeous! If you love turn-based tactical games, pick up Wargroove!
- Developer: Ludeon Studios
- Release Date: October 17th, 2018
- Download Size: 1 GB
Bringing home the gold medal of best indie strategy games for PC is the 2018 game RimWorld! This is a colony-management gave brought to us by the same people who made Prison Architect! The synopsis is this: it is the far future, and humanity has colonized many star systems. Take control of one of these colonies and lead it to a bright and prosperous future!
It is mostly a construction management type game, where you will need to strategically plan out and build your colony for maximum efficiency. If you’ve played Prison Architect before, you should be pretty familiar with the mechanics.
However, there is a lot more combat in RimWorld. Your colony will need to fight off bands of raiders and packs of wild animals in order to survive.
One really interesting thing about this game, however, is how it handles the NPCs themselves. Each of your colonists has a name, and they sport their own positive and negative traits. These traits will have a big impact on how their interactions with their fellow colony members, which can lead to some emergent gameplay that forces you to adapt on the fly in order to keep your settlement alive.
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We hope you enjoyed reading our list of the top-10 best indie strategy games for PC! Did we leave out your favorite game? Let us know down below!
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