With a brand-new year in front of us, gaming fans should be excited by the prospect of new releases coming their way. The trouble is, paying premium prices for the latest titles tends to burn a hole in our pockets. So, it’s worth asking the question: what about the brilliant games that might have slipped our attention last year? Most of us don’t have the time to play every new release as it comes out, and we might have missed out on some quality titles last year. What’s more, they’ll probably come at a discount, making our bank balance look a whole lot friendlier.
Here are some underrated video game gems that you may not have played on in 2020 and could make use of in 2021.
It’s been a rocky year for cyberpunk games. The genre’s flagship title Cyberpunk 2077 stole the headlines in December with makers Projekt Red forced to pull it from sale due to a number of glitches. So, it’s good to see another ‘punk title is doing a fine job, despite its lower profile.
Cloudpunk isn’t as violent as other releases in the genre, but it does still incorporate a grimy, futuristic aesthetic with an air of criminality. Your role as a player is to transport packages and people around the city, no questions asked – let’s just say your company isn’t exactly above board. The challenges are fun, and the sensation of gliding around the metropolis in your flying car is very pleasurable indeed.
Cloudpunk stands out from other cyberpunk games in a positive way and will help you forget the 2077 controversy for a while.
The problem with spin-offs is they often fail to live up to the quality of their predecessors. Hotel Mario and Shadow the Hedgehog might spring to mind for gamers of a certain age. To be fair to Minecraft Dungeons, it is following in the footsteps of one of the most popular franchises ever, so we should respect its bravery in completely changing genres.
This action RPG is much better than many expected. Seasoned gaming fans will be familiar with the top-down level layout, as players explore the scenery and earn loot along the way. What’s more, this fun title is available on Game Pass, so there’s no reason for those of us with the pass to overlook it, despite most of the gaming industry doing so this year.
Sometimes, video games put us into some truly unique virtual scenarios. While you’re more likely to land the winning lottery numbers than experience a shark attack, Maneater lets you see one from a different perspective: that of the predator – and a supremely vicious one at that.
Yes, that’s right, you get to control a shark. What’s more, you’re a shark with a cause. Shark hunters murdered your mother, and you want revenge – any human will do. Your job is to attack as many beachgoers as possible, wreaking bloody havoc along the way.
The game is very gory, as you’d expect, and its strange theme might be the reason why it’s slipped under the radar in the gaming world. The end result, though, is an addictive and entertaining RPG where you can also improve your shark’s attacking ability with the more kills you get. Also, watch out for the excellent voiceover from SNL’S Chris Parnell.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
Perhaps the reason 13 Sentinels hasn’t received the acclaim it deserves is that it’s so weird. It features visual-novel storytelling and intertwines the stories of fifteen individual characters. Things can get complicated, but the visual effects are truly amazing, and the game is very intelligently done once you get your head around it.
Developers Vanillaware has a reputation for creating thought-provoking titles and the side-scrolling gameplay on show here is reminiscent of their previous title Dragon’s Crown. It’s easy to get lost among the multiple twists and layers of each character’s storyline, but it’s worth sticking with until the end. The final result is a fascinating single-player adventure that doesn’t get anywhere near enough media coverage. It’s exciting to think what else Vanillaware could have up its sleeve for the future.
Ever had the internship from hell? You know, the one where your boss expects you to do the tasks everyone hates and your colleagues are rude to you – infuriating, right? While smashing the office up isn’t a good idea, you can unleash your frustrations virtually in Going Under; a fun, monster-themed beat-em-up set in a tech start-up.
The niche premise of this game might be why it’s escaped popular attention but tell me another game where you can use a mop as a weapon AND shout at a goblin for taking too long in the bathroom within the space of five minutes. You’ll laugh your way through this cleverly-designed escapade, which is what we all need after such a horrible year.
So, take a break from the best-seller lists and search around for a few underrated gems. Who knows, you might find a new favorite among these titles, as well as saving a few dollars in the process.