The lights are on
Last year saw a host of high-profile downloadable titles, but some amazing games may have slipped past your notice.
If we’ve been doing our job, hopefully you already know about many of the best downloadable games that came out last year, including The Walking Dead, Journey, and Mark of the Ninja. However, especially with the rush of big retail games that came out in the latter third of the year, we bet you may have missed out on some other awesome DLGs. We’ve gathered some of our favorites that we think deserve some more exposure, along with links to our reviews if you want to learn more.
BotaniculaDeveloper: Amanita DesignFormat: PC, Mac
The makers of Machinarium (which you should also play) bring us this whimsical adventure game which stars five friends on a quest to thwart evil. It just so happens that all five friends are strange little botanical creatures. Mr. Twig, Mrs. Mushroom, and the rest of the gang must get a precious seed planted before the dark spider-like creatures consume it. The point-and-click adventure that ensues is filled with strange locales, funny side characters, and great puzzles. Sometimes quiet and thoughtful, and sometimes funny and weird, Botanicula is a treat from beginning to end. Read our review
DyadDeveloper: Right Square Bracket Left Square Bracket GamesFormat: PS3
Dyad is one of those games that is hard to describe until you try it for yourself. Part racing game, part shooter, and part psychedelic drug trip, the game defies easy classification. You zip down a multi-colored corridor filled with obstacles, and try to get moving at faster and faster speeds as you blast away at the objects in your way. Eventually, the pumping trance music combines with the warp-speed colors to elicit a Zen-like state in players. Strange, heart-pumping, and unique from any other game on the market, Dyad must be played to fully grasp. Read our review
FTL: Faster Than LightDeveloper: Subset GamesFormat: PC
Already nominated for the IGF’s 2013 Seumas McNally Grand Prize, FTL is described by its creators at Subset Games as “a spaceship simulation real-time roguelike-like.” Players take control of an interplanetary starship on a desperate mission for the Federation. As you traverse the galaxy, you investigate nebulas, teleport down to unknown planets, and upgrade your ship. You also engage in one battle after another against an increasingly difficult set of enemy ships, during which you shift power to your shields, vent oxygen into space to put out fires, and repel boarding parties. It’s the classic sci-fi space fantasy brought to life, in a simple but unflinchingly challenging way. Read our review
[Next up: Return to a karate classic, and the joy of burning things in a fireplace]
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.
Buy unfinished swan. It's dirt cheap right now, especially for playstation plus subscribers.
I find it sad that McPixel isn't on here. That is a crazy little gem.
And I missed every single one. That's depressing
Guardians of Middle Earth, with the connectivity issues being patched soon, it's a game that cannot be missed. SO much fun!
still meaning to play dyad, i'll probably give ftl a miss since i've seen plenty of playthroughs of it on youtube and i get the jist. little inferno i did play and finish and even 100%, it's really addictive xD very cool game with cool ending
FTL looks like it'd be fun to play.
ALMOST saved the best for last ;)
I swear, Skullgirls is awesome! Made me love fighting games all over again. The description here is no joke; it's entertaining as a button masher and as a tournament-level "serious" fighter. It's fast, responsive, and thoughtfully designed - it WAS created by two Street Fighter pros, after all. Mike Zaimont and Alex Ahad - those guys really know what they're doing! And the rest of the team is incredibly talented; they worked with animators all over the world to get the high quality animation and art that they did. And it spanks even stuff like Blazblue. It kind of stinks that there's only 8 characters, but this is just a first game, and it's more important that they nail their fighting engine than anything else. Also, the 8 characters here are super varied - the differences are as pronounced (if not moreso) than the original lineup in Street Fighter 2. It's got great style and plays really well. I'm actually a little shamed that I picked it up so late (I waited until Sony's 3rd week of Christmas PSN sale).
Listen up Reverge Labs, Autumn Games, and Konami. Skullgirls is my new favorite fighting franchise. It's not as bloated as any of the entrenched series, which are up to 4th, 5th or 6th entries. There's too many complex systems involved in a lot of bigger productions, and too hardcore of a community. Not to mention, it's crazy to have 50+ fighters; you can't experiment with them all, not by a long shot. I want to see a sequel to Skullgirls, ASAP! A couple more fighters (including guys) and stages would be ideal; 14 or so, I think. And moving the story and universe forward, too, would be cool.
Skullgirls was seriously better than many, many retail games last year.
Sounds like I should check out Skullgirls and Karateka.