It might be too expansive for its own good, but for players who can look past that and place themselves in the shoes as a commander leading a space-faring faction to salvation there's no better 4X title out there. Age Of Wonders: Planetfall is a success for Triumph Studios, proving the developer can deliver on proper world-building to take their acclaimed series to the vast reaches of space.
As much as people may look at this game as a meme and a novelty, Metal Wolf Chaos XD is more of a gem in the rough, a severely underappreciated title in FromSoftware's excellent library of mech games. The exaggerated patriotism, over-the-top dialog and impressive parody of popular culture is only a mask for its true facade - a surprisingly tight and very well-made mech game that's sure to please any fan and non-fan of the genre. The memes are only the tip of the iceberg.
Astroneer is a lot of things - base management sim, mining game, exploration title, open-world sandbox adventure - yet all of it works, easily outclassing its contemporaries in the genre. If all you ever wanted from a space exploration title is to have fun and enjoy the game at your own pace, then there is no better choice out there than Astroneer. It's an exceedingly good title that's made even better with the many ways you can play it.
The Sinking City, like most of Frogwares' other titles, offers a great concept with a somewhat poor execution. The severe lack of polish destroys the promising atmosphere, and some of the misguided gameplay elements can be annoying. If you're willing to look past that, however, then you get a very enjoyable investigative thriller in and of itself, even without those Lovecraftian elements.
Despite the huge parity of performance on different platforms (especially the Switch version) and its long list of bugs and issues, not to mention its lack of polish, Bloodstained is a very decent game that just proves that Igarashi rightfully earned his mark on the Metroidvania genre. It's not in any way a classic, especially compared to Symphony of the Night and its other contemporaries - but its a good, highly enjoyable and replayable, albeit flawed title nonetheless.
If I ever find myself in my own closed time-loop, I’d wish for me to play the Outer Wilds, but with the added bonus of forgetting about it, just so I can experience it all over again. It’s that good, and the first true title that I could say is a 'must-play' for 2019.
An amazing, unique and genuinely mind-bending entry into the science-fiction genre, Observation draws on its distinct set-up to pull you into a mystery set deep in space. It's existential dread condensed into roughly six to eight hours of gameplay. Discounting the sometimes buggy levels, it has everything you could ever ask for in an original sci-fi title: an intriguing premise, a foreboding theme, and an AI player character, whose motive eludes even yourself.
A Plague Tale: Innocence is an example of storytelling and gameplay meshed together right. It's honest, brutal and incredibly hopeful all at the same time, and it does so without being naive. Ultimately, it teaches us that even at the point when everything seems lost, and the end approaches without respite, going on is easy so long as we have even just one person to call family.