Most Creative Games of 2019 - Which Should I Check Out?

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jeremyf

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Hey duders,

At this point in the year I'm pretty much done with the big releases. That said, I've been trying to check out some of the more creative releases of 2019. Stuff that has an interesting gameplay hook, presentation, or style. Some that I would recommend are Pikuniku, Ape Out, and Anodyne 2. My hit list for the next two months is Control and Outer Wilds, and maybe Hypnospace Outlaw. What are some artistically interesting games you've enjoyed in 2019?

(P.S. - I'm not really interested in Death Stranding. We don't need to argue in this thread. :P)

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Pezen

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I recently started playing Eastshade, it was released on PC quite a while ago if I recall correctly but is now on at least PS4 (no idea if it’s on Xbox as well). It has been a surreal experience that I would definitely suggest trying if you have not already. If someone doesn’t know what it is, it’s basically a first person RPG streamlined to basics without combat (or maybe a more intricate walking simulator with dialogue and quests) and instead you walk around and do paintings of things and solve the occassional puzzle (which are generally either story/riddle or painting related, or just a bonus). Story wise it feels like someone sat down and said ”let’s make every story rooted in empathy”. It feels weird, I am still waiting to get a sword and kill rats. But instead I help someone plan a date, painted a sunset and helped solve a misunderstanding. It’s all just weirdly wholesome.

The best comparison I can think of is playing Gone Home and feeling like it was going to turn into a horror game in regards to what the game looks like vs what it ends up being.

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liquiddragon

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Check out Neo Cab. It's a sci-fi Uber sim-lite meets visual novel/adventure game. Cool idea. Some thoughtful writing. Doesn't quite stick the landing but totally worth 5-6 or so hours it lasts.

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Sombre

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Goose Game

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Onemanarmyy

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Later Alligator has a really neat graphical style that i haven't quite seen before in that way.

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nutter

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I’m still early in Afterparty, but the gameplay hook seems to basically be Oxenfree, but now you get drink to get loose, mean, flirty, etc., expanding dialog options.

The controls are basically walk left, walk right, talk, and drink.

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imhungry

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Sayonara Wild Hearts was a great ride for the short while it lasted, extremely stylish. Love everything about the presentation.

Would also highly recommend Whispers of a Machine if you're looking for a 2D adventure game. It's got a really smart gameplay hook that basically forces you to play differently depending on your dialogue choices, like a Deus Ex adventure game.

Finally, this definitely isn't what I'd call most creative per se, but Globesweeper basically did for Minesweeper what Picross 3D did for Picross and let me tell you, I have spent an embarrassing amount of time playing this game.

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PananaBeel

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@liquiddragon: I just tried this based on your recommendation (there's a free demo on Steam). It's very relaxing and the writing is enjoyable. I wondered why I was given a choice with some dialogue options when it seems you can only actually pick one. Anyway, thanks for the suggestion! I'm exploring more of the visual novel type games.

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liquiddragon

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#11  Edited By liquiddragon

@pananabeel: I think depending on the choice you made previous, different choices are available. I think. Don't quote me on this. Cuz certain options put you in a certain mood and the choices are sometimes mood based so it's kind of a domino effect.

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FancySoapsMan

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Dark Wood was pretty cool but also kind of unsettling so I never got too far in it lol.

Disco Elysium is a masterpiece but also like 90% text.

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Bonbonetti

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#14  Edited By Bonbonetti

Observation. A Sci-fi Adventure game with unique gameplay mechanics and an unusual selection of puzzles. For me it is one of the best games from 2019.

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones. A Lovecraftian CRPG with survival elements. Combined with it's uniquely dark visual style and music, and thus atmosphere, it stands out to me as something very unique and different. Also, the fact that the developers discourage you from combat is unusual. It sounds odd perhaps, but makes sense when you play the game. It has a demo by the way.

It Stares Back. Only in Early Access at this point, but it's an RTS with an unusual and unique visual design, somewhat Giger-esque. It makes me think of SystemShock and Sanitarium turned into an RTS.

Seeds of Resilience. A survival and colony management game. You don't move people around, just click on things. What makes it stand out to me is that it tries to copy reality by taking seasons and natural processes into account. For example, you shouldn't harvest all available fish at once because then they might not come back in the future (i.e. overfishing is real here). The whole game is like that, it forces you to think differently than in other games in this category.

Settlers of Orion. This is like Master of Orion turned into a board game. The developers themselves describe it as "Catan with space exploration". I haven't really seen anything else like it, it's an unusual combination of styles.

Dawn of Man. A city-builder set in ancient times, taking you from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. What makes the game unique is its focus on Early Man development. Most games in this genre have a very wide scope, from ancient times to space exploration, while this one has a focused one. It gives the game a higher sense of identity than I think other games in this category has.

The Stillness of the Wind. An unusual combination of Adventure gaming and management/crafting-elements. It's the atmosphere and narrative that makes this game stand out to me, it moved me in the same way as Journey, Rime and Abzu.

Cliff Empire. A city-builder where you have to build above-ground, on pillars. The game also adds some trading and some tower defense into the mix. A unique and interesting idea I think.

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Fear_the_Booboo

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Mutazione got terribly overlooked and that’s a shame, that game is special.

Disco Elysium already got mentioned for its writing and it absolutely deserves it, but I’ll add that the way it uses the social system of tabletop RPGs really made it shine for me. It’s easy to savescum and I’d advise against doing so (do quicksave often to not lose progress though), it can force you to go down solutions you didn’t envision at first because of some bad rolls. You end up creating your own path with the luck you have and I found that amazing.

Pathologic 2 is absolutely worth trying but I personally couldn’t deal with its systems. The difficulty sliders are very extensive so you can find the difficulty that works for you but you have to try at least a few hours on the default.

Bird of Passage is a nice take on visual novels, free on itch.io.

Kids is a cool experiment. I prefer the devs’ previous effort, Plug & Play, but it’s still good.

Wilmot’s Warehouse is such a mechanically strange concept that you’d never think it’d work as a game, but it does. The fact that there’s some underlying design ideas that makes the game more than simply its concept makes it even more impressive.

Heaven’s Vault might be one of the best story in game, ever.