Feature

10 Great, Overlooked Games From 2015

by Javy Gwaltney on Dec 28, 2015 at 01:43 PM

2015 has been a fantastic year for games, hasn't it? Just quality titles jammed in every month from January until now. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, Bloodborne, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Fallout 4. So many games that there's a decent chance a number of fantastic, smaller games might have slipped under your radar.

Here are 10 of them you should check out if you've finally survived your passage through Yharnam and are looking for something new or have decided to take a break with Geralt for a month.

The Room Three


The Room has always been an unnerving brain-teaser of a series and the third installment is no different. If you're looking for something challenging to play on your mobile device, this might be the  game for you.

Ben Reeves gave the game an 8 and said in his review that "Even without a plot to drive them, The Room games have always pulled me into their world. The Room Three is full of interesting moments that will have you stoking the fires of a forge to melt gold into a series of unique keys, manipulating mechanical animals to reveal their hidden compartments, and using a giant telescope to discover the secrets in the stars. It feels less like an emulation of a puzzle box and more like a traditional adventure game, but Fireproof Games hasn't lost touch with what makes this series exciting: a rich atmosphere and a series of clever puzzles."


SteamWorld Heist


SteamWorld Heist snuck in at the tail end of the year and it's a gem, a strategy game that sticks you in the boots of a sassy and dangerous robot captain who boards enemy ships and stations with her crew to steal riches and fight a corrupt government. I strongly recommend this one for those who love tactical strategy games or collecting wearable hats for their characters.

Ben Reeves, reviewing the game and giving it a score of 8.5, wrote that "In spite of SteamWorld Heist's limited inventory system, I recommend making space on your 3DS for this charming title. Its unique 2D strategy isn't as deep as something like XCOM, but I never grew tired of ricocheting a pistol shot off a wall and into the red eyes of a villainous space thug. I can't wait to see what SteamWorld project Image & Form surprises us with next."

Hand of Fate


An enjoyable rogue-like game where cards are drawn from a deck determine your equipment, the enemies you fight, and random encounters that affect your stats, Hand of Fate is a game bursting with creative energy and charm.

Daniel Tack gave it an 8.75 in his review and wrote "I noticed a difficulty spike toward the end, but overall the card-based journey is a fun, challenging jaunt that should leave you craving more as you run into disasters and tough battles, taking your tokens and licking your wounds as each attempt brings you just a little closer to the next boss. While the game could use some enemy variety, overall the good mix of encounters and potential outcomes shine and keep things interesting the whole way through."


Apotheon


Apotheon is a quality action-platformer that embraces a beautiful art style inspired by ancient Greek pottery but it's got more going for it than pretty looks. It's also an enjoyable adventure that uses Greek mythology to great effect.

Former Editor Bryan Vore reviewed the game and gave it a 9.0, saying "Not only is Apotheon a tireless devotion to ancient Greek art and culture, it's also a damn fun game and one of my surprise early favorites of 2015."


Cities:Skylines


Cities: Skylines is a must-play for those who love the challenges and rewards of city simulators. The game allows users to build massive, living cities and then tasks them with maintaining their metropolises.

Brian Shea gave the game an 8.75 in his review and wrote "Through deep and rewarding gameplay, Colossal Order's new simulation fills the increasingly noticeable void in the genre. Where others have failed, Cities: Skyline excels and delivers the new gold standard of modern city-builders."


Legends of Heroes: The Trails of Cold Steel

The Trails of Cold Steel is another game that's squeaked in at the end of the year and for those looking to scratch a  fantasy JRPG itch on their PS3/PS Vita, it more than fits the bill, casting you as an amnesiac attending a military academy while several noble houses are engulfed in a power struggle.

Resident Evil: Revelations 2


The details of Resident Evil: Revelations 2's release, a non-3DS episodic sequel to what was initially a 3DS exclusive, had plenty of gamers scratching their heads. However, packaged behind all of that weirdness is a goofy, solid action-horror romp that will likely satisfy fans of the series and newcomers alike.

Kimberly Wallace, scoring the game an 8, said in her review that "Resident Evil: Revelations 2 gets a lot right. It left me on edge and invested in the world and characters. I just wish the experience was more even, because some dips in the action hinder the experience. Still, trudging through the slower moments does pay off when you experience the adrenaline rush from some of the unforgettable moments."

Lovers In a Dangerous Spacetime


Lovers In a Dangerous Spacetime's colorful aesthetic camouflages just how intense the game's action is. You play a pilot with an AI-controlled pet (or another crewmate, if you're playing with someone else) and must navigate around the ship, moving from station to station to operate the vessel's weapons and shields.

Kyle Hilliard scored the game an 8 in his review and wrote "Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is hard, but in an intense way that makes you fear death with sweaty palms. It's not frustrating - it's a well-balanced challenge. Running from one end of the ship to the other to get that final shot in against the boss while your partner valiantly rotates the shield to block the incoming space icicles is intense, rewarding, and delivers a true sense of cooperative teamwork." 


Guns, Gore & Cannoli 

Guns, Gore & Cannoli is an action-platformer that's just as deliciously goofy and over-the-top as it sounds. You play as Vinnie, two-bit mobster who goes up against both zombies and other gangsters with his tommy gun. The art is colorful and the gameplay is simple but fun, especially if you have some other folks along for the ride.

Emily is Away


Developer Kyle Seeley's interactive story Emily is Away has been picking up some buzz since its release and for good reason. It's an inventive little game that combines nostalgia with heartbreak to create a potent, memorable experience.

Former intern Joseph Knoopf wrote about the game at length: "Navigating your relationship is relatively easy; you only ever have three dialogue options to choose from (“Coldplay sucks,” or “Brad is a d---” are popular options), but the game forces you to type random keys in order to simulate the experience of methodically determining every word you use in the hopes of getting along with Emily. This is especially impressive when the game calls for more sincere depictions of young love in the age of IM’ing. Choose to reassure her that she means the world to you, and instead of typing out “you are my best friend,” the chat window begins to delete the sentence in favor of “you’re one of my best friends.” If that doesn’t capture a poetic sense of youthful awkwardness, then perhaps the conclusion will, which perfectly conveys that futile sense of disinterest when allowed to treat real people like they’re just another username."

Have we overlooked any overlooked games from 2015 ourselves? Let us know in the comments!