Shacknews Indie Game of the Year 2023 - Humanity

In the end of a jam-packed year of fabulous indie games, there could only be one Indie Game of the Year, and for us that was Humanity.


Humanity is incredible. It is another fascinating venture from Enhance Games, welding what looks like the best parts of games like Lemmings and Captain Toad into one fascinating puzzle game. It plays beautifully on consoles and PC, and truly shines in VR systems including the new PS VR2. More than that, it lets us be a celestial Shiba Inu dog, guiding all the little humans to where they belong. We’re truly blessed to have another Enhance Games masterpiece upon us in 2023, and when the dust settled, we decided it was our favorite indie game of the entire year.

Humanity tricks you into believing it’s simple at first. You are a shepherd that must guide the humans to the light. They don’t know where to go, however, and will walk in a straight line until deterred. In this gridded world, that means that as the dog, you must place commands on the grid in front of the human paths to make them take actions that will get them safely to the spot on the level where the light is. Get your humans there, they’ll ascendm and you’ll have completed the level.

Where Humanity truly takes off to new heights is in how it blossoms from those initial details. You start with commands like Jump, Climb, or Turn. However, in time, you get many more like Swim, Float, and Shoot. There are also stage objectives and props that make use of these options. You might need to get your humans to activate a switch that lets them turn on fans to float across dangerous terrain, or you might find a gravity pad that makes their jumps far more lengthy, in which case you have to watch their physics and see where they’ll fall. Losing humans is no big deal as long as you get them to the goal in the end, but eventually gold figures also appear among the humans and getting them to light without losing them to cliffs or other pitfalls is a bonus.

Humanity truly expanded to mind-blowing proportions in its puzzle designs, making us ponder the levels very carefully from every angle as we plotted out our commands and activities. However, even when the game was done, that didn’t mean the end of Humanity. It has a level creator and a bustling community making new puzzles for other players to explore. Enhance Games even highlights user-created levels from time to time on social media, putting the spotlight on fans that are making the game even more fun.

Humanity is truly an amazing game. It’s one of the few VR games you can play sitting down and have an incredibly relaxing experience with. But even if you don’t have VR, there’s so many mesmerizing and mind-bending puzzles waiting for you. Once you wrap up the main game, you’ll definitely want to dig into what the player community has come up with. 2023 wasn’t lacking for amazing indies, but the creative concept of Humanity, its crafty level designer, and a community making great puzzles of their own that the developers spotlight are more than enough to put it over the top and make it our Shacknews Indie Game of the Year for 2023.

You can play Humanity right now on PS4, PS5, and PS VR via the PlayStation Store, and on PC via Steam.

Be sure to read over the rest of the Shacknews Awards in our Year of the Games: 2023 feature.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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