We are almost halfway through 2020, but there are plenty of smaller games that you should watch out for during the rest of the year.
We’re about halfway through 2020 and a lot of great games have come out, with much more coming along the way like Cyberpunk 2077 and Ghost of Tsushima, but there are many titles that don’t have a massive budget that will be releasing later this year that deserve a spotlight to be shined upon them; games of different genres, size, and scope that don’t get mainstream attention like major AAA titles. I’ve personally played all but one of these projects, and each of them is worth keeping an eye on.
She Dreams Elsewhere is currently my most anticipated game of 2020. Following a black woman named Thalia, she deals with relatable real-life issues along with facing social anxiety. Trying to overcome her struggles, she and her friends fight in her subconscious after falling into a coma. After playing this title numerous times, I am consistently blown away by its high quality, especially with the main development of the game being done by only one man. It’s gotten to the point where I think it will be the next highly-praised indie title. With its inspirations from numerous turn-based JRPGs, She Dreams Elsewhere is filled with style, an incredible soundtrack, and invokes many great things about black culture that we hardly ever see in video games.
For those interested, you can currently play the prologue of She Dreams Elsewhere for free on Steam.
Lost Soul Aside is a game that I’m extremely hyped for, but I even forget that it exists sometimes because it has been in development for years now with very little updates. The last time we’ve seen the game in action was during GDC 2018 where the creator of the game Yang Bing showcased it. In 2019, we got new concept art along with Bing stating that his goal is to release the project sometime in 2020. The game was originally revealed in 2017 to quickly be picked up by PlayStation under their China Hero Project program. All we can do now is wait, but check out this incredibly meaty trailer showing off all its glory.
Spiritfarer was one of my favorite games that I played at PAX East earlier this year, even though management simulators have never spoken out to me. I never understood the appeal of them or found what was so rewarding about playing them, and I still don’t, but Spiritfarer has changed the game for me.
You play as a Ferryman named Stella, who helps the recently deceased accept the reality of their situation, which to me is the reward. You travel around what is seemingly purgatory, but instead of being grim and bleak as it is regularly described, it is colorful and wondrous. Those who passed will task you with objectives to complete, which will lead them to live on your ship as you travel around the world. With its gorgeous animations, developer Thunder Lotus Games makes it satisfying to do something as simple as cutting down a tree. Stella has a friendship with all the passengers on the ship, and they take form as adorable animals that you can hug! What I’ve played was only a small taste, but I cannot wait to see what the entire game has to offer.
Spiritfarer releases later this year on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, and Linux.
Ghostrunner is a brutal first-person action game where you assassinate enemies while parkouring through a sci-fi metropolis. You will die a lot, but only in ways that are your own fault. Being full of trial and error, it will attract an audience that will want to master each level, trying to get through them as quickly as they can. There is still a lot that we don’t know about Ghostrunner regarding its story, but with jumping wall to wall, sliding through moving fans, and hook lining across platforms, Ghostrunner has some of the smoothest first-person gameplay I have ever experienced.
Ghostrunner is set to release this year on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
For those looking for a new interactive narrative title to play, look no further than When the Past was Around. Following a woman dealing with the end of her relationship with an owl-like creature, you explore her house finding objects that trigger the past memories of her relationship like a puzzle piece, eventually figuring out their history. It is told through a beautiful art style with music being a key theme through its lovely classical soundtrack. While seemingly a short-lived experience, I want to learn more about the ambiguous love story that When the Past was Around presents.