After a lacklustre year for video games for me personally, on Monday I shared part one of my list of releases I’m looking forward to in 2020. The next 12 months are going to hold titles which are far more my ‘thing’ than those released in 2019 so there’s going to be plenty to play.
Forget Cyberpunk 2077 and The Last of Us Part II: indie games will continue to be the focus at Later Levels because they always bring us something new and creative. If you usually go for the big-budget releases and stay away from the smaller stuff, I’d encourage you to give indie a go because you might find something you’ve been missing. With the first ten on my list now behind us, let’s move on to part two and check out another ten upcoming titles which are waiting patiently on my wishlist.
11. In Other Waters
I added several games to my wishlist after the LudoNarraCon digital expo in May, including In Other Waters by Jump Over the Age. There are plenty of titles featuring artificial intelligence but not so many where you play as the AI itself. When a routine exoplanet study goes wrong and her partner disappears into an alien ocean, a Xenobiologist is left with little more than an antiquated diving suit. What she finds is a sea of extraterrestrial life; and it’s up to you to help her trace her companion and dredge up secrets that were meant to be lost forever.
12. Imposter Factory
Another release by Freebird Games, the creator of To The Moon and Finding Paradise? Sign me up. These are two of the most emotional games I’ve ever played and I can’t wait to try Imposter Factory. Things get a little weird when Quincy is invited to a fancy party at a suspiciously-secluded mansion and discovers a time machine in the bathroom. As with all of Kan Gao’s descriptions, the outline on the Steam page only hints what the title is going to be about – but it’s going to be something special.
13. Missing in Jericho
I discovered escape rooms in 2019 and have now completed seven of them. They’re the reason why I backed the Kickstarter campaign for Missing in Jericho by Crimibox in September: ‘an experience that will challenge you to become a real-life detective in your own investigation’. There’s a free preview you can try to see what it’s all about and, in the 30-minutes it takes to complete, you’ll be listening to strange voicemails, tracking down addresses, analysing photographs and even running real-world searches through Google.
14. Playerless: One Button Adventure
Playerless: One Button Adventure is a game set in another game, where your character has become self-aware and – yep, you guessed it – can only use one button to play. The AI has formed a sect, the game engine is a physical mechanism and you’re here to play a supporting role for the Debug Unit. Moonlit are focusing on the tiny elements to make their project memorable and feel that limiting the gameplay mechanics will help players to stay focused on the title itself. Intriguing.
The first time I heard about Röki by Polygon Treehouse was in a post about supporting originality over on Rendermonkee early last year and it was another one I wasn’t sure of at first. However, I completely changed my mind after having the opportunity to play the demo at EGX in October. The title isn’t as cutesy as it first seems because, as with a lot of fairy-tales, there’s a dark undertone; and the artwork is impressive, with a similar style to other narrative-driven titles I’ve really enjoyed such as The Gardens Between.
16. Someday You’ll Return
I had the chance to finally finish J.U.L.I.A.: Among the Stars after receiving a fix for a game-breaking bug from the developer in March last year. It was so enjoyable: the combination of point-and-click, science-fiction and female protagonist was perfect for me. I’m now looking forward to CBE Software’s upcoming release even more, because psychological horror Someday You’ll Return looks as creepy as hell. It will probably be one I get the other-half to play while I watch from behind a cushion.
17. The Murder Mystery Machine
The detective theme continues in The Murder Mystery Machine by Blazing Griffin, an interactive mystery title which popped up in my Steam suggestions one day. When local politician Frank Daniels is murdered in what looks like a botched robbery, it entwines Detective Cassandra Clark and her partner Nate in a complex, interconnected series of crimes that’s anything but an open-and-shut case. The content shown in the trailer reminds me a little of Knee Deep but without the theatrical setting.
18. The Procession to Calvary
One of my favourite titles at EGX Rezzed in 2017 was Four Last Things, a quirky little point-and-click adventure created by Joe Richardson. I went on to play it during our GameBlast17 marathon stream that year and then back the Kickstarter campaign for the sequel. If you’re a fan of Monty Python and unique art-styles then The Procession to Calvary is likely to be one for you: we’ll get to follow the same protagonist after he returns from his brief sojourn in hell and continues his quest for absolution.
19. The Shattering
‘The closer to any truth we get, the sweeter the lies become.’ This is the opening quote shown during the trailer for The Shattering by SuperSexySoftware and it seems as though it’s going to be more ‘serious’ than some of the other releases on my list. You’ll find yourself in the mind of John Evans, where you struggle to piece together the fragments of your past and present in order to find out what occurred. But what happens when you’re led down a path of fake memories in order to shelter you from the truth?
A point-and-click featuring pixel-art, an independent female protagonist and an intriguing storyline with science-fiction elements is going to get my attention. Throw in some dinosaurs too and it’s no wonder why I backed the Kickstarter campaign for Theropods last year. The demo doesn’t give away much but it’s a nice introduction to the title and features some challenging yet logical puzzles. Hopefully we’ll get more of the same when Kostas Skiftas and Sarah Duffield-Harding release their game.
So there you have it: 20 games I’m looking forward to for 2020. It will be interesting to look back over these at the end of the year and see how many I’ve actually been able to play! Which releases have you got on your wishlist for the next 12 months?
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.