The year 2021 was very peculiar for the games industry. With a world still undergoing a pandemic, many studios struggled to follow through on their projects. Still, despite the remasters and several DLCs, for titles already released, some good games have come out… And I’m not talking about the AAA, but the 2021 games that you may have missed, amidst the big releases.
Below, you’ll find some suggestions of indies games or even titles that came out with a blockbuster and ended up deleted. If you have more suggestions, be sure to share them in the comments!
Inscryption , by Devolver Digital, was a great surprise (outside of the AAA games axis) of 2021. For those who like card games, but with a lot of sarcasm and a little more sinister humor, this game will have a lot of fun.
Your character wakes up in a cabin being forced to participate in several card games against a mysterious entity that lives in the place. If your prize wins? Your life! Also because if you lose you turn a card from the deck too.
This makes the game quite sinister because it is necessary to sacrifice cards to get blood points, that is, you will have to kill sentient cards (some even say!) knowing that one day they also had a body… Or maybe there is more behind them of this…
Anyway, without giving spoilers, my recommendation is to give Inscryption a chance . It goes far beyond what is imagined right away.
Available platform: PC (Windows).
2. Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a metroidvania-style platform game with a beautiful dark and melancholy look. For fans of the Souls series, this game clearly pays homage to FromSoftware’s gaming atmosphere.
In Ender Lilies , you begin your journey in a realm known as Land’s End that has been punished and destroyed by a plague, a curse… The result of that? Cities and towns have been reduced to rubble and the entire region is now dominated by monstrous creatures that you will obviously have to face.
Available platforms: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC (Windows).
3. Loop Hero
Another game published by Devolver Digital in this list. Loop Hero is one of those “joker” games to have: it’s addictive and runs even in a toaster because it’s so light. All in pixel art style, the title may even give the impression of being silly, but it will need you to pay a lot of attention to really progress and not just get stuck in looping, which is exactly what the enemies want.
Loop Hero uses RPG mechanics (with inventory management) with a card building system, which allows you to select enemies and boosts along the way (which is randomly generated) and thus defeat monsters, get loot and get even stronger. face the “stage boss”.
Where the game shines is precisely in this part. It is necessary to think strategically to define the best places along the way to place opponents, in other words, do not create more problems than you will be able to face. It’s also important to know where to place boosts, how to choose and combine the best gear and, most importantly, to know when to retreat.
Available platforms: PC (Windows), macOS, Linux, Nintendo Switch.
Another metroidvania here with Unsighted , by the Brazilian studio Studio Pixel Punk. Unlike the more traditional side-scrolling style for platform games of the genre, Unsighted pins the camera to the top of the screen for an improved view of what’s happening around you.
All elaborated in beautiful pixel art, the gameplay is very intelligent, combining more action elements to its mechanics, which allows very agile combat and, sometimes, against multiple enemies at the same time. In addition to the solo mode, try the co-op as well. It’s pretty fun!
Available platforms: PC (Windows), PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
5. Tales of Arise
Something very curious about Tales of Ariseis that this title is part of a long-standing franchise, but apparently little known in the West. However, if you’re into JRPGs, chances are you’ve already played something from the series or heard about it.
It all started back in 1995, with Tales Of Phantasia , in the late Super Famicom (known around here as Super Nintendo). The game came out only in Japan, but was ported to the PlayStation in 1998. Back in the present, Tales of Arise brings a deeper and darker story than its predecessors, and combines sci-fi elements with all the already characteristic fantasy. of the franchise.
This game, in particular, is more accessible for those who have never played anything in the series before (in an attempt to popularize it, perhaps, in the West), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging. In fact, this is a great strategy to make more JRPGs fall in favor of Westerners. Monster Hunter World , for example, is an excellent example of success in this regard.
Available platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC (Windows).
6. Dodgeball Academy
From the Brazilian Pocket Trap studio, Dodgeball Academia is a fun dodgeball game, where newcomer Otto starts playing on the school team and, incredibly, gets supernatural abilities to make each match a veritable bombardment of lights and colors.
Most of the fun of Dodgeball Academy is figuring out how you can strategically synchronize your attacks with other players to score even more devastating points. Fortunately, for the school’s management, rivalry is only in sport and there is no bloodshed… Only in tears… Of the defeated.
Available platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PC (Windows), Xbox One.
7. Rain On Your Parade
Rain On Your Parade is one of those delicious chaotic games where you don’t have to worry about the why of things and just play to distract yourself and have a laugh. In the game, you control a nice cloud that got tired of just standing there in the sky and decided to take the wet chaos to the world.
The title mixes some genres, such as tower defense, first person shooter, chase and others. All this with a lot of fun (some good and others not so much), especially when hydrating (against their will) dozens of poor living beings. And the best of all? If you subscribe to the Game Pass, just download it.
Available platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC (Windows), Linux, MacOS.
This one goes for lovers of suffering bullet hell-style games, that is, bullet hell or even hail of gunfire. With a kind of Binding of Isaac feel , Archvale is an adventure game in which you need (guess what?) face hordes of enemies while wielding various weapons. As you succeed, your hero will advance to new, randomly generated areas as he grows more and more powerful.
Basically, the gameplay is all about having good reflexes to dodge deadly (but beautiful) projectiles, master your weapon, collect loot and create and improve your equipment. And this is all really fun. Well, for those who like the style. Ah, Archvale is also part of the Game Pass.
Available platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC (Windows)
9. Death’s Door
Devolver Digital got its foot in the door this year. That third studio nomination on this list is the likeable, fun, and challenging Death’s Door . In the game, you control a slightly different representation of Death and full of feathers this time. The reaper is a raven that, by an irony of its own fate, needs to collect more souls than was previously agreed to in order to save itself.
The gameplay, which features a mix of Zelda and Souls-like, is fluid and challenging in the right measure: losing sometimes will irritate you, being surrounded in this game can mean certain death, but winning is rewarding. Death’s Door is less punitive than Dark Souls , for example, but don’t underestimate it.
Other than that, the title is a lot of fun and both your dumb death crow and the other NPCs are very friendly and will be responsible for some giggles throughout the campaign as well. It’s really worth playing!
Available platforms: PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC (Windows)
10. The Artful Escape
The Artful Escape is a real psychedelic journey with lots of music and a very interesting story. The game is a platform side-scrolling and love letter to the musical influences of Australian artist Johnny Galvatron. The game has a very vibrant look and is heavily inspired by music legends such as David Bowie and Bob Dylan.
In the cast of voice actors, the title brings, for example, Lena Headey (the Cersei Lannister of Game Of Thrones ) and Carl Weathers (recently as Greef Karga, in The Mandalorian ). The game is almost contemplative, but it should appeal to those who enjoy beautiful and colorful visuals and incredible soundtracks. Even if it’s not your thing, it’s worth giving it a try especially since it’s part of the Game Pass too.
Available platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, iOS, PC (Windows), Linux, MacOS