Saturday, December 2, 2017

2018 Hopefuls

There's still a little ways to go before 2017 is over.  That said, I already find myself looking forward to the coming year and what it will bring.  A bunch of  interesting games have been announced so I thought I'd share a list of a half-dozen titles that have my attention.  Here they are in no particular order...

Frostpunk, as the name suggest, is set in Victorian England during the sudden onset of a global ice age.  The player is tasked with trying to keep a starting group of about a hundred men, women, and children, alive by settling them around the base of a towering coal-fired furnace.  Securing supplies of of wood, metal, and food are obviously important to survival, but not as critically as coal which is need to ward off the -40 degree daytime temperatures.  Sounds like a good game to play in winter.  Hopefully it will make its first quarter release window.

Not much is known about FAR: Lone Sails aside from a short video clip that has been making the rounds.  From what I can gather it's a side-scrolling adventure game that puts the player in the role of a lone post-apocalyptic explorer who travels a dried seabed in a massive wind-powered scrap wagon.  Salvaging and discovery are probably two of the key gameplay mechanics.  The developers also boast that their game is zombie-free.

Ashen is a cooperative adventure RPG in the vein of the Soulsborne series.  Visually, it distinguishes itself with a somewhat simplified presentation that gives it an impressionistic look akin to RiME or Absolver.  The setting appears to be a generic fantasy world, although some screenshots imply that things might be less conventional than they first appear.  Regardless, the teamwork aspects is what makes this game a potentially unique experience.

Tank Mechanic Simulator is a curious variation on the multi-iteration Car Mechanic Simulator franchise.  Obviously, the novelty of restoring World War 2 era armored fighting vehicles instead of automobiles is the main draw, but I hope that's not all there is to it.  Whether it be managing museum exhibits, coordinating with private collectors, or planning tricky salvage operations, there really needs to be more things to do with these steel relics than simply replacing the rusty old bits with shiny new bits.

Overland has been in quasi early access for a long time now.  In a nutshell it feels like an answer to the question, "what would you get if you turned Jalopy into a post-apocalyptic turn-based strategy game with burrowing monsters?"  A bit reductive, I know, especially since the game has a distinct vibe to it; reminiscent of Kentucky Route Zero or even Oregon Trail.  Much like those two games, the simplistic graphics convey a surprising amount.

I mentioned this last one before in another blogpost, but I'll bring it up here again since UBOOT represents the most recent attempt to simulate the history of underwater warfare.  Like many other entries in the subgenre, it chooses to focus on the North Atlantic area during the second World War.  Given the nature of the conflict in that region at that time, players will have to take the role of the Kriegsmarine.  Playing as the unambiguous bad guys in a historical context is always a tricky business.  Most games get around it by focusing on the simulation aspect, but I'm curious to see if this game will bring anything new to the table narratively speaking.

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