July 2023 Indie Spotlight: Wish Us Luck, Gravity Circuit, Lakeburg Legacies & The Master’s Pupil Thrust Vibrant Experiences Through Your Screens

July 2023 might be light on major releases, but there are plenty of indies to provide evocative experiences for the next month or so.


Image via Black Moluska, Sony, Ishtar Games, and Pat Naoum Games

July has a few big-name titles in store, such as Exoprimal and this little game called Pikmin 4, that a few people might care about. But on the whole, it’s the lightest month we’ve had for a while in 2023.

However, if you look beyond the titles that the biggest publishers and developers on the planet are launching, you’ll see indie games everywhere. Too many to choose from, really. That’s why I’ve tracked down four(ish) brilliant indie games that everyone can play this month while they wait for the bigger games coming out in Q3.

Don’t worry if you’ve got no cash to spare, there’s also a free demo to grab if you’re quick, and I can’t ignore yet another epic upcoming title for Play Date.


Related: June 2023 Indie Spotlight: Fall of Porcupine, Grehill Incident, Smushi Come Home, & Incident at Grove Lake Bring Big Feelings

Wish Us Luck – Choice-Driven Interactive Fiction

  • Release Date: July 5
  • Platforms: PC (Steam)

Wish Us Luck is a single-player interaction fiction title. While that might not pique your interest at first, I guarantee you’ll be interested when you learn that it has three main characters you play simultaneously, each of which you’ll need to make difficult choices for that will impact the others.

As you might expect, there are multiple endings to what sounds like an incredibly rich narrative experience with some gripping characters. There’s Samuel, a driver down on his luck, addicted to gambling, and willing to try anything. Alice is a young actress who can’t pay her bills with her passion. And Anderson, a soccer star feeling the weight of fame crush him from the neck down. On one fateful day, their paths intertwine, and you’ve got to decide how things play out based on their choices.

I love this game’s art style. I think it’s fun and really pops out to draw you into the experience. The thing that makes me want to play it is the value of replayability. I want to know how every choice plays out and see every ending. Wish Us Luck is available now, and I can’t think of anything better to spend July playing if you’re into meaty, story-driven titles.

Gravity Circuit – Intense 2D Platformer

  • Release Date: July 13
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam, EGS, GOG)

At first glance, you might think Gravity Circuit looks like any other 2D shooter or platformer, but you’d be wrong. It’s a 2D platformer built with 80s and 90s platformers in mind, hence the incredibly retro visuals.

In it, you play as Kai, the only person in the world capable of mastering the Gravity Circuit to take on the evil forces of the Virus Army that have risen from the dead, threatening the world… again. There are 12 stages to explore, all of which have secrets to uncover, new powers to master, and a unique boss to kill. As Kai gains new gear and abilities, players can change and tweak Kai’s powers to suit the level or boss battle they’re playing through.

There’s so much to like in this game, but the music has to be the starting point. It’s a modern rendition of the sounds that make us feel the 80s and 90s flow through us. It gets you pumped for 2D platforming.

I think the hyper-advanced UI disguised by retro visual design makes the game fit in both the modern and golden eras of arcade games. The action might look simple on the surface, but I can see that some precise movements are going to be essential to get through certain sections. I know I’ll get frustrated playing this one, but I’m ready to relive my childhood, banging my head against a boss until I finally beat it and earn *checks loot* a new shoulder pad.

Sticky Business – Sticker Business Simulator 2023

  • Release Date: July 17
  • Platforms: PC (Steam)

*Shhhh! I’m sneaking this one in because I couldn’t pick a game to cut*

Sticky Business is a fabulous-looking game that you might recognize from its time in the spotlight in June’s Wholesome Direct. This game is all about making your own stickers and selling them to like-minded people. No, this isn’t that side gig your friend runs outside of their day job. It’s a very real game you can play.

It doesn’t stop at designing, though. You build those stickers, pack them, send them, and feel like you’re running a real business as a cozy creator.

I think Sticky Business is going to be a smash hit because it allows everyone to scratch that itch of wanting to pursue something creative as a business without actually setting things up or being good at art. I’m dreadful at drawing, truly awful, but this game has templates and elements I can draw from to make stickers that don’t look like scribbles that a toddler doesn’t even realize they made. Sticky Business fulfills a small fantasy for a lot of people, but no fantasy feels small when it’s yours. Wishlist it on Steam if it sounds good to you.

Lakeburg Legacies – A City Builder Where Love is Your Main Resource

  • Release Date: July 20
  • Platforms: PC (Steam)

Lakeburg Legacies is a social-based village management simulator. If you think you know what this means, trust me, you don’t. The focus of this game is pairing up the townsfolk to make the most loved-up couples possible. Then, you follow their dynasty across each generation and see what impact they have on the future of the village.

Of course, there are traditional city management mechanics to dive into, such as trading, production, and housing, all of which will be impacted by random events and the outcomes of those relationships you set up for your people.

There’s so much to love about this game, from the art style to the unique spin it puts on the city management genre, but I think it’s more the focus on love and how it impacts society that I’m looking forward to experiencing. This is a very real concept that is usually boiled down to a stat bar for happiness in other games, but here it’s front and center and will haunt you if you get things wrong.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve also always wanted to play a matchmaker game to get my own back on characters I dislike and make life incredible for those pure NPCs you can’t help but fall in love with. And if you want to put your matchmaker skills to the test later this month, make sure to Wishlist Lakeburg Legacies on Steam.

The Master’s Pupil – Puzzle Through the Works of Monet

  • Release Date: July 28
  • Platforms: PC (Steam)

The Master’s Pupil is the result of an astounding amount of effort on the developer’s part. It’s a hand-painted puzzle game, and yes, every element has been painted by the developer by hand.

Some items, such as the big evil monster that pursue the player at some points while exploring a forest, were painted with a potato. No, I’m not joking. The game revolves around the player traveling across the iris of Claude Monet, helping him complete his works of art while experiencing the very real struggles the artist suffered throughout his career, like the loss of his wife and a brutal battle with cataracts.

This is an indie game that not only has a distinct look thanks to the artistry behind its creation, but it also lets you enter the life of someone you might never have heard of. The best games are built with real stories and lives poured into them, and this one just so happens to be based on a famous artist’s life.

I don’t think that should diminish the puzzles or journey every player goes on, though. In fact, I think it’ll make it even better. This is a game that, should you play it, you’ll remember when you eventually encounter a Monet in the wild, a piece of red string pulling threads between different points in your life just like it does for his. Follow the threads by wishlisting the game if you’re interested.

Spells & Secrets (DEMO) – Sandbox Spellcasting

  • Release Date: Q3 2023
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam)

Spells & Secrets is a rogue-like inspired action-adventure game that sees you saving the magical school Greifenstein by battling the creatures invading it. The thing that stands out about this title is that you get to use spells how you want, pushing back against foes with the spells you like in whatever way feels good with your pay style. The school changes with each run, and there are more students to rescue along the way.

This game is one of those titles that looks like a lot of fun, and it’s got a free demo on Steam and the Nintendo eShop at the time of publication. The Switch demo is live until July 10, so grab it while you can if that’s where you want to play. Otherwise, I recommend giving this a try because I’m going to.

Play Date: Gun Trails (July 18)- Handheld Shoot-em-up With a Crank

  • Release Date: July 18
  • Platform: Play Date

Gun Trails is a game I know very little about, but I love the aesthetic it’s reaching for. This is a shoot-em-up that I’m sure is going to pit Play Date players against millions of bullets and some intense boss battles.

It’s got some really talented people involved in every aspect of its development, so I’ve got really high hopes for it. The game launches this month as part of the Play Date July 2023 Catalog, but I don’t have a price for it right now. If you like the idea of controlling a ship as it flies through some impossible battles against monstrous machines with a crank on a tiny yellow console, this is going to be the game for you.

If these aren’t enough to satisfy your lust for indie games, then check out my Indie Spotlights for May and April 2023. Two games from past spotlights that I highly recommend giving a go are Dance of Cards and Planet of Lana, both of which are exceptional experiences and well worth your time.