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Year-ender 2021 | 10 games that got overlooked in outgoing year

From niche titles struggling to find an audience, to buggy releases that hampered otherwise decent games, here is a list of some games you might not have heard about in 2021.

December 26, 2021 / 07:38 PM IST
(Image Courtesy: Grasshopper Manufacture/Nintendo)

(Image Courtesy: Grasshopper Manufacture/Nintendo)

The games industry can be a tough field. With so many games being released each year, it's obvious that that some may go unnoticed. Whether it's due to poor launch, like in the case of Outriders and The Ascent or niche games that appeal to a fair few like No More Heroes 3, here are 10 games that you might have missed out on, in 2021.

Oddworld: Soulstorm

Oddworld just can't catch a break. New 'n' Tasty, the remake of Abe's Oddysee was criticised by fans for lacking the dark atmosphere of the original and letting the humour overpower the story. It was also flamed for its difficulty, which was pared down compared to the original.

Soulstorm also received a wave of criticism. Fans once again didn't seem too happy about the series shifting gears into a more fast-paced platformer, toning down the puzzle elements from the classic games and felt that the story was average and poorly told.

If you can look past these flaws, it's an interesting game and the bugs at launch, have also been mostly fixed.

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No More Heroes 3

You have to feel for Grasshopper Manufacture and Goichi Suda aka Suda 51. The man has written some of the most creative, wacky and sometimes surreal games out there but they never find the audience they deserve.

The trend continued with No More Heroes 3, Suda's cap off third game in the No More Heroes trilogy which once again had nothing to show for all the hard work put into the game. It had a poor opening, only selling about 8000 copies on Switch, when it debuted.

Inscryption

This game came out of nowhere, and was unbelievably, worked on by just one person, Daniel Mullen.

At heart, Incscryption is a card game and has all the mechanics that you would normally associate with the genre. The game uses that base as a building block, and slowly introduces new mechanics over time.

It is also a roguelike, which means if you die, you start over from the beginning, retaining some cards but losing all others. Then it has a layering of an escape room type puzzle game over that, in which you solve puzzles between rounds of card games to figure out the story.

Then Inscryption changes things up on you again. To add to all of this, is the genuinely unsettling and creepy atmosphere of the game. It's a unique experience and one that doesn't get made very often.

Munduan

Munduan is not for everyone. It is a first-person, heavily narrative focused, puzzle game with slight elements of combat that can be completely avoided, if you choose.

What makes the game unique is the strange and detailed handmade, sketch-book like artstyle, which is striking to look at. The game entirely relies on atmosphere and its bleak black and white presentation to deliver the chills, and it succeeds.

The Forgotten City

The Forgotten City began as a mod for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and somewhere along the line, it was picked up by Dear Villagers and recreated into a standalone release.

It relies heavily on its time-loop based narrative, that lets you make choices and then see them on the next loop. Without spoiling anything, Forgotten City tells the story of a forgotten Roman kingdom, where if you commit a sin, the gods punish every citizen equally and turn them into golden statues.

The game uses this a base to build a strong narrative, one that questions your understanding of humanity, giving your brain plenty to chew as you play.

Lost in Random

Lost in Random is what happens when you take Alice in Wonderland and turn it into a board game, then ask Tim Burton to direct a video game adaptation.

It has some really unique mechanics that lean into the narrative hard and an interesting premise, that sees the main protagonist Even and her companion, Dicey, travel through six levels of random to save her sister.

It's just as crazy as it sounds.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

The way Square Enix handled Marvel's Avengers left many fans bitter. This could be one of the reasons why Guardians of the Galaxy was overlooked.

Looming in the shadow of the Avengers, people were wary of another Square Enix Marvel game but Guardians of the Galaxy was a pleasant surprise.

Not only was it a fully featured, single player game at launch, it also told an interesting story and handled the main cast with great care. It also had a killer soundtrack.

Little Nightmares II

The prequel to 2017's spooky, puzzle platformer, Little Nightmares 2 like its predecessor, takes place entirely in a 2.5D perspective.

It feels just as spooky as the original, with a foreboding atmosphere, that is thick with tension as you solve puzzles and crawl your way out of danger.

Outriders

Outriders had a really, rough launch with a large number of bugs and technical issues that soured players on the game. Those who remained and played, were disappointed with the endgame, which was a tedious grindfest.

People can Fly have since put out patches to fix the issues and even released a free content update that adds more to do at endgame, but it feels like it's already too late.

Which is a shame, because underneath the problems is an enjoyable third-person shooter with cool abilities and classes, you just have to keep your expectations in check, to have fun.

The Ascent

Like Outriders, The Ascent was really rough at launch with bugs and server disconnects that angered players. Co-op was also totally busted at launch, and still has problems.

If you look past those, then The Ascent is a decent top-down ARPG with an interesting cyberpunk setting and unique premise.

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