If you’re looking for challenging strategy gameplay, an intensely rich story, and a world that’ll just keep you coming back for more, Miasma Chronicles is definitely the right pick. It’s incredibly difficult to put down because it’ll keep you wanting to know what happens next. Even the side-quests are interesting and reveal so much more as to what happened in the world around you.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum had nearly endless potential to be great but it instead became the prime example of why beta testing a game before release is important. With issues like stuttering or momentary lag spikes all pointing to a severe lack of optimization, this game was doomed to be a flop from the start. The only hope for this game now is not just a quick patch but a massive overhaul to fix its biggest issues.
V Rising and its latest major expansion, Secrets of Gloomrot might become the next major hit with its unique survival and building mechanics, but also the combat system. The Gloomrot area, in particular, is a shocking change of pace and scenery while bringing a whole new set of challenges to face off against. However, it also brought in a lot more for the vampires who like to stay at the castle and decorate.
Darkest Dungeon II is not just a game, it’s a masterpiece. It has such a rich environment to see and explore, and a massive multitude of enemies to slay, and it takes strategy to new heights with how the heroes interact with each other. This is not a game for the faint of heart, but with some patience and maybe some out of the box thinking, anybody can learn to love this game and all the strange horrors it’ll introduce you to.
Ash of Gods: The Way is an inspired turn-based strategy and deck-builder game that deserves all the praise it can get. From the story to the gameplay, there are almost no flaws to be found, and the gameplay just keeps you coming back for more. Each match is a new challenge with different rules to play by, and this keeps things fresh and interesting. For a small indie studio, the team did a spectacular job with Ash of Gods: The Way, anybody else looking to make a game in this genre should take a few tips from them.
Stray Blade has so much potential to be amazing, but sadly, it falls quite far behind and might follow in the same footsteps as Shock Tactics. The story in Stray Blade might be its saving grace, but without optimization and possibly some work on the combat system, it might not be enough to help the game rise to the top. However, if you can look past the issues or possibly fix/reduce them, this game is an absolute joy to play, and the story of Acrea, along with the stories between Farren and Boji, will keep you coming back for more on their wild adventure.
Bramble: The Mountain King has so much to offer. It’s almost a miracle that everything fits into just one game, with its incredibly rich story, diverse world, and the many twists you’ll encounter. This game has proven to be a masterpiece that isn’t just played, it is experienced and can appeal to anybody who wants a great story… And possibly a look at some of the more bizarre creatures from Nordic and Scandinavian folklore.
Homestead Arcana is the next big step for Serenity Forge with a masterpiece of a game. From the well thought out sights, plant life, and even the occasional hostile animal to the incredible storytelling. You'll find yourself losing more time than any game should let you, but you won't regret a single second of it when you're out exploring and learning more about what happened before the Miasma took over.
Labyrinth of Zangetsu is a beautifully designed game with so much old Eastern cultural inspiration. While the combat system can be a bit unbalanced, it’s still a joy to play.
GUN JAM had so much potential to be great, but it’s just missing so much extra detail. The game is interesting and a joy to play at first but it loses that luster very quickly once you realize there isn’t much else to the game. With the lack of enemy variety, character background, or more stages to explore and destroy enemies in, GUN JAM needs a lot more work that we might see in the future.
Mr. Sun’s Hatbox is a great pixel art game that proves looks can be deceiving. The game has a lot of charm, potential, and great gameplay; these three aspects combined into one game are a rarity. If we take into account the multiplayer side of the game as well, it’s a good game for hardcore players who want something more relaxed or a casual group of friends needing a laugh while going out on heists.
While Sherlock Holmes The Awakened has an incredibly rich story to experience, it feels like you have to work much harder than normal to get to it. The overall gameplay is incredibly smooth and the mechanics balance each other out quite well, but a form of hint is desperately needed for a game like this.
While Ravenbound has a great story and a few good features on the mechanics front, it still needs some improvement. What would help this game shine would be a world overhaul with a randomly generated terrain to keep things interesting and possibly a few minor quality-of-life improvements. While these flaws can take away from the overall experience, Ravenbound does have a lot of potentials to go far. But for now, there’s still a great story and literal mountains of lore to discover, maybe even a Betrayer to defeat.
EVERSPACE 2 had a bit of a rocky start just like its predecessor, but can still receive a standing ovation. With an incredible story, brilliant visuals and sound design, this game is very close to being a masterpiece. The only letdown is that travel in general seems slow for a game that’s supposed to be fast-paced, only time will tell if that changes or stays the same.
While Metal: Hellsinger might be a rhythm-based game, it will be fast-paced but not to the point where you’d have to be a professional to play. Players of any skill can indulge in this game and experience the rich story, gameplay, and epic music in Metal: Hellsinger. The Outsiders might have had a rocky start but their first release wasn’t as rocky, and instead left us thrashing to the beat as we thrashed hordes of demons without having to worry about any bugs that could ruin the gameplay.
DREDGE can come off as a bit underwhelming if you’ve never played it. The same can be said for most games with a Lovecraftian theme. It’s the type of game where you have to dive into the deep end and see for yourself just how much this game has to offer. The story might be a bit vague to follow unless you go out of your way to find everybody and see what they have to say, but this is well worth it.
Aside from a few missing mechanics and usual features of this genre such as the lack of fast travel and wildlife to Soul-jump into, Tchia is still a brilliantly designed game with beautiful visuals, rich culture to explore, breathtaking music, and so much more. The atmosphere might seem unnecessarily cheery and light, but that might be the main message the game has to offer.