Last September, we asked you, dear readers, to tell us what hidden treasures had slipped through our fingers. You’ve stood up for them, and our backlog (both personal and professional) feels even more daunting.
We’re not kidding when we say we had tons of nominations and therefore narrowing down the list was no small feat. Even so, this is our biggest “reader recommendation” list yet, with 24 titles that pique our interest. But don’t worry, even if your recommendation isn’t on the list, it’s still staring at us wistfully. Maybe part 6 will come very soon – this is the first we’ve done this year and the first in over a year. And we love hearing from you all! So if you still think we’re missing something, or have another recommendation, follow the instructions at the end of the article to name others!
As always, thank you very much for responding to our rallying cry. As always, we’ve narrowed down the nominations for games we’ve already reviewed and put together the following list of games we’ve missed. Each entry features a brief user comment or two (edited slightly in some cases for spelling and brevity), along with a trailer to give you some gameplay highlights. And, right at the end, you can vote in our poll and find out what games others have played. Maybe your next favorite is here on this list – and maybe ours is too.
And with all that out of the way, in no particular order, here are twenty-four NL reader recommendations you should seek out:
Editor: plain label / Developer: Odd Bug Studio
Need more playable mice in your video games? And not just the cute variety? Ross Farrey has a Metroidvania for you (and us) in Tails of Iron:
“Tails of Iron is a deeply satisfying 2D Metroidvania set in a kingdom of rats devastated by grotesque frog-like creatures. The game is challenging, yet accessible, and the combat has a deliberate tactical feel, much like Dark Souls – but the twist is that every enemy attack is telegraphed. Your job is to react quickly with the correct action. Blows, blocks and parries carry heavy weight giving each encounter a delightfully visceral feel. As you explore the realm , smash beasts and die a lot, the once dilapidated lands come to life with songs, colors and changing landscapes. It’s beautiful.”
Editor: Draknek and his friends / Developer: Corey Martin
The beautiful blocky 3D pixels of Bonfire Peaks catch the eye, but there’s so much more beyond the flames, as Raymond Benson points out:
“My pick is Bonfire Peaks. It’s a challenging puzzle game about moving boxes towards a fireplace. The game’s vibe is very relaxing and its puzzles are infinitely clever, full of ‘you could do this all the time ?’ The overworld itself is also a larger puzzle that involves using rewards from completed puzzles to progress.
Editor: laundry bear games
Everyone deserves a little love in their life, and Speed Dating for Ghosts shows us that even the living dead can find love in the afterlife. McGloomy explains the charm of this game:
“Speed Dating for Ghosts does not disappoint as it is exactly what it says on the box, and more. I was expecting a quirky dating sim, but to my surprise the game also deals with darker, more melancholy sides of death and the afterlife. Its scribbled art style, low use of color, and subtle soundtrack create a minimalist atmosphere that lets your imagination fill in the gaps – as the player gets to know more about the ghosts they date.
Developer: The good factory
“Juicy personal drama” on the go? Mutazione’s cute minimalist style and mutant characters hide a heartfelt story, as McGloomy reveals:
“Mutazione came out a year ago and I’ve always felt a little overlooked on the Switch. Inspired by everything from Studio Ghibli movies to TV soaps, the game tells the story of a girl visiting an island inhabited by a (mostly) friendly community of mutants.Its slice-of-life narrative is built around bigger mysteries, and the game’s interesting characters make it a great option for fans of games like Night in the Woods. Following the release of Mutazione, there have been two updates full of fanservice that show just how much the developers care about this game and its world.”
Editor: sumire / Developer: GameTomo
Sumire’s critical acclaim is attributed to more than its stunning graphics, as Pramath testifies:
“I can’t remember the last time a game drained me so emotionally – Sumire is amazing on so many levels. It’s a very sad game, but it’s also extremely hopeful. The themes and the central message resonate and are universally identifiable. The writing is remarkably simple yet very, VERY strong. The characters are all fleshed out and the dialogue is authentic and makes the cast feel real. And, as well as the gorgeous art style and the beautiful music, unlike so many indie games of this nature, the gameplay is also excellent, with well-thought-out puzzles and legitimately fun gameplay loops.”
Editor: Aksys Games / Developer: Live
Akysys Games has quite a unique library of games, and Tobias Ayling we missed a gem in the dungeon-crawler Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi:
“This game simply oozes character and subtle menace. Take an old-school turn-based first-person dungeon crawler, clear out the fantasy traps, and layer it on 70s Japanese horror. Insert subtext around the capitalist exploitation of workers, a few ironic nods to Japanese gaming staples, and mix in absolutely impeccable sound, graphics, and system design, and it all comes together in a beautifully Finally, use miniature character biographies and short conversations to unravel the depths of horror and angst that suffocate the world and you’ll have reached Yomi, your job is to make it out alive.
Rhythm games are rare these days, but Ilya Zverev has one that’s both short and also pays homage to some of our favorite 90s games in Old School Musical:
“I’d suggest Old School Musical. It’s short, easy to get to, and an absolute blast of a rhythm game. You travel through various 90s game homages, but you don’t play them: instead, you press the buttons to the beat of the music while the characters play the game for you. If you miss a button press, they get hit. The replayability is good, there’s an infinite chicken world, and you can try to beat the game at higher difficulty levels.
Tired of playing versus 5+ people? Pico Park lets you work with bigger teams of friends and is full of cute, pixelated cats! Ilya Zverev thinks this is the one we’ll love:
“Pico Park is a marvel of cooperative multiplayer. It’s one of the few Switch games you can play with more than 5 players, not against each other. Instead, you work together to solve dozens of puzzles. platforming puzzles. Each of you should work perfectly, which leads to a lot of failures and laughs in the process. And all the characters are cats!”
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