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Update: The year is finished, which means you can now read the final list of our favourite games of Keeping up with so much that’s worth playing is a tough job, but we’ve got your back. Here is a collection of the games that have rocked the RPS Treehouse so far this year. We’ve all picked our favourites, and present them here in alphabetical order so as not to start any fights. You’re bound to have a game you’d have wanted to see on the list, so please do add it to the comments below. Click the teeny red arrow to begin or use your keyboard’s left and right arrow keys to move back and forth.

It has the unenviable task of trying to attract your attention while existing almost entirely in the shadow of Failbetter’s own Sunless Sea and there are slightly too many mechanical irritants for play to be this uninterrupted story exploration BUT oh my gosh! The writing is a ridiculously ambitious undertaking and delivered so many pleasing or memorable moments. There are also these stunning art cards which offer you a glimpse of whatever locations you’ve just arrived in.

For all the little niggles, when it gets things right they’re utterly wonderful. John: Lost phone games are a genre I am fully behind, but perhaps make less sense on a PC. John: An absolutely brilliant harking back to Amiga platform games, but with the good sense to incorporate the last thirty years of improvements.

Pip: Astroneer is a game still in very early access but one which has already given me so many hours of enjoyment. I potter around on bright, strange planets making myself at home, then blast off to see what else the solar system has to offer.

I’m approaching it the same way that I approached Subnautica so that initial burst of activity was wonderful but now I’m shelving the game for a while. I’ll either boot it back up at full release or when the updates have made for a significant change in the experience.

At the moment it’s this soothing sandbox. I look forward to what it might grow into. Graham: This was released in December 16th of , but that made it far too late for inclusion in last year’s roundups and it definitely deserves some attention.

As Pip says, it’s still in very early access, but there’s been so much thought put into making the standard verbs of crafting-survival games slick and fun. You mine the world of its minerals not by slowly punching things, but with a big terrain-gobbling vacuum cleaner; your inventory isn’t hidden away in a menu, but visible on your back at all times; and research and building placement are always done via interactions with chunky, physical objects in the game’s colourful world.

Also like Pip, I’m waiting for future updates to come along and add something substantially new before I return, but I’ve spent dozens of hours with it already and had a great time. Graham: Bayonetta has an excellent combat system and it’s absolutely worth learning, but if you can’t or don’t want to, the game will help you out. In easy and very easy mode, aside from making all enemies weaker, you’ll be given a ‘relic’ to wear that causes mashing buttons on your controller to perform a random selection of moves without the need to learn their button combinations.

This cuts out some of the pleasure of playing the game, but even setting combat aside, it’s absolutely worth playing Bayonetta for its world, characters and over-the-top setpieces and cutscenes. Do it however you can and you’ll have fun. Adam: Wot Graham said, essentially. Nobody does it better. Graham: You’re a small ship, thrusting around small levels, shooting enemies and trying to avoid touching the sides.

Your bullets are infinite but your fuel isn’t, and so you need to be economic in controlling your slidey momentum to reach the exit of each level. So far, so samey, but Brute is elevated by the feel of its physics and the sound of your ship as it accelerates, collects powerups and destroys enemies.

Pip: I’m not one for digital card games as a rule. I get sucked in for a little while but never long enough for them to make a real dent in my leisure time.

Card Quest was different because instead of the CCG genre, this was a card-based dungeon crawler. It combined a simple but fun narrative with a simple-to-grasp card game of attack and defence. You pick a class and battle your way through dungeons, chaining up attacks, taking out enemies and earning new items.

It’s still in Early Access so all the usual caveats, but what’s in the game at the moment has been a lot of fun for me so far, even when bashing my head against the first boss.

Adam: Dead Cells is a great roguelike platformer but Caveblazers is my favourite entry in the genre for years. Since Spelunky, in fact. Pip: Cosmic Express is an adorable space-based train puzzler. You lay a railway across a grid so that it picks up and drops off all the passengers. The cute art style and lovely animations conceal a rock-solid set of challenges which sprawl across galaxies. Pip: Matthew Brown returns with another exercise in trademark minimalist cell-based logic.

This outing involves more arithmetic than his other ‘Cells games although only in the sense that you need to do some basic addition and multiplication — think Killer Sudoku if you want a reference point for the blend of logic and maths so its position in your personal rankings may vary. I love that stuff! John: In a fair and decent world, Matthew Brown would be developing the reputation of Japanese puzzle creator Nikoli. Fortunately, readers of RPS at least know his games are amongst the finest puzzles ever created.

A proper treat for people who really care about puzzles. Adam: The other great roguelike platformer of so far. You play as a cluster of cells and each time you play, a short cutscene has you possessing a corpse, and then you take that corpse through as many levels of dungeons and ramparts and sewers as you can, dodging, blocking, stabbing and rolling as you go. Graham: Is it even more boring to say that Dead Cells is a stabby Spelunky?

Stabunky, I call it. Where Spelunky runs can be re-shaped by the jetpack or sticky shoes or climbing gloves you can find early in the game, a life in Dead Cells can be similarly defined by the blood sword, horizontal turret, or invisibility amulet you find. One life might be about exhilarating close quarters combat, all leaps and rolls, while the next might be about ranged attacks and shields, and the next about throwing traps and staying away entirely, and the next about finding some new amulet you’ve never encountered before and doing everything you can just to afford it.

Dead Cells keeps me coming back again and again because no matter how quickly I fall, I’m excited to find out what the next life brings. Smashing doors and blinding the enemies behind them with shards of twisted metal and wooden splinters. It has the same sense of panic and flow, and it can be just as rock hard. Pip: Cars that control like recalcitrant shopping trolleys, crashes, bugs, excessive QTEs and an early struggle to find its own identity. It’s a testament to how bloody brilliant Deadly Premonition is that absolutely none of that impacts my opinion of this as one of the best games of all time and thus also one of the best games of early Alice: As wonderful and as awful in early , in exactly the same ways, as it ever was.

I believe the term for that is « timeless classic ». Adam: This one took me by surprise. I love the layered interface, I love the music, and I love how the apparent simplicity keeps peeling back.

More creatures and objects to control, more locations to roll around, more abilities to unlock. I shouldn’t have been surprised that a game called « Everything » contained so much, but I was. And this is a game entirely about that act of exploration and the novelty of finding something new as you shift up and down from cellular to universal scale and possess and make move, sing and dance anything you see.

Can I control those biplanes? Can I control and move that island? Can I spawn an island-sized biplane? Uh huh. Can I make it sing and dance? You bet. Pip: I booted this up the other day and every planet I visited seemed to present me with a rather suggestive lifeform.

It was like playing a constant innuendo that wanted to form herds and do dances. I am very much on board with this. Adam: Flinthook has an awkward control scheme and when I first played it I thought it was far too colourful and visually noisy for its own good. I keep going back for more. You pick your deadliest warrior and get wrecking.

There are huge Viking raiders, poison-bearing Samurai assassins, and boring, despicable Papists. The combat is fierce, skill-based and demands quick reflexes and smart thinking. Or you could just grab your opponent and toss them off a ledge. I was especially happy playing a Berserker who placed down bear traps in critical and dangerous areas, before flinging my stunned enemies down a nearby skyhole. It was seeing other human players coming up with their own codes of honour – no environmental kills, no ganging up on a single person, no revenge power activation, no using ranged skills to get a quick kill.

It was wonderful to see players sticking to these rules during brawls or 4v4 skirmishes, just as it was wonderful to knowingly break the rules at short notice, booting your opponent into a pit of spikes just as he came to trust you as a chivalrous combatant. You are just as likely to get kicked out of a battle and back to the main screen as you are to get kicked off a rampart. And that is more dishonourable than any throwing axe to the forehead.

Pip: If you enjoy the type of playing which is about pressing buttons and seeing what happens I think you’ll love Future Unfolding. It manages to make the parts of the game where you’re getting to grips with the world and its mechanics absolutely delightful. Interactions produce sounds and movements and appearances and… this is so vague but the delight is so tied to the surprise of interacting and getting a result that I don’t want to spoil a single thing!

Poring over these intricately detailed drawings, as monkeys dance, trees wobble, snakes slither and fires puff out, feels something close to magical. And the good news is more levels are being designed, hopefully appearing soon. Little Nightmares has its own tricks though. Little Big Panic. The translation to digital actually works really well here because the game revolves around limited communication and interpretation of illustrated card by the ghost player and the mediums.

There were a few minor irritants with regard to actually setting up games with friends if I didn’t fancy playing with strangers but with those successfully navigated this was a lovely way to play a beloved boardgame with my far-away friends. And then I gasped and I had a bit of a sniffle, and the whole thing was just bloody brilliant. Alice: Stabbing those robots certainly is great.

Combat in open-world RPGs quickly becomes a chore but even near the end of my fifty-odd hours in Automata I was still enjoying dancing around robots cutting and punching them to pieces.

And those warteens, oh my.



The 5 Best PC Games Of – GameSpot – Nier: Automata

Divinity: Original Sin 2. Call of Duty: WWII.