As we’re wrapping up 2019 let’s take a look back on the year’s biggest titles: Death Stranding, Borderlands 3, Jedi: Fallen Order, all that. They were high profile games that dominated headlines and all the conversation. As such it’s easy for noteworthy games to slip by the wayside. But it would be a mistake to not give these games the attention they deserve. Coming up is some amazing games that 2019 that you probably missed out. Thanks to us though you won’t! You’re welcome.
A Short Hike by Adamgryu
10/10 on Steam, The Verge describes A Short Hike as one part Animal Crossing, one part Breath of the Wild. The game is a short platform adventure with the core adventure bein a trek to the top of the mountain. How you get there is up to you. Take the direct route and you’ll miss the point of this fun little game. But take your time, meet other people along the path and do little tasks and you’ll have a much better time.
You can spend time collecting seashells, searching for buried treasure, fishing, or helping other visitors to the park find lost items. You’ll want to spend time exploring because the mountain is much bigger than you expect it to be. It’s a place full of interesting environments and ruins, as well as quirky and clever characters who you can’t help but want to hang around with or help out. Take your time hiking and enjoy this delightful little game.
Platforms: PC – Steam, Mac, Linux
Alt-Frequencies by Accidental Queens, ARTE France
What happens when everyone is stuck in the same time loop, without knowing? Alt-Frequencies is a radio mystery drama where you use the radio to open the world’s eyes to the truth. Kind of like every other podcast out there. Record, rewind time and broadcast snippets of radio shows to expose radio hosts, conspiracy theorists, politicians and underground activists. As you dig deeper to uncover a giant government conspiracy.
By redistributing information, you change what happens in the next 3 minute time loop and impact both news cycles and the lives of the people behind them. Listen as their personal stories evolve, in a world that seems to stand still. Alt-Frequencies highlights the very real issues facing the world and state of information in today’s world.
Platforms: PC – Steam, iOS, Android
APE OUT by Gabe Cuzzillo & Bennett Foddy
APE OUT is a wildly intense and colourfully stylized smash ‘em up about primal escape, rhythmic violence, and frenetic jazz. Build up nearly unstoppable momentum and use your captors as both weapons and shields to crush everyone on your procedurally generated path to freedom. You begin in a cell. You break out. Your job is to make it across each procedurally generated maze while fending off attacking soldiers. This is the whole game – and it’s an utter delight.
Your ape has multiple ways to defend himself, including attacking enemies by pushing them into walls or grabbing them and using them as human shields. The human shield method opens up several strategies as you navigate through corridors filled with soldiers. Though APE OUT’s basic functions appear simple, it has a lot of leeway for creativity and strategizing.
Platform: PC – Steam
Disco Elysium by ZA/UM
Disco Elysium is a groundbreaking open-world role-playing game. You’re a detective with a unique skill system at your disposal and a whole city block to carve your path across. Interrogate unforgettable characters, crack murders or take bribes. Become a hero or an absolute disaster of a human being.
The premise of Disco Elysium is straightforward: You are a cop on a murder case but have a wicked case of hangover-induced amnesia. You can’t even remember your own name at this point. A part of your consciousness described as your ancient reptilian brain – which you literally engage in conversation with – attempts to persuade you to give up your quest even as your snivelling limbic system battles against it. Disco Elysium provides a staggering amount of options, letting you choose and role-play the type of cop–indeed, the type of person–your amnesiac detective is going to remember himself to be. Are you the intelligent Sherlock type? The brash Gordon type? or the more sensitive Poirot type?
Disco Elysium is a mad, sprawling detective story where the real case you’ve got to crack isn’t who killed the man strung up on a tree in the middle of town. Rather, it’s an investigation of ideas, of the way we think, of power and privilege, and of how all of us are shaped, with varying degrees of autonomy, by the society we find ourselves in. This is one of the finest RPGs if you value depth, freedom, customisation, and storytelling.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC – Steam
Draugen by Red Thread Games
Draugen is a single-player, first-person Fjord Noir tale of suspense, mystery and deception, set in 1920s Norway. So surprisingly we go from a year of no notable Nordic Noir games to two on this list. From the studio that brought you Dreamfall Chapters, and the creative team behind The Longest Journey and The Secret World comes a first-person psychological mystery.
You play Edward Charles Harden, an American traveller — and increasingly unreliable narrator — who’s come to Norway to find his missing sister. But you’re never alone: every step of the way, Edward is accompanied by Lissie: a lively and enigmatic young woman with a mind of her own. Draugen is a game for explorers and detectives. As you explore this quaint Norwegian village you’ll find that everything is incredibly detailed and every house and building has a cornucopia of scattered clues. I can’t say too much of the story but it’s a solid atmospheric journey that’s beautiful and memorable. You can read our full review on Draugen here.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC – Steam, Mac, Linux
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark by 6 Eyes Studio
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is a golden tribute to classic-style turn-based RPG along the lines of Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre. Unfold a mature story as you progress through hand-crafted scenarios, controlling your own group of Arbiters, with each character customizable from a wide selection of classes and abilities. It’s an impressive gem that’s highly recommended for fans of strategy RPGs. You can read our full review of Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark here.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC – Steam, Mac, Linux