2019 has come and gone, bringing a whole range of games to consoles and PC. While the last 12 months may not have been groundbreaking for gamers, there have still been dozens of important releases. The vast majority of those are titles that players will be aware of. However, there are a few hidden gems that may have escaped widespread attention.
After all, with so many different storefronts and platforms, it is impossible to keep up with every new game. It’s easy to overlook games for a variety of reasons. A big-budget release may have launched at the same time as another AAA title. Meanwhile, smaller indie titles can be overshadowed as they just don’t have the same sort of audience reach. Whatever the case, these are the great games you might have missed over the last year.
Giving gamers the chance to decide how to approach different situations has long been a cornerstone of game design. However, Void Bastards takes this idea to the extreme. In this Roguelike game, players take on the role of countless prisoners trapped in space. They must scavenge equipment and parts from other abandoned ships to repair their own craft.
What sets this game apart, though, is that each prisoner has their own unique characteristics. This requires the player to carefully consider every action, as one wrong move could end in disaster. An exceptional art style and an interesting world to explore make this a game worth playing. Read our full review here.
Pathologic 2 is the sequel to the original title that released way back in 2005. Yet, it is not a sequel in the traditional sense but rather a complete re-imagining of the original game. Practically every aspect from its predecessor has been refined.
The end result is a terrifying and thoughtful game, where you have to think about everything you do. Although it could be overbearing for new players, those who stick with it will almost certainly be glad they did.
A Short Hike
A Short Hike is a game that oozes charm. All you have to do is take a glance at it and you’ll immediately understand what I mean, thanks to the beautiful visuals. The premise of the game is that you are a small bird trying to reach the top of a mountain. To get there, you’ll have to explore a carefully-crafted world full of cute but interesting characters.
There are multiple routes as well as plenty of mini-games and quests from the other inhabitants to keep you occupied. Although A Short Hike doesn’t last long, it is a title that demands that you play through it. Read our full review here.
Slay the Spire
A compelling cross between a deck-building card game and a Roguelike, Slay the Spire is a unique experience. Players have to collect cards while advancing up a tower, fighting monsters and navigating encounters. Like any other Roguelike game, the experience changes with each run.
Randomized routes and monsters make it so that two games are never the same. Having deck-building to control your abilities and weapons also adds a layer of strategy. To get to the top of the Spire requires learning from each run and creating the very best deck possible.
Katana Zero is a 2D platformer that has a distinctive time manipulation mechanic. Taking any damage results in instant death, meaning you have to make use of the ability to slow down time to avoid hits. Put in enough effort and players will soon be moving fluidly through environments as they dodge danger and slash enemies.
It is easily one of the most stylish games from 2019. In fact, there is very little not to like in Katana Zero. A fantastic soundtrack, incredible visuals, a compelling story, and a sleek presentation means that playing it is a treat. Read our full review here.
They Are Billions
They Are Billions is a real-time strategy game that takes inspiration from tower defense titles. While it can be dark and murky in terms of its appearance, the gameplay is utterly addictive. Those who enjoy challenging their tactical mind will absolutely adore this game. Facing off against hordes of zombies, you must build up your own city and build defenses to protect those inside. The most important aspect, though, is the sheer amount of depth in the gameplay. With so many different units, buildings, and strategies, playing against the smart A.I. zombies is endless fun. Read our full review here.
The idea of Hypnospace Outlaw might seem somewhat bizarre. You play a kind of moderator working inside an alternate version of the internet. In this version of the web, users put on headsets while they sleep to browse millions of pages. Taking inspiration from the likes of Papers, Please! this game has players working as detectives and enforcers.
A strange mix of puzzle-solving and exploration provides surprisingly engaging gameplay. But the main joy comes from the humor found throughout the various websites you get to visit. Read our full review here.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
Almost no one in 2014 would have thought that Shovel Knight would still be seeing new releases five years later. Yet, the 2D side-scrolling platformer has just released its final piece of downloadable content. The King of Cards campaign means there are now four distinct singleplayer experiences.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove combines them all together in one package, along with new multiplayer modes and a card-based battler. There are few games in 2019 that offer so much content.
What hidden gems from 2019 are you playing? Tell us in the comments below!