Game Opinion: 20 Games To Watch Out For In 2017

WE’VE CLOSED THE curtain on 2016, and that can only mean one thing: Yes, it’s time for my yearly ritual of noting down all the games you should be keeping an eye on this year. Naturally, these are all brand new recommendations so they won’t overlap with my previous suggestions. Do keep in mind, these games won’t be on your typical list. No no, these are meant to be more obscure, sort of like discovering a rare, pretty seashell from the depths of an untouched ocean. So read on, traveller, and let’s take a step into the uncharted…no, not that kind of uncharted. In no particular order:

1. Seasons of Heaven

soh

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 2018
  • Developer: AnyArts Production
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Platform/s: Nintendo Switch

Currently in development by French independent studio AnyArts, Seasons of Heaven is a narrative-driven adventure game that will be exclusively for Nintendo Switch. Whether it’s a timed-exclusive isn’t yet known, but there’s one thing for sure: the artistry in this game is beyond beautiful. Players control a young boy named Yann, who explores a mystical forest with his dog. Interestingly, this game is all about the downfall of humanity, and how ego is the driving force behind it.

Website: https://www.lessaisonsduparadis.com/ | Twitter: @AnyArtsProd | Facebook: Any Arts Production

2. Nome

nome

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBD
  • Developer: Outlandish Games
  • Genre: Adventure, Rogue-lite
  • Platform/s: Windows, Mac, PS4, Xbox One

Nome is an offbeat adventure game that blends the best of both 2D and 3D graphics in a distant world. Players control the eponymous Nome, a neon-eyed salvager who explores foreign planets in the hopes of unearthing treasures and new elements. Outlandish Games seem to be going for a mystical, abandoned aesthetic, not completely dystopian, but definitely alien. Speaking of which, there’s even an alien font that’s been created for the game – which may be bundled as a kickstarter reward.

Website: http://nome-game.com/ | Twitter: @nomethegame | Facebook: NOME | Instagram: NOME

3. The Keeper

the-keeper

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBD
  • Developer: Ludic Studio
  • Genre: Action
  • Platform/s: PC, Mac, Linux

When a forsaken tower mysteriously rises in the heart of the forest, only one bearded man is brave enough to protect it from evil’s clutches. He is The Keeper, an old farmer who fends off hordes of putrid creatures with his shiny axe, and likes to go hunting and fishing in his spare time. Rustic and lovely, don’t you think? The Keeper’s biggest source of mystery are the secrets that lie submerged within the tower – some of which even The Keeper himself isn’t privy to. Be prepared for an action side-scroller that’s chock-a-block full of medieval combat. Also, I implore you to check out the trailer because the music is so good it’s criminal.

Facebook: The Keeper | Twitter: Ludic Studio | Steam: The Keeper

3. Frogatto & Friends

frogatto

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 2017
  • Developer: Frogatto Team
  • Genre: Action, Platformer
  • Platform/s: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS

This game actually came out seven years ago – I know! It’s finally headed for a full release this year, because clearly, the games industry hasn’t got enough frogs in it. Sure, we’ve had notable entries like FroggerFrog Fractions and perhaps the slightly less known Frog Dares, but the time has come for a new breed of amphibian superhero. Enter Frogatto & Friends, the romantic 2D adventure game with handcrafted, 16-bit pixel art and over 50 levels of croaky fun. For anyone keen on giving it a go, you can buy it (Version 1.3) for $9.99 USD from the official website.

Website: Frogatto & Friends | Facebook: FrogattoTwitter: Frogatto Developers

4. Death Trash

death-trash

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 2017 or later
  • Developer: Talecrafter (Stephan Hövelbrinks) 
  • Genre: Action, Sci-fi, RPG, Horror
  • Platform/s: PC, Mac, Linux

Characterised by its grungy pixel art and no-nonsense dialogue, Death Trash is an upcoming post-apocalyptic RPG that embraces all things grotesque. Its world is like an uncensored realm of anarchy, and it’s this quality that the game’s developer finds so interesting. I was fortunate enough to interview him, and discovered that behind the neon-haired protagonists, maggots and general obscenities, he wants players to walk away from the game with one question: What does freedom truly mean, and why is it so important?

Website: Death Trash | Twitter: Stephan Hövelbrinks | Facebook: Death Trash

5. The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti

escape

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBD
  • Developer: Beethoven and Dinosaur
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer
  • Platform/s: PC, Mac

If you’re looking for a game that meets the definition of peak hipster, The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti is most definitely it. Part hallucinogenic tribute to deceased folk singers and part artistic liberation, The Artful Escape is ultimately a diary of one man’s multidimensional journey as he strives to find his stage persona. There’s exploration, first-person spaceflight, and hypnosis, and when you read a little into the game’s kickstarter, you start to understand why. Beethoven and Dinosaur seem enraptured by ideas, and the way they can emerge in an imagined world of pure artistry, music and light that seems accessible only through a higher, almost spiritual plane:

“Earth, on its own, is quite splendid… but place it in the middle of a solar system… in a swirling galaxy… in a universe of unfathomable magnitude raked in starlight… seemingly alone… and it becomes wondrous beyond imagination.”

Website: http://theartfulescape.com/ | Facebook: The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti Twitter: The Artful Escape | Instagram: theartfulescape

6. Fe

fe-game

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBD
  • Developer: Zoink Games
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Platform/s: TBD

A mystical world enveloped in a cloud of eternal purple is the setting for Fe, Swedish outfit Zoink Games’ upcoming 3D platformer. It stars a cute squirrel-like creature that zips about exploring a mysterious crystalline environment in an unknown quest. Behind the audiovisual marriage of slow, lullaby inspired soundtrack and soft polygonal art style, there seems to lie a darker tale, waiting to be discovered by the player. Fe is part of EA’s Originals program, which looks to cater to excellent indie games and pour a bit of the spotlight onto them, and I must say, what a worthy recipient.

Website: http://www.fe-game.com/ | Twitter: Zoink Games Facebook: Zoink Games

7. Absolver

absolver

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 2017
  • Developer: Sloclap
  • Genre: Fighting, RPG
  • Platform/s: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One

If you’ve ever secretly wanted to attend a masquerade ball, and also have unresolved anger issues you’d like to channel into joining a clan of warriors who never eat, drink, sleep or die, well, you’re in luck. Absolver is a fluid action melee game that’s all about that, plus awesome martial arts fighting. Gameplay consists of orchestrating carefully crafted PvP/PvE attacks, parries, and dodges while levelling up your weapons and armour, and you’ve got some very pretty scenery to keep you company, not unlike the Dead or Alive games.

Website: http://www.sloclap.com/game/ | Twitter: @Absolver | Facebook: Sloclap

8. Dreams

dreams-ps4-screenshot-02

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBD
  • Developer: Media Molecule
  • Genre: Sandbox
  • Platform/s: PlayStation 4

Dreams, as a recent update on the game suggests, is a game of enormous scope. That’s why its beta was delayed till 2017, but in the meantime, we have a lovely gameplay demo to feast our eyes on. Creative Director Mark Healey and Technical Director Alex Evans serve up a deconstructed slice of Dreams where they highlight the importance of sensations like touch, sight and sound, and how they are in fact tied to creation. Players will control a miniature imp which they can use to possess key characters that go on to explore expandable, customisable worlds. What’s interesting about the customisation process, is that players can actually whip up portals to other locations with simple objects around them, which the Media Molecule team refers to as ‘links’. Teleportation? Sounds alright to me.

Website: http://dreams.mediamolecule.com/?locale=en_AU | Twitter: Media Molecule | Facebook: Media Molecule

9. Rite of Ilk

rite_of_ilk_000016

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBD
  • Developer: Turtleneck Studios
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Platform/s: TBD

When two sacrificed youngsters are forced to trek through foreign lands in order to save their tribe from extinction, a gripping exploration game is born. RITE of ILK is a co-op adventure game brimming with puzzles and challenges, and relies on an interesting bond between protagonists Mokh and Tarh, which is quite literally a rope that joins them together. This is definitely reminiscent of Ico, where collaboration was deliberately woven into puzzle-solving and gameplay in general, and separation, although possible, was discouraged. Together, Mokh and Tarh must unite their strengths to unravel ancient mysteries and ultimately face a greater power that watches over all.

Website: http://www.riteofilk.com/ | Twitter: RITE of ILK | Facebook: RITE of ILK

10. Sharp Flint

sharpflint

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBD
  • Developer: EATMEAT Games
  • Genre: Third person shooter
  • Platform/s: PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

If that single low-poly elephant isn’t enough to convince you of this game’s utter majesty, we may as well be living on different planets. Click new tab, I refuse to associate with you. Jokes aside, Sharp Flint is an upcoming shooter from French crew EATMEAT Games that lets players run wild in the Paleolithic period hunting woolly mammoths and wolves. There’s also a crafting element to gameplay, which lets you construct makeshift tools, weapons, pelts, and whatever else you need to survive in a caveman’s world. The graphics are the epitome of quaint beauty, and add weight to my suspicions that polygon stylised art is now fashionable in game development.

Website: http://www.sharpflint.com/ | Twitter: EATMEAT Games | Facebook: Eatmeat Games

11. Dead Cells

dead-cells

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: Spring 2017
  • Developer: Motion Twin
  • Genre: Action, Metroidvania, Roguelike (Roguevania)
  • Platform/s: PC

Permadeath, exploration, and a dark, gorgeously pixelated castle that’s absolutely sprawling with procedurally generated enemies – if that sounds like your jam, get onto Dead Cells pronto. This self-described ‘roguevania’ is an unforgiving 2D platforming experience that combines the death-embracing charm of  Dark Souls and the labyrinthine structure of Mechner’s classic Prince of Persia into one big lightning stroke of genius.

Website: https://dead-cells.com/ Facebook: Dead Cells Twitter: Motion Twin

12. Hazelnut Bastille

A stunning pixel-art painting showcasing Hazelnut Bastille’s landscapes

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBD
  • Developer: Aloft Studio
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Platform/s: Windows, Mac, Linux

Hazelnut Bastille? Why does this title sound so subconsciously delicious? We’re onto you, Aloft Studio, we know what bastille rhymes with. Anyway, Hazelnut Bastille is a top-down 2D fantasy game featuring pixel art that you will come to cherish (good God, look at the sumptuous scenery and purely imaginative, nature inspired enemies!), and a very nineties mechanics foundation which looks a lot like the Zelda and Pokémon games. It even has glorious chiptune audio and a very RPG-ish character driven narrative, complete with bottom screen profiles and words of wisdom. The word on the street is that a sweet little demo will be publicly available in the near future, so make sure to subscribe to Aloft’s e-newsletter to get your hands on it first.

Website: https://www.aloftstudios.net/hazelnutbastille (Warning: Website is rated ‘P’ for Phenomenal!) Facebook:  | Twitter: Aloft Studio

13. The Signal From Tölva

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: April 2017
  • Developer: Big Robot Ltd
  • Genre: Action, Sci-fi, First person shooter
  • Platform/s: Windows, Mac

For those fond of robots, artificial intelligence and dystopian futures, The Signal From Tölva ticks all the boxes. On the surface, it’s a fighting game, zigzagging between ferocious AI combat and navigation through hazardous highlands, but beneath all that there’s an investigative journey that concerns a mysterious signal. What is the source of the signal, and will its discovery lead to enlightenment or plunge the world into complete disaster? Only you have the answer.

Website: http://thesignalfrom.com/ Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/457760/

14. Hob

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBD
  • Developer: Runic Games
  • Genre: Action, Adventure
  • Platform/s: PC, PlayStation 4

Hob is a wordless adventure game whose environments are reshaped and resized when players solve puzzles correctly – a very interesting premise indeed. You’re in charge of a crimson-cloaked creature with a mechanical glove-arm that can be used for both world exploration and combat. Hob is particularly worthy of attention for its perspective changes, from 2D sidescroller, to isometric, to top-down, it’s a curious approach to gameplay design and no doubt has some relevance to the puzzles, and the reason why Hob’s world is in disarray in the first place.

Website: http://runicgames.com/hob/ Facebook: Runic GamesTwitter: Runic Games

15. Shattered: Tale of The Forgotten King

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 2018
  • Developer: Redlock Studio
  • Genre: Action, RPG, Adventure, Platformer
  • Platform/s: PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Successfully kickstarted and inducted into the Square Enix CollectiveShattered : Tale of The Forgotten King is shaping up to be one heck of a dark adventure game. Even the story is dark. It revolves around this omnipotent king who dreamed up a world into existence, then randomly disappeared, and as a result his creation was cast into a cloud of oblivion. Then, thousands of years later, someone known only as The Wanderer (this guy could obviously be the King in disguise) shows up, and decides to embark on an odyssey of puzzle-solving and boss-battling until he figures out what’s going on with the world.

Website: http://www.shatteredking-thegame.fr/ | Twitter: Redlock Studio | Facebook: Shattered : Tale of The Forgotten King

16. The Endless Cylinder

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBD
  • Developer: ACE Team
  • Genre: Adventure, Sci-fi
  • Platform/s: TBD

Should there ever be an award for most amazing snout, it would go to the creature in this game. It uses it as a third leg, and probably as a mouth as well, so not only is it practical, it’s also multi-functional. And they say homo sapiens are advanced! Goodness. Judging by this extremely work-in-progress prototype footage from two years ago, we can see there are survival elements to this game, surreal hybrid vehicles that would make any car retailer scream for mercy, and this aura that beckons you to solve the unsolvable. I’m totally getting The Neverhood vibes from this, but in a 3D world. Brilliant.

Twitter: ACE Team | Facebook: ACE Team | YouTube: ACE Team

17. Troll and I

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 21 March 2017
  • Developer: Spiral House
  • Genre: Action, Adventure
  • Platform/s: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Described as a mythical co-op adventure set in the Nordic wilderness, Troll and I is exactly the kind of game that speaks to my heart. Fantasy, fables and imagination act as the structural framework that supports a diversified combat system, which lets players seamlessly switch between and control either the Troll, or Otto, the boy protagonist. Michelle Peniche of Publisher Maximum Games believes that the power of Troll and I lies in its storytelling, which creates an emotional connection with audiences on account of the partnership between Otto and the Troll – much like the relationship in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, one is useless without the other. Troll and I is out now via Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One. A Nintendo Switch version will release later this year.

Website: https://trollandi.maximumgames.com/ | Facebook: Troll and I | Twitter: Troll and I

18. Kaiser

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBD
  • Developer: Le Studio des Ténèbres
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
  • Platform/s: TBD

French collective Le Studio des Ténèbres is smack bang in the middle of development with Kaiser, a snowy isometric adventure starring a sword wielding princess. She could very well be the Kaiser, I shouldn’t presume, but I suspect she’s on a quest to save the King instead. Time will tell. Gameplay seems to be a largely sword-based affair, clashing and skirmishing with enemies who dare to stand in your path. Kaiser’s soft, beautiful environments really captivate the imagination, and the studio’s gradual unravelling of crucial game information via Twitter is a great way to whet players’ appetites.

Website: http://destenebres.com/ | Twitter: LeStudioDesTénèbres

19. Clown’s Secret

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBD
  • Developer: Expression Studios
  • Genre: Graphic Adventure, Puzzle, Point and Click
  • Platform/s: TBD

Monochromatic games, much like films, are pretty hard to come by these days. Although once ubiquitious, the power of modern technology slowly introduced the world of film to colour, and it didn’t look back. That’s why Clown’s Secret is a bit of a secret treasure – a time-travelling fragment of the 1920’s. The game stars two detectives, Hal and Halbert, who embark on a very serious quest to “save more than a cat”. In terms of inspiration, Developer Expression Studios captures the Charlie Chaplin era of silent film, and funnels it through a point and click lens. The result? Quirky, unhinged humour and lateral thinking madness. Clown’s Secret was originally intended to release via the App Store a few years ago, but it still seems like there’s some developmental milestones up ahead, and possibly, extra platforms.

Website: https://www.clownssecret.com/ | Twitter: Clown’s Secret Team | Facebook: Clown’s Secret | Instagram: Clown’s Secret

20. Totem Teller

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 2017
  • Developer: Grinning Pickle
  • Genre: Open-world adventure
  • Platform/s: PC, Mac, Linux, Console

Lurid, rough and painterly splashes of colour absolutely bring Totem Teller’s visual canvas to life. I’ve never seen a game so thoroughly experimental. Its biosphere looks like several older photographs have been accidentally fused together, then ripped apart in some places – absolutely intriguing. So what is it? From a very brief inspection, to my eyes it looks like a 2D arthouse adventure game, set in a futuristic dreamscape. The descriptions on the game’s website only fuel the fires of curiosity:

Explore a beautifully broken world.
Discover lost things in untold spaces.
Choose how the story is Retold.

Website: http://www.totemteller.com/ | Tumblr: http://totemteller.tumblr.com/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TotemTeller/

What games are you looking forward to in 2017?


More games* to keep an eye on:

Abi | Ary | Avatar | BioMutantBlackwood Crossing | ExtinctionFatal Kick | Figment | FOX n FORESTSFuture Unfolding | Hekichi TrailHellhunter Kova | Mira | Miyamori | Mooka | Nykra | Narita Boy | Planet AlphaSongbringerTower of Samsara | Unforseen Incidents | Yaga | Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

*This list may be updated over time.

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