2014 so far has seen some great games. However, later months seem a bit slim due to the advent of new consoles and everyone playing their cards close to the vest. The typical hype machine for holiday AAA titles is in a dull hum. There are certainly major big budget titles on the way waiting for the perfect time to announce (E3 2014, probably. PAX East, maybe). This period of time between big releases (essentially the time between Watch Dogs and Destiny) is a perfect time to give love to some exciting titles on the horizon that you might otherwise overlook. The PlayStation 4 has been keeping its coffers full by releasing interesting indie titles since its launch. That trend is not going to dissipate any time soon. The horizon is healthy with great games people might overlook coming in Spring and Summer. Here are 5 games to keep eye on in the next few months.
Child of Light – PS4/PS3
Since Ubisoft announced Child of Light back in late 2013, it has been a tantalizing prospect. It uses the UbiArt Framework, which is the backbone of the gorgeous Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends, and the art is influenced by Studio Ghibli and Yoshitaka Amano. The team behind Child of Light is primarily responsible for Far Cry 3. It is a Japanese RPG from Ubisoft done in an indie aesthetic. Child of Light sounds like a fever dream of some opium addled Otaku who flunked out of Japanese studies at a small liberal arts college in the northeast. Interest has only increased as Ubisoft releases tiny slivers of information about the game with videos and images. Child of Light may not be on everyone’s radar, but it should be. The game looks charming with beautiful art and potentially exciting gameplay mechanics. Keep a look out for Child of Light when it hits the PS4 on Apr. 30.
CounterSpy – PS4/PS3/PS Vita
CounterSpy’s distinct and slick visual style make it an easy game to anticipate. Dynamighty’s Cold War-inspired stealth game will offer some unique ways to share information between devices. CounterSpy can link between each platform so unlocked weapons on the PS4 can be also unlocked in the PS Vita or mobile version of the game. The cover-based shooting and stealth mechanics combines with the side-scrolling aesthetics seem like a winning combination. Looking at early screenshots and footage of CounterSpy compared with the recent trailer to celebrate the game’s PS4 version, it is impressive to see how far Dynamighty has come with the game. CounterSpy should be on your radar when it releases in the summer.
Sportsfriends – PS4/ PS3
Die Gute Fabrik’s Sportsfriends is a collection of multiplayer games including Johann Sebastian Joust, Super Pole Riders, Hokra and BaraBariBall. There has been a recent surge of local multiplayer games for PC and consoles. It has sparked an exciting renaissance for actual social games to play with friends in living rooms (or where ever). Sportsfriends is primed to take advantage of this recent paradigm shift by offering gamers four fascinating and compelling multiplayer games. Watching videos of people enjoying Johann Sebastian Joust makes tracking down four PlayStation Move controllers seem like a reasonable task. Super Pole Riders and BaraBariBall are both visually impressive. Whereas Hokra seems like it will cause friendships to end. Sportsfriends should be a staple at any friendly gathering when it releases sometime in Spring.
Secret Ponchos – PS4
Keeping with the multiplayer goodness, another PS4 title to keep an eye on is Switchblade Monkeys’ Secret Ponchos. The wild west-inspired third-person shooter offers intense and heated multiplayer matches. Secret Ponchos combines lush stylized graphics with deep gameplay. Switchblade Monkeys refined the controls and gameplay heavily on Secret Ponchos between E3 2013 and PAX Prime. The PAX Prime build features tight controls and exciting multiplayer matches. Those attending PAX East this year can check out Secret Ponchos at the Indie Megabooth showing off a 60 FPS build of the game. It will be exciting to see where the game ends up when it releases sometime this Spring.
GALAK-Z – PS4/ PS Vita
One of the most exciting upcoming PS4 games is 17-Bit’s Galak-Z. Galak-Z is an ambitious project aiming to combine smart A.I., open-world elements, deep physics and roguelike elements. The project seems to get more ambitious as 17-Bit reveals new information about the game, especially revealing the game will also come to the PS Vita. It is exciting to see the game evolve as it gets closer to release. The mechanics side of Galak-Z is built around classic 16-bit shooters with the visuals heavily influenced by space animes from the late 1970s and early 80s. Visually the game is slick with gorgeous art and fluid animation. After checking out Galak-Z at PAX Prime last year, it honestly plays as good as it looks. Where 17-Bit takes Galak-Z by the time of its expected Summer release date is unknown, but it will be a blast to follow.