By RPS on January 6th, 2014 at 2:02 pm.
Our ultromegapreview of 2014 continues, in epic fashion, with the second carefully grouped collection of games due to appear this year. Can you spot the link? An imaginary prize to anyone who can. If you want to catch up on the enormous part one, that’s here. And part three will be here tomorrow. Do enjoy.
An existential horror game, with some similarities to Stanley’s Parable and Esther’s Deer, Exist draws inspiration from ‘societal prejudice’. Situations develop procedurally and the player’s goal is to learn about the character he/she controls, finding out who they are and why their life has become a surreal nightmare. Fun!
Night in the Woods
Action Adventure Explorer
The completely gorgeous art style is the first hook, but dig deeper and it gets even more potentially exciting. A mad world of animals, living in a town, all seemingly facing the end of the world. You can explore at your own pace, meeting and getting to know the inhabitants, exploring outside, and piecing together the game’s tale. If the writing in the trailer is anything to go by, it’s no wonder this more than quadrupled its Kickstarter goal.
Pillars of Eternity
A spiritual successor to either Baldur’s Gate or Planescape: Torment, depending on which old, isometric RPG you loved more. It’s being developed by Obsidian and written by Chris Avellone though, so there’s a good bet its fantasy tropes will be subverted by smart quest design and dialogue. Here’s hoping its Kickstarter millions give the team the money they need to make it less buggy than their previous publisher-funded efforts. If you want to know more, Nathan’s got the goods.
Richard E Flanagan’s first-person puzzler encourages exploration of a musical world, inspired by synthpop and the hardware that makes it. A synaesthesic interface allows the player to interact with the world by means of power chords.
Scale takes a mind-bending and technologically impressive concept and places it in the player’s hand in the form of a gun, but instead of thinking with portals, you’re thinking with shrinking. Or enlarging. See a tiny model house? Expand it and walk inside. As a tech demo, it’s already amazing. If its puzzle design can follow, this will be something special.
Game of Thrones
Telltale have discovered their mojo. Their latest license acquisition is HBO’s Game of Thrones, as distinct from the books themselves, so the prospect of abundant cartoon flesh and blood is a very real one. I’m still hoping for a collaboration with the BBC – Sherlock and Dr Who, please.
The Battles Of King Arthur
An indie strategy from Excalibur Publishing will let you play as the pretend king himself, and try to occupy Ireland, Gaul, Iceland and Norway, in some good old fashioned British colonialism. With magic. Like we used to do it, before everyone got obsessed with boring canons and guns, and forgot how to cast spells.
La Mulana 2
After the originals popularity, this time the super-tough creation from Takumi Naramura promises to maintain the difficulty, but lose the confusion. It’s the daughter of the first game’s star, Lemeza Kosugi, who you’ll be playing as this time, but beyond this very little is currently known.
To understand why this beautifully illustrated point and click adventure could be one of the year’s most delightful experiences, head over to the official website and try the demo. An ingeniously immersive interface that turns the computer screen into a series of windows looking onto a wonderful world.
With an express wish to recapture the days of the N64, Lefthanded Games look extremely influenced by Banjo & Kazooie here. Thankfully their retro aspirations don’t apply to that eras abortive 3D polygons, but something rather more modern and charming. Aiming to appease the collector-o-masses, you’re a wolf, running, jumping and gathering, in that old-school way.
Dark Souls II
Action-RPG/murderer of you
Prepare to die. Again. And again and again and again. It’s hard to say whether Dark Souls II will be able to hit as many dagger-sharp difficulty spikes as its predecessor at as perfect of a cadence, but a number of retooled systems might be just what the doctor ordered. Might.
Open world racer
Ubisoft’s raft of 2014 releases is unquestionably an ambitious selection. The Crew is their attempt to create an entirely online, open-world racer, where you team up with or race against other players, on a rather enormous scale. We spotted some issues with handling, but it’s still a long way off from release.
You are a ghost and you want nothing more than to swoop and spiral around various planets, caught in their gravitational pull. It’s a good way to enjoy the afterlife and Gravity Ghost looks like a relaxing, stress-free proposition.
Hack ‘n’ Slash
First Half 2014
Double Fine’s Hack ‘N’ Slash isn’t a hack and slash game. It is a game about a hack and slash game, in which the player character is playing a game, travelling through a Hyrule-like top-down world. Slashing won’t win the day unless it is backed up with a spot of hacking – the code-wrenching computer sort of hacking that lets the player cheat and glitch through the game’s challenges.
The sequel to Lume is one of the most attractive prospects on the horizon. An adventure game, packed with puzzles, and entirely hand-built, utilising paper, card, wood, miniature lights and electric motors. Hopefully, we’ll receive it all at once, spared the agony of waiting as has been the case with The Dream Machine.
September Maybe Probably
Time for a wild rumour. It’s entirely possible that EA will choose to release a sequel to their soccer-ball simulation around the time that the 2014/15 English footie season begins.
The Elder Scrolls Online
4th April 2014
Bethesda’s first attempted wade into the lonely waters of the MMO is going to prove interesting, whichever way it falls. Early previews of the game haven’t been promising at all, and every word about Everquest Next makes TESO sound massively dated before it’s released. But then, Skyrim was incredible – these people are very, very talented. So who knows!
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Secret octopus simulator
Octodad puts you in control of an octopus masquerading as a human, and challenges you to perform mundane tasks without your family discovering the cephalopodic truth. The original was an excellent, free student project, but this sequel expands the concept and includes brilliant, funny setpieces.
Out of the Park Baseball 15
The Football Manager equivalent for baseball, with an equally mad focus on simulating everything in its chosen sport with numbers. The series even goes one better by including players from throughout baseball history, meaning you can pit a 1920’s Yankees team against its modern day counterpart.
The Girl And The Robot
Single player co-op
A successfully Kickstarter that more than doubled Flying Carpet Games’ goal is paving the way for this Ico-meets-Dark-Souls tale of, well, a girl and a robot, escaping the castle of an evil queen. You can already pick up the incomplete alpha version for $9, which includes all future updates and the final game.
Card-Based Sports Sim
A card game based on the other kind of foot-to-ball, the one wot Americans play. The tidy division of NFL games into distinct plays suits a card system and Bill Harris posts regular updates at his blog, revealing an intelligent and thoughtful approach to the design process.
Archery simulator probably
As QWOP is to running or Surgeon Simulator is to surgery, Probably Archery is to pulling back a string and firing an arrow. It takes that normally simple videogame action and gloriously overcomplicates it by giving you individual control of shoulder, elbow and wrist joints, and putting you in front of absurd target challenges. It started as a 7 Day FPS entry, which means there’s a demo for Windows, Mac and Linux that you can go play right now.
The Last Door – Season One
Now and onward
Chapters 1 to 3 of The Last Door are out already, with four almost funded. More chapters are due over 2014 of this minimalist horror adventure, inspired by the works of Lovecraft and Poe.
Stealth ferret platformer
Each of its screens is a warren of tunnels and atriums, populated by an ecosystem of angry lizard-things and flocking bat-types. As a lovably fluffy ferret-alike, you alternately dodge them, throw spears at them, and catch and eat them. It’s physics-driven movement is satisfying but tricky and if you remain out in the open for too long, you’ll be crushed to death by heavy rain. A lot like living in Britain.
Child of Light
Artsy JRPG revival
A JRPG from decidely non-Japanese publisher Ubisoft, this one’s narrative backbone is a sprawling epic poem penned by Far Cry 3 writer Jeffrey Yohalem. It’s a fairytale story of a young girl and her struggles growing up, and also there are drunken crow people for some reason.
Lego Minifigures Online
Second half 2014
Funcom’s next multiplayer world puts players in control of Lego Minifigures, allowing for a huge range of powers and environments. While it seems short on the creativity that Lego construction can tap into, it could well be an entertaining action game that will cause people to blurt out phrases like ‘FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY’ while making a baby play it with her great grandfather.
Road Not Taken
Inspired by the Robert Frost poem of the same name and looking like a children’s storybook, Road Not Taken is a puzzle roguelike. That means you’ll die a lot and the world is different each time, but the mechanics of progression have as much in common with block-pushing puzzles games as they do traditional hack-and-slash RPGs.
Jonathan Blow’s follow-up to Braid may come out one year. May. It’s locked for a PS4 console exclusive, which means it should come out on PC at the same time. That gives the brain-hurting puzzler only about eight years to finish itself before the PS5 is out. The game currently has 595 puzzles, apparently, and with a focus on exploration, could be bloody lovely.
Secrets of Raetikon
Open-world 2D exploration game
January 7th, 2014
A beautiful open-world flying game about exploration, tinkering with environment puzzles and trying to work out how to type the joined-up ‘ae’ in its name. If you want to tinker with more than the provided puzzles, you can also make use of the game’s editing tools to build your own levels and creatures.
The Banner Saga
January 14th, 2014
A Fire Emblem-atic mixture of tactical turn-based combat, travelling and talking. The Banner Saga is beautiful to look at and – if John and Adam’s disagreements are anything to go by – divisive in the mysteries and balance of its combat.
10th Jan 2014 (Steam Early Access)
Physics driven silliness, Turbo Dismount requires that you drive vehicles into brick walls, other vehicles, stuff. And hurt yourself. Manage to run yourself over and you can expect big points! There’s already a web browser version with just three levels, but it’s coming to Early Access within the week.
90s Arcade Racer
The name pretty much says it. 90s Arcade Racer is an arcade-y racer inspired by ’90s hits like Scud Race, Daytona USA and Indy 500. It aims to “recreate the feeling these games evoked,” but with 100 million times more graphicsability. Cars! They go vroom real fast.
Against The Wall
Infinite wall exploration platformer
Description: Against The Wall is an ethereally stunning exploration game in which you scale an endless wall, stumbling (sometimes literally) into settlements and entire ecosystems along the way. Given that we at RPS exercise a healthy and shriekingly constant fear of heights, this game is equal parts exciting and the most terrifying thing on Earth.
Among The Sleep
That one horror game wot has a baby in it
Play as a baby! Do normal, average baby things like crawl, cry, and search for your parents who have been abducted by the malformed denizens of an impossible nightmare realm that’s oozed its way into your reality. You know, everyday baby stuff. We’ve all been there.
Warlock 2: The Exiled
Paradox’s sequel to the good Warlock: Master Of The Arcane has every reason to be a solid fantasy strategy. It also promises wolves the size of cities and cities shaped like wolves. It’s not clear yet if this is a joke based on the silly sizes of units on strategy maps. Let’s hope not though!
Divinity: Original Sin
A classics-inspired role-player that’s looking positively glorious so far, Divinity: Original Sin backs a fleshed-out, physics-powered world with turn-based combat and options galore. This is definitely one to watch.
The long-awaited continuation of Ragnar Tornquist and co’s way-ahead-of-its-time Longest Journey saga, Dreamfall Chapters promises a story-driven adventure across two worlds: a cyberpunk dystopia and a gleaming fantasy kingdom. Expect intrigue in heaps, piles, and pretty much strewn everywhere all willy-nilly-like.
Creepy clown adventure
Dropsy is an adorably grotesque clown who’s fallen on hard times. His family’s circus has been burnt to the ground, and he’s been blamed. Follow him on an increasingly surreal journey of innonence, kindness, and redemption. Oh, and you get to put clown makeup on puppies!
Part two of this beast will appear tomorrow lunchtime.