Hello and welcome to our article about the best Kickstarter video games that have ever graced the face of the Earth. Over the last 10 years or so, Kickstarter has provided the foundations of the indie games industry, and without it, you have to wonder whether we’d all have been spoiled with the games that we have today. 

Best Kickstarter Video Games

Sure, not all things on Kickstarter have been a huge success (*cough* Ouya *cough*) but as this article demonstrates, many games can go from having a humble funding target to ending up rivalling some AAA titles when it comes to sales. Whilst we all have our personal hidden-gem favourites, we thought the most objective approach would be to rank the best Kickstarter video games of all time by their Metacritic score, so here we go!

Disclaimer: Many of the games on this list have multiple scores depending on the platforms they have released on. To make it easier, we have chosen the score of the highest rated version(s).

10. Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake

SleepNinja Games
1 July 2014
Target: $15,000
Actual: $26,096

The charming and colourful puzzle adventure game first appeared in 2014 after hitting its relatively modest Kickstarter goal. On face value, Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake doesn’t appear all that original, however SleepNinja Games absolutely nailed the art direction and addictive gameplay, which presumably is what has made it so popular. Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is also rather cleverly family friendly which has opened itself up to a whole new demographic of gamers, and I’ve heard of a few parents who have ‘weaned’ their children into gaming via this game. How cool is that!?

Metacritic score: 89

9. Sunless Sea

Failbetter Games
6 February 2015
Target: £60,000
Actual: £100,803

As a proud Englishman, it’s great to see a British entry here! Sunless Sea was first released to warm yet hardly groundbreaking reviews in 2015, but it’s been one of those games that has proven more and more popular by word of mouth over time. This slow burning popularity has allowed Failbetter Games to eventually release a sequel, Sunless Skies, in 2019. Sunless Skies’ Metacritic score is slightly lower (87) and therefore doesn’t make it onto the best Kickstarter video games of all time list, but it clearly indicates that when it comes to roguelike survival games, Failbetter Games are the dons.

Metacritic score: 89

8. Hollow Knight

Team Cherry
24 February 2017
Target: AU$ 35,000
Actual: AU$ 57,138

A game that needs no introduction; Hollow Knight not only holds a place on the best Kickstarter video games of all time list, but is also regarded as one of the greatest Metroidvanias of all time. Hollow Knight is used as a yardstick for pretty much any game in the genre. Known for its intelligent world design and atmosphere, it’s weird to think that it has already been five years since it came out and it leaves us all asking the same question… When is its sequel, Silksong, coming?! Team Cherry notoriously keep their cards close to their chest, but surely they will be the first to acknowledge and recognise Kickstarter’s part in their short but illustrious history.

Metacritic score: 90

7. Tadpole Treble

2 September 2016
Target: $30,000
Actual: $34,250

I have to admit, I hadn’t played Tadpole Treble prior to researching for this article, and I’ve also never really been into rhythm games (mainly because I’m awful at them). However, I couldn’t put this one down! And yes, this is not a review article, but I felt the need to share my experience. You don’t need my words as the Metacritic score speaks for itself anyway. Tadpole Treble was ported to the Switch under the title ‘Tadpole Treble Encore’ some five years after its initial release, which gave it a whole new lease on life and demonstrates the enduring appeal of the original.

Metacritic score: 90

6. Psychonauts 2

Double Fine
25 August 2021
Target: $3,300,000
Actual: $3,829,024

OK so… yes, Psychonauts 2 was funded on Fig and not Kickstarter, but hey, it’s our list and we decide who makes it on! Arguably the most ‘AAA’ title on here, the long awaited sequel to the 2005 cult classic finally hit our consoles in 2021 after first being confirmed in 2015. Praised for its highlighting of mental health issues and innovative gameplay, upon release, Psychonauts 2 was very well received. Double Fine is yet to confirm what the future of the series holds, but let’s all hope we don’t need to wait another 16 years until we’re treated with Psychonauts 3!

Metacritic score: 91

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5. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

Yacht Club Games
26 June 2014
Target: $75,000
Actual: $311,502

Another game (like Hollow Knight, no relation) to have transcended the indie market and become a bar-setter for those that follow, Shovel Knight has launched Yacht Club Games into gaming royalty. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is the 2019 compilation of the various Shovel Knight sequels, expansions and spin-offs that have emerged since its debut in 2014. Yacht Club Games’ next project, Mina the Hollower, has also had its go on Kickstarter and with it having reached over $1.2 million, it goes to show how much faith they’ve garnered from the indie gaming community.

Metacritic score: 91

4. Divinity: Original Sin 2

Larian Studios
14 September 2017
Target: $500,000
Actual: $2,032,434

The Divinity series has been around since 2002, so it’s a bit of an outlier on this list in terms of history as it doesn’t really fit that typical indie mould who use Kickstarter to get up and running. As you can see from its Metacritic score, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a hugely popular video game that made its debut on Windows in 2017 before being released across all of the home consoles in the following couple of years. Boasting large online communities and huge sales figures, Divinity: Original Sin 2 was nominated for a number of awards at The Game Awards 2017. Of course, the real accolade however will be its place on The IndiEXP’s best Kickstarter video games of all time list!

Metacritic score: 93

3. Twilight Struggle Mobile

GMT Games/Playdek
13 April 2016
Target: $50,000
Actual: $391,047

This one is an intriguing entry on the best Kickstarter video games of all time list that, as you can see, absolutely smashed its funding goal a few years back. Twilight Struggle began life as a Risk-like board game which has subsequently been developed into a mobile game by Playdek. The aesthetic is all very 1960s/Cold War-esque (the title is in fact taken from an address by John F. Kennedy) and is one of the many recent examples of an analogue entertainment entity utilising mobile technology to exponentially increase its player base.

Metacritic score: 93

2. Undertale

Toby Fox
15 September 2015
Target: $5,000
Actual: $51,124

The undoubted underdog on the best Kickstarter video games of all time list; developed by solo-dev Toby Fox who not only developed the game from scratch but also composed its soundtrack, all before his mid-20s! A classic RPG with random encounters and an innovative battle system, it’s no wonder Undertale is scored so highly on Metacritic. Thanks to the game’s success, Toby Fox himself has arguably achieved celebrity status, having being invited to compose music for Game Freak in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. Undertale’s spiritual successor, Deltarune, is being released in chapters (seven are expected in total), two of which have been released at the time of writing, and both have proved at least as popular with the critics as Undertale so far. Bravo Mr Fox, bravo. 

Metacritic score: 93

1. Divinity: Original Sin

Larian Studios
30 June 2014
Target: $400,000
Actual: $944,282

OK, these guys are just hogging the places on this best Kickstarter video games of all time list…This is obviously the original game that no.4 on this list is a sequel to; what more can I say? The Divinity: Original Sin series has proved a must-have for fantasy and RPG fans across the globe. In a mirror-image to the development of Twilight Struggle (see no. 3), a Divinity: Original Sin board game was launched on Kickstarter in 2019 which smashed its funding goal but at the time of writing, has still not been released. However, this expansion into the analogue world further demonstrates the series’ appeal and its worthy place at the top of this list!

Metacritic score: 94

This list was ranked by its scores on Metacritic but there are obviously many more games that were given life through crowdfunding efforts. While not every game can be placed on this best Kickstarter video games list, we’d love to hear from you about what your favourite game from Kickstarter is (mine is Yooka-Laylee). So please let us know by commenting below or tagging us on Twitter @TheIndiEXP.