Co-founder and lead writer of We Bleed Pixels. Loves fantasy, RPGs and talking about games. Hates horror, multiplayer and not talking about games.
2019 is just over a month underway, and it looks to be a promising year in terms of games. We’ve already seen the first blockbuster release in Kingdom Hearts 3, and many more top titles flash on the horizon. The likes of Anthem, Metro Exodus, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Gears 5, to name a few. But amidst all these big names, there’s also plenty of smaller titles that will see the light in 2019. Here’s three smaller games worth keeping an eye on in 2019.
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC
Release: February 26
There’s a solid chance you’ve never heard of Trials before, despite the fact the series has been around since 2000. Trials is probably best described as a physics-based platform racing game. You control a rider on a motorcycle, with whom you have to complete tracks consisting of several obstacles. It’s 2.5D world and physics have been perfected by developer RedLynx over the years, providing superb gameplay.
A small warning from someone who has been playing Trials since 2010 however; it’s not the easiest game. The series fits the ‘easy to learn, difficult to master’ category perfectly. Tracks are divided into 5 difficulties: Beginner, Easy, Medium, Hard and Extreme. The first two won’t be much of a problem to anyone, whilst Hard and Extreme tracks may make you want to pull your hair out. Oh, and you’ll definitely want to play this with a controller, even on PC.
But don’t be deterred by this small warning! Trials may be difficult, but there’s a great community behind it if you’re struggling. While not as big as other games, the Trials community is close-knit, and driven by a communal love for the series. Its members regularly come together on forums and in livestreams, so help is never far away,
Trials can be fun and frustrating in equal measure. At the same time though, it can be as addictive as it can be hard.
Sea of Solitude
Sea of Solitude was announced at EA Play 2018, and was my personal highlight of the show. After seeing just a few seconds of its trailer, I was already convinced. I want to play this game, and I want to play it ASAP.
Players control a young woman named Kay as she explores an abandoned submerged city. According to developer Jo-Mei’s creative director Cornelia Geppert, Sea of Solitude will explore themes like loneliness, worthlessness, endurance and love. Though perhaps the game’s teaser line on EA’s website is more intriguing:
”When humans get too lonely, they turn into monsters. That’s what happened to Kay. Now only monsters can change her back.”
While Sea of Solitude may not be for everyone, it is a game I am very much looking forward to. It promises to be similar to titles such as RiME, Gone Home and What Remains of Edith Finch (the latter is very much worth your time and money by the way). Relatively short games with simple gameplay that explore more mature themes. I will undoubtedly pick up Sea of Solitude once it launches, and I hope you will keep an eye on it at least.
In the Valley of Gods
Before you continue, answer these questions: have you ever played Firewatch? Did you enjoy it? If you answered both questions with ‘yes’, go to Steam now and add In the Valley of Gods to your wishlist.
In the Valley of Gods is the new, upcoming title of Campo Santo, developers of the critically acclaimed Firewatch. If the game’s FAQ is to be believed, both games will be quite similar in terms of gameplay and storytelling. Hence the questions above. If you enjoyed Firewatch, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on this one.
If you haven’t played Firewatch however, let me tell you what you can likely expect from In the Valley of Gods. It won’t be that exciting in terms of gameplay. Expect something along the lines of a walking simulator. The game’s main focus will be its narrative and story, and the world used to tell it. Like Sea of Solitude, this will not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you enjoy and/or appreciate narrative-driven games though, this one is worth keeping an eye on.