HITC’s roundup of some of the games we’ve enjoyed playing so far in 2014 that might have passed you by.
In between getting excited about big console games we love to spend time sifting through the gaming quagmire for those little gems. Here’s some alternatives to the AAAs that have come out this year that are well worth a play
The Banner Saga (PC)
Following last years launch of the Multiplayer Chapter one of the single player for The Banner Saga arrived early this year. An epic journey given life by Raplh Bakshi-style artwork and a moving score fom Austin Wintory (composer on flOw and Journey) The Banner Saga has you leading a band of faithful followers on the run from a formidable enemy through an unforgiving snowbound landscape. A combination of tactical battles along the lines of Advance Wars with points in the story where you face some harsh moral choices reminissant of Telltale’s The Walking Dead. A beautiful game and definitely one for fans of turn based strategy RPGs.
Monument Valley (iOS/Android)
Navigate tem Escher-inspired stages poking and sliding moveable parts of the game's constructions to create a path to the level exit. Although the game is short it’s beautifully engaging with a clean graphic style and an intricate beauty to the game world striking enough to make it stand out against similar puzzlers the likes of Fez.
Broken Age (PC/iOS/Android/Ouya)
Tim Schafer’s crowd-sourced return to point and click adventures has enthused us even though the game has come out half-finished. The first part of Broken Age is wonderfully written and has an inventive storyline with some great laughs that can get quite affecting at points. With the Broken Age story so far ending on a great cliffhanger we’re eager for Act 2.
Just when you thought Skateboard sims had died a death with flashy board peripherals and Tony Hawks mobile along came OlliOlli to freshen up the genre. Don’t be put off by the 2D side-scrolling this is a great game with a set of controls that combined with the sound design to make for a very authentic analogue of real skating with an added fast, stop-start compulsion to keep going. Mastering your OlliOlli skills gives you enormous reward on a decent (non-faceplanting) run.
The spiritual successor to Bastion Transistor manages to be quite a different game while making improvements on everything it recycles from its predecessor. Luscious artwork, good game narration and a top selling musical score continue in the Bastion vein. In this cyberpunk isometric action RPG you’re blessed with your trusty Transistor (also your narrator) which you can upload with a selection of different programs to give you a range of interchangeable passive and active abilities. Add to this the cool ability to freeze time and an intriguing storyline and Transistor is a fun, engaging experience to play through.
Another game that’s impressed us on Vita is Jeff Minter’s Tempest-like TxK. A retro tube shooter with Minter’s distinctive tweaked noen visuals that fits brilliantly onto Sony’s handheld. A hypnotic experience that gets truly hardcore Tempest fans should give it a go.
Ether One (PC)
Ether One succeeds at providing an interactive story that can also hold its own as a decent game. If you want to meander and reveal the narrative at your own pace you can or if you want challenges there’s some complex puzzling for you. Ether One takes Dementia as its subject matter in a thought provoking story that stays with you long afterwards.
There’s seven we’ve come up with though of course we can’t play every game. What lesser known gems of games have you found this year? Let us know in the comments or over on our Facebook page.