10 great games you can't get on Steam

Itch.io is full of fantastic games, and a lot of them are free.

A lot of people have been enjoying my weekly article highlighting five new games on Steam you may have missed, but are quick to point out that Steam isn't the 'be all, end all' of game distribution. I totally agree—one of the best aspects of PC gaming is that we aren't forced to shop at one store.

Itch.io started small, but it's finding its footing as a fantastic platform for indie developers to get their games out into the world, often with pay-what-you-want pricing models—and some of these developers deserve all the attention they can get. While many of the top games on itch.io are unfinished or also available on Steam, there are some real gems that can't easily be found elsewhere. A lot of them aren't very big, but that doesn't mean they are bad, and it doesn't mean the developers don't deserve your support if you like what they are doing.

Honestly, there are too many great games to possibly highlight them all here, so I highly recommend browsing the site yourself. But I narrowed my list of favorites down to 10 that really caught my eye.

Among Thorns

itch.io page
Author: Matt Frith
Price:
$0.50

A narrative-driven point and click adventure game set in a Blade Runner style cyberpunk world. With a comment section full of enthusiastic reviews, it's only 50 cents to buy and that cost goes towards supporting more and longer sequels to the game. 

Hets

itch.io page
Author: Ditto
Price:
Name your own

Hets is a fast paced platforming shooter with randomized levels each time you play. You have to survive against a growing onslaught of enemies and earn upgrades to help you fight back. Hets actually already made our list of the best free PC games a couple years ago. 

Celeste (classic)

itch.io page
Author: Matt Makes Games
Price:
Free (in-browser)

Celeste is an 8-bit platformer from the creator of Towerfall. I first saw this game at this year's Summer Game's Done Quick, and it's absolutely harder than the above video makes it look. Matt Makes Games is also currently developing Celeste as a more complete game

Aven Colony

itch.io page
Author: Mothership Entertainment
Price:
$25

Aven Colony is space-colony builder that Evan described as "SimCity in space, but with sand worms." It's currently in beta and being sold for $25, making it the most expensive game on this list, but probably also the one with largest scope and ambition.  

Windowframe

itch.io page
Author: Daniel Linssen
Price: Name your own

One of my absolute favorites on this list, Windowframe is a platformer where the actual window the game is played in on your desktop moves and stretches as you navigate each level. It may be a bit of a gimmick, but it's an extremely cool one, and the platforming on its own is fun and interesting. 

Streets of Rogue

itch.io page
Author: Madguy
Price:
Free

Streets of Rogue is a rogue-lite game that sort of plays like a twin-stick shooter, but gives you much more choice. You are given a goal like getting an item or taking out a target, but you can accomplish that goal through combat, non-lethal force, stealth, or any other means you can think of. It's currently free while it's in development, but already has two player co-op. 

Bit Pit

itch.io page
Author: LogyBit
Price:
Name your own

Bit Pit traps you and up to three other players at the bottom of a Tetris-esque hole. You have to dodge cubes that are falling from above, and the ominous liquid those cubes are slowly sinking into. It's fast paced and has local co-op, so it's an exciting part game to add to my line-up. 

Roguelight

itch.io page
Author: Daniel Linssen
Price:
Name your own

Another game by Daniel Linssen, Roguelight is a pixelated roguelike where light is hard to come by. You have a limited number of arrows which have small flames on them, so you have to choose between using them to light up your path or defend yourself, gathering coins to unlock upgrades in between each run. 

Ravenfield

itch.io page
Author: SteelRaven7
Price:
Name your own

Ravenfield is a singleplayer shooter with large maps in the same style as Battlefield. Though it looks blocky, Chris described Ravenfield as "a fast-paced and somewhat grisly FPS well worth your time." It's also still in beta, so more updates are on the way. 

Regular Human Basketball

itch.io page
Author: Powerhoof
Price:
Free

A local multiplayer game from the makers or Crawl, Regular Human Basketball is a ridiculous sports game about piloting giant robots to dunk a giant basketball in your opponent's basket. It's silly and difficult in a similar way to Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime.