For each recreation like Elden Ring that smashes the doorways off gross sales data and will get the gaming world abuzz, there are dozens of smaller video games that do not make fairly as huge of a splash. Right here within the sluggish summer time months, which you may name The Lands Between by way of huge recreation releases, it is a good time to look again on the first half of the yr and see what hidden gems you may need missed.
Under you may discover 5 video games that flew beneath that radar however are nonetheless properly value your time. There is a splendidly humorous FMV recreation, an immersive sim from veteran builders, a few puzzle video games (one that can make you snigger and one that can completely do your head in), and a sim that’ll make you consider operating a collectible card store is attractive as hell.
Listed below are 5 hidden gems from the primary half of 2022.
Not for Broadcast
Launch date: January 25
2022 kicked off in a weird manner for those who performed this FMV tv studio simulator. And for those who did not, you owe it a glance now. In Not for Broadcast you are a custodian at a TV studio who makes the error of answering a ringing telephone, and now you are accountable for deciding what viewers throughout the nation see and do not see once they activate their televisions. On the fly you handle completely different information feeds, swap to commercials, maintain the digital camera on dwell broadcasters, reduce to completely different angles, try and bleep swear phrases, and finally begin making selections on how a lot propaganda to feed the rapt tv viewers.
Whereas it sounds prefer it may hit a bit heavy with social commentary, Not for Broadcast is way extra foolish and slapstick than severe, although it does satirize points like wealth, political events, the police, and even the pandemic (although on this recreation the lockdown is because of killer toy robots). The writing and performances are sharp and there is numerous laughs as you battle to maintain viewers from altering the channel.
Launch date: February 10
Operating a collectible card store does not sound prefer it’d be tremendous attractive, however oddly sufficient your little retailer in Kardboard Kings is continuously visited by hotties. Because the store’s new proprietor, guided by a particularly useful parrot, you purchase playing cards on-line, put them out on the market in your store, and attempt to flip a revenue by shopping for low and promoting excessive. Alongside the way in which you meet and flirt with characters by means of branching text-based conversations.
And do not let the attractive clients overshadow the enjoyable of the enterprise sim, both. A every day information feed can tip you off to developments within the card market, letting you capitalize on scandals or occasions that enhance or crater the worth of sure sorts of playing cards. The playing cards themselves are all fantastically executed, too, making me want the fictional video games they’re made for really existed. There’s romance, humor, intrigue (a mysterious masked customer generally seems), and the day-to-day bustle of managing clients and your store’s enchantment. I do not play card video games, however I like this recreation about card video games.
Launch date: March 29
There is no scarcity of Sokoban box-pushing puzzle video games, however Patrick’s Parabox pushes its bins inside different bins, after which pushes the bins contained in the bins inside different bins. Yeah, it is gonna break your mind sooner or later, like after I unintentionally pushed myself out of the field universe and wound up in a void outdoors time and area.
Fixing the puzzles requires fixing the puzzles inside the puzzles, after which generally pushing these puzzles round inside different puzzles. Within the 350+ ranges contained within the recreation there’s some actual stumpers, but additionally lots to breeze by means of with out getting caught. You will get the grasp of the idea rapidly, although there are nonetheless loads of moments the place your thoughts will freeze since you’re pushing a field you have been simply inside whereas watching your self push the field you are at the moment inside and you may surprise: wait, which field am I at the moment inside? It is nice mind-bending enjoyable.
Launch date: March 31
Whereas the world was gripped tightly by the furled finger of Elden Ring, this immersive sim from the makers of Dishonored and Prey did not get an opportunity to make an actual stir. Within the top-down stealth sandbox of Bizarre West you are a bounty hunter popping out of retirement to trace down her lacking husband, sneaking or taking pictures your manner by means of ghost cities and deserted mines.
However the weirdness of Bizarre West begins in act two whenever you’re a pigman—sure, half pig, half man—monitoring down the witch that cursed you. And it solely will get weirder within the recreation’s 5 chapters as you change into a werewolf, meet sentient bushes, and do battle with historic supernatural entities. Your selections observe you from story to story—you may even recruit former characters you performed as companions—which actually makes it really feel just like the world is responding to your actions.
Launch date: June 17
My first thought was that The Looker was merely created as a fast joke, a goofy parody of Jonathan Blow’s puzzle recreation The Witness, which is each a inventive assortment of puzzles and a bit too stuffed with itself. However The Looker is, legitimately, an important puzzle recreation in its personal proper. It succeeds in double responsibility: poking enjoyable at The Witness with sharp bits of humor, whereas arising with some legitimately enjoyable and difficult puzzles of its personal.
I am unsure the way it pulls this off, however whether or not you liked The Witness or hated The Witness, someway I can assure you may get pleasure from The Looker. It solely takes an hour or so to complete, nevertheless it’s an extremely humorous recreation and is clearly not only a weekend venture made on a whim. It is creative and intelligent and clearly took a heck of numerous work to drag off. Plus, it is free. So there is no cause to not give it a glance your self.