10 Under The Radar Games On The Horizon
It seems like every year release calendars get more and more crowded. So much so that individual days now have multiple triple-A releases, (I am looking at you October 27, 2017 and now February 22, 2019), making it impossible to ever clear out our ever-growing backlogs. If you didn’t already have enough to anticipate, there are many games coming out that are flying under the radar, with numerous Early Access releases and indie games. Here are 10 titles to look forward to aren’t called The Last of Us Part II, Spider-Man, or Cyberpunk 2077.
Untitled Goose Game - (No Platforms Announced)
This stealth puzzle game lets you play as a goose and bother a poor gardener until he rage-quits. Some activities you can partake in are; stealing his sandwich only to drop it into a nearby pond, forcing him to change hats, and playing music very loudly. All of this is done while generally avoiding his grasp and annoying the rube at every turn. The art is adorable and simple, the music is playful, and the goose is devilish. Basically, if you hate gardening, this is for you! House House is aiming for a 2018 release.
Wreckfest - (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Bugbear Entertainment, who originally made the FlatOut racing series, which centered on physics-based destruction and ragdoll shenanigans, has cut out the middle-man. If the title didn’t give it away, Wreckfest is a smash-em up racing game, featuring demolition derbies and complex soft-body car physics. Vehicles can be smushed and crumpled in an infinite number of realistic and hilarious ways. The game has a slower pace than something like Burnout, since it is mostly focuses on demolition derbies and dirt racing, but the emphasis on car combat makes it feel like the next best thing for those clamoring for some car-focused violence. If you ever wanted to commit premeditated car murder, Wreckfest recently left Steam’s Early Access and will be making its way onto console this November.
Sunless Skies - (PC)
The sequel to the beloved Sunless Seas, Failbetter Games is bringing the horror to the clouds. Sunless Skies is a space-based steampunk Lovecraftian roguelike RPG. If that isn’t a mouthful, then you probably play too many video games. Sunless Seas was a tough-as-nails fail fest of nail-biting exploration and gorgeous 2D art from a top-down perspective. Sunless Skies takes this to the solar-system, as players fight to survive, explore, manage resources, and make life-threatening decisions. The series is known for its emergent gameplay and dynamic storytelling, so if you are looking to live the life of a spacefaring captain who is doomed to die, then Sunless Skies is for you. The title is currently in Early Access but will float out into the collective cosmos this September.
My Friend Pedro - (PC, Switch)
If Max Payne met Deadpool with a talking banana, then you would have the next game from DeadToast Entertainment. Developed by one guy named Victor, the game follows a man wearing a strange mask, banana-themed clothing, and wielding dual weapons. The actual gameplay looks like a 2D Max Payne, with physics-based goofs involving the ability to slam-dunk oneself, ride barrels while shooting enemies, and using frying pans to deflect bullets. It’s violent, goofy, absurd, and looks like an absolute blast. My Friend Pedro will hopefully be out sometime this year, but the only release date is “Coming Soon.” Well, soon can’t come soon enough.
Atomic Heart - (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Soviet BioShock is the quickest and easiest way to describe Atomic Heart, from Mundfish Games, but to do so would be a disservice. The title follows an agent who has crashed into an unknown area at the height of the Soviet Union and takes place in an alternate universe where you will have to battle undead workers and robots alike. Information is light, but the trailers have grabbed the attention of many, as the title features horror, combat, and what looks to be an atmospheric and intriguing setting, not dissimilar to Rapture from BioShock. If Atomic Heart can live up to its influences, even just a little, it could be a trip worth taking.
Carrion - (No Platforms Announced)
In this lovely little pixel-art indie game, you play as a gelatinous globule of sentient matter that crawls around a facility absorbing the poor humans who live and work there. Basically, it is a horror game where you get to be the disgusting beast. This game is gross, but it’s more the “I can’t look away” type of gross. You crawl through ducts, rend people into digestible bits, and form a maw to devour them after you have murdered them horribly. Carrion is aptly titled and comes from the Transhuman Design, the minds behind the 2D murderfest, Butcher. The game is currently in alpha and has been playable at indie events like The MIX 2018.
My Summer Car - (PC)
I bet you would never expect to hear car building, life simulator, and permadeath in one game description, but My Summer Car offers it all. You play as a young man during the ‘90s in Finland working to repair and build their summer car while surviving daily life. Players must drink, eat, sleep, bathe and generally live life, completing odd jobs and working to find money for food and to buy new parts for your sweet whip. Want a new duck-tail spoiler or window grille? Better get to chopping wood and delivering it around the open-world. The real kicker is the game features permadeath, so players must be careful not to die of starvation or crash into a tree on their umpteenth beer run. Otherwise, you start from the beginning, and this is not a short ride. Amistech has been working on the game in Early Access for two years now, but it is edging closer to launch, with the developers citing it may only be a few more months. My Summer Car is already a lovely, nearly feature-complete game that has won Finnish game of the year and is being inducted into the Finnish Museum of Games.
Confusing title aside, Mutant Year Zero mixes XCOM-style tactics with stealth, weird animal companions, RPG elements, and loot. Freedom of movement allows players to choose how to tackle situations. You can even use stealth kills to clear out groups of enemies, but once the stuff hits the inevitable fan, combat takes a turn for the turn-based. From there the game will be familiar to any XCOM fan, all the way up to the individual UI elements. Mutant Year Zero sets itself apart though, with an interesting universe, weird characters, and fresh stealth mechanics that should shake things up. Mutant Year Zero is looking to crawl out of its post-apocalyptic hole sometime this year.
Ashen - (PC, Xbox One)
If your Souls-likes weren’t souls-y enough, Ashen has you covered. Featuring a bunch of strange featureless characters, whose defining characteristics are “long hair” or “mustache,” the indie RPG seems to use Dark Souls as a major inspiration with its stamina-driven RPG mechanics. While Ashen wears its influences on its sleeve, the game features a dynamic open-world, in-depth crafting, and a greater focus on co-operative play. Players will encounter one another in the world and can work with or against each other, even using co-op-only moves like boosting one to a high ledge to explore more of the world and survive longer. Ashen is set to release in 2018.
The sequel to the best medieval war and life simulator, Mount and Blade II will follow the formula of the original, allowing players to start from a pauper and rise how they see fit. Loot and raze villages while amassing a roving band of mercenaries, swear fealty to a king, lay siege to his enemies in the hopes of being gifted a castle of your own, or set out and take part in tournaments to win the favor of the people. Mount and Blade lets you choose your path, and while it can be opaque about how to go about doing this, the results are compelling. Couple this with a combat system based on aiming your sword properly and timing your attacks, the ability to switch between first and third person, and massive battles with hundreds of combatants alongside dynamic sieges, and you have the medieval game of your dreams. The sequel features in-depth diplomacy, enhanced sieges, crafting, a brand-new engine, and a dynamic economy. Bannerlord was first announced in 2012 and TaleWorlds Entertainment has the release date set as “To Be Announced.”