Thursday, December 31, 2015

Quick Fix: My most anticipated games of 2016

I already talked about my favorite releases of 2015, but the good and bad thing about indie games is that there's always something interesting on the horizon. Good because there's something new to discover, but bad because there are so many intriguing games and not enough time to play them all! These are (some of) the games I'm most looking forward to next year:

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Rain World
A lot of games boast ecosystems and animals. But none makes you feel part of that ecosystem like Rain World does, or makes that ecosystem feel so alive and dynamic. As the lithe intelligent slugcat, you jump, climb, and crawl through an industrial jungle where otherworldly creatures roam and intermingle. Procedural-generated animations, complex AI, and a sprawling world threatened by deadly downpours makes every moment full of tense stealth, cautious exploration, and overgrown alien beauty.
Bleed 2 is not just exciting because it's expanding on the acrobatic, slow-mo, triple-jumping platforming/shooting of the first game, but also because I didn't even realize a sequel was in the works. The first game was an underrated gem, the kind that probably didn't get the recognition it deserved and that you don't expect a sequel for. I'm eager awaiting to return to the colorful and hectic world of Bleed and Wryn.
Yes, a crafting/exploring/surviving game. But Astroneer is shaping up to be something unique and different. One, the footage of your character braving the fierce extraterrestrial weather brings to mind the man vs nature struggle of The Martian. And two, deformable terrain seems like it could offer more dynamic survival and exploration than the usual game in the genre. And the game just looks lovely, from its stylish low-poly aesthetic to its varied extraterrestrial vistas.
Between Distance, Drift Stage, and the aptly titled 90's Arcade Racer, the arcade racing genre is making a comeback. GRIP continues that exciting trend, a spiritual successor to the popular series Rollcage, and powered by Unreal Engine 4. That means gravity-defying racing on walls and ceilings, destructible environments, a formidable arsenal of weapons, and gorgeously detailed landscapes and explosions.
For all the indie games inspired by classics like Metroid and Dark Souls and others, one could only hope that eventually Shadow of the Colossus would influence one. And finally, it's happening; Prey For The Gods is promising gargantuan beasts to scale and slay, along with a greater emphasis on stealth, survival elements, and an atmospheric snow-swept landscape.
I still remember playing the original student project/prototype and two years later, Twin Souls has been refined, expanded, and evolved. With its colorful cel-shaded aesthetic, magic-enhanced stealth that grants you mastery over the shadows themselves, and open levels that encouraged different playstyles and approaches, Twin Souls is shaping up to be an exciting entry to the genre.
SLAIN
Grotesque beasts and bosses, Gothic environments packed with detail and effects, and brutally gory deaths for both you and your enemies. Slain presents it all with a gorgeous pixel art style that oozes atmosphere. Surviving its hazard-filled levels and slaying its array of inhuman foe should be a satisfying challenge when Slain releases in January.
One of my favorite games of 2014 was Inkle's 80 Days, and Nantucket looks like it'll scratch that same globetrotting itch, as you traverse the seas in search of whales, braving weather, pirates, the ever-present danger of starvation, and all manner of random events. The added depth of crew management and carefully planning your routes through the world promises to make sailing the oceans blue a challenging venture.
Objects In Space
Not many games attempt to tackle the space sim in a hard sci-fi fashion, and that makes Objects In Space's approach to the space trading sim quite compelling. Foregoing the dogfights of Elite and the upcoming Everspace for long-range submarine-esque combat, considering distance and time is as important as maintaining shields in Objects In Space.
At first glance, one might dismiss Orphan as another Limbo homage. And while the game certainly does feature a similarly silhouetted art style, Orphan is much more. A cinematic platformer about a young boy alone during a devastating alien invasion, you'll have to use every advantage to survive this relentless incursion, from stealth to the alien's own weapons and tech.

1 comment:

  1. I had completely forgotten about pray for the gods - that looks epic

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