Feature

Eight Upcoming Under-The-Radar Titles That Deserve Your Attention

by Kimberley Wallace on Aug 05, 2013 at 12:30 PM

With plenty of releases on the horizon, we don't want anything to get lost in the shuffle. These are games that you should consider not letting pass you by. Not only are they less known, but each title also provides something different and exciting for gamers.

Gone Home (PC)
Release: August 15

What It Is: The first game from The Fullbright Company, Gone Home focuses on exploratory storytelling by having you search a house to unfold the story.

Why You Should Care: The Fullbright Company is taking on a unique venture to explore if story and your own curiosity can drive an entire game. The gameplay is light as you're merely stepping inside a house and trying to figure out what's going on by reading notes, listening to phone messages, and having objects hint at the issues surrounding a family. Those who enjoyed finding the audio logs in the BioShock games are sure to get a kick out of Gone Home, as members of The Fullbright Company worked together on the BioShock 2 DLC, Minerva's Den. Gone Home is set in the '90s, so part of the magic is finding all the nostalgic elements like Street Fighter II and 90210 posters. For those who play games for story, this is an experiment you shouldn't miss.

Hate Plus (PC)
Release: August 19

What It Is: Christine Love 's visual novel Analogue: A Hate Story was met with much praise; Hate Plus is its sequel, where you interact with a young female AI. 

Why You Should Care: Love is a great writer and her passion for creating a narrative shines through. She challenges the audience with her characters and takes the creative steps necessary to make her stories memorable. Hate Plus should be no different, as the official site forecasts it as, "A dark visual novel about transhumanism, cosplay, cake-baking, and the slow patriarchal erosion of freedoms taken for granted." Love isn't afraid to tackle complex subject matter and she's intelligent about it, making text adventures feel fresh and exciting again. 

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F (PlayStation 3)
Release:  August 27

What It Is: The only rhythm game available in English featuring lots of J-pop songs sung by virtual idol Hatsune Miku.

Why You Should Care: If you're a fan of Japanese culture, there's a good chance you've already got this on preorder, but even if you're not, Hatsune Miku has become an icon across the Pacific. Based on the vocal synthesizer of the same name, tons of songs have been ascribed to this blue pig-tailed virtual star. Even non-otaku rhythm game fans should consider Miku, though, as it's reminiscent of old-school Bemani games, with strict button timing and some incredibly difficult songs. With no new Rock Band or Guitar Hero games in sight, this could just be your finger-tapping fix.

Sweet Fuse: At Your Side (PSP)
Release: August 27

What It Is: A visual novel where you visit Mega man creator Keiji Inafune's theme park and encounter puzzles and romance.

Why You Should Care: Come on, you're trying to rescue Inafune; does it get any better than that? Yes, the premise is crazy enough, and it comes from Inafune's company Comcept, but that's only scratching the surface. Aksys Games has been picking some interesting and quirky titles to localize, like underground hits 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward. With Sweet Fuse's 14 different endings and dating-sim elements intertwined with the action-packed tale, Sweet Fuse: At Your Side is sure to keep things interesting. Let's not forget, the promise of unique characters that test your ability to keep your composure or "blow your fuse." Now that's the type of visual novel drama we're looking for.

Hometown Story (3DS)
Release: Fall

What It Is: Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada's new project, where you run your own store and help out your fellow villagers.

Why You Should Care: Wada expressed his interest in making Hometown Story his next big series. Hopefully, he can make keeping up a shop with customer demands as exciting as creating a farming empire. It looks like he's on the right track, though. When I spoke to him at E3, he discussed going the extra mile to please visitors by obtaining desired items to stock in shop. This might mean finding the right vendor, or venturing out into the mountains yourself. Wada also put emphasis on the people, and that's why he crafted 30 unique villager wishes to grant. The catch? You can only pick one in a playthrough, so choose wisely.

For more information, check out our preview.

Ys: Memories of Celceta (PlayStation Vita)

What It Is: A fast-paced, twitch-based action RPG from old-school developer Nihon Falcom.

Why You Should Care: Because this is where your loves for ultra-smooth controls, tight battles, and leveling up come together. Nihon Falcom has been making the Ys series for years and with each iteration, hero Adol Christin silently makes his way through hordes of enemies with pinpoint precision. This new iteration for Vita is the first time that Falcom themselves are taking a stab at the story of Ys IV, of which two different versions were made by Tonkin House and Hudson Soft and released only in Japan. So take the plunge and explore Celceta for the first time in English.

Contrast (PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Release: Fall 2013

What It Is: Compulsion Games' platformer/puzzle hybrid, where shadows paint your surfaces in a 3D world inspired by the film noir of the 1940s and the 1920s vaudeville theater scene.

Why You Should Care: One look at Contrast's visuals is enough to garner interest. Still, Contrast isn't looking like a one-trick pony. Not only does the gameplay look varied with the main character's 2D shadow ability being used in different ways such as to transport her around the 3D world, but the story, which focuses on a girl named Didi and her imaginary friend, Dawn, is more mature than you'd expect. It centers on Didi's strained relationship with her parents. This promising title could be the next indie darling, and so far it's looking anything but conventional. 

For more information, check out our preview.

The Guided Fate Paradox (PlayStation 3)
Release: Fall 2013

What It Is: Nipphon Ichi Software's latest dungeon crawler/RPG hybrid, featuring randomly generated dungeons and wacky customization.

Why You Should Care: The Guided Fate Paradox creators are those who brought us Disgaea: Hour of Darkness and it shares a similar art style. In fact, it has Disgaea-inspired special attacks that up the zany meter. The game is also the spiritual successor to the roguelike Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman. In addition, the customization is just as crazy – you can give your characters race car legs. The story is also as quirky as the gameplay; you play as a high school student who becomes a god by winning a lottery. Your job? Grant people's wishes, but it's obvious there's more to it than meets the eye. 

Do any of these games catch your eye? Let us know in the comments below!