Anyone hoping to spend 2018 catching up on all the great games they didn’t have the time to play last year might be out of luck, because 2018 is looking like it’ll be another big year.
There’s a lot to be excited about—and, no doubt, a lot of stuff that we haven’t even heard about yet—but there are a few games that I’m especially looking forward to.
Last year was a banner year for depictions and exploration of mental illness in games, and that trend looks set to continue in 2018. Described as a “a surreal adventure of rendered emotions”, Anamorphine has you exploring the dreamlike memories of a man going through post-traumatic denial and guilt. “Will you confront the past and try to find a way to move on, or will you let it consume you?”
Anamorphine is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, PC, Vive, and Oculus Rift in Q1 2018, with an Xbox One released planned for later in the year.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
I’ve been waiting for a new “IGAvania” for many, many years, and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night looks set to deliver exactly that. Even in the really early build I played a few years ago, Bloodstained had the look and feel of a modern successor to Koji Igarashi’s Castlevania games, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the final product turns out.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is due for release on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC at some point on 2018.
“Pixel-art platformer” isn’t exactly a niche these days, but Celeste looks like no other game out there. It’s art style manages to be both minimalist and detailed (and all kinds of cute), and the momentum-driven platforming is some of the most creative I’ve seen to date. And coming from the developer of TowerFall, you just know it’s going to be good.
Celeste comes out on 25 January for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC.
Children of Morta
I tend to find rogue-likes (and rogue-lites) very hit and miss, but if the early access version is any indication, Children of Morta is absolutely a hit. It’s simple but deep hack-and-slash combat is incredibly satisfying, and the haunting world and bleak story of the guardians of Mount Morta are easy to get lost in.
Children of Morta is due out sometime this year on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Dragon Quest Builders 2
The original Dragon Quest Builders was a remarkable success at giving the block-building gameplay of Minecraft more focus and narrative structure. Dragon Quest Builders 2 looks like more of the same, but with new features like a hang glider, the ability to create waterfalls, diving, and multiplayer.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is coming to Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. There’s no official word on a release window, but at Dragon Quest Summer Festival 2017, producer Yuji Horii predicted it could release in Japan in summer 2018.
Dragon Quest XI
I’ve played a little bit of the Japanese version of Dragon Quest XI—enough to know that it is very, very good, and that I can’t wait to play it in English. It’s classic Dragon Quest, really, but with a sense of scale that only modern console can deliver, and a few welcome tweaks to combat and traversal to make them more engaging.
Dragon Quest XI is due out in the West sometime this year on PlayStation 4 and 3DS. A Switch version is also in the works, but there’s no release window for that just yet.
Dreams is a very hard game to describe. Built around the concept of creating “dreams” and sharing them with other players, who can then play them and remix them before passing them along, it’s part game development tool, part interactive art, and part remix culture brought to life. It seems like the natural extension of everything that Media Molecule was doing with LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway.
Dreams is coming to PlayStation 4 this year.
Fe is the latest game from the indie incubator arm of EA (who gave us the incredible Unravel). As the fox-like Fe, you explore a dark, fairy tale-esque Nordic forest, befriending animals and trying to protect the land from evil entities known as The Silent Ones, using song to interact with the world around you.
Fe is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch on February 16.
I feel like I’ve been waiting for Iconoclasts forever. I first heard of the game back around the launch of Noitu Love 2 in 2012, and even then, Iconoclasts had been in development for a few years. Now, its release is finally upon us, and I can’t wait to see how Joakim Sandberg’s colourful Metroidvania has turned out.
Iconoclasts is due out on 24 January for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and PC.
After the excellent Shardlight, Francisco González is someone whose games I’ll always look forward to—and so it is with his latest, Lamplight City. Set in “an alternate steampunk-ish ‘Victorian’ past”, the game follows Miles Fordham, a private investigator who’s slowly losing his grip on sanity.
Lamplight City is due out on PC this year.