If there’s one thing I can’t stand to hear it’s a gamer complaining about how there’s nothing to play. Literally hundreds of games are released every year on all the consoles. Last year, Steam added 4,207 games to its online catalog. Only a master of time and space could play all these games and still fit in a pee break.
Even if we assume that 80% of all video games are garbage, that’s still hundreds of games released every year worth your time. There just isn’t enough time or money to play all the games. Between big releases like Gravity Rush 2 and Yakuza 0 last week and For Honor and Halo Wars 2 next month, you can play all the games you missed last year. Here are the overlooked games of 2016.
Play on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Linux, Mac
If Stranger Things hooked its claws into you then Oxenfree is the game for you. Like the aforementioned Netflix series, this mystery adventure wears its influences proudly. You play Alex, a young woman contemplating the future with her friends as they hold a weekend island party. It fuses suburban lawlessness with sci fi thrills, and then drenches it in the chills of a John Carpenter movie, right down to its synth heavy soundtrack.
Stories: Path of Destinies
Play on: Windows PC, PlayStation 4
This game combines the fun of an action RPG with the forking narratives of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Stories casts you as Reynardo, a swashbuckling fox adventurer fighting against an oppressive Emperor. While most of the action involves thrilling Arkham Asylum-style combat, Reynardo also possesses a magic tome that lets him see the many ways his story could unfold. Through it players are encouraged to experience the over two dozen endings.
Play on: Windows PC, Linux, Mac
When it comes to roleplaying games, no other developer marches to its own beat like Obsidian Entertainment. Tyranny follows up on their critical success with Pillars of Eternity by casting players in the unique role of a Fatebinder, a high ranking agent in an empire of evil. Whether you’re building your character’s backstory or engaging with its deep dialogue trees, choices matter in this game in which evil is the status quo.
Ladykiller in a Bind
Play on: Windows PC, Mac, Linux
This visual novel from pervert auteur Christine Love is about consensual kinky sex. You play a young woman coerced into impersonating your brother on a cruise full of his randy peers. While you avoid being found out, you’re also playing a high stakes popularity contest for the prize of a cool $4 million. Between the BDSM and the manipulation this is one NSFW experience. Wait, why are you playing games at work?
Play on: Xbox One, Windows PC, Linux
There’s certainly no shortage of first person shooters on any platform, but Superhot is a shooter like no other. In it, time only moves when you move. Whether you need to reload, line up a shot, or step out of cover, every level is a tense puzzle to create some of the most convoluted action scenes in history. Added bonus is a playback mode that lets you relive your acts of derring do in real time like the bad ass that lives inside your mind.
Play on: Windows PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
This game’s challenging combat can leave you screaming in rage and frustration, as it tests your endurance as much as it does your skill. Furi is beautifully soaked in neon glow, but you’ll be to busy waiting for the thrill of every fight to admire it. Each fracas is a taxing boss fight that asks you to slash, parry, dodge and shoot like hell. At one point, a boss declares, “No one said we had to play fair,” but rest assured, Furi gives you all the tools you need to own your victories.
Play on: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Being sandwiched between two heavyweight shooter releases, namely Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, let this one slip through the cracks. That’s a shame, because whereas the first Titanfall was an Xbox One exclusive multiplayer shooter, Titanfall 2 features an expertly paced single player campaign on all platforms. While the multiplayer remains a crackling experience, it’s the buddy cop story of a man and his robot that shines the most.
That Dragon, Cancer
Play on: Windows, iOS
For most gamers, the first time they heard about That Dragon, Cancer was when it won the award for Games for Impact at The Game Awards last December. It’s a difficult experience, because it’s a harrowing one. That Dragon, Cancer is a series of vignettes centered on the experience of taking care of a boy with a brain tumor. It’s heart wrenching but a must play for anyone intrigued by the potential that interactivity has in the context of profound emotional experiences.
What other games from last year do you think might have been overlooked? Tell us about them below!