Some Of This Year’s Best Games Are Ones You’ve Never Heard Of
Date your weapons, visit a Melbourne cafe for the undead and join a Carly Rae Jepsen biker gang.
2019 is a very busy year for video game releases. The first few months alone has Resident Evil 2, Kingdom Hearts 3, Anthem, Far Cry New Dawn, Metro Exodus, Jump Force, Devil May Cry 5, The Division 2, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Yoshi’s Crafted World. Geez.
But then there are the games fewer people are talking about. The ones where you can experience a drinking game with the Devil, live a relaxing farm lifestyle with some adorable little critters and fuck shit up as an angry goose.
Boyfriend Dungeon: Date Your Weapons
A wild dungeon crawler with a dating sim mechanic where you can bang your weapons. Find them in the world, take them on dates to level up and get *freaky*. As Kitfox Games says on the game’s Kickstarter, “couples that slay together, stay together.”
Boyfriend Dungeon: Date Your Weapons is coming to PC in 2019.
The surreal and wacky Australian-made Earthbound-inspired RPG about a boy who moves out of home, gets a fast food job and stumbles into a group of cultists and a murder mystery.
With a mini-game centric turn-based combat system, lively characters and world, and a groovy chiptune-inspired soundtrack, Knuckle Sandwich looks like it has enough uniquely original charm to be as good as Undertale, instead of sit next to the long line of clunky and convoluted Earthbound-inspired indie RPGs.
Knuckle Sandwich is coming to PC and Mac in 2019.
A game about farming, adventure and adorable little creatures called ooblets. It’s unclear what exactly Ooblets is – or what exactly ooblets are – but according to developer Glumberland, the game is like “Harvest Moon meets Pokemon meets Animal Crossing” with a soundtrack by Slime Girls.
Ooblets is coming to PC and Xbox One in 2019.
Sable is a beautiful adventure game with Nausicaa-inspired environments and Moebius-like line art, composed by Japanese Breakfast. In a story reminiscent of the tone of Japanese Breakfast’s musical repertoire, Sable is a coming-of-age story set on a deserted alien planet, rich with history and personal discovery.
Sable is coming to Xbox One and PC in 2019.
Lost Words is a poetic narrative platform adventure where you use words in a notebook to solve platform and logic-based puzzles. Penned by Rise of the Tomb Raider writer Rhianna Pratchett, the game follows Lizzy, a young aspiring writer coming to terms with her grandmother’s death, as you explore her diary and uncover her imaginary fantasy world, Estoria.
Lost Words is coming to PC and Xbox One in 2019.
My Friend Pedro
Live out your John Wick violent fantasies in this stylish bulletstorm arcade shooter. Play as a man who will destroy anything and everything in his path for his friend, a sentient banana.
Using what developer DeadToast Entertainment describes as “gun ballet,” you’ll twist and spin your body and weapons, ricochet off buildings and walls and solve physics-based puzzles, all in slow motion for some incredibly stylistic action.
My Friend Pedro is coming to PC soon.
From the creators of Oxenfree comes another player-driven adventure game, this time about a pair of recently deceased best friends who find themselves at Hell’s doorstep unless they can outdrink Satan and win a trip back to Earth. Discover the secrets of the Underworld, why the pair belong in Hell and whether you can even outdrink evil incarnate.
Afterparty is coming to PC and Mac in 2019.
Untitled Goose Game
Games can make you feel. They can make you reflect and challenge you. Then there’s this game where you straight up just fuck shit up in a garden as a goose.
Untitled Goose Game is coming to PC and Switch in 2019.
Ape Out is a Hotline Miami-like procedurally generated arcade about a gorilla escaping its captors and on the run. This is a colourful and hyper-stylistic game of violent momentum, as you grab enemies and parts of the environment as shields and weapons, throw them against walls or into each other in a bloody jazzy massacre for freedom.
Ape Out is coming to PC and consoles March 1.
The Pathless is the next beautifully scenic game by the creators of Abzu. It follows a hunter and her pet eagle in a forest inhabited by Studio Ghibli-inspired fauna, including a fire-enchanted multi-legged beast, a hydra, mythical stag and salamander.
The Pathless is coming to PC and PS4 in 2019.
A Fold Apart
A 3D puzzle platformer in an artsy handcrafted aesthetic paper world where you fold pieces of paper to open new pathways to explore, this is actually a game about the emotional struggles of being in a long distance relationship.
After their careers lead them to different lives, Alex and Sam vow to continue their relationship but quickly find themselves building emotional barriers and growing confused of each other’s intentions from a lack of clear communication. By folding pieces of paper to explore and solve puzzles, you’ll help reconnect the couple and their relationship move forward.
A Fold Apart fittingly arrives on Valentine’s Day for PC and consoles.
In the Valley of Gods
Campo Santo’s next game is a first-person adventure set in Egypt in the 1920s. You play as an explorer and filmmaker, who with their old film partner, explore an undiscovered valley in Egypt in hopes of making a never-before-seen discovery and critically-acclaimed film.
If you like the dynamically-written human stories of Firewatch and Gone Home, you’ll look forward to this one.
In The Valley Of Gods is coming to PC in 2019.
An Australian-made visual novel about a cafe in Melbourne that serves one last cup of coffee to the dead before they venture into the afterlife. NecroBarista is a love letter to the absurdly quirky characters of Japanese visual novels, anime and the rich history, culture and architecture of Melbourne’s underground hipster scene. Oh, and it features the ghost of Ned Kelly.
Necrobarista is coming to PC, Mac, PS4 and Switch in early 2019.
Sayonara Wild Hearts
Sayonara Wild Hearts is a pop album video game. After a young woman’s heart breaks and the balance of the universe is jeopardised, she takes on the role of her masked biker persona, The Fool, and ventures out to find harmony in the universe through the hearts of other tarot-card inspired biker gangs.
With only a reveal trailer to its name, Sayonara Wild Hearts appears to be an epically staged rhythm based runner, experienced through a series of custom-written pop albums, battling gangs of pop stars in euphoric neon-lit video dreams involving motorcycles, skateboards and sword-fighting.
Sayonara Wild Hearts is coming to Switch in 2019.
Julian Rizzo-Smith is a big fan of JRPG-inspired indies, adventure games with dynamic stories and interesting mechanics, and games where he can smooch. He tweets at @retawes.