If you asked me a few years back about how I felt about downloadable games, I would say I didn’t care for them. Something didn’t feel right about having a game that wasn’t on a physical disc. Sure, it might have been cheaper and a way to get smaller projects out the door, but if it didn’t come out on a disc, I wasn’t interested. However, that has now changed, and some of my favorite games have come out on the downloadable side of the home console and PC markets. 2014 has a lot of really interesting and fun-looking downloadable games coming out. This list will include games from both big name publishers and indie/Kickstarter groups, because a lot of the downloadable games that are coming out are from those small developers. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of downloadable games coming out and I can’t list them all. I will start with honorable mentions and then move onto the actual list. I will also try to keep the list as varied as possible since there are hundreds of first person-perspective survival games that I honestly don’t care for and games that were inspired by Super Metroid and MegaMan X. If you don’t agree with my list, that is fine. Go make your own list and share your opinions about the games you are looking forward to. That’s really all this list is about, the downloadable games I am looking forward to. Let’s start with the honorable mentions. I also won’t include Broken Age since it’s already out, and as you already know if you’ve read my review, I think you should buy it. Here are the honorable mentions. Cuphead: I wish there was more shown about this little run-and-gun game, but I really like the art style that reminds me of the cartoons from the 30s, and the one on one fights that it is advertising. It looks unique, and I hope we can get some home console news about it in the future. Soul Saga: I like that this game is taking inspiration from the great 16-bit and PlayStation RPGs of yesteryear, but some other games beat this one out. I am also not fully hooked on the art style from what I have seen. Below: For now, an Xbox One exclusive with rogue-like elements, difficult gameplay, and permadeath wrapped in a nice looking game. One game beat this one out to be on the list, but this is still one of the last few unique Xbox One games coming out that is worth keeping your eye on. Rain World: A survival platformer where you play as something called a Slugcat trying to survive. It reminds me of those cinematic platformers like Another World and Heart of Darkness in terms of animation and gameplay. It looks interesting, to say the least. Hohokum: I have a hard time describing this very colorful game. No stressful goals or anything. Just fly around and enjoy the beautiful visuals by artist Richard Hogg, and the music that goes along with it. Just check it out for yourself because I can’t put this game into words. Transistor: a cool action strategy game from the makers of Bastion? Sign me up! Just wish there was a little more to see besides the little snippets of gameplay and the drop-dead beautiful visuals. Ghost Song: This is yet another action platformer that was inspired by Super Metroid. Even some of the assets the game has look too similar to the game I mentioned above. That is why it is in the honorable mentions. It looks a little too much like Super Metroid, and I hope once the game is released, the assets change, but it still looks like a fun game. Let the official list begin now!
19. Natural Doctrine
Even though you would know Kadokawa Games for their collaborations with Suda 51’s company Grasshopper Manufacture, they are officially releasing their first in-house game, and it is a tactical RPG known as Natural Doctrine. This game has some cool mechanics thrown in, like destructible environments that players can hide behind or climb on top of, and the ability to snipe your opponents. Oh, and if you die, the game ends. Hopefully you are a good tactician so the battle doesn’t end after one soldier dying. This game is also being led by the director of the popular Patapon franchise. The game is coming out for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita. There are also some multiplayer modes competitive and co-op. We will have to see how Kadokawa Games’ first game will pan out for them. Hopefully they will have a home run.
18. A Hat in Time
Some people were disappointed that this little game didn’t make it on my Most Anticipated Games of 2014 list, but it doesn’t mean I am still not excited for it. It has everything I love about platformers and it looks incredibly fun. It also doesn’t hurt that it has famed composer Grant Kirkhope composing some songs for the game. I just wish they would tell us that they have a home console release. They say they have some news about it and then they never follow up, and that annoys me a little. I prefer to play platformers on a home console whether it be on my PlayStation 3, Wii U, Wii, Xbox 360, or whatever. I prefer to play certain genres on certain platforms. It’s like how some people prefer playing shooters on PC. 17. Project Cars
In a time where it seems like every developer is going towards the consoles that can be more graphically powerful, it is nice to see a game that can be on any console, with nothing holding them back. Project Cars is that kind of game. Even though it is more about being super-realistic, something that I am not always on board with when I want to play racing games, this game looks amazing! The graphics and sound are top quality. Even watching the trailer, some parts looked so extremely realistic that it was eerie. With sharp-looking graphics, people who have experience with racing games, and being on a multitude of consoles, this is one realistic racing game I don’t mind owning.
Rime looks to be, for a lack of a better word, interesting. It is being developed by the same guys who made Deadlight, a zombie game that got mixed reviews. It combines elements of Ico, Journey, with the cel-shaded style of Wind Waker. It also doesn’t hurt that the creative director took inspiration from Studio Ghibli films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. It’s an overall beautiful game, and I would probably use it for examples of why a different art style gives a game an identity. Oh, and the composer for the game is Akira Yamaoka, the guy who composed music for the Silent Hill series and a lot of Suda 51 games. There hasn’t been a lot of gameplay shown so far of the game, and that worries me since I heard Deadlight’s combat wasn’t the greatest, and I would hate to have one element of the gameplay ruin the experience of something this promising. Once I get a PlayStation 4, you can count on the fact that I will be downloading this game.
15. No Man’s Sky
Even after the troublesome situations Hello Games has had with their studio getting flooded and etc., a lot of us still have high hopes for the one game that blew everyone out of the water during the VGX stream. I remember when I was watching it with the staff at Gamnesia and I had to refresh my page to get the stream to work. When it refreshed and was playing normally, this trailer popped up and my eyes widened. A flying combat game set in a beautiful-looking universe that is filled with procedurally-generated worlds to explore. It’s funny to think such an amazing game is coming from the same developer that made the fantastic Joe Danger games. I am not usually the kind of guy who likes flight combat games, but No Man’s Sky is easily one of the few flight combat/exploration games everyone should check out, and it should be on all of the now current gen consoles.
14. Ghost of a Tale
This game is like if you combined the best atmospheric parts of Dark Souls and combined it with Redwall and The Secret of Nihm. You play the role of a mouse on an island trying to find this treasure that is located high up in a tower. The island is unfortunately infested with the undead souls of rats and other beings that you will encounter on your adventure. I love what I have seen in the alpha trailer of the game and it looks like something I would personally play. So far, it is only going to be on PC consoles, but I hope in the future we get some home console ports like on the PlayStation 4 or Wii U. Let’s see if this little critter’s adventure has any stumbles. 13. The Girl and the Robot
Don’t lie, you thought of Castle in the Sky when you first heard about this game. It has some elements from that movie that seem familiar. However, is that really a bad thing that this game has elements that remind you of a really good movie? The game does look promising, with early footage showing a bit of combat and one type of puzzle you will encounter. Of course, the game is still in production so there isn’t much more to see, but I like the look of it and some of the music that has been shown off. Hopefully the developer, Flying Carpet Games, can bring us an experience filled with actions, emotions, and robot knights. I know early impressions of the game doesn’t look all that interesting, but I bet in the end, we can get a high quality game.
12. Road Redemption
Remember the Road Rash series? Remember when biker combat could actually be done well and Ride to Hell: Retribution became an example of how not to make a good biker game? Well, if you have been having that car combat itch that the recent Twisted Metal game didn’t cure, you should check out Road Redemption! Like I said, this game is basically the spiritual successor to the popular Road Rash franchise where you ride a motorcycle and use a multitude of weapons to take out other opponents that are on motorcycles. I also like that you can push your opponent into an ongoing moving vehicle and not waste any ammo. It just looks like a load of fun, and it’s coming out for PC, Xbox 360, and Wii U, which is nice.
11. Hyper Light Drifter
So, when I was looking at games that had beautiful pixel artwork, I was going to choose between Hyper Light Drifter and the Xbox One exclusive Below. While I really like the look of Below and its game mechanics, Hyper Light Drifter is the more interesting game. The world that you travel and fight your way through is more visually pleasing, the combat looks more interesting, I like the little sprite companion that is by your side, the different sub-weapons, and the pixel art visuals are just amazing to look at. It’s just a cool-looking Kickstarter game, and I hope it does well. 10. Bloom: Memories
Can anyone tell me how someone made such a beautiful looking game? I mean, holy cow, this game’s art style is beautiful. Outside of the gorgeous look, this game combines elements you would see in games like Thief, where stealth might be a better option than fighting your way through the baddies you encounter on this journey. There is also a mechanic where you can talk your way out of encounters and even find yourself not hurting a fly the whole time you play through the game. Hopefully the game is well designed enough around those three mechanics of stealth, action, and negotiation to not lean on one over the other. Once again, games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution boast that you can tackle the game any way you wish, but you really can’t. I am just curious to hear more about this beautiful atmospheric game in the future.
Let’s see here. We have an adventure game that looks like a unique Japanese pop-up book, developed by ex-Rare employees, and a soundtrack by a fantastic composer by the name of David Wise. If this doesn’t sound like an amazing package of talent, I don’t know what will. 8. Tales from The Borderlands/Game of Thrones: A Telltale Episodic series
I already mentioned these two games in another list I made, so I won’t talk too much about them here. I will say that we are finally getting a genre that fits the Game of Thrones IP and we are hopefully getting a more story-focused experience for the Tales from The Borderlands game.
7. Massive Chalice
I am not the biggest fan of tactical turn-based RPGs, but I have played my fair share of them, like Valkyria Chronicles, which is one of my all-time favorite video games. Hearing that Double Fine Productions, one of my all-time favorite developers, was making a new game from Kickstarter, I checked out the video and saw what they had to offer. Besides the very funny Kickstarter video, it has gameplay inspired by the greats like XCOM and Final Fantasy Tactics, you have customizable heroes, turn-based combat, and permadeath! One of the mechanics that interests me is that you can retire your best warriors to make new little baby warriors with their traits so they can go and fight, and then those baby warriors can retire to make more little babies that can kill! Since this is Double Fine Productions, I bet we will also get some of their trademark writing and humor to help keep you invested within the game’s world. With a talented group of people, rogue-like elements, some features of Game of Throne’s noble families, and a tactical RPG inspired by the greats, Massive Chalice will surely be one of the more interesting tactical RPGs to be released on PC.
A lot of small-time and big-time developers like to throw around words like “unique” to express their game, and for the most part, very few games deserve that word to be used to describe them. Karmaflow is one of those rare few games that can use words like “unique.” Sure, it might be a puzzle platformer, but it is also an epic rock opera with famous real-life metal band singers voicing the characters. It once again has a beautiful art style that gives the game its own identity, and it personally reminds me of something I would see in some kind of European epic metal album cover or some kind of character you would see in some kind of fantasy lore book. Either way, I hope we get some console releases for this very cool sounding game.
I think I am getting a bit too addicted to adventure games. I mean, here is another adventure game to be on the lookout for and was also on my most anticipated list. Like I said on my most anticipated games list, I really enjoyed the claymation look of the game since the entire world of Armikrog is made of clay. I like that the main character, Tommynaught is voiced by Michael J Nelson, and his best friend Beak-Beak is voiced by Rob Paulsen. It looks like a game filled with charm and I can’t wait for this game to be released. 4. The 90’s Arcade Racer
While I am all for racing games being realistic to a point that can be terrifying, I prefer to just sit back and play some more arcade-style racing games. The 90’s Arcade Racer is going to cure that itch I have for games like Rumble Racing, Rush 2049, Daytona USA, and Outrun. The game is also not afraid of color and to look fun. I mean, I know we can play games that can give us multiple experiences, and the term “fun” can be subjective, but this game just looks like a game you can sit down and have a few quick races. If you are looking for a home console version of this game, it is only coming out for the Wii U.
3. Shovel Knight
Combining the best aspects of Mega Man, Castlevania, and the NES Ducktales, the popular Kickstarter game, Shovel Knight is right up there with one of the more highly anticipated games to be coming out soon. I really love that your shovel is used for both platforming and combat, and not just used for one or the other. What is also cool about this game is that while it has amazing music by Jake Kaufman, it will also have some music composed by the woman who did the soundtrack to the first Mega Man, Manami Matsumae. When this game was announced, I really wasn’t into the whole Kickstarter thing, but after watching a couple of videos showing off demos of the game, I just kept getting more and more excited. The main character also has a lot of charm. I mean, it’s a knight with a shovel on quest to defeat evil. You have to have a little fun with that concept.
2. Child of Light
Okay, you know the drill about this one. I mentioned a lot about what I really love about this game coming out from Ubisoft in my most anticipated games list. It has combat that is very similar to the Grandia franchise, the water color art style is drop dead beautiful, the music sounds fantastic, and it’s going to have this dark fairy tale story done in rhyme. Just be sure to have space on any of the consoles it will be on so you can download one of the more interesting RPGs coming out.
1. Valiant Hearts: The Great War
I feel like an idiot for not finding out about this game until recently. Not only is Ubisoft making a beautiful RPG, they are also making a very mature-looking adventure game using the same engine used in Rayman Legends. It follows the life of six characters during the First World War. First off, that is a unique setting we don’t see that often. It’s always modern warfare or World War II or something boring, and that has been done multiple times already. The story is inspired by letters found during that war, which will hopefully cause me to be more personally invested with the characters. I also really like that they are using tools, and are designing puzzles that would be accurate for that time of war. I am just so excited for this game. I wish it was coming out for the Wii U also instead of only the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, but I will be getting this game for my PlayStation 3 and enjoying the hopefully mature story of six people during World War I.