Alba: A Wildlife Adventure by ustwogames
Genre: Open-World Adventure
Join Alba as she visits her grandparents on a Mediterranean island. She is ready for a peaceful summer of wildlife exploration with her friend Ines, but when she sees an animal in danger, she realises she needs to do something about it.
The titular Alba is a young girl with a camera and a passion for nature. Exploring a seaside villa on a trip with your grandparents ends up more like a freeform — and even educational — Pokémon Snap. Photograph the birds that fly by, look out for the elusive lynx, or just snap pictures of the townspeople living their lives.
If you like photo modes or games that promote being a supportive citizen of the environment around us, Alba‘s little girl with a big heart storyline is a warm and fuzzy way to feel good this year.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac
Suzerain by Torpor Games, Fellow Traveller
Genre: Text-Based RPG
Suzerain is basically West Wing in game form, which is as awesome as it sounds. The year is 1954 and the country of Sordland is emerging from a 20-year dictatorship, following a bloody civil war. You play as a charismatic young man, Anton Rayne, who has surprised everyone by rising to the top of the party in power and getting elected as the new President of Sordland.
The people are hungry for democratic reforms after decades under a traditionalist power. The economy is in shambles and the political landscape is shifting. Neighbouring superpowers are watching closely, and there are military threats on the horizon. Navigate a political drama, driven by conversations with your cabinet members and other significant figures in a country with its own complicated history. Pick your allies carefully, and your enemies even more carefully. Beware or embrace corruption; shirk or uphold ideals.
The future of Sordland depends on your choices. Good luck, Mr. President.
Platforms: PC, Mac
Coffee Talk by Toge Productions
Genre: Slice Of Life, Sim, Fantasy
In Coffee Talk, you play as the barista of a coffee shop in modern-day Seattle. But instead of just human customers, you’ll also be serving orcs, werewolves, vampires and other fantasy creatures. Learn more about your customers, make their drinks and listen to their day-to-day lives. Even though your customers may vary in appearance their problems are still very much human and relatable.
A couple in a cross-species romance has disapproving parents. A mermaid has self-esteem issues. Help them or change their story not with your words but with what caffeinated beverages you choose to serve them.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC, Mac
Townscaper by Oskar Stålberg
Genre: City Builder
Most games revolving around user-generated content require patiently mastering a learning curve. With Dreams, players are guided through a series of tutorials before building. In Roblox, making worlds from scratch often requires scripting knowledge. In Townscaper, though, everything comes easily.
Townscaper, lets you instantly build cosy, coastal towns. You start with a blank canvas: just a blue sky and an empty sea. Controls are limited to placing one block at a time. Blocks placed on water become harbours, and blocks placed atop other blocks make rising towers, apartments and houses. You can undo and redo the placement of said blocks, and change their colour as well. And that’s about it. It is not as complex as other games in this genre but it is joyful and easy.
In the words of its creator, Townscaper is “more of a toy than a game.”
Platforms: PC, Mac
Cloudpunk by Ion Lands
Genre: Sci-Fi, Exploration, RPG
A neon-noir story in a rain-drenched cyberpunk metropolis. It’s your first night on the job working for the Cloudpunk delivery service. Two rules: Don’t miss a delivery and don’t ask what’s in the package.
It’s your first day as a delivery driver in the cyberpunk metropolis of Nivalis. You’re required to go everywhere, from the Marrow below to the spires that pierce the grey clouds high above before scraping the edge of the troposphere. No delivery job is too dangerous, and no one is faster than a Cloudpunk driver. Meet a diverse range of characters including androids, AI and unscrupulous humans at every level of society. Everyone has a story, and in the course of one night in Nivalis, everything will change.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC
We know this list just begins to scratch the surface of amazing games that need more love. But this is a start and believe us when we say we had to make some hard choices cutting some games off this list. Let us know if there’s any games you found that you feel deserve more hype! Or are you interested in anything on this list?