Yomawari: Lost in the Dark is perfect for amateur-level horror players wanting to dip their feet into a game scarier than what they're used to. The dim lighting, disfigured monsters, stealth mechanics, and creepy atmosphere-all wrapped up in a beautiful (but really terrifying) 2D world-will be all the training you need to take on even scarier games. And if horror doesn't phase you, then the well-crafted and deeply folkloric setting will reel you in. Be warned though, the final act is both monotonous and disappointing.
Gerda: A Flame in Winter is a must play if you're a fan of well-thought out choices matter RPG games like Disco Elysium. Not only will you get a nail-biting story with high stakes, you'll come out knowing a plethora of historical details and challenges of the Danish people during WW2. You will come to love or hate the cast of characters, depending on what pathway you choose, but there are endless possibilities because of the games re-playability. Persevere if your first playthrough is not everything that you imagined, because Gerda: A Flame in Winter gets better and better the more you play.
With its emotional story and complex management mechanics, Citizen Sleeper is a game you don’t want to sleep on. You’ll be swept away by its beautiful and harrowing world-building and fall for the characters that breathe life into this already intricate world. You will die and the learning curve is steep, however it is all worth it for the philosophical story Citizen Sleeper intends to tell.
If you’re new to puzzle or precision platformers as a genre, What Lies in the Multiverse would make a great contender for your first game. The novel puzzles aren’t difficult nor punishing, and there is a lengthy and engrossing story to break up the platforming components, so you aren’t overwhelmed or frustrated by their continuity. As an added bonus, the game is beautiful and has a sprinkle of creepiness to keep you on your toes.
I can’t praise Nobody Saves the World enough for both its undeniable style and interesting game mechanics. The world is fleshed out and detailed, which allows the characters and environment to come to life. The Forms available create a unique class system that I personally haven’t seen before, especially because the character designs are so eccentric and interesting. The dungeons are all thematically compelling with tough challenges that make you have to experiment with different abilities and combinations. Add to this co-op compatibility and you’re left with a remarkable release that’s ready to bestow you and a friend with unrivalled joy.
Aspire: Ina’s Tale promises an epic journey and re-discovery of Ina’s power, but the game struggles to reach these expectations in its short runtime. Despite the unsatisfying exploration of the themes and setting within the Tower, Aspire: Ina’s Tale still delivers a heartfelt story within a truly exquisite environment. The puzzles are frustrating at times, but their difficulty leaves you feeling quite smart after completing them.
Inscryption reminds me that games are capable of so much more than we often give them credit for. Daniel Mullins manages to weave a completely surreal and meta-focused narrative into a genre-bending game and successfully create an experimental work of art.
If you’re looking for a narrative-driven game, you might want to give Tandem a miss, but if you were after a unique and fresh puzzle platformer that won’t force you into a fit of frustration, then Tandem: A tale of Shadows is perfect for you.