‘Under the Radar’ is a series dedicated to the unknown titles that many players might have missed. These can range from games that no one’s ever heard of to known titles that haven’t seemed to gain any traction for one reason or another. The aim isn’t to pour over the title in a critical fashion, it’s to celebrate the qualities that make it unique and fun to play.
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E3 2019 has been over for a few weeks now, and even though there were some awkward moments, it was overall a pretty spectacular year. Microsoft showed off a slew of promising titles while providing updates to their Gamepass service and next-generation console. Square Enix displayed more games than anyone was expecting while continuing the hype train for Final Fantasy Vll Remake. Nintendo showcased a solid lineup for the Switch while bomb dropping Banjo in Smash and a sequel to Breath of the Wild. However, it was Sony that stole the show this year by announcing Minecraft 2, exclusive to the PlayStation Vita through their PlayStation Now service. Leave it to Sony to really blow our expectations away year after year.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of these massive triple-A game announcements, it’s important to remember that dozens of smaller games get announced each year as well. Some of them even got airtime during the various conferences and live streams that took place during the weekend. I combed through dozens upon dozens of games to find five of the most interesting looking indie darlings that deserves to be on everyone’s radar (in no particular order).
5. Genesis Noir (PC, Mac)
To quote the game’s website: “Genesis Noir is set before, during, and after The Big Bang. To save your love, you must stop the expansion of the universe.” That sounds like an absolutely outlandish plot, and I couldn’t be more excited because of it. Genesis Noir appears to be a surrealist adventure game focusing on an overarching narrative, and that’s about all I know. The game clearly has style to go around, as it’s one of the rare titles to grab my interest based off of the visuals alone. These kinds of ambitious and creative Kickstarter projects always manage to pull me in. In the case of this game, however, the less I know about it going into the experience, the better.
4. Fall Guys (Windows, PS4)
What happens when you combine the battle royale genre with something like Human Fall Flat? Well, you get Fall Guys. Brought to you by the insane minds at Devolver Digital, Fall Guys places 100 players into an over-the-top obstacle course and tasks them with being the last one standing. It looks like a hilariously addictive experience in the same vein as games like Nippon Marathon, which is right up my alley. Streaming and content creation have made these types of party games more popular than ever, which is great to see considering how fun they are to both watch and play. Plus, the game boasts both competitive and cooperative game modes, so there’s something for everyone here.
3. Brave Earth: Prologue (Steam)
Every heard of the ridiculously difficult platformer often ran at speedrunning events called I Wanna Be The Guy? Well, Brave Earth: Prologue is made by that same developer. However, this title is aiming to be much more of a complete gameplay experience rather than simply an exercise in frustration. Taking obvious inspiration from the Castlevania franchise, Brave Earth: Prologue is already looking like a modern classic. The developer has also promised multiple characters, each with their own paths through the game. Expect ridiculously polished gameplay mechanics, intelligent level design, and pixel art that is both varied and high quality. Oh, and it will most likely still be challenging, just nowhere near as much as his prior project. Maybe.
2. Astalon Tears of the Earth (Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Macintosh operating systems, Xbox One, PlayStation 4)
Action platformers are a dime a dozen these days, especially in the indie scene. So what makes Astalon: Tears of the Earth so special? It’s a game that’s aiming to pay homage to the 80’s classics while packing in enough content and surprises for a modern release. They’re promising puzzles, platforming, action, intense boss battles, and a countless amount of rooms to explore. It sounds like a tall order, but early gameplay footage is looking very promising. This one just feels like it’s going to stand out from the slew of other games like it, and it won’t be long to find out whether or not that’s the case.
1. Dezatopia (Switch)
It wouldn’t be a list of mine without a shmup somewhere on there. The Switch has become the new platform for shmups, and Dezatopia looks like it’s going to continue that trend. Innovation in this genre can be a rare thing however, but this one is bringing quite a bit to the table. Features like branching paths can do wonders to break up the linearity that the genre is known for, especially when there are over 20 levels in the game. The game also promises an adjustable difficulty system that constantly makes changes based on the player’s performance. Apparently, this is already a classic in the Japanese shmup community, so western players getting to experience this is certainly a treat.
Those are the games I found interesting at this year’s E3 conference. Let me know if any of those looked interesting to you! I also want to know what kinds of games you guys are looking forward to; maybe there’s a game on your radar that I haven’t heard of!