It’s that time of year again and here are some games I’ve played in the last year that I would encourage you to check out during the annual sale.
Sometimes you want to resource grind without all the annoying narrative in the way. Forager is just the game for that and brings together core elements from other games like Minecraft and those clicker style games. You are a little guy who is just trying to build things to get to the next thing, so you make the bigger thing. I guess you could say the purpose of playing Forager is, so you don’t have to play Forager anymore. The more you develop, the more automated your resource gathering becomes. There are lots of satisfying sounds and flashing things on the screen so that your dopamine centers will be lit up continuously. If you want an easy pick-up and play for a couple of minutes style of game, then Forager will scratch that itch.
Enter the Gungeon
In the category of Best Second Chance goes this rogue-lite bullet hell game from Devolver. I didn’t enjoy Enter the Dungeon when it first came out and let it get forgotten. With some recent patches and updates, the game is enjoying a second life on lets plays, so I decided to give it a second chance. I’m approaching sixty hours played this summer with no end in sight. The game has a distinct charm and style that makes it fun, and the bullet hell aspect is just challenging enough that you won’t be breezing through any time soon. There is such a variety of games, active items, and passive times (plus synergies between these) that every playthrough, even if you die, will teach you something new for your next run. If you enjoy The Binding of Isaac, this takes that formula and refines it even further into something exceptional.
For the King
If you enjoy tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons, For the King offers a comparable experience, slogging over a hex map to get to objectives and encountering random baddies along the way. Tactics are a big part of the experience as you’ll see quite a few of your possible encounters and need to play your path around the board accordingly. It’s also a very light RPG, with a few classes and some customization. You won’t be getting overwhelmed by this aspect of the game if you have experience with turn-based RPG games. You will die many times though, and because of For the King’s roguelike design, this is just part of the learning process. I have been killed many times over, but the game is so fun you’re pulled right back in for one more chance.
Two Point Hospital
This game was entirely made for me, a business sim game where you build and run your network of hospitals. First, it has a charming and funny art style; it doesn’t present a realistic medical world but one where patients can contract diseases like Light-Headedness (lightbulb for a head) or Mock Star (they look like Freddie Mercury). If a patient dies on you, their ghost has the chance of haunting the hospital, and you’ll need custodians with a strong ghost-hunting stat to catch them. Your main goal is to increase patient satisfaction, which will increase prestige and unlock more items. There is an increasing number of required services you’ll need to keep your hospital going, including continuing training for your employees, so they grow their skillsets. This is a game for people who don’t mind never finishing and love to go back and see how they can play through a scenario better than they did the first time.
Yoku’s Island Express
I never thought there would be a Metroidvania game whose gameplay was basically pinball. It’s an unlikely combination, but it ultimately works and is one of the best action games of the last year. Yoku is a dung beetle tasked with becoming the new postmaster of the island Mokumana. He has a ball tied to his leg, but due to his life experience rolling cow dung he is adept at using this to his advantage. As you traverse the island, you’ll use pinball mechanics to bounce Yoku around, striking triggers, unlocking new paths, and gaining special abilities. As with most Metroidvania games, you’ll do backtracking, but the flow is smooth, and you won’t mind revisiting old areas, excited to explore corners previously locked away.
Katamari Damacy Reroll
This is the classic Katamari finally ported to the PC. The game has gotten an HD remaster from the PS2 version but doesn’t have much else new. For the uninitiated, the Prince is sent by the King of All Cosmos create new stars by gathering random stuff into increasingly larger balls. You just need your dual joysticks to move and no other actions required. The fun in Katamari is in exploring and catching all the surreal details of the world. You have a time limit and a size goal so you can challenge yourself by trying to beat those even when you win a level. It’s a classic PS2 game finally updated and a lot of fun to play.
It took a while, but we finally got the complete release version of Rimworld, and it will consume your life. Based on classic games like Dwarf Fortress, Rimworld puts you in control of a trio of colonists who have crashed landed on an alien world. As soon as you land, you’ll need to gather the resources that came down in your pods as well as start mapping out the foundations of your colony. When you eat through the rations, what will be your food source? Where will you sleep? Will you put more time into harvesting trees or mining for minerals and metals? Random events occur that send you grasping to react in time. Invaders can attack your colony and within moments devastate all the progress you were making. If you have a prison set up, you can capture invaders, and they might join your colony over time. There’s such a granular of customization of how you can play Rimworld that it can satisfy all types of players. Additionally, you’ll find narratives rising up out of your colonists that tell a compelling story about human relationships.