It’s finally the end of 2018! It’s been quite the year in gaming with some major heavy hitters like God of War, Spiderman, and Red Dead Redemption 2… yet in typical fashion I’d like to take a moment to reflect and look at some of the smaller games this year that you might have missed! Regrettably this was a bit of a harder list to think of this year than last year, but I think it’s due to the blockbusters of this year really sucking me in… and I didn’t play as many smaller games. Yet 2018 still had some really interesting smaller titles that if you haven’t checked out already, you should probably take a look. Without further ado, here’s my top 5 Hidden Gems of 2018!
One of the first games I played this year was the Red Strings Club, which totes itself as a cyberpunk adventure game. Within you play as a Bartender and information broker, leveraging unique “drink mixing” mechanics to help elicit specific information out of your patrons. The Red Strings Club introduces you to many different scenarios and unique mechanics that help leverage this unique world and daunting atmosphere. Overall this was a super interesting game! It had me replaying the ending quite a bit just to see the different possible outcomes. I also highlighted this game for its use of “Social Engineering” as a potential game mechanic. The atmosphere, the music, and the pressure of “making the right choice” really gives this game some added weight. I loved it and would definitely recommend looking for it on Steam!
Raft was probably one of the most chillest games I played this year… other than the occasional shark attacks. Within Raft you’re essentially stranded on an ever drifting raft, picking up items floating in the ocean, adding to your raft, and trying to survive. You have to be cautious of your hydration and hunger levels, and overall well being… while leveraging a pretty interesting crafting mechanic. What really makes this game enjoyable is that allows full coop multiplayer, allowing you to build and survive with friends. I had a ton of fun just building, fending off sharks, and trying to explore islands with a few of my friends making massive rafts. This game is still considered early access on steam, so I’m sure there will be more objectives in the future, yet thus far it’s pretty great. Would definitely recommend a look if you’ve got some friends to play with!
Minit was a game I didn’t expect to get into… Honestly I don’t typically play games that are very “retro” or have a pixelated gameplay… I just don’t feel that nostalgia. Yet Minit sucked me in pretty quickly. In Minit you only have 60 seconds before your character dies, but within that amount of time you learn to quickly explore puzzles, open up short cuts, find items, and progress further into the world. It’s a bit stressful with the time constraint but leaves you hungry for more. This game had so many hidden secrets and things that you could do, that I actually replayed most of it to find everything I possibly could. Super fun bite-sized game that will suck you in for at least half a day. Definitely check it out on steam!
SCUM was an odd game this year, but still a pretty fun one. Still in early access on steam, within SCUM you play as an inmate serving a life sentence who gets released on an island as a sort of “hunger games” styled show. SCUM is reminiscent of other games like Rust where the survival mechanics are hyper realistic, the world boast other players you can bump into, and an in depth crafting system. The mechanics can be a bit difficult to understand, and knowing what will help your character versus making them sick is a bit convoluted until you spend more time with the game… yet it’s hard to say no to exploring and surviving with friends. I’ll be eager to see how this game continues to develop in 2019, but if you like playing survival games with friends… this is an easy pick.
Gris is a game that only just came out in early December, but already it’s proven itself to be a heavy hitter. From the same studio that produced Red Strings Club and Minit, comes a mesmerizing puzzle platformer. You play as a girl navigating her own world, and struggling with painful experiences within her life… sorrow is manifested in the dress she wears and grants her abilities to help her navigate this faded reality. Honestly I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of this game, but through the visuals and score alone, this is an easy recommendation for me. Be sure to check it out on Steam!
That does it for my list of “Hidden Gems” from 2018! It’s certainly hard to ignore some of this year’s blockbuster titles… I’m still VERY obsessed with Red Dead… yet these experimental titles are equally deserving of your attention. Thanks again for reading and following along with me this year! I know I’ve been absent for a few months, through moving and taking on a new title at work, yet I’m hopeful to start a regular cadence of posts within the new year. Until then, keep gaming and see you in 2019!
I make games, I play games... and sometimes I have some thoughts about that.