Games in 2019 that you feel were incredibly underrated.

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MocBucket62

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So with many topics being posted here about GOTY predictions on GB, impressions of the most recent games and people's generally feelings about this years releases, I want to make a thread about games that you liked/adored but that game didn't get much attention in the media or the public eye. These are games that you personally enjoyed and might contender on your personal top 10 or just personal favorites of the year, but you didn't see many people talk about these games. Go ahead and talk about those games here and if you want describe why you really liked that game. I'll start with 2 games that are coming to my mind right now:

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown: I have never played an Ace Combat game before 7, but I always thought the series looked cool dating back to seeing what those PS2 games looked like, but I never had a PS2. And around late January/early February I had no interest in KH3 and RE2Make looked super competently made, but I don't like Horror games. Ace combat 7 was the first AAA game I wanted to play from early in the year and wanted to see how it would run on my fresh new PC at the time. First tests were a bit worrying, but once I lowered the setting the game mostly ran swimmingly and man it was a blast to play. Its just really solid arcade jet fighting action and had some great variety of missions types that were mostly very amusing. The story felt like an MGS style story that felt sort of hard to follow at first, but later in the game the story actually comes together pretty nicely and makes for some crazy but engaging anti-war storytelling that the tales from Strangereal is home to. And dang this game has my personal favorite OST of 2019. So many epic songs to get pumped up to from "Long Day", "Magic Spear 1" and of course "Daredevil", this game's soundtrack just freaking ruled. Its a game that seems forgotten because it came out a week before RE2Make and KH3 (two much more anticipated titles), but I didn't forget about it. Its a lock on my top 10 for sure.

My next game

Later Alligator: I want to thank @vinny for his QL on this game which compelled me to grab it on Steam. This game is helluva cute and is one of the most charming adventure games I played. For those who've seen the quick look, you'll know Lator Alligator is a point and click adventure game that has minigames to play after you talk to a family member of Pat the Alligator. You're investigating all of Pat's family because Pat himself is worrying over something he did that upset the family and thinks this upcoming "event" is meant to rub him out. But the game is honestly far from dark. in fact, it has some of the nicest and most pleasant 2D animation I've seen in a game. That's definitely thanks to SmallBu Studios who are famous for their Baman/Piderman web cartoon and guest animating some Adventure Time episodes (one of which won an Emmy). But this game oozes in hilarious charm from the animations of these goofy gators to the dialogue being silly yet earnestly funny. And many of the minigames will get you to laugh. The quick look had that pick the queen and the Japanese dating sim games. But there's also a mini game where you're playing hide and seek and you're trying to lose to help a kid feel better about his hiding skills when he's clearly visible. And there's so many more mini games on here that gave me a big fat grin. The music is also incredible and a runner up to Ace Combat 7 for best OST if you ask me. Its not the most technically impressive indie game I've played all year and isn't as much love as indies such as The Outer Wilds and Disco Elysium, but its still a fairly unique game could be my favorite indie game of the year just for how happy it makes me. Best of all, there's multiple endings so there's great incentive to go back and find more gators you didn't talk to from the last playthrough and even go searching of puzzle pieces which can lead to one ending too I believe.

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nutter

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Gears 5, maybe, just from the lack of mindspace it seems to have.

Maybe Toejam & Earl. I like the original better, but 2019’s game is a very close second.

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liquiddragon

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It's not my favorite thing but Neo Cab I think everyone should try. Uber simulation-lite/adventure/VN set in dystopian corporate world. Cool idea, some good writing, interesting if flawed.

Idk how underrated it is but Grindstone is a classic and it'll give you Pac-Man Championship DX levels of brain pleasure.

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Rahf

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#4  Edited By Rahf

@liquiddragon: NeoCab struck me as that type of game that previews really well, but runs out of steam quickly. I remember the now-old 2D platformer, Shank, being similar. You have neat mechanics up front, an interesting art style, and slightly unorthodox gameplay as well as presentation.

Once you get past that first hour, it can start spinning its wheels.

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liquiddragon

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@rahf: Personally, I enjoyed it very much right up to the end. The game soured me with the way it wrapped up but I thought it was a novel experience throughout. You can see through it in 5-6 hours so not much of a time investment and it can be played free through the Apple Arcade trial so easy recommend from me.

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jacksmedulla

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@nutter: And here I am thinking Gears 5 was overrated haha. I got bored by that sparse open world drudgery very quickly, and I am still baffled by how well it reviewed initially.

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nutter

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@jacksmedulla: I like it a lot, but I’d rather that skiff be used in a few linear segments than the hame be so open world.

Linear, or maybe a path choice here or there, works MUCH better for Gears.

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jacksmedulla

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#8  Edited By jacksmedulla

@nutter: I definitely agree with that. I was completely enthralled for the first few missions that were classic gears of war, but I don't think I have ever turned so hard and fast on a game as I did once the open world was introduced. I understand the need to bring a fresh coat of paint to Gears, but I really just don't see how the gears play-style lends itself in anyway to an open world. The movement is just far too rigid.

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BoOzak

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I would probably rate Remnant: From the Ashes higher than most places but I dont think it got bad reviews. Same with DOA 6 but many of the complaints are well earned. I feel like I tend to agree with the average score at Metacritic or something like that. When it comes to this site probably Death Stranding but I could see how someone could hate that game. Personally I play so many games that are so similar that i'll welcome something that at least attempts to do something new.

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oronalex

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Nowhere prophet,

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Damptoe

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#11  Edited By Damptoe

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers

This would be a lock for best moment or sequence for those last few hours if just one person manages to get to the ending. I don't know if Rorie will get to it in time.

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extremenoisedan

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#12  Edited By extremenoisedan

Ai: The Somnium Files, interesting game by the creators of the Zero Escape series, almost a stealth release this year that, unfortunately, got no coverage on the site.

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Zemmiphobiac

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#13  Edited By Zemmiphobiac

- Baba is You

One of the greatest achievements ever in the puzzle game genre. This game has so many twists and turns and pulls some crazy stuff later on. Sadly no one in the GB crew got more than around 5% of the way through the game. Took me about 30 hours to finish and I loved every minute of it. If you dig stuff like The Witness, The Talos Principle, or Stephen's Sausage Roll, you have to play this game. It's brutally difficult but insanely creative.

- Outer Wilds

One of the best games ever made. Period. This game knocked me off my feet in a way that few games ever have. Such an incredible satisfying experience I will treasure forever.

- Manifold Garden

Still working on this one but I expect it to be pretty high on my year end list. Really having a lot of fun with it so far. Getting lots of Antichamber flashbacks in a great way.

- Judgment

A lot of people here are probably familiar with it but I feel like this series deserves to break more into the mainstream. This is a great place to start if you've never played a Yakuza game and find the long story of that series to be daunting. The combat isn't the most involved in the series but the story was a blast to play theough.

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PunchBot

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Sayonara Wild Hearts (So much Styyyyyle)

Steam World Quest

Untitled Goose Game (Goose for Best Character)

Slay The Spire (not sure if eligible)

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nutter

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@jacksmedulla: Agreed. Also, four acts? I figured I had a fifth act coming, but nope. That made the end feel rushed and anti-climactic, due to my expectation of one more act.

I’m all for the old LT/RT split-up sections. I think optional branches off the main line (take a detour to help these stranded) would be cool too. I actually think the skiff was alright. It’s just that Gears does not move like an open world game, and Gears normally has pretty good pacing (which the open world hurt significantly).

I still really dig that game, but Acts 2 and 3 were far weaker than they needed to be.

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Blitzrules240

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  • Sayonara Wild Hearts
  • The Surge 2
  • A Plague Tale: Innocence
  • Observation
  • Judgment
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WasabiCurry

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I will throw my hat into the ring and say Oxygen Not Included, I had never been huge into survival management sims, though this one caught my attention a while back and I had been hooked on it since then. I do enjoy that they attempt to adhere to real life chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics though it isn't always accurate. Still it is a fun game to those who are willing to learn the game and just interested in the sci-fi aspect of it all.

The modding community has really done an excellent job of adding new equipment, quality of life changes, and creatures to an already dense game.

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NeoCalypso

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#18  Edited By NeoCalypso

I dunno if it really counts but I've played the large majority of the "big" games that came out this year and FFXIV:Shadowbringers is head and shoulders above everything I've played this year.

Not only does it feel like a legitimately full new Final Fantasy game at times, it's also arguably(and I fall on the side of "it is")pushes FFXIV into being the best Final Fantasy game period.

The music is incredible and makes me think they finally have a worthy successor to Uematsu. The story, characters, and voice acting is fantastic, and the final 5-10 or so hours of the storyline has without a doubt the most amazing moments of any game I've played this year.

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BoOzak

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If expansions count Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is probably the game i've spent the most time with this year, it doesnt reinvent the formula (nor should it) or do anything too crazy but it adds a ton of monsters and the new zones are fun. I also ended up using the new mechancis more often than I thought I would. I know the game was well received but it seems like it came and went without much fanfare.

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csl316

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#20 csl316  Online

Valfaris is a damn fine run and gun shooter, but Blazing Chrome got way more attention (for good reason, BC also rules).

Crash Team Racing's remake takes the best kart racer of the 90's and improves it to become the best kart racer ever.

And finally, EDF: Iron Rain was fun as hell but people seemed down on it. It made enough tweaks to EDF to make it feel like its own thing.

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SniperXan

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I have to think Abby, Dicey Dungeons has kept me entertained for much longer then I anticipated. It's a treasure

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CupOfDoom

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Manifold Garden is an incredible first-person puzzle game that manages to actually make good on the first 30-minutes of anti-chamber by combining the traversal rules with the puzzle solving. And I know this game came out not that long ago but, it got buried in "the discourse" by Death Stranding and being and epic store exclusive.

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jeremyf

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#23 jeremyf  Online

Thanks to Ben for getting my attention on Pikuniku at the very start of the year. It's a very short adventure/platforming game with an oddball personality. I don't think everyone will love it, but those who don't mind irreverence will probably have a great time. And there are some real bangers in the OST!

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BTA

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#24  Edited By BTA

Biggest one for me is probably Zanki Zero: Last Beginning. They kinda mainly marketed its vague staff connections to the Danganronpa series despite it being a dungeon crawler RPG, and while I understand why I don’t think enough people really bit. It’s certainly rough around the edges and has some skeevy bits, but I ended up really enjoying the characters and was pretty into the (kinda simplistic) RPG bits a lot too, to the point that I went through the fairly tedious process of Platinuming it. I was expecting the worst of its decision to tackle some fairly serious topics due to how Danganronpa had fumbled that horribly in the past, but for the most part it was actually pretty well handled. And similarly I was really pleasantly surprised by how strong the ending was, especially as I only saw it after the many hours spent on finishing stuff for the Plat and expected it to not hit very hard at all. They really leaned right into the stuff I loved the most about the cast, and months later I still find myself thinking about the final scenes from time to time.

Other stuff that immediately come to mind are Hypnospace Outlaw and Dicey Dungeons. For the latter I mostly played a ton the first week and then recently came back for the Halloween stuff, and that has me wanting to get back into it soon since they’ve patched it a decent amount. AI: The Somnium Files probably counts too. I’m probably forgetting some other big ones. And I’m finding myself playing a lot of visual novels during this last month or two of the year - Spirit Hunter: NG, soon Raging Loop, possibly World End Syndrome if I can make the time - and some of those may end up counting as well!

(And everyone saying SWH has reminded me I just need to set aside an hour and finally play it! I was so excited for a new Simogo game, just haven’t been in the right mood for it...)

EDIT: Oh, yeah, definitely Baba Is You as well! I devoured that too, playing hours and hours that first week. I think I’ve beaten the vast majority of it, but got stuck on what was left and it was at the point where I was barely getting anything done when I played it, so I fell off. They did patch some of the levels I had issues with and I came back to it for a bit after, but it’s been some time since then. I’d like to get back into it and see it through sometime, but...

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PortableDan

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I will shout the praises of Islanders all year! This compact little game did not get enough attention.

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Casepb

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I would like to give Katana Zero a mention. Really enjoyed it.

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Bonbonetti

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Observation - I felt this was a unique and interesting game, both in terms of gameplay and narrative, and thought it would get more coverage than it did.

Outer Wilds - I only really hear certain reviewers talk about this game, but it's one of my personal GOTY contenders.

Age of Wonders Planetfall - to me it's a great game, I mean ... dinosaurs with lasers, but the reception has been rather silent.

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw - still having lots of fun with this one.

The Surge 2 - this is the only Dark Souls-like game (series) that has managed to truly interest me, probably because I prefer Sci-fi over Fantasy, and I enjoy most Sci-fi games.

There's a large number of Indie- and niche titles I could add, but I can understand why their appeal is limited: MotoGP 19, Assetto Corsa Competizione, AI War 2, Star Traders Frontiers, Cliff Empire, Whispers of a Machine, etc.

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liquiddragon

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Outer Wilds is not underrated in any way. Ppl already talk about it like it's the best game of all time.

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bakoomerang

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#29  Edited By bakoomerang

I made a thread just the other day saying more people should play Children of Morta. Not sure if it's a case of Rogue-like fatigue putting people off (although it's actually pretty generous with the amount of progress you keep between runs), or just not a lot of people are aware of it (I didn't know about it until Rorie played it on UPF), but it's really good and it's a shame it seems to have gone mostly under the radar.

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MagnetPhonics

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@liquiddragon: under-anticipated would be a better term for Outer Wilds. Builds of that game have been winning awards since the days of "Is Fortnite real?"

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chartroy1

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Yoshi's Crafted World: Amazing design, so meticulously crafted, super fun to play Co-op

Slay the Spire: Somehow still underrated in terms of Staff discussion, but I think the strategy of this game goes way above and beyond what Steamworld Quest does.

Cadence of Hyrule: Also meticulously designed, it's the greatest nintendo genre-crossing of all time (except maybe Mario Kart 8, but that's been proven). Such a risk, and an amazing turnout.

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JoeDangerous

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@punchbot: Steam World Quest is a fantastic pick. That was a solid game the entire way through, both in content and length to beat, but I fear it will largely be forgotten.

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Big_Denim

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#33  Edited By Big_Denim

Planet Zoo.

Seriously. This game is amazing. And no one is talking about it. I posted a topic on the forums and literally no one replied to it. No quick look from Vinny and Abby. Nothing.

This isn't even underrated. Just totally forgotten/overlooked. Which is a damn shame.

It's so damn good. It's charming as hell, surprisingly good in the graphics department, the music is top fucking notch, and the career mode is much more fleshed out than Planet Coaster.

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Panfoot

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A Plague Tale: Innocence certainly got a positive response, but I think it's definitely been overlooked pretty heavily.

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Big_Denim

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@panfoot: shit. I still need to play this. Is it mostly just an ambience type game? It looks interesting but I'm worried about gameplay depth.

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nutter

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#36  Edited By nutter

@big_denim: There’s a free Demo on Xbox.

I’m hoping for a sale next week, as this has been something I’ve wanted to check out for several months.

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Panfoot

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#37  Edited By Panfoot

@big_denim: It's not a particularly hard game but they throw enough options at you to make the stealth interesting and they introduce them at a good pace throughout the game. It's still a game that shines best in it's characters and story, but I never had that "okay lets get this over with to get to the next cutscene" feeling, I enjoyed the gameplay all the way through.

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Big_Denim

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@panfoot: That's good to hear. I'll check it out soon then.

@nutter: It's part of the EA Origin Access plan so I'll play it that way. I was planning on subbing for month to play Star Wars anyways.

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Zelos222

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Zanki Zero and AI: The Somnium Files for sure. Both relatively niche games, but fantastic stories and must-plays if you are a fan of the Danganronpa or Zero Escape series.

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FrodoBaggins

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The campaign for Modern Warfare. Really, really good.

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Onemanarmyy

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Probably not underrated by the gaming community at large, but i got Slay the spire through a giveaway and thought i would check it out for an hour or two and found myself completely hooked to that game for like a week straight. I kinda hate the presentation & monster design, but they do a fantastic job of making each class have like 2-3 distinct ways to play. And the daily challenges truly change the way you want to play the game.

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wollywoo

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Wandersong is fantastic. Go play that one.

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ALLTheDinos

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Planet Zoo - great follow-up to Planet Coaster, and the most realistic animal renderings (especially their movement) I can remember.

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw - space truckin’ rules.

Observation - I played it in 3 sitdowns so it was like watching a really good horror miniseries.

Later Alligator - like the Beast crew said on the QL, it’s so tough to pull off humor and it all worked.

Griftlands - I loved Slay The Spire and Pyre, and this was like a cool mashup of the two.

Pikuniku - Mister Sunshine for character of the year. Great soundtrack too.

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rawrz

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Life Is Strange 2. It seems the game has mostly come and gone without much talk about it. While I too thought it started weak, it only got better with each episode and is a well written story.

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MocBucket62

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I'm gonna bump my own thread and say I've been playing A Short Hike on Steam and all I can say is...WOW this is one of the most relaxing and nicest games I've played! You do have an objective to climb the top of a summit named Hawk Peak and you're doing so to get a phone connection and get a call. But as you take your hike you find all of these different characters and learn about why they're at this park ranging from characters getting ready for a marathon to seeing some friends invent a new sport to getting a fishing rod and going fishing. Its honestly like if they kept the Animal Crossing spirit of freely wandering an environment with some chipper animal buddies to talk to but has some BOTW hooks of exploring the park however you like and even maintaining stamina through golden feathers that you collect. These feathers can be used for mid air jumps or to climb up walls. The game is just so cozy from the colorful Nintendo DS inspired atheistic (it looks good, don't take that as a jab at the game) to the calm and soothing instrumental soundtrack by Mark Sparling. This game is gonna surprise crash my top 10 this year and am happy to give it a try. Its also only 8 bucks on Steam.

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DirtyBirdy

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#47 DirtyBirdy  Online

I am also here to mention Oxygen Not Included. Klei keeps putting out bangers and they always seem to fly under the radar. They're STILL supporting Don't Starve and Don't Starve Together. Griftlands is in early access but already shows a ton of promise. Hot Lava is ridiculous but such a fun premise. I guess it isn't just ONI that I want to highlight, but Klei as a studio. They should get a lot more accolades and press than they do.

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development

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@dirtybirdy: yeah Klei’s games are generally very well received yet they always seem just-shy of attaining those big sales numbers. I could be wrong about that not knowing their sales numbers.

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Avioto

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#49  Edited By Avioto

Sticks and Bones: I never played a game that completely relies on slapstick humor to convey a story, until Sticks and Bones! It's set in a pirate-y world where you're a skeleton trying to avoid humans in comical ways. It's very short (40-60 minutes) and cheap. It also has a bunny riding a bird while holding a gun, so there you go.

DARQ: A horror puzzle game that goes places. It's gorgeous and I was surprised by how neat some of the puzzles are presented, with fantastic level design. There's a maze puzzle that had such a great twist to it, I still think about it a lot. I loved this game and that's coming from someone who usually hates horror games.

Deliver Us the Moon: A Sci-Fi game set on the moon. You're a lone guy send to the moon to figure out what happened to the people stationed there, and also to save humanity from extinction. I guess you could call it a walking simulator, but it's a little more involved. It's beautiful and I enjoyed the story a lot. It does outstay it's welcome a little bit, I think they could've have made it a bit shorter. Definitely check it out if you enjoyed games like The Station or Tacoma.

Druidstone: A turn-based RPG made by the developers of the Grimrock games. Just a very straightforward tactics game that doesn't waste a lot of time with the story and there's some minor puzzle-solving, but it's mostly just about clearing levels in the most efficient ways. You can easily go back to levels you finished to get a higher rating. Looks lovely and there's a surprising amount of depth in the combat.

Dawn of Man: A survival/strategy/"city" builder game where you just have to survive against the elements, animals and raiders. The game doesn't hold your hand very much at all and it's gets harder the longer you survive. Check it out if you liked Banished.

Games I would put on here if they weren't already mentioned: A Short Hike, Slay the Spire and Islanders.

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OHNOgc

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#50  Edited By OHNOgc

AMID EVIL

If you're into older FPS, or played Dusk, then maybe you've heard of it. Amid Evil is amazing, it's a love letter to Hexen/Quake/Serious Sam fans.

And of course, FFXIV: Shadowbringers. I've been playing FF and JRPGs since I was a child, I've played every mainline FF (that includes XI - the only exceptions are the two XIII sequels). I finished the main story a week after release, I've had plenty of time to reflect. And I believe it to be my favorite FF, and perhaps the best FF to date.