The best PC games of 2013

PC Gamer

If you're looking for our updated list, check out our grand guide to the games of 2014 .

2012 bobs away on the rushing river of history, washing into the past a dozen Dunwall guard bark memes, at least one controversially-terminated space saga and a worryingly-exhilarating excess of animal slaughter. But what's that on the horizon, surging through the frothy wake of the year just gone? It's - surprise! - 2013.

The next 12 pages detail nearly every reason to be excited about the 365 days to come, and the armada of delights they bring. There are more combat bows than you can shake a punctured elk at, an unholy host of horrors, genre-smashing interstellar epics, multiplayer mega-franchises, petrolhead-pleasers, reinvigorated point-and-clickers, Kickstarter darlings, Greenlight outliers and many, many more. Click on to discover why 2013 may just be the most exciting year for gamers yet.

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Below, a special hour-long discussion between Logan , Evan , and Tyler about what they're looking forward to most in 2013.

http://youtu.be/IQuQ9J-Z4L4

ACTION

Dead Space 3

Publisher: EA

Release: February 8

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The sudden appearance of a co-op mode in this venerable space-horror franchise may sound like the marketing department got a little trigger happy with the back-of-box checklist, but there are reasons to be optimistic. Firstly, didn't we all the say the same gloomy things about Mass Effect 3's excellent multiplayer? Secondly, Dead Space already showed it could deliver terror to a twosome in its (actually terrific, sadly undersold) Wii light-gun game. What's more, the game's roots have hardly been forgotten: it's still perfectly possible to play the game on your tod. This one promises to add themes of insanity and perception to the traditional jump-scares and body-horror.

In our review we called Dead Space 3 "an excellent horror game burdened with action pretensions", so it seems we had reason to be optimistic after all.

Tomb Raider

Publisher: Square Enix

Release: March 5

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Vulnerability and survival are the watchwords for this reinvention of the Tomb Raider series, which finds a young and unworldly Lara Croft shipwrecked on an island - a far cry from the backflipping, dual-wielding daredevil treasure-seeker who murdered her way through polygonal archeological hoards during the mid-nineties. Crystal Dynamics are certainly brave in taking this iconic character in such a dark, mature direction - but will the cost to our heroine's empowerment prove too great a price to pay?

Kinda. "Visually stunning and meticulously staged, but hindered by limited depth and stifling linearity" was our verdict when we reviewed Tomb Raider.

Strike Suit Zero

Publisher: Born Ready Games

Release: January 24

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Space combat has proven popular on Kickstarter but the interplanetary dogfighting of Strike Suit Zero wasn't born from the crowdfunding process. Instead, this rather beautiful off-world blaster had been a while in development already and will be using the $175k it raised to, uh, kickfinish the project, and then kickpolish it, too.

Tempted to give Strike Suit Zero a spin? Make sure you read our review first.

Fortnite

Publisher: Epic Games

Release: TBC 2013

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Perhaps keen to prove that there's more to Unreal Engine 4 than high-definition beefcakes gunning down space goblins in the destroyed beauty of a future city, Epic Games' first proof of their new technology will be the cartoonish tower defence game, Fortnite. The clean, chirpy visuals belie technological innovation, however: UE4 will allow players huge freedom in the way they construct their anti-zombie fortifications, editing each wall with a 3x3 grid. The plan is that the game will have a long-tail, with many post-release updates, eventually allowing players to construct Rube Goldberg-style machines of death.

Starforge

Publisher: CodeHatch

Release: TBC 2013

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Minecraft with guns, realistic graphics, and both ground and low-orbit construction. Interested? Starforge is a ridiculously ambitious crowd-funded indie project that's already come a remarkably long way. You deform terrain and build a fortress to protect yourself from aliens, and when all else fails, use a shotgun to blast them into pieces. If the small team can make those weapons feel nice to fire, it'll be a winner.

Remember Me

Publisher: Capcom

Release: June 3

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“We'll always have Paris,” as the saying goes - not so much in the Neo-Paris of 2084, when memories can be erased or altered by Memory Hunters. You play as one such mnemonic saboteur, called Nilin, herself rendered amnesiac by agents of the oppressive Parisien regime. Thirdperson acrobatics and assassinations ensue as you try to piece together the conspiracy, and featuring the world's most complicated sounding combat system . You also get to wreck men's minds by jumping into their memory and replaying events to reconfigure their recollection. Convince someone they killed their girlfriend during an argument, for instance, and you may just drive them to suicide. How lovely.

Cast your mind back to June and you might recall our Remember Me review .

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: August 20

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Ninja-spy Sam Fisher without voice-actor Michael Ironside is like bread without butter. Talking butter. Sardonic, gravelly-voiced, talking butter. But despite the new vocal chords lent to Fisher, this sixth outing for the sneak-em-up series may yet prove to be more loyal to the action of the earlier games. While Splinter Cell: Conviction saw Sam on the lam, decimating a small army of enemies with little attempt at secrecy, Blacklist's latest trailers show off non-lethal takedowns - much more to the tastes of the discerning spy.

We rather enjoyed the multiplayer mode when we stepped into Sam Fisher's sneaky shoes this September. The rest of it? Not so much .

Lost Planet 3

Publisher: Capcom

Release: August 27

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Previous instalments in this thirdperson shooter series have been an intriguing but not always comfortable mix of Gears of War and Shadow of the Colossus, with players cooperatively slaying giant beasts and hordes of future-pirates on the world of EDN 3 - in the first instance a bleak ball of ice, thawing to a steaming jungle in its sequel. This game promises to be a prequel, so we can assume a few stiff breezes and frosty mornings. It also promises to be more narrative-led - which is worrying given the entirely charmless fiction of previous games. More worrisome still is the fact that the original developers aren't on board, replaced by Spark Unlimited, responsible for crimping off the reeking digi-turd which was Turning Point: Fall of Liberty. Brr.

Star Trek

Publisher: Namco Bandai

Release: April 23

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Bridging the gap between JJ Abrams' reboot and the upcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness, this tie-in will certainly deliver Hollywood glitz with its cast - and usually that would be all you could expect. But this is being handled by Digital Extremes, a studio with an admittedly mixed portfolio, but one riding high after the triumphant carnage of the Darkness 2. They may well have the chops to enliven even the most linear thirdperson actioner.

PSA: Star Trek is a game you should most likely avoid .

DmC: Devil May Cry

Publisher: Capcom

Release: 25 January

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There were wails of anguish in console-land when this reboot of beloved demon-bashing combo-brawler Devil May Cry was first announced. But if the word from those with review code is good - and so far the mutterings are most auspicious indeed - then few complaints will survive the game's release. It seems that British devs Ninja Theory may have the moves to make even Bayonetta blush. The one worry is how well it'll port to PC, a duty outsourced to Polish team QLOC - but a promised 60 FPS, with no maximum limit, is a rather good start.

It was supposed to be terrible, but DmC was actually pretty great, as opined in our review .

Smite

Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios

Release: 2013 (closed beta out now)

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Hi-Rez, the makers of the exquisite Tribes: Ascend, have had this thirdperson take on the DotA formula in beta for some time. Instead of defending Ancients with a team of eccentric legendary warriors, however, here you fight to protect your pet minotaur with a cross-pantheon selection of gods taken from major world religions - a fact which has proven controversial with men of the cloth.

Dark

Publisher: Kalypso Media

Release: July 4

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A stealth action game in which players take on the role of a vampire anti-hero attempting to bring down a shadowy corporation in a futuristic cel-shaded city - or “a world of blood and darkness” as the press release rather hysterically puts it. As well as being possessed of supernatural sneakiness, our protagonist can face down the police and all many of night-time terrors with a range of vampiric powers that allow him to turn to smoke or close for the kill with lightning speed.

Are you afraid of the Dark? Once you've read our review, you sure will be .

Battle Cry Of Freedom

Publisher: Flying Squirrel Entertainment

Release: TBC 2013

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Ambitious indie multiplayer game set during the American Civil War. Promises battles with more than five hundred players, buildable barricades, trenches, and explosives, and even musicians that can play a range of period-appropriate tunes. It's still very early days, but worth keeping an eye on.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

Publisher: 2K Games

Release: August 20

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This action-based reboot of XCOM met with such acrimony from fans of the original turnbased strategy game that its release date scurried off into the distant future, allowing Firaxis' more loyal squad-tactics remake, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, to take centre-stage. The game finally emerged under a new moniker, The Bureau, a name that made clear this was a sort of side-story, rather than a potential new direction for the celebrated series.

You can read our The Bureau review here , if the government hasn't got to it first.

Monaco

Publisher: Pocketwatch Games

Release: April 24

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Players take on role of primary-coloured pixellated thieves, each with specialised roles, in this four-player top-down heist game. It's great: it won the IGF and a whole bunch of other gongs way back in 2010. Where's it got to since? Sources assure us it is indeed still in development, and not spending ill-gotten gains in the casinos of Rio de Janeiro as rumoured.

Cross Of The Dutchman

Publisher: Triangle Studios

Release: TBC 2013

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Though the promised demo has missed its October launch date by some way, the signs are that development on this action adventure title still continues apace. Based on the folk legend of Frisian freedom fighter Pier Gerlofs Donia, this hopes to be a historically loyal recreation of the story and setting, despite the lush caricaturish style.

Rambo: The Video Game

Publisher: Reef Entertainment

Release: Early 2013

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While Rambo has since become synonymous with action by dint of its excessive sequels, it's far from certain that the first film, which is largely about a man undergoing a PTSD-induced meltdown in some woodland, will really adequately satisfy as a shooter. Still, it can't be any worse the Ubisoft's recent efforts with The Expendables, right?

Legend Of Dungeon

Publisher: RobotLovesKitty

Release: September 13

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This may just be the reason Kickstarter was invented: to fund a four-player roguelike dungeon crawler with a delicious pixel-art style. And presumably the people who helped it hit its funding target six times over agree.

Super Comboman

Publisher: Interabang Entertainment

Release: Late 2013

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A 2D platformer/beat-'em-up hybrid with heavy emphasis on - you may have guessed - combos. Super Comboman sees you rock a sweet mullet and a talking fanny-pack while slamming enemies with an unending string of slickly animated moves. Cute stick-album art-style, too.

Retrovirus

Publisher: Cadenza Interactive

Release: 31 January

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A shooter with six-axes of freedom, Retrovirus matches the zippy pace of FPS games of yore with the stomach-spinning spatial freedom of disorienting shooter classic, Descent. As an agent of the resident anti-virus program, you must defend a computer system from an infectious onslaught with a slew of physics-enhanced weaponry like gravity wells and chain reactions.

Forced

Publisher: BetaDwarf

Release: October 24

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This arena-based fighting game pitches its top-down co-op combat somewhere between Left 4 Dead and Diablo, with four divergent classes and a cooperative combo system. Players battle together through a series of gladiatorial arenas, defeating waves of gruesome fantasy creatures with the aid of a globular spirit mentor, who can assist them by swiping pick-ups and interacting with things “outside the physical realm”.

Dungeonland

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Release: January 29

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Set in a lethal medieval themepark, Dungeonland is a class-based co-op action game for up to four players. The perspective may put you in mind of Diablo or Torchlight, but with its promise of tossable sheep, ludicrous costumes and frog facts, its tone clearly finds inspiration elsewhere.

Humans Must Answer

Publisher: Sumom Games

Release: July 11

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While one bunch of ex-Stalker developers went on to make Survarium, a multiplayer Stalker game in all but name, others had clearly had quite enough of The Zone and its bleak, unrelenting peril. Instead, they've gone on to make a 2D bullet-hell space shooter in which a race of space-faring chickens attempts to wipe out the galactic scourge of mankind.

Mew-Genics

Publisher: Team Meat

Release: TBC 2013

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There have been few clues from developer Team Meat as to what genre this feline-themed game fits into. The occasional screenshots have teased some sort of damage system - that much we know - and Team Meat's portfolio would suggest a bias towards action. But given that the screenshots also teased “poop-rates” the mind boggles at what sort of action that might be.

State Of Decay

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Release: TBC 2013

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Undead Labs are a more than a little bit late to the zombie-survival-open-world-game party, but hopefully their entry will be a little less controversial than War Z's debut. This one promises an ever-evolving world with fortifiable strongholds.

Overgrowth

Publisher: Wolfire Games

Release: TBC 2013

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Anthropomorphised rabbits, wolves, cats, rats and dogs kick seven bells out of each other in this thirdperson kung-fu adventure game set in a pre-industrial world. The spiritual successor to 2005's Lugaru, it's been a long, long time in development and the creators' ambitions have sprawled, expanding on the original's fluid combat system with context-sensitive attacks, reversals and environmental interaction. It also comes with a sandbox mode and suite of editing tools.

Warframe

Publisher: Digital Extremes

Release: TBC 2013

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You wait for one free-to-play online shooter with a disyllabic name beginning “War-”, and then two come along at once. Not to be confused with Crytek's near future blamfest Warface, Digital Extreme's effort is a procedurally generated co-op affair set in a sci-fi universe. Players take on the role of the Tenno, a race of space-ninjas battling against their former overlords, the Grineer, by suiting up with specialised exoskeletons known as Warframes.

Archeblade

Publisher: Codebrush Games

Release: March 2013

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A third-person multiplayer brawler which combines the character-specific movesets and combos of arcade fighting games with the cooperative tactics of a team-shooter. The devs were forced to cancel their Kickstarter, but still say the game is on schedule for its March release.

The Showdown Effect

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Release: March 5

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A sort of 2D side-scrolling Action: Half Life, The Showdown Effect features up to eight players battling it out with weapons ripped from the hands of cheesy 80s action heroes. It's a roll-call of cliches - but Magicka creators Arrowhead Studios have shown themselves to be pretty pithy fellows. You can sign up for that macho madness at The Showdown Effect's beta page .

The Showdown Effect is out now - and we've only gone and reviewed the damn thing too.

Sacred Citadel

Publisher: Deep Silver

Release: April 16

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A three player side-scrolling beat-em-up with a rather sumptuous art-style, Sacred Citadel sees players overthrow the oppressive Ashen empire with a slew of melee combos and acrobatic death-dealing. It also promises to update the arcade formula with RPG-lite upgrades and, according to the website, “flawless gameplay”. Good to know.

Akaneiro: Demon Hunters

Publisher: Spicy Horse Games

Release: TBC 2013

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Another action-RPG paying homage to Diablo, Akaneiro: Demon Hunters has the considerable advantage of Spicy Horse Games' aesthetic sense, which introduces an ink-wash art style to the faux-isometric click-fest. It's also very, very loosely based on Red Riding Hood, transposing the story to feudal Japan and introducing hordes of monsters to splatter apart. It may be a slight departure from canon, but it'll be free-to-play and co-op, so who's complaining?

Ether One

Publisher: White Paper Games

Release: TBC 2013

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First person adventure that takes place in the 'broken mental structures' of a woman called Jean. It's the first part of two, and it's got lofty aims - the devs claim to want to 'explore the importance and fragility of human memories'.

The Adventurer

Publisher: The Farm 51

Release: TBC 2013

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An action adventure FPS set in the 30s with a globetrotting, treasure-hunting theme - sounds more like an Indiana game than and indie game. The Adventurer doesn't seem abashed about its inspiration though, promising tomb raiding, traps, lost treasure and a list of exotic locations from Egypt to the Arctic.

Collateral

Publisher: Dancing Dinosaur Games

Release: TBC 2013

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Pitched as a cyberpunk taxi-driving game, Collateral's twitchy car combat recalls something of the Twisted Metal series - except here, the cars fly, dogfighting amid a garish, futuristic cityscape. It's not likely to be an overly serious dystopian vision, however, as witnessed by the giant, bloated Elvis statue in the city centre and the numerous nods to The Fifth Element.

Tiny Barbarian DX

Publisher: StarQuail Games

Release: May

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What is best in life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to play retro 2D action games, much like the excellent free Tiny Barbarian. Following that success, StarQuail Games have successfully Kickstarted Tiny Barbarian DX - a series of four further short-form adventures which expand our diminutive hero's combos, improve platforming, add boss-fights and giant mounts and even boost the protagonist's height by a whole pixel. The first episode is due in January with the rest to follow shortly after.

Volgarr The Viking

Publisher: Crazy Viking Studios

Release: September 13

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This sidescrolling action game almost doubled its Kickstarter target and is already well on its way to completion. The game comes from a veteran duo of 2D arcade games, and lists a number of venerable influences - Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Castlevania and Rastan - promising to adapt the best ideas from each into this violent hack-and-slash.

The Dead Linger

Publisher: Sandswept Studios

Release: 2013

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Another first-person zombie survival game promising the world - in this case literally, since the game boasts a “planet-sized” post-apocalypse to roam. This is quite a small planet, however, going by the wiki's figure of 25,000 square kilometers. But unlike Day Z, here it's all procedurally generated and the claim is that you can interact with anything you see. It's a long way from fulfilling all of its pledged feature-set however, with a good deal of work to be done to get before it competes either visually or mechanically with existing zombie shooters. Paid alpha access is already available at a reduced rate.

Nekro

Publisher: darkForge Games

Release: Q4 2013

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A top-down action game that namechecks Dungeon Keeper and Myth, Nekro sees you take on the eponymous role of a dark lord of the undead, raising monsters from the ground to raze townships to the ground. The more you destroy, the more powerful you become, and you can even craft your own spells by combining reagents you find around the randomly generated world. Even better, the game has defecating pigs.

Zombie Playground

Publisher: Massive Black Inc

Release: TBC 2013

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It all started with Jason Chan's awesome illustration of a group of kids battling the shambling grey hordes from atop a helter-skelter. Some time (and near enough $170k of Kickstarter funding) later, and that pre-teen zompocalypse concept has congealed into a thirdperson team-shooter. Though it may be viewed through a child's imagination, with fanciful touches like tentacled biology-class mannequins and neon-coloured toy guns that fire actual sizzling plasma death, the copious gore attests to the fact that this is certainly not a game for kids. It's got a pumping soundtrack too, courtesy of hip-hop producer Aesop Rock.

Moon Intern

Publisher: LarryPixel

Release: November

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On the surface a side-scrolling action game, Moon Intern quickly reveals itself to be something much more reactive and dynamic, with missions, jobs and events being generated on the fly to suit your playstyle. One day you may find yourself delivering lightbulbs and the next exorcising a haunted space station - each mission allowing for a variety of solutions, and whichever you choose biases the selection of future missions towards either action or puzzle. Some events are so drastic that they may change your relationship with every NPC in the colony. Thrillingly ambitious stuff, wrapped in a charming retro presentation.

Mercenary Kings

Publisher: Tribute Games

Release: TBC 2013

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The creators of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and Wizorb return with another retro-styled title, this time in the vein of Metal Slug - but with weapon crafting. They're also looking to build in some of the co-op magic of games like Monster Hunter and Phantasy Star Online, with the superbly eccentric talents of master pixel-pusher Paul Robertson providing art direction.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Publisher: Young Horses

Release: TBC 2013

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If you're not inspired to buy Octodad: Dadliest Catch for the pun alone, you can test the waters with the free original game , in which you attempt to control the flailing limbs of a sea-creature attempting basic domestic chores. Similar cephalopod-based physics-enhanced calamity is promised in this sequel, as our protagonist attempts to conceal his nautical origins from his increasingly suspicious human wife.

Skullgirls

Publisher: Marvelous AQL

Release: August 22

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Reverge Labs/Lab Zero Games have put a ton of effort into this indie fighting game, which has slowly but surely built up a sizeable community over the years. The divisive character art will likely alienate some, but beneath that you'll find an extravagant, stylish fighter that's constantly being tweaked and refined. A recent, successful Kickstarter funded a few new characters, highlighting just how expensive they can be to make in the process.

Dust: An Elysian Tail

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Release: May 24

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A sidescrolling, anthropomorphic action RPG featuring absolutely terrific art and animation. You're Dust, an amnesiac hero with a sentient sword that doesn't seem to mind being used to slaughter monsters. Imagine an unholy union between Diablo and Devil May Cry – now add lots of cute, colourful animals and you're somewhere near Dust's combo-heavy fantasy world Falana.

We rather liked Dust when we fought our way through it earlier in the year .

Resident Evil: Revelations

Publisher: Capcom

Release: May 24

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This (originally handheld-only) spin-off reintroduced claustrophic environments, and even a few scares, to a series that had long since abandoned them in favour of action sequences and dismal QTEs. Revelations was set primarily on a cruise ship (albeit one filled with slimy slug-zombie-things), so naturally it was the first in the series to feature underwater sections – it also, impressively, boasts a sidekick even more annoying than Code Veronica's Steve Burns.

King of Fighters XIII

Publisher: Warner Bros

Release: September 13

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SNK Playmore's technical fighting game has finally come to PC, with improved netcode to boot – one area that has typically been lacking in previous games. The base game hasn't changed too much from the console version, but the new community, and better online, will hopefully give this contender a second wind.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Publisher: Konami

Release: August 27

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MercurySteam's sumptuous action-adventure was revived for the PC shortly after its sequel was announced, giving us plenty of time to cross it off our to-impale lists before Gabriel 'Begbie' Belmont returns for Lords of Shadow 2. If you were expecting a platformer like the early games, or a Metroidvania like the more recent handheld ones, prepare for disappointment/surprise: it's essentially God of War/Devil May Cry, but set in a beautiful, dark medieval world.

Mortal Kombat Komplete

Publisher: Warner Bros

Release: July 3

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NetherRealm's Mortal Kombat reboot boasts a surprisingly detailed story, the usual memorably ridiculous characters, and more discarded spines than the bin outside your local butcher shop. How does it hold up to the likes of Street Fighter, Skullgirls, and the recently released King of Fighters XIII? Not too well, competitively, but there is fun to be had in discovering the game's many gory finishing moves.

Is Mortal Komplete Komplete any kop? Have a read of our review to find out.

Saints Row IV

Publisher: Deep Silver

Release: August 23

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With IV, Volition's open world crime series has shed most of its similarities to GTA, while smoothing off its remaining nasty edges in the process. You'll probably remember it for the superpowers though, for the aliens, for the fact that you play as the United States president – but most of all you'll remember it for its dubstep gun . It is literally a gun that fires dubstep.

"Gloriously stupid" and "stupidly good" - that was our view on Saints Row 4 after we joyously bounded our way around Steelport back in August.

Batman: Arkham Origins

Publisher: Warner Bros

Release: October 25

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Set five years before Arkham Asylum, Origins features a youngish Batman who hasn't yet biffed most of Gotham's criminal underworld into Blackgate prison or Arkham Asylum. Because it is the way of things, Bat's latest...earliest open world adventure will also feature multiplayer, which in one mode at least pits Batman and Robin against henchmen working for The Joker and Bane.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: November

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After the disappointment of Assassin's Creed III, can IV redeem the historical stabfest for disenchanted fans everywhere? Well, Jimlad, it features swashbuckling and an expanded sailing component, so we're hopefully in for a proper pirate game at least. With the convoluted sci-fi nonsense (mostly) tied up in the previous entry, Black Flag may be relatively Desmond-free too.

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Publisher: Blendo Games

Release: Late 2013

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“When you have a top-of-the-line hacking deck armed with a 56.6k modem and a staggering 256k RAM, it means just one thing: you answer only to the highest bidder.” Blendo Games' follow-up to the brilliant Thirty Flights of Loving takes hacking back to the good old days – the 1980s – when the Matthew Brodericks of the world were busy nearly starting World War III. It's proper hacking game that involves lots of typing, rather than dumbed-down minigames.

ADVENTURE

The Cave

Publisher: Sega

Release: January 23

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From the mind of Ron Gilbert - creator of Maniac Mansion - and his new found friends at Double Fine, comes this side-scrolling platform-adventure set inside a talking cave. A roster of barmy characters, each of whom harbours a murderous secret, plumb the labyrinthine depths in search of their darkest desires. Up to three players can play the game, taking on separate roles and skill-sets, as in Trine.

What did we think of The Cave, you ask? Why not spelunk your way down to our review?

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs

Publisher: Frictional Games

Release: September 10

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This firstperson horror story sequel sees its production pass from series creator Frictional Games to TheChineseRoom, the masters of atmosphere behind the unsettling metaphysical fable Dear Esther. The game isn't a direct sequel, transporting events from the gloomy medievalism of Brennenburg Castle to London at the advent of industrialisation. But the birth of technology doesn't leave our new protagonist any better equipped to fight the unheimlich terror he finds there: as in the first game, expect to spend most of your time running and hiding, trying not to lose your mind as unspeakable evil closes in.

Read our review for our verdict on A Machine for Pigs. Clue: it involves the word 'underpants'.

Gone Home

Publisher: The Fullbright Company

Release: August 15

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From the veteran devs behind Bioshock 2's Minerva's Den comes this “story-exploration” game. In the exploratory, non-violent vein of Dear Esther, Gone Home is a domestic mystery firmly rooted in 1995. The player returns to the family house to find it deserted, and pieces together the clues of its recent past. Though it's set on a spooky, stormy night, this is assuredly a non-combat experience - but its tale of intertwining lives, written between the lines of Forestry Commission ledgers, postcards and other household ephemera, is rich and moving.

We've gone home for the day, so we'll leave it up to you to find our Gone Home review . While you're there, make sure you peruse our Making Of - but please don't go snooping around in our drawers.

Republique

Publisher: Camouflaj

Release: September

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An adventure game set in an Orwellian surveillance society, Republique sees the player take on the role of guardian angel, remotely manipulating the environment through their hacking skills to guide the main character, Hope, to safety. The devs promise this isn't a point-and-click adventure, but contains a strong, gesture-based action element. That said, this is no run-and-gun escapade, and it's uncertain if or how the PC version of the game will escape the restrictions of the iPhone's touch-based design paradigm. With veteran talent on board, however, a distinctive theme and some natty looking hacking gameplay, this is certainly one of the most exciting Kickstarter projects to have hit its target.

Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons

Publisher: 505 Games

Release: September 3

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Starbreeze, well known for their ultra-violent shooter fare, are holstering their guns for this moving tale set within a mountainous medieval world. There's not a gory QTE execution to be found anywhere within the 3-4 hours of the downloadable adventure, which instead focuses on the interlocking abilities of two brothers as they search the land for a cure for their dying father. The quest, designed to evoke emotions than test abilities, is framed by a collaboration with movie director Josef Fares - and its various puzzling encounters can be solved in distinct ways by each of the brothers. Saying much more would be to undermine its emotional heft, but this could easily shape up to be one of the indie darlings of 2013.

Routine

Publisher: Lunar Software

Release: TBC 2013

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The occupants of a moonbase have disappeared - for reasons that can only be deeply horrific - so inevitably you are tasked with going in there alone and poking about. Needless to say, something stalks you through the lustrously rendered corridors and gantries of this survival horror game. But this isn't a simply ghost-train; permadeath, non-linear exploration, and dynamic scares make this a prospect as intriguing as it is unsettling. You can read our massive interview and preview here .

Somewhere

Publisher: Cargo Collective

Release: 2013

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Surreal, abstract environments and non-intuitive navigation are the principals behind this otherworldly experience. Bizarre architectural constructs, peculiar interactions and even weirder sounds form something as rich as it is disorienting. Wherever Somewhere is, it certainly ain't Kansas anymore, Toto.

Europa

Publisher: Quick Fingers

Release: TBC 2013

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What started as a small-scale indie project for a seven day long FPS-building competition has sprawled into an open-world exploration-game set on one of Jupiter's moons. Though he garnered headlines with the throwaway claim of “Fallout 3 in space”, don't expect it to match the length, or the level of violence, of that game. The developer may even remove weapons altogether.

Coma: A Mind Adventure

Publisher: Coma Team

Release: TBC 2013

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From the team behind the superb Left 4 Dead 2 campaign Warcelona, comes something a little more restive: a firstperson puzzler set inside the mind of a comatose patient. That mental landscape is a beautiful but troubling place to be, however, as the patient in question is struggling with a terrible sense of remorse. The player aims to resolve these issues by travelling through the lush pastures and woodland of the imagination, and manipulating the weather and time of day to navigate obstacles. It looks gorgeous and its metaphysical tale clearly packs an emotive weight - could it be this year's Dear Esther?

Dream

Publisher: Hypersloth

Release: 2013

Link

This non-linear first-person puzzle-adventure takes place in the dreams of a directionless, young graduate struggling with the loss of his uncle and obsessed with the intricacies of his own imagination. Staged across three acts, the player explores ancient temples, rocky deserts and tundra as he unpicks the secrets of the graduate's unconscious mind. Looks bloody gorgeous too, and should prove doubly atmospheric with its pledged support of the Oculus Rift VR headset.

Lilly Looking Through

Publisher: Geeta Games

Release: 1 November

Link

An adventure game of some incredible beauty, this sumptuously animated fantasy sees the player point-and-click their way through puzzles with the aid of a magic pair of goggles. These allow the protagonist, a young girl named Lilly, to flit between past and present world states. The puzzles and movement seen in the currently available demo are restricted to hot-points, but it's still hard not to get lost in the Pixar-quality animation.

The Wolf Among Us

Publisher: Telltale Games

Release: October 11

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Based on the DC Comics series of the same name, Telltale's episodic Fables game - now revealed as The Wolf Among Us - concerns the plight of fantasy and fairytale creatures, forced to eke out an existence in New York City after The Adversary forces them from their own realm. Like Neil Gaiman's epochal Sandman saga, it seeks to weave together the panoply of human mythology into a cohesive and decidedly adult whole. You play the part of Bigby Wolf, Fabletown's particularly lupine detective.

Our The Wolf Among Us review is hot off the presses. If you huff and you puff (and you follow this link ) we may even let you read it.

The Thought Saved for Last

Publisher: Igor Hardy

Release: TBC 2013

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An Indie Dev Grant nominee (ultimately losing out to Simon Roth's Maia), The Thought Saved For Last is an adventure set within the sort of existential nightmare that'd be fitting for an episode of The Twighlight Zone. You control a man simply trying to get home after he misses the last bus - when things start to become very weird indeed.

Among The Sleep

Publisher: Krillbite Studio

Release: TBC 2013

Link

We often bemoan the prevalence of buzzcut space-marines and lantern-jawed lunks in games - and you couldn't find a game in starker opposition to mass-market focus-tested tastes than this: a first-person adventure game in which you take control of a two-year-old and navigate an suspiciously deserted house, apparently under the control of malign supernatural forces. This kid's got a lot of counselling ahead of it.

Tengami

Publisher: Nyamyam

Release: Late 2013

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A dark fairy tale set in ancient Japan, Tengami is an utterly gorgeous collision of artistic styles, blending ink wash brush work with oragami, pop-up books and paper marionettes. And this aesthetic influences the puzzles too, with a clever interplay between the 3D world and its reality as a 2D construction.

The Stanley Parable HD Remix

Publisher: Galactic Cafe

Release: TBC 2013

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The original Half-Life 2 mod was a wry meta-commentary on linearity and narration in videogames, with branching paths for every decision you made to defy the narrator's intentions. Hailed as genius by some, the game's remake will bring it to a larger audience while hopefully leaving a few surprises for fans of the original.

Goodbye Deponia

Publisher: Daedalic

Release: October 17

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The Deponia point-and-click series concludes with this third instalment, following the travails of Rufus, a hapless mechanical tinkerer marooned on the eponymous trash planet, and his accomplice Goal, a woman from the floating utopian city of Elysium. Previous games uncovered a conspiracy to destroy Deponia - does the name of this final game suggest the conspirators succeed?

The Night of the Rabbit

Publisher: Daedalic

Release: May 28

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A young boy's daydreams turn to reality in this charming point-and-click from indie adventure game dev Matt Kempke (What Makes You Tick: A Stitch in Time). A giant rabbit calling itself the Marquis de Hoto invites the protagonist to enter Mousewood, a magical realm reminiscent of Wind in the Willows. But are such giant talking rabbits to be trusted? And what dangerous spell has cast a pall over the inhabitants of Mousewood?

1954 Alcatraz

Publisher: Daedalic

Release: TBA 2013

Link

An adventure game crime-caper charting the interconnecting fates of several characters across 1950s San Francisco, as they flee mobsters, try to escape the notorious island prison and get their hands on a stash of loot. Sporting a non-linear narrative, there are more than a few possible outcomes for the crew's ploys.

Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse

Publisher: Revolution Software

Release: Q4 2013

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A new 2D entry to the famed point-and-click Broken Sword series, in which the intrepid investigative duo Nico and George have previously chased Templars and investigated Mayan tombs. This new game takes the action to Turkey, and promises a loyal recreation of the earlier games' appeal, with many of the original team on hand and the threat of an external publisher's influence lifted thanks to a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign.

The Journey of Iesir

Publisher: TBC (definitely not Big Blue Cup)

Release: TBC 2013

Link

A gorgeous looking point-and-click set in a jocular medieval world, heavily influenced by its Nordic past and contemporary pop-culture wit. The player is a struggling playwright in search of inspiration - but finds calamity, art crime, and demon-possessed moose-headed alchemists instead.

The Twilight Zone

Publisher: Legacy Games

Release: 2013

Link

Though this adventure skews to a casual audience, the devs sound astute in recognising the key elements of that most quintessential of weird science TV shows - combining its supernatural oddities with a chilling intelligence and social relevance. It may even get a little bit meta too: the protagonist is an actor, somehow sucked into the multiple fictional worlds of the TV series, unable to escape each until he discovers what role he has to play within the episode.

Extrasolar

Publisher: Lazy 8 Studios

Release: TBC 2013

Link

Blurring the line between adventure game and real-life crowdsourced science project, Extrasolar is an intriguing ARG, detailing the latest voyage to Mars by the eXoplanetary Research Institute, whereupon its many mini-rovers will map the planet with the aid of players. Images returned by the rovers are then analysed for clues, and the exotic lifeforms catalogued within - but to what end is this research being done? Who is behind the mysterious XRI? Who can you trust? Intriguing stuff with a sturdy science-nerd core.

Jane Jensen's Moebius

Publisher: Pinkerton Road Studio

Release: 2013

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Yet another Kickstarter appeal to point-and-click nostalgia, Moebius comes from “master storyteller” Jane Jensen, responsible for the Gabriel Knight games. Here, improbably-named antiques dealer Malachi Rector is hired by equally improbably-named billionaire Amble Dexter to investigate the death of a woman in Venice. Metaphysical thrills ensue.

Hero U: Rogue To Redemption

Publisher: Far Studio

Release: TBC 2013

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Wouldn't you know it, it's another successful Kickstarter campaign from the creators of a classic adventure series - this time Quest For Glory. A 2D point and click adventure game, unsurprisingly, with a snappy sense of humour.

Outlast

Publisher: Red Barrels

Release: September 4

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A deserted asylum on a stormy night is the setting for this gruesome first-person horror adventure. The early sightings leave no cliche unturned - drink two fingers of whiskey every time you see an upturned wheelchair with its spokes mysteriously still turning, glimpse a flash of movement while using night vision goggles or discover the bodies of soldiers sent in to contain the situation. But if all this seems a little well worn, then its “target footage” trailer does suggest some mechanical novelty in the way you get around the place: namely, Mirror's Edge-style parkour.

Read our terrifyingly good Outlast review for our verdict on Red Barrels' jumpy first-person horror.

Starbound

Publisher: Chucklefish

Release: TBC 2013

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A “story with a sandbox”, Starbound follows your attempts to rebuild an abandoned space-station, after you crashland on it while fleeing the destruction of your homeworld. Missions take you to a constellation of procedurally generated worlds, presented in side-scrolling 2D. Investigate, explore and harvest resources, and ultimately find yourself a new planet to terraform and settle.

Shadowgate

Publisher: Zojoi

Release: TBC 2013

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One of the ground-breaking early examples of the adventure genre, first-person dungeon-puzzler Shadowgate is getting itself a remake thanks to - stop me if this sounds familiar - a successful Kickstarter campaign helmed by the original developers.

The Inner World

Publisher: Headup Games

Release: September 27

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A hand-drawn 2D point-and-click adventure game set within a giant hollow in a universe of infinite soil. The hollow is ventilated by three wind tunnels, seemingly governed by wind gods who then turn their back on the people of the hollow. With the air supply running out, it's down to a clueless court musician and his thieving friend Laura to puzzle their way to salvation.

Enola

Publisher: The Domaginarium

Release: TBC 2013

Link

A horror adventure game propelled by a deep and involved love story, Enola investigates those traditionally romantic themes of fear, isolation and murder, and avoids supernatural horror in place of more 'human' fears. Like getting bills in the post then, I assume.

Prominence

Publisher: Digital Media Workshop

Release: TBC 2013

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A science fiction first-person point-and-click of the oldest of old schools. Pre-rendered backdrops describe a deserted, high-tech facility, as the amnesiac protagonist uncovers clues to their whereabouts via audio recordings and data archives.

Reincarnation: The Root Of All Evil

Publisher: B-Group Productions

Release: August

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The latest in the Reincarnation series - originally planned as a webcomic which has since morphed into a point-and-click franchise. The Root Of All Evil is to be the biggest entry to the series yet thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, as its Hellish protagonist seeks to return the netherworld to its former glory.

Leisure Suit Larry In The Land Of The Lounge Lizards: Reloaded

Publisher: Replay Games

Release: June 27

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The 25th anniversary remake of smutty point-and-click snigger-fest Leisure Suit Larry In The Land Of The Lounge Lizards achieved over $650,000 via its Kickstarter campaign. The return of Larry's legendary creator Al Lowe is certainly encouraging after the series recent abysmal Lowe-less outings.

The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief

Publisher: Nordic Games

Release: July 23

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The Raven tasks players with tracking down the titular art thief across a 1960s Europe in what is described as a 'fast-paced' point-and-click adventure game.

The Samaritan Paradox

Publisher: Petter Ljungqvist

Release: Late 2013

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Set in Sweden during the eighties, The Samaritan Paradox is a lo-fi point-and-click adventure that sees players trying to hunt down a dead author's last work. Unsurprisingly, the story goes much deeper than that, as the player unravels a terrible conspiracy.

Quest For Infamy

Publisher: Infamous Quests

Release: TBC 2013

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The team behind the remakes of King's Quest 3 and Space Quest 2 have raised thousands for this point-and-click adventure on Kickstarter - but the game isn't merely a rerun of the mechanics of old. Instead, Quest For Infamy brings novel conceits, like character classes, to the hoary old genre.

HeXit

Publisher: CyberPhobX

Release: TBC 2013

Link

This sci-fi point-and-click adventure - inspired by Blade Runner, Total Recall and police procedurals - failed to reach its funding goal on Kickstarter, but the team has promised it will still develop the title. However, the blog has remained fallow for several months.

Xing

Publisher: Aya Studios

Release: TBC 2013

Link

A mixture of adventure game, puzzler and firstperson platformer, Xing is set across a number of lushly drawn tropical islands (with dynamic day-night cycles!) and promises the player strange powers: the physical manipulation of space and control of time.

Hidden Dawn

Publisher: E-One Studio

Release: TBC 2013

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A fantasy-adventure set in the aftermath of a world-razing conflict. You star as Heru, a young girl hunted by sinister forces because of her latent magical abilities: control of vegetation, gravity, and thought.

Adam Syndrome

Publisher: Dark Motif

Release: TBC 2013

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Not, in fact, a terrestrial sequel to Alien Syndrome, but instead a dark point-and-click mystery about a bloke called Adam Reed investigating the death of his wife. The game has completed pre-production at the time of writing and is looking for a publisher.

Jack Houston And The Necronauts

Publisher: Warbird Games

Release: December

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It's the sci-fi of the fifties - ray guns, bubble helmets and all - transposed into a traditional point-and-click adventure. As test pilot Jack Houston, you leave the Earth in 1999 for the first manned mission to Venus, only for a crash-landing to leave you in cryo-sleep for 1000 years. Awaking to find the world controlled by “savage beast men who worship a devil god with the power to control the dead”, Jack must face point-and-click peril in a struggle for the planet's salvation!

The Last Crown: Haunting Of Hallowed Isle

Publisher: Darkling Room

Release: TBC 2013

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The sequel to 2007's The Lost Crown, this latest instalment sees players travel to an English coastal island, unravelling its mystery with an arsenal of ghost-hunting techniques.

Asylum

Publisher: Senscape

Release: TBC 2013

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From Buenos Aires-based developer Senscape comes this psychiatric horror yarn. It promises that the rather unsanitary-looking Hanwell Mental Institute will be fully explorable - and based on blueprints of actual asylums.

The Dream Machine: Chapter 5

Publisher: Cockroach Inc

Release: Late 2013

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The final part of the beautiful Dream Machine episodic releases, Chapter 5 will see more of the award-winning point-and-click adventuring created with claymation and other real world items.

Wychwood Hollow

Publisher: Shadow Tor Studios

Release: TBC 2013

Link

A supernatural first-person mystery/adventure game set in Cornwall - place of standing stones, ancient mystery and the vengeful spirit of murdered witches. The form the game will take is, however, uncertain: not much has been seen of Wychwood Hollow beyond the live-action teasers on the game's site.

A Night At Camp Ravenwood

Publisher: Screen 7

Release: TBC 2013

Link

A remote camp for delinquents, owned by vampires and run by a biker gang: that's Camp Ravenwood. The game is very much a traditional point-and-click adventure with its tongue lodged firmly in its cheek.

Kinky Island

Publisher: Screen 7

Release: TBC 2013

Link

A freeware joke project has transmogrified into a funded production thanks to years of iterative development and a successful IndieGoGo campaign. As the name would suggest, this homage to classic point-and-click games is not for kids and contains some ripe themes.

The Adventures Of The Black General

Publisher: Private Moon Studios

Release: TBC 2013

Link

A first-person adventure game which sees players on the trail of a legend, controlling one Thomas-Alexandre Dumas. Combining historical elements (Napoleon) with mystical ones (Egyptian theology).

Rick Future: The Adventure Game

Publisher: MetalPop

Release: Early 2013

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Based on a German audio play series of the same name, players can control three different characters in this spoof sci-fi puzzler. Each has different skills which will need to be combined to overcome the game's obstacles.

SpaceVenture

Publisher: Two Guys From Andromeda

Release: February

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A new sci-fi comedy adventure game from the creators of the Space Quest series. It was successfully funded to the tune of 'a lot of money' thanks to the combined powers of nostalgia and Kickstarter.

Psych

Publisher: Legacy Games

Release: TBC 2013

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A casual puzzle-adventure game based on the US TV show Psych in which a dude pretends to be psychic and somehow the police decide they should employ him.

Montague's Mount

Publisher: Polypusher Studios

Release: Throughout 2013

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Montague's Mount is a first-person adventure game, described by its developers as a 'psychological rollercoaster'. The game will come in three episodes, each released at different points throughout 2013. And it's all set on a bleak Irish island.

The Intruder

Publisher: Mister Royzo

Release: TBC 2013

Link

The Intruder is a survival horror game set in a poorly-lit but otherwise mundane environment, through which you are hunted by a supernatural being (which, for once, is not the Slender Man). It's all about managing your time: you have a few in-game days to prepare for the inevitable encounter - you need to eat, sleep, arm yourself and, going by the trailer, don your hardiest brown trousers.

Papo & Yo

Publisher: Minority

Release: April 18

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An indie platforming adventure set in a Brazilian favela, dealing with themes of parental abuse. You play as Quico, a small boy who escapes to a dreamworld and teams up with a magical monster - one that shows a dark side to his normally friendly personality when he's eaten too many frogs. A beautiful, emotionally raw game.

The Walking Dead: 400 Days

Publisher: Telltale

Release: July 3

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This surprise sixth chapter of the celebrated episodic adventure game is said to bridge the gap between its first and second seasons. It's a busy tale, cramming in the stories of five characters who collide at a truck stop, and setting the scene for Telltale's eventual return to the zombie apocalypse – whenever that will be.

We wrote some words about 400 Days in the form of a review. Head here to see what we thought of Season One's surprise additional episode.

Shelter

Publisher: Might and Delight

Release: August 28

Link

Shelter is a game about badgers. Specifically, it's a game about a family of badgers, and the many dangers they face in the wild (predators, starvation, the cast of Springwatch). Can you keep your cubs alive on the perilous journey to a new abode?

Hate Plus

Publisher: Christine Love

Release: August 19

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This sequel to Analogue: A Hate Story returns to the Mugunghwa – a far-future spaceship that regressed to a dynastic culture – to explore its rich backstory in greater detail. Along the way, you'll be asked to bake a cake – an actual cake, in the actual real world – adding an extra layer of deliciousness to another wonderfully written visual novel by Christine Love.

FPS

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2

Publisher: Namco Bandai

Release: March 12

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The original game was a right old mess and yet defied critics, QA testers and any sense of worldly justice with some two-million plus sales. Its sequel promises to rectify the mistakes, ditch its more gung-ho shooter sections and return to authentically stealthy sniping action. The CryEngine 3 makes it all look rather spiffy, and will hopefully curtail the number of instances when the player tumbles through the floor into infinity.

"A dumb shooter that feels like a rubbish stealth section dragged out across the length of an entire game." Turns out Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 wasn't much cop after all.

Bioshock Infinite

Publisher: 2K Games

Release: March 26

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Bioshock was set in an underwater objectivist utopia gone awry and its successor is not so much a sequel as a funhouse mirror; transporting the action to an alternate universe, another time - 1912 - and yet another failed experiment in utopianism. This time set in a flying city called Columbia, Bioshock's art deco gives way to neo-classical sobriety - built as a testament to American exceptionalism, but now shredded by vying factions. You play as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent, dispatched to Columbia to retrieve a girl with incredible powers - who then remains your near-constant companion, establishing the emotional heart to the game and expanding your tactical options when faced with a horde of crazed Columbian citizens. Though the gunplay still feels very Bioshock, with handheld spells called “vigors” allowing you to ignite people or summon clouds of crows the actual structure of the game feels more like the directed experience of Half-Life 2 than the hub-like environs of Rapture. The interplay between Booker and his charge, Elizabeth, meanwhile, may set a new watermark for player-AI relationships.

Read what we thought of BioShock Infinite in our review , hear us out as we implore you to play Irrational's game on Hard , and join us in our spoilerific quest to untangle Infinite's spectacular ending .

Crysis 3

Publisher: EA

Release: February 19

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The first Crysis sent the player sneaking, dashing and leaping through extremely open, dense, jungle settings, while the second trapped you in a gorgeously drawn but lamentably trammelled New York - necessarily restricted so the game could fit onto those dinky little consoles. In its third supersoldiers-vs-aliens outing, Crytek attempts to meld the two, unleashing you in a New York some years after its reclamation by nature. Its certainly a showcase for the tech beneath, and Crysis has always offered an interesting array of combat options with the protagonist's nanosuit allowing you to switch between super strength, speed and stealth. But it's always come unstuck in its enemy design - the aliens just proved little joy to fight, and it doesn't look like they're being left out of the picture here, unfortunately.

Read our Crysis 3 review for our full verdict.

Day Z Standalone

Publisher: Bohemia Interactive

Release: TBC 2013

Link

Our mod of the year in 2012 is getting a proper standalone release in 2013. You play a survivor on a huge open island populated by countless zombies and dozens of other players. Food, ammo and medical supplies are scarce, and the people you meet are as likely to kill you for supplies as help you. The mod was wonderfully tense, but unstable servers could mean hours of frustration for those trying to log on. If the standalone release can spruce up the interface and add a much-needed bout of polish, this could be sensational.

Before you set foot in Chernarus, read why you should consider giving the Arma 3 version a ago , then discover why we made it our Mod the Year back in 2012.

Red Orchestra 2: Rising Storm

Publisher: Tripwire Interactive

Release: May 30

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Developed as a collaboration between Tripwire Interactive and the Red Orchestra 2 modding community, Rising Storm is a total conversion that moves the action from Stalingrad to the Pacific theatre. Previous games have had slightly shaky singleplayer campaigns, but proved their worth online, with single-shot death, shellshock and clumsy weaponry conjuring a tremendous sense of oppression and panic.

Rising Storm went down a, well, storm when we reviewed it earlier in the year.

Dead Island: Riptide

Publisher: Deep Silver

Release: April 25

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Riptide follows on directly from the events of the original game - an openworld shooter RPG set in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse on a tropical island. Though seemingly rescued at the end of the last game, a tsunami sets the survivors back at square one, and so begins again the process of collecting resources and aiding fellow non-zoms in distress. Hopefully building upon their existing work will allow the dev to focus on squashing some of the game-wrecking bugs players encountered first time round.

Alas, it didn't, although Riptide did introduce a bunch of hilarious new glitches and bugs. Also boats. Find out more in our review .

Metro: Last Light

Publisher: THQ

Release: May 14

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Publisher THQ's money troubles may have done a great service to Metro: Last Light - its constant discounts and Steam firesales have meant that the game's excellent predecessor, subterranean supernatural shooter Metro 2033, has ended up in many more hands than it might have otherwise and whet appetites for the sequel. Set in the labyrinthine tunnels beneath Moscow - which connect its nuclear-shielded subway system with cold-war-era military bunkers and underground rivers - Metro told a linear tale of survival following a man-made apocalypse. Monstrous mutants stalk the remnants of humanity, while other supernatural phenomena ravage the lands, and mankind struggles with itself - different factions forever at war in the gloomy echoing caverns. This sequel hopes to recreate the claustrophobic tension of the original, with its cumbersome weaponry and weary sense of embodiment.

...And it made a pretty good job of it too. As our review puts it : "A brilliantly realised world wrapped around a story-driven shooter that occasionally forgets you want to play it."

Arma 3

Publisher: Bohemia Interactive

Release: September 12

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There's over 320 square kilometres of military sandbox in this latest instalment in the super-realistic military shooter series, now relocating the conflict to a near-future mediterranean. Alas, two of the principal developers of the game were arrested for spying while on holiday in Greece - on the very island on which the game's environment is based. Production has slowed while Bohemia Interactive petitions the Greek authorities to see sense.

Hungry for more Arma 3 news? Have a read of our review , then check out this list of the 10 best mods and missions so far .

Warface

Publisher: Trion Worlds

Release: TBC 2013

Link

One of the most exuberantly silly names for a shooter it might be, but its doing serious business: Warface already has millions of players in Russia, with the free-to-play multiplayer shooter coming to Western shores as soon as they've settled on a regionally-appropriate business model and infrastructure. Though it looks like grimly realistic shooter fare, this is actually a giddily fast-paced team-shooter with outlandish perks and buffs.

Shootmania Storm

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: April 10

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Supporting the Trackmania-style framework of creative tools and online tournaments, Shootmania is a sort of pro-player shooter sandbox, allowing you to build levels, tweak game variables to your satisfaction, organise competitive matches and livestream it all from within the game itself. Being so malleable means it lacks a potent aesthetic of its own, however.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted

Publisher: Big Robot

Release: TBC 2013

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A procedurally-generated world inspired by bleak British moorland is the setting for this indie survival game - moorland populated by exceedingly gentlemanly robots intent on killing you for sport. Pitched as a tweedpunk anglophile Stalker, it looks to be a complex game of interacting dynamic systems: different robot factions can be lured into conflict with each other, giving the player a chance to slip through the damp bracken unnoticed.

Rise Of The Triad

Publisher: Apogee Software

Release: July 31

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The original ROTT was a frivolously chaotic FPS from the era of sprite-based shooters. It had an inventive arsenal, oodles of gore and a breakneck pace - all of which seem to be returning in this loyal remake. The Unreal Engine 3 brings it up to speed visually - with the evil cultist's monastery offering architecture with complexity far beyond that possible in the first game's modified Wolfenstein 3D engine. But that doesn't mean the devs will be messing with the game's irreverent tone: this is no gritty reboot. Early glimpses see the player collecting coins, detonating gigantic explosions and otherwise causing carnage worthy of the original's name.

Read our review for our verdict on this peculiarly old-fashioned first-person shooter.

Battlefield 4

Publisher: EA

Release: October 29

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The beta access promised as part of Medal Of Honor: Warfighter's pre-order bonus spilled the beans on Battlefield 4's existence. Though few can have been surprised that DICE would make another game in the series, it's early announcement, and the fact that that it would be slated before another Bad Company game, has raised eyebrows. And perhaps for this reason, DICE have remained silent on when we can expect BF4's beta to actually open or what it might entail. Our hopes for the series: a return to huge, non-linear, highly destructible environments instead of the gung-ho COD-alike singleplayer bombast. Also, more vehicle horns. Honk!

Call Of Duty: Ghosts

cod ghosts

Publisher: Activision

Release: Late 2013

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Along with flooding in the south west of England and country-wide, bum-crippling outbreaks of the norovirus, a new COD game is a certain fixture for late 2013. It's since been revealed as COD: Ghosts, yet another sub-series - after Modern Warfare and Black Ops - and one that takes place in the near future. Activision and Infinity Ward have made a big deal about its A.I. dog Riley, a trained German Shepherd under your control.

Interstellar Marines

Publisher: Zero Point Software

Release: TBC 2013

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This ambitious indie sci-fi shooter has been knocking around for nearly eight years now, but recently built momentum thanks to the release of some playable demos and the increased popularity of pre-order-based crowdfunding. Even so, Zero Point failed to hit their lofty $600k Kickstarter goal for the Prologue chapter of Interstellar Marines. The full game is nonetheless coming - with its promises of non-linear gameplayer, open-ended level design, rich storytelling and four player co-op intact.

Zeno Clash 2

Publisher: Atlus

Release: April 30

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The original stands out as one of the most inventive games of recent years, set in an alarming, bizarre reality of Zenozoik, populated by alarming, bizarre man-creature hybrids, who you could then punch to death in the firstperson. Sweet. The sequel looks to pick up where the first game's unsettlingly Oedipal story left off, though takes the action to a Zelda-style open world (now powered by Unreal Engine 3 as opposed to Source). It's a thrillingly ambitious project from one of the most brazenly barmy imaginations in game development.

When you've finished punching Father-Mother in the face, why not box your way through to our review?

Bedlam

Publisher: Redbedlam

Release: Q3 2013

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Bedlam is to be both a game and a book - the first foray into sci-fi by Scottish crime author Christopher Brookmyre. In fact, the game hopes to be part of a trilogy of FPS games, offering a meta-narrative to the book's own FPS-influenced themes of alluring, violent digital fantasy.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct

Publisher: Activision

Release: March 19

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With Telltale's unprecedentedly brilliant adventure game adaptation drawing to a close, the way is clear for this FPS TV-series tie-in from Terminal Reality. It's a prequel, following TV show characters Daryl and Merle Dixon, as they fight their way through dead-heads in the countryside of Georgia. Early signs don't get the pulse racing, but then few predicted how good Telltale's adventure game would be either.

Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: May 23

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After the ill-advised lurch into the present with The Cartel, the ever-shonky six-shooter series is back in the wild west with Gunslinger. Though technically unpolished, the games have always had a few intriguing mechanical innovations and some colourful characterisation among the grizzled outlaws you encounter along its linear path. This time, Techland has ditched the multi-character epics for a sleeker downloadable title. Here, you're cherry picking episodes from the memory of a gunman of the old frontier, who variously teamed up with big-name bounty hunters and their big-name bounties. Expect slow-motion gunfights and plenty of frontier dust.

Read our review for our verdict on this quality budget-priced shooter.

Takedown

Publisher: Serellan

Release: September 20

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With the likes of Ghost Recon now tumbling headlong into the big-budget FPS furrow left by COD, many wish for the days when the Clancy brand stood for bitter realism and tactics. Takedown is stepping up to fill this gap, and their promised return to squad strategy of the original Rainbox Six and later SWAT games has netted them $200k on Kickstarter. Tangos beware.

Extraction

Publisher: Splash Damage

Release: Late 2013

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The company behind Brink and Enemy Territory bring us another class-based multiplayer shooter - this time a free-to-play terrorism-tussle set in the heart of near-future London. Early footage shows many of their classic class paradigms and abilities continuing into this new game. How it'll be monetised is yet to be revealed, though surely anyone would put down a fiver just to nuke Croydon.

Payday 2

Publisher: 505 Games

Release: August 13

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Overkill's 'heist simulator' sequel wasn't quite as fully featured or expanded as was promised, but it's finally escaped its Left 4 Dead-inspired origins at least. Payday 2 is still the best video game adaptation of Heat there's ever been, and in a few patches/DLCs time it may yet live up to its enormous potential too.

It would be criminal to miss out our Payday 2 review . You know, because it's a game about heists. *Cough*.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: May 1

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Blood Dragon takes Far Cry 3's tale of douchebags trapped on a tropical island and transforms it into the sort of ludicrous 80s-style sci-fi Michael Biehn was literally born for. (In fact, he voices the main character, one Sergeant Rex Power Colt.) In place of pirates and foliage you'll find cyborgs and neon; in place of komodo dragons you'll find actual dragons, which naturally fire lasers from their eyes.

Blood Dragon's neon sci-fi aesthetic was a far cry from the tropical wub-wub of the third game. Read our review to find out more.

Shadow Warrior

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Release: September 26

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The original Shadow Warrior was essentially Duke Nukem with a katana, containing more dodgy, unedifying elements than a microwaveable kebab. Unlike Duke Nukem forever, however, much of that appears to have been sanded down for Flying Wild Hog's reboot, which nevertheless remains a distinctly gory and old-fashioned FPS. You're Lo Wang, and you can do some pretty cool things with a katana in first-person – something that's still fairly unique to this day.

MMO

Shadowrun Online

Publisher: Cliffhanger Productions

Release: TBC 2013

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After a rather limp showing on console a few years ago, legendary cyberpunk pen and paper RPG Shadowrun is getting another stab at life online. Cliffhanger Productions' Unity-powered MMO will allow players to become mages, hackers, cyborg warriors and more. It's the blend of traditional fantasy and near-future sci-fi that has always made Shadowrun stand out - this is a world where elves wear tanktops and assassinate corporate dragons. Player actions will impact the ongoing storyline of the pen and paper version, which is a nice touch.

Neverwinter

Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment

Release: June 20

Link

Cryptic's latest shares a setting but little else with the BioWare RPG series of a few years ago. It's an action-heavy online RPG set in the Forgotten Realms' most famous city, a hundred years after a terrible disaster. It'll be free to play, and there'll be a proper content creation tool that'll allow players to create their own questlines. Cryptic had success with something similar in City of Heroes - here's hoping they can build on that success.

Firefall

Publisher: Red 5 Studios

Release: TBC 2013

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Firefall is a hugely amibitious free to play shooter that is attempting to be all things to everyone - co-op MMO blaster, competitive FPS, serious e-sport contender. Jetpacks abound, but despite the presence of Tribes designer Scott Youngbood you're better off thinking more along the lines of Guild Wars 2 and Planetside 2. The developers have been active in responding to the community over the course of the game's long beta, and there's a lot of promise in Firefall's vision of a vibrant, monster-stalked future Earth.

Marvel Heroes

Publisher: Gazillion Entertainment

Release: June 4

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Recently shown off to the press in an early form, action RPG Marvel Heroes has been slow to win hearts and minds. You drag classic superheroes on a Diablo-style ganking spree taking place in the Marvel universe. It'll be free to play, but expect to shell out for premim heroes and alternate appearances. Potentially of interest to serious Marvel buffs - is that Rocket Raccoon? - but those less enamoured of the comics giant might want to wait for the reviews before investing their time.

Survarium

Publisher: Vostok Games

Release: Late 2013

Link

A post-apocalyptic MMOFPS by the chaps behind the excellent STALKER games is an exciting notion, but little is known about Survarium save that it takes place following a worldwide ecological disaster and that players will battle 'maddened animals and birds' in the ruins of civilization. Hopefully the presence of other players will enhance - rather than undermine - the pervasive sense of threat that made STALKER so special.

We recently went hands-on with the promising Survarium, and after we'd hopped in a decontamination shower we wrote about our experiences here .

Age Of Wulin/Wushu

Publisher: Gala Networks

Release: July 18

Link

Age of Wulin is a Chinese-developed MMO currently being adapted for a western audience. It's set during the Ming dynasty and focuses on martial artists from various schools. While not wholly realistic, there's a strong attention to historical detail and the tone is more magic realist than outright fantasy. There are a few novel ideas in play, too - when you log out, your character remains in the world, performing your crafting professions as an NPC.

WildStar

Publisher: NCSoft

Release: TBC 2013

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Wildstar is a cartoonish sci-fi MMO that promises to give players a wide range of options for progression, with combat, crafting and exploration all fully viable games in their own right. The developers recently announced an innovative in-game housing system that'll ensure there's space for every player by ejecting individual chunks of land into the sky with rocket boosters. Hey - it's more imaginative than instancing.

Wizardry Online

Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment

Release: January 30

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The official Wizardry Online website claims that the anime MMO has been in development for thirty years, which seems like a bit of a stretch. It's a 'hardcore' online RPG that features permadeath and looks a little like Dark Souls, were it not for the bobble-headed anime characters.

Otherland

Publisher: Gamigo

Release: TBC 2013

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An action MMO set inside a series of virtual worlds - some fantasy, others medieval, others science fiction - that themselves comprise a virtual world. If there were ever a time that the Inception horn was justified, now would be it. It's free to play, and based on the novels of the same name by Tad Williams.

Infinity

Publisher: I-Novae Studios

Release: TBC

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Infinity has been around forever, it seems - a dream of a procedurally generated universe featuring seamless space-to-surface flight. The developer is planning a Kickstarter campaign early in the year to finally get this starship MMO into game-like shape - but whether it'll be enough to compete with Star Citizen and a resurgent Elite remains to be seen.

City Of Steam

Publisher: Mechanist Games

Release: 2013

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3D indie action MMO that, impressively, runs entirely in a browser. It features traditional fantasy races transposed to the post-industrial world. Expect dungeons, orcs, and clockwork motorcycles. They're really commiting to that steampunk thing: the world is a giant cog floating in space.

World Of Warplanes

Publisher: Wargaming.net

Release: November 12

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The follow-up to World of Tanks transplants Wargaming.net's multiplayer formula to the skies. Take on squadrons of player-controlled WWII aircraft, level up, and upgrade your plane before heading out to do it all over again. Like its caterpillar-treaded cousin, it'll be free to play but spending money will unlock exclusive vehicles and speed up your advancement.

Heroes And Generals

Publisher: Square Enix

Release: TBC 2013

Link

Heroes & Generals combines a multiplayer FPS (that'd be the 'heroes' bit) with a persistent web-based strategy metagame (you know, 'generals'). It's set during World War II, and you can access the strategy component on the move by using a smartphone.

The Castle Doctrine

Publisher: Jason Rohrer

Release: 2013

Link

The Castle Doctrine is an MMO by indie developer Jason Rohrer, based around the concept of home defence. The doctrine in question is an aspect of U.S. law that allows homeowners to defend their property. You'll need to buy traps in order to prevent other players from stealing your things - but where do you get the money? That's right: by stealing other people's stuff. Not much else is known at the moment, but Rohrer's 'Sleep is Death' showcased some innovative ideas about multiplayer storytelling.

Read our thoughts on The Castle Doctrine's alpha version here .

Transformers Universe

Publisher: Jagex Games Studio

Release: TBC 2013

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Autobots and Decepticons do as Autobots and Decepticons will in the MMO debut of the Transformers franchise. Early footage shows off a brightly-coloured take on the series, suggesting something closer to the original cartoon than the recent movies. Which can only be a good thing, frankly. It's being developed by Jagex, of Runescape fame.

Defiance

Publisher: SyFy

Release: April 2

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A massively multiplayer action game that ties into a SyFy channel TV show. It's set in the area around San Francisco in a future where alien terraforming has littered the world with Hellbugs. Don't let the name fool you! They're pretty terrible. There's a little of Firefall to the art style and premise, but the cross-media aspect is a novel touch.

The Missing Ink

Publisher: Redbedlam

Release: TBC 2013

Link

A cute British indie MMORPG where every player gets their own sandbox world to manipulate as they see fit. It's browser-based on PC, but there'll be mobile versions to allow players to log in while they're out and about. The art style is adorable - a mixture of chunky 3D and 'paper doll'-style players and monsters.

Cartoon Universe

Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive

Release: Q1 2013

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An MMO based on Warner Bros. cartoons - think Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo and co. Run quests, play games on arcade machines, and defeat bosses - it's straightforward stuff, but as you might expect the game is being aimed squarely at a younger audience.

World Of Warships

Publisher: Wargaming.net

Release: TBC 2013

Link

The third part of Wargaming.net's World War II action trifecta is a battleship deathmatch game. Planes and tanks, we're familiar with - warships are a stranger proposition, and it'll be interesting to see how the developers handle the relatively slow pace of naval warfare. Expect a major difference in playstyle between ship types - an aircraft carrier is a very different beast from a frigate or a submarine.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Publisher: Square Enix

Release: August 27

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Square Enix's first go at Final Fantasy XIV was a bit of a massive calamity , but you have to admire their decision to nuke its game world from orbit and redo pretty much the whole game from scratch. Set after that apocalypse, the rejigged A Realm Reborn has so far garnered much more praise, even if the game's launch didn't go particularly smoothly.

PLATFORM

Spud's Quest

Publisher: ChrisD

Release: September

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Derby-developed indie platformer that's currently bidding for support on IndieGogo. The developer cites The Legend of Zelda, Metroid and the Dizzy series as influences. You play as a blue potato wearing shoes, because, you know, the ZX Spectrum.

PixelJunk 1-6

Publisher: Q-Games

Release: TBC 2013

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Co-op side-scrolling indie game starring hordes of lovely little pixel robots in the pay of an intergalactic soup manufacturer. Establish bases with four players (or possibly more - the limit is yet to be decided) and explore a gorgeously artful 2D world, systematically turning its lifeforms into soup. Unusually for the (historically excellent) PixelJunk series, this game's entire development is being described in progress on their blog, and its principal platform is PC.

Apotheon

Publisher: Alientrap

Release: TBC 2013

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A 2D platformer with action RPG elements set in mythological Greece. The art style is astonishing, designed to look like the side of an ancient vase. It's by Alientrap, the guys behind underrated 2D spaceman blaster Capsized.

Axiom Verge

Publisher: Thomas Happ

Release: TBC 2013

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Axiom Verge is a Metroid-style platformer by a one-man dev team. It's a traditional-looking game in some respects, with a grimy 16-bit art style that looks a bit like R-Type. The standout feature is a 'glitch ray' that applies bugs to enemies and the environments, from slowdown to corruption.

Harold

Publisher: Moonspider Studio

Release: TBC 2013

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Another upcoming platformer with really stunning cartoon art. You play as a guardian angel guiding the titular Harold through a hazard course strewn with pitfalls. In the past, members of the team have worked for Dreamworks, Pixar, and Studio Ghibli - and it shows.

Contrast

Publisher: Compulsion Games

Release: Q4 2013

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A surrealist 1920s Vaudeville vibe marks this out as a particularly idiosyncratic puzzle-platformer, in which you help a young girl to uncover the mysteries behind her family's troubled past. The twist is you control a woman only the girl can see, and, as this possibly imaginary woman, you can interact with shadows, transforming into a silhouette able to dance between the areas of shade cast by real world objects.

Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime

Publisher: Asteroid Base

Release: TBC 2013

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You and a friend are a pair of lovelorn starship crewmates attempting to defend an enormous pink Deathstar from incoming alien foes. You run around the interior to man varying weapons stations as enemies pour in from all sides. It's cooperative by design, but expect the kind of co-op that sunders friendships. In space, no-one can hear you scream at the guy sitting next to you.

Super Retro Squad

Publisher: Exploding Rabbit

Release: TBC 2013

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Nintendo-inspired platformer with multiple characters, each a tribute to a classic SNES-era hero. That's tribute of the 'bootleg pallette swap' variety, by the way - though there's a self-awareness to Super Retro Squad that saves it from being outright pastiche. An upgrade system lets you level up your characters abilities, and there's a unifying narrative told through cutscenes.

Rayman Legends

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: August 30

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Ubisoft's limbically weird mascot made a triumphant return with 2011's Origins, and his atypically joyful, colourful platforming action re-returns for the bountiful Rayman Legends. This sequel features additional playable characters, and a painterly art style that brings Ubisoft's new UbiArt framework to life.

DuckTales: Remastered

Publisher: Capcom

Release: August 13

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Capcom brought in Shantae developers WayForward to remake this old NES game, who obviously replaced the existing art and music along with adding new levels and even dialogue scenes, for some reason. The result is pretty OK , though we may feel differently in a few years time, when it's inspired 'HD' versions of Zool and Bubsy the Bobcat.

Spelunky

Publisher: Mossmouth

Release: August 8

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Of course, Spelunky has existed on PC since 2009, but this expanded 'HD' version has been a long time coming. Among other improvements and additions, such as four-player co-op, there's one particular feature which makes this the definitive version of Derek Yu's cave-diving roguelike-like classic. The Steam edition includes Daily Challenges, which give you one chance – one life – to do as best as you can in a set world, after which you can compare your efforts with those of your friends. It's yet another genius feature in a game full of them – prepare to lose many hundreds of hours of your life to this.

Have a read of our review to find out just how great Spelunky is, then whip-crack away in this direction to hear our thoughts on the game's Daily Challenge system.

Rogue Legacy

Publisher: Cellar Door Games

Release: June 27

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A roguelike-like platformer with a geneological twist – think of this as the Who Do You Think You Are? of procedurally generated dungeon exploration. Every time you die you assume the role of your own heir, who will continue your doomed quest to conquer a gigantic castle chock-full of 'orrible monsters. Your descendents can even carry certain randomly generated traits including colour-blindness and ADHD.

99 Levels to Hell

Publisher: B-evil

Release: February 26

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The year is 2013, the month is February, and the roguelike hasn't quite infected every inch of gaming yet. 99 Levels to Hell was one of the first (following in the footsteps of Spelunky) to mix platforming with rogueliking and blowing stuff up. The results, as you might expect, were Hellish. You play as a dude with a lustrous moustache and a particularly fancy top hat. For some reason you're trying to fight your way into Hell, which resides under 99 levels of procedurally generated mayhem.

PUZZLE

Clark

Publisher: Golden Tricycle

Release: October

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Isometric puzzler where the player guides a quadrupedal robot through a series of cel-shaded challenge rooms. It's all about manipulating blocks to unlock routes and prevent an enemy robot from catching you. Manipulating lasers using reflective cubes give it a touch of Portal.

Gunpoint

Publisher: Suspicious Developments

Release: June 3

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PC Gamer's Tom Francis is making a 2D stealth game where the player attempts to break into a series of high-security facilities using a tool that allows you to rewire electronic equipment - making a lightswitch open a door, for example. Don't tell him, but it's looking pretty good.

Tetrobot And Co.

Publisher: Swing Swing Submarine

Release: October 15

Link

Swing Swing Submarine!'s follow-up to Blocks that Matter is taking criticism of the original to heart, dialing back the frustration and attempting to make the core game more accessible. Fans of Blocks that Matter should still expect a challenge, however.

Ir/rational Investigator

Publisher: Tom Jubert

Release: 2013

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A spoof noir story, Ir/rational Investigator may look like an adventure game, but it departs from rote in a big way: pointing-and-clicking is replaced by a puzzle minigame in which you unpick bits of if-then-else propositional logic.

Dungeon Hearts

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Release: March 28

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Dungeon Hearts is a hybrid puzzle and roleplaying game that combines match-three and JRPG-style battling with, in the words of the developers, 'the ever-escalating pace of Canabalt'. It was picked up by Devolver Digital during GDC 2012 when the Serious Sam publisher had indie devs jump on a bus to pitch them games.

Gorogoa

Publisher: Jason Roberts

Release: Late 2013

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Gorogoa is a puzzle game where the play rearranges tiles to change the properties of the environment. Each tile is a self-contained puzzle, and each puzzle informs the whole. It sounds brain-achingly complicated, and the classical art style helps it to stand out.

The Franz Kafka Videogame

Publisher: mif2000

Release: TBC 2013

Link

There's little to go on with The Franz Kafka Videogame right now, beyond the fact it's an adventure/puzzle game featuring everyone's favourite existentialist author. Alright, not everyone's favourite, because you can never know everyone. In fact, do you even know yourself? Because to truly know yourself you surely have to be confident in your own existence, and to... oh my.

H2Flow

Publisher: Haptix Games

Release: 2013

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H2Flow sees players trying to guide a flow of water from the top of a level to the bottom, avoiding obstacles along the way. Sort of like a liquid Lemmings. It looks to be primarily an iOS project, but will be coming to PC too.

Teslagrad

Publisher: Rain Games

Release: 2013

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2D puzzle-platformer in which you change the polarity of platforms with a handheld device, sending them hurtling to or from their magnetic opposites - all in aid of solving a conspiracy.

Fez

Publisher: Polytron

Release: May 1

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Shortly before creator Phil Fish's dramatic departure from game development, astonishingly beautiful puzzle-platformer Fez finally came to PC, after a year's exclusivity to the Xbox 360. Fez eschews combat for cryptic puzzles, which tend to be based around hero Gomez's ability to revolve his three-dimensional world a bit like a Rubik's cube. A sequel was briefly announced, before being cancelled just a few weeks later.

The Swapper

Publisher: Facepalm Games

Release: May 30

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An atmospheric sci-fi title made out of clay and other bits and bobs. No, it's not Aardman's long-awaited remake of 2001; The Swapper is a contemplative, clone-based puzzle-platformer that will stick with you – and you, and you and you and you – for quite some time .

RACING

Grid 2

Publisher: Codemasters

Release: May 27

Link

Codemaster's latest racing title offers a three-way split between track, dirt and street - and an ambition to garner wide appeal while delivering a deep driving simulation. Oh, and lovely menus. You can't forget the lovely menus.

Distance

Publisher: Refract Studios

Release: TBC 2013

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The developers behind the unique and fun free-to-play racer Nitrionic Rush took to Kickstarter to fund their next project - Distance. Freed from the shackles of a publisher, the studio is aiming to take their futuristic survival racing to the next level.

Race The Sun

Publisher: Flippfly

Release: August

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A hazardous landscape is procedurally generated before you as you attempt to keep pace with the globe's orbit and escape the onset of dusk. It's is fast, fun and right now you can play the demo version for free.

Trackmania 2 Valley

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: July 4

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Trackmania's Valley expansion takes the racing-game construction kit off-road, with a slew of dirt tracks and rugged rallies to test your tyres. It isn't the the most outlandish of the Trackmania releases, but it looks a treat.

Trackmania 2 Stadium

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: February 27

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Trackmania 2 Stadium, goes in quite the opposite direction from the grit of Trackmania 2 Valley, introducing ludicrous loops, huge jumps and other stunt-bait to the racing-game construction kit's grab bag of components.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

Publisher: Sega

Release: January 31

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Until a few years ago you wouldn't have thought Sonic had it in him to create a great racing game – and to be fair, Sumo Digital may have helped a bit. This imaginative, thrillingly fast racer shoves all your Sega favourites – Tails, the cast of Jet Set Radio, er, a Shogun – into one hyperactive karting game, and the result is far more compelling than it has any right to be. The belated PC version added characters from TF2, Total War and Football Manager, as if things weren't weird enough already.

RPG

Wasteland 2

Publisher: InXile Entertainment

Release: Late 2013

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This post-apocalyptic RPG was one of the earliest nostalgia-bait pitches to appear on Kickstarter, promising to return players to the ruthless isometric world first created by Interplay in 1988. Its vision of a blasted future, and the form of its tactical combat, set the stage for Fallout. It also had probably the best pieces of cover art for a game ever. The principal developers of the original now return with this love letter to old-school RPG mechanics.

Grim Dawn

Publisher: Crate Entertainment

Release: TBC 2013

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From the people behind Titan Quest, comes this top down action RPG, set in a world ravaged by otherworldly forces - those who want to enslave humanity and those who want to destroy humanity before they are yoked by their opponents. Only outsiders - humans rejected by their own because of their unearthly powers - can launch a resistance. Five classes, multiple skill trees in each, and synergistic modifiers aplenty are promised, along with oodles of loot and co-op.

South Park: The Stick Of Truth

Publisher: THQ

Release: December 10

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Recent trailers make it difficult to tell where the cut-scenes end and the action begins - but that's just as much a testament to the loyal recreation of the potty-mouthed show's relentless patter as it is a frustration. With longstanding RPG makers Obsidian on board, we can hope that there will be just as much attention paid to its mechanics as there has been to the papery-poo texture of Mr Hankey. Howdy ho, kids!

Shadowrun Returns

Publisher: Harebrained Schemes

Release: July 25

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Lifting fantasy cliche out of the medieval era, Shadowrun sends its dwarves, elves, trolls and dragons hurtling into a cyberpunk future. However, the version of Shadowrun that made its way to PC in 2007 was hardly worthy of its name, sullying the memory of the classic turn-based RPG which had delighted console gamers some 14 years earlier. Harebrained Schemes looks to right this wrong with a loyal return to the classic series.

Should Shadowrun have Returned after all this time? Read our review to find out.

Dead State

Publisher: DoubleBear Productions

Release: December 3

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This turnbased survival RPG sees players struggle through a world suffering the early stages of a zombie outbreak. It might not wow visually, but there's clearly a lot more going on under the hood. The ample talent of Brian Mitsoda (he of Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines) is being applied to writing duties, weaving a rich story through the sprawling, non-linear world. There's a lot of brutal decisions to make here at the end of the world, with players being faced with choices that defy conventional scales of morality.

Gorky 21

Publisher: TopWare Interactive

Release: TBC 2013

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1999's Gorky 17 – aka Odium – was a Polish take on the postnuclear- war scenario, and in some ways a precursor to Stalker. For follow-up Gorky 21, TopWare have inserted just about every sci-fi cliché going, including steampunk weapons and nano-technology power-ups. It'll be interesting to see whether or not TopWare go full Fallout 3, or just keep the original game's top-down roots. Doubly interesting given that there's been no news of the game for a good year.

The Dark Eye: Demonicon

Publisher: Kalypso Media

Release: October 25

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A third-person action-RPG, Demonicon follows the story of a pair of siblings, subject to the machinations of demonic forces. Players take on difficult moral choices in this bleak fantasy world, and their destiny will ultimately shape the fate of an entire continent.

Dungeon Gate

Publisher: Wild Game Studio

Release: 2013

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Villages, hordes, dragons, dungeons - you've seen it all before, but this thirdperson action RPG's unique selling point is the ability to drain the DNA of any living creature you encounter, and allow you to adopt their form, aiding the player in combat and puzzles.

Raven's Cry

Publisher: TopWare Interactive

Release: October 24

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A tale of revenge set in the Caribbean of the 17th century, RPG-adventure Raven's Cry attempts to reassert the realities of buccaneer life - well, up to a point. It may be keen to recreate the architecture of the time, weave in real historical figures, and stay true to the murky morality possessed by your average brigand, but it also features magic pirate treasure which can make you invincible or summon ravens to tear enemies apart. Still, naval battles and duelling should ensure you buckle remains heartily swashed.

The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 – Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie – Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa

Publisher: Tales Of Game's

Release: TBC 2013

Link

"The ball is in your court. The fate of the galaxy, the Post-Cyberpocalypse and all of b-balldom is in your hands. Do you have the courage, vigor and sagacity to slam with the best? Or are you just going to jam with the rest?" The sequel to pseudo-spoof RPG Barkley: Shut Up And Jam Gaiden returns with the same absurdist humour but with snazzy new graphics and a whole load of new mechanics that promise to make the game as enjoyable to play as it is satirical. It's now an action-RPG, with top-down-shooter-style combat, and a vast world to explore. The game tore past its Kickstarter target by a factor of three - no doubt because backers were eager to get their hands on the $100 tier reward of a cyber-dwarf body pillow.

Sword Of The Stars: The Pit

Publisher: Kerberos Productions

Release: February 21

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Marking a departure from other games to bear the Sword of the Stars name, The Pit is a light-hearted, dungeon-diving action-RPG, with more than a dash of roguelike thrown in for good measure.

Eschalon: Book 3

Publisher: Basilisk Games

Release: Late 2013

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An old school RPG of an uncompromising kind, Eschalon's climactic chapter hopes to recreate the sense of pen-and-paper freedom with its many miles of wilderness and dense dungeon complexes. This third instalment builds in dozens of fan-requested features, overhauls the engine, and promises to be highly modifiable: the development kit will be shipped shortly after the game's release.

Cube World

Publisher: Wollay

Release: TBC 2013

Link

Minecraft is the obvious touchstone here, but in its action Cube World takes influence from The Legend of Zelda series. Not that it will be called Cube World for long, as the developer wants to avoid copyright issues with litigious Minecraft clones. Watch this space.

Caribbean!

Publisher: Snowbird Games

Release: TBC 2013

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The world of the buccaneer is perfect RPG fodder - after all, ship captains did assemble their squads, they did upgrade their ships and they did augment their bodies with stat-boosting hooks and peglegs. Caribbean! aims to fill the swashbuckling RPG gap.

Chaos Chronicles

Publisher: bitComposer

Release: TBC 2013

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Hoping to revive the classic party-based western RPG of the 80s (along with nearly every other Kickstarter project), Chaos Chronicles namechecks a list of venerable influences: Ultima, Pool of Radiance, Bard's Tale and Wizardry. The game promises rather less retro graphics, however, and a hex-based combat system.

Sacred 3

Publisher: Deep Silver

Release: TBC 2013

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Development responsibilities for the third main instalment in the action-RPG series have passed on to Keen Games. With that change comes others: classes from the second game will not return, and the entire game is enabled for four-player co-op. Even offline you are accompanied by a squad of AI allies.

SaltyPepper

Publisher: SaltyPepper Studios

Release: TBC 2013

Link

A thirdperson ARPG which hopes to bridge the gap between singleplayer and competitive multiplayer, Saltypepper introduces “groundbreaking” spectator tools for its PvP arena. Not much else is yet known, but its early concept art reveals a fantasy world with manga-influence character design.

Pier Solar HD

Publisher: Watermelon Co.

Release: December

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A high-def port of the only RPG released on Sega's ancient Genesis console this side of the millenium. Originally an experiment among members of the Sega homebrew community back in 2004, Pier Solar sprawled into an RPG matching the size of professional productions from the 16-bit era. Thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, it's now coming to PC, too.

Nuclear Union

Publisher: 1C Company

Release: TBC 2013

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An irradiated mutation of Fallout and Stalker, Nuclear Union is an RPG set in an alternate timeline where the Cuban missile crisis led to outright war. It's being developed by Best Way, the Ukrainian studio best known for the fabulous strategy game Men of War. It's their first foray into a different genre, but has the weight (and money) of Russian mega-publisher 1C behind it. Expect anomalies, slow-motion death cams and shambling nightmare creatures.

Mars: War Logs

Publisher: Spiders Games

Release: April 26

Link

Say it with me: a cyberpunk RPG set on Mars. That's all you need to know. It's like if Red Faction had deeper elements to it (and didn't go rubbish with Armageddon and then die) like RPG-style combat, dialogue choices, customisable characters and all that jazz. The biggest problem is it's made by Spiders, which means PCG's very own Rich will probably be too afraid to play it.

Hear our take on the red planet-set RPG by following this link .

Mistborn: Birthright

Publisher: Little Orbit

Release: Autumn

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Birthright is an RPG based on the popular Mistborn fantasy books, which is set in a world of “Allomancers,” who can do magic with select metals by burning and ingesting them. It's an unusual conceptual bedrock for a magic system, and one that I can imagine transitioning nicely into videogame form. Sadly, there's very little information about Mistborn: Birthright, save for a little concept art and a “Fall 2013” release window, though the author of the novels, Brandon Sanderson, has signed on for story and dialogue duties.

Yogventures!

Publisher: Winterkewl Games

Release: Q4 2013

Link

The inevitable has come to pass. The enormously popular Yogscast has spawned a videogame. The Yogscast crew have earned recent fame exploring Minecraft adventure maps, and it's quite easy to trace that inspiration right through the Kickstarter description, especially the part that pitches Yogventures as “adventure maps in Minecraft, only now you aren't limited to just blocks!” Co-hosts Simon and Lewis can't code, so production is being handled by Winterkewl. This is their first game. Can they take on the mighty Minecraft?

Kitaru

Publisher: Aoineko Studios

Release: TBC 2013

Link

Kitaru is a third person RPG set in a dystopian cyberpunk future. It features free-roaming exploration and turn based combat. Quirky touch controls and minigames make it an interesting proposition on iPhone, but it's unclear if those features will make the translation to PC. The developers say they've been working on art and background work for five years, but only started building it in 2012, which suggests this one could still be some way off.

Cult: Awakening Of The Old Ones

Publisher: David Hagar

Release: TBC 2013

Link

You can take control of a band of adventurers or an entire army in this intriguing roguelike. The world generation tech will model unique dungeons, vast landscapes and then fill them with civilisations, history and old gods. It sounds like Dwarf Fortress, but with less city building, more exploration, and procedurally generated storytelling. “Dialogue, the personal stories of the various characters you meet, cultural anecdotes, and even the mythology of each world will be generated from scratch,” says developer, David M. Hagar. Cult's kickstarter secured $34k in funding, five more than six times the amount Hagar asked for.

Ring Runner - Flight Of The Sages

Publisher: Ring Runner Team

Release: TBC 2013

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Ring Runner is a top-down shmup expanded with RPG elements, customisable ships and a 20 hour singleplayer campaign. Missions challenge you to escape exploding trenches, battle bosses bigger than your screen, race against NPC pilots and engage in spectacular space skirmishes in an engine modelled on the laws of Newtonian physics. You can upgrade your ship's capabilities with more than 300 items including turrets, rocket launchers, laser cannons and close range grappling hooks. Procedurally generated enemies can spawn with any weapon/hull combination and their AI will adapt to the tools at their disposal. On top of all that, there will be additional multiplayer and co-op modes like “Spire Battles,” which described as “fast paced, MOBA-like base battles.” It's massive, crazy ambitious and surprisingly pretty too. One to watch.

Secrets Of Grindea

Publisher: Pixel Ferrets

Release: Late 2013

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Action RPG Secrets of Grindea is a game about trying to steal everything in the world, even if it's behind or underneath or inside a monster. You'll have to murder a lot of wildlife to maximise your stealing potential, but the adorable 16-bit art takes the edge off the necessary mass murder. The co-op mode supports up to four players and there's an open class system that allows characters to progress any way they want. Oh, and if you're worried about the name, here's what the developers say about it: “In the world of Grindea, people are obsessed with collecting items. Imagining how many hours they must spend hunting loot it's no wonder they named their entire world Grindea. However, you won't be forced to grind at all, unless you choose to.”

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

Publisher: Neocore Games

Release: May 22

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Want to know what Van Helsing got up to when he wasn't having a bit of a go at Dracula, or attempting to murder the career of Hugh Jackman? Well it turns out he had his own monster-hunting action-RPG – or rather his son [Dave] Van Helsing did at any rate. It's a “gothic noir” game that's a bit like Diablo, giving you a ghostly companion in the form of one Lady Katarina, and putting your skills to use on a variety of mythical beasties.

SIM

SimCity

Publisher: EA

Release: March 8

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The most famous city building sim series of all time is set to make a confident return next year. Maxis have built a new engine to simulate the intricacies of each city's inner workings with even greater detail. Glassbox will dynamically measure hundreds of factors, from pollution levels to citizen satisfaction to hopefully create the most satisfying SimCity game we've seen for a long while. Early footage of earthquakes and alien invasions suggest's there's plenty of heartache ahead for SimCity's disaster-prone towns.

Read our verdict on SimCity here .

Prison Architect

Publisher: Introversion

Release: TBC 2013

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Maintain control of a facility of murderous inmates in Introversion's upcoming prison management sim. Set up cell blocks, organise guard patrol routes, wire up a security system and try your best to stop your captive brutes from breaking out. Escapees aren't your your biggest problem. Inmates will try their best to get away with as much crime as possible while you're not looking. They'll smuggle in shivs, start riots and do their best to run slipshod all over your carefully made plans. Prison Architect is in paid alpa stage, which means you can pay to play an early version right now. Introversion are adding more features every week.

Welcome to Stabshank. As our Prison Architect diary reveals, it's pretty much the worst prison in the world. If you somehow manage to escape, make sure you read our illuminating recent interview with Introversion.

Don't Starve

Publisher: Klei

Release: April 23

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“Survive! Collect! Attack!” is the tag line for Klei's sepia-toned open world survival game, Don't Starve. You play a top-hatted gentleman adventurer who must wander the randomly generated wilderness, collecting tools for your camp to aid your survival. There will be little in the way of a tutorial, Klei want us to discover how their mysterious world works for ourselves. There are hints scattered throughout the update notes on the Don't Starve site, however. Your dapper gent can cultivate eggs and hatch feathery companions, fish in ponds and fight flaming hounds. If you're too callous with those you meet, you risk enraging the “Krampus” demon, who will hunt your adventurer down and punish him for his sins. Eek.

Cities In Motion 2

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Release: April 2

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Cities in Motion 2 marks Paradox' return to the strangely fascinating world of mass transit management. The sequel will let you organise bus routes and tweak train fares with a friend in co-op mode and an improved economy model will add a social engineering element to the advanced route-setting features. Affordable transport will affect the prospects of nearby residents, making them more affluent and more demanding. The new day night cycle will add a bit of extra visual flair to your metropolis and there's even an option to run competing networks in multiplayer.

Star Command

Publisher: War Balloon Games

Release: 2013

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Star Command lets you recruit a crew, build a spaceship and trawl the universe in search of new life and new civilisations to crush. It was originally backed as an iPhone game on Kickstarter, but should arrive on PC in 2013. You can build new rooms for your craft and bolt new weapons to its exterior as your minions slave away at consoles and gradually level up within. It wouldn't be a space exploration game without the odd space lobster turning up, but though your crewmembers look suspiciously similar to Star Trek officers, they have the capacity to be a lot more violent. If you decide not to recruit the aliens you meet, you can wipe them out and loot what remains of their civilisation.

The Sims 3 70's, 80's, & 90's

Publisher: EA

Release: January

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Expansion packs for The Sims 3 have reached the stage where they've just started going slowly back in time, decade by decade. They're likely to reach the Victorian era before Maxis get round to making a proper sequel, which I'd rather like to see, because this pack adds hairstyles, clothing and furniture specific to each era. Flared jeans, flat tops, arcade machines, legwarmers, leotards headbands and grunge threads are just a few of the items included.

Bus, Woodcutter, Bridge, Crane, Farming Simulators 2014

Publisher: Wendros

Release: Throughout 2013

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With comforting certainty we can expect to see follow-ups to Excalibur, SCS, UIG and Wendros' series of simulators. The next Woodcutter Simulator has already been announced, is due in January and will let us wield chainsaws in first-person. Finally Keep an eye out for the next edition of Euro Truck Simulator too, our Tim Stone called it “one of the PC's finest and freshest driving games” in our review in PC Gamer UK issue 248.

SPORT

Most successful sports franchises roll around each year like clockwork. That means that while we don't have much concrete information, we're able to guess at what's on the way in 2013.

Trials Evolution: Gold Edition

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: March 21

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Trials could easily fit in the action, platform, puzzle or even sim pages here, but by sneaking it into sports it gets pride of place at the top. Evolution is the demi-sequel to Trials HD released on Xbox 360 and, for some reason, still not released on PC. Trials Evolution is still down for a 2013 PC release though, and I'm ready.

IHF Handball Challenge 13

Publisher: Neutron Games

Release: January 25

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If there's anything the 2012 Olympics taught us, it's that handball is a more dramatic and exciting sport than most people realise: it seems mostly to be about charging into your opponent and hurling a large ball directly at their face. If there's anything Handball Challenge 12 taught us, it's that clunky animations won't necessarily stop your game finding an audience. Fingers crossed IHF HC13 smooths out the wrinkles, and delivers on the sport's promise.

Football Manager 2014

Publisher: Sega

Release: October 31

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Normally Sports Interactive are coy on their future plans, but this year studio head Miles Jacobson has been slightly more vocal about plans for future releases. Football Manager 2014 is coming, and 2013's successful addition of Classic mode will be built upon. Will it prompt Rich and Graham to disappear a football-shaped hole, never to return? They already have.

FIFA 14

Publisher: EA Sports

Release: September 24

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FIFA 12 was the first year that the tremendously popular football game achieved parity between its PC and console versions. FIFA 13 was still excellent, and built on that - slightly - with a few new animations and a new free-kick system. What FIFA 14 will add is anyone's guess, but it feels to us like the series is in need of more significant new features if it's to continue selling in such huge quantities.

PES 2014

Publisher: Konami

Release: September 24

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It still had a lot of faults, but PES 2013 was a big step up for a series that has been flagging behind it's EA rival in recent years. PES 2014 will hopefully build on that big step, especially with the creation of a London-based dev team for the game.

FIFA Manager 14

Publisher: EA Sports

Release: October 24

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Hey, here's that other football management game - remember it? Hopefully not. Previous editions of FIFA Manager have been absolutely dire, feeling like a weekend warrior in comparison with Football Manager's premiership contender. Still, FIFA Manager 14 is practically inevitable.

Pro Wrestling X

Publisher: Wishbone X

Release: December

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Development of Pro Wrestling X began in 2006, and it's been a long-road for the game so far. A Kickstarter project launched in late 2012 aimed to speed the development process, but it failed to reach even its meagre $75,000 funding goal. Still we're betting that its passionate developers won't be pinned to the mat quite so easily.

STRATEGY

Total War: Rome 2

Publisher: Sega

Release: September 3

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Total War games have been consistently providing astonishing, epic-scale battles for over a decade, and to many, the original Rome: Total War was the pinnacle of the series. Now series' commanders Creative Assembly are returning, bringing with them everything they've learned from the likes of Shogun 2 and Napoleon: Total War. There'll be revamped naval combat (with ships able to interact with land battles), and, well, war elephants. Check our Total War: Rome 2 review to learn more.

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment

Release: March 12

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Heart of the Swarm has been in beta for months now, so we've had plenty of time to hop on and try out the changes to StarCraft 2's multiplayer ourselves. The current thinking? Not much has changed, as each proposed new unit has found itself excised for upsetting the game's delicate balance. But! The singleplayer campaign remains something of an unknown. Will it be a tender romance between two lovestruck zerg larvae? One can hope - and we'll find out early next year.

Well, we found out - and thankfully, Heart of the Swarm was pretty damned great, as you'll discover if you read our review .

Command & Conquer

Publisher: EA

Release: Late 2013

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Command & Conquer has struggled to find its place in today's gaming landscape, but there's some hope this new multiplayer-only effort might reverse the trend. Developed by a new studio established under the BioWare name and led by Jon Van Caneghem, the creator of Might & Magic, it'll return to the Generals spin-off universe. That means modern military instead of distant future, traditional terrorists instead of aliens, and no Kane. Also, it'll be free-to-play, which either means it'll be the most popular game ever made, or simply really annoying.

Company Of Heroes 2

Publisher: THQ

Release: June 25

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Company Of Heroes 2 puts players in charge of the Soviet army, battling both the invading German forces and the bitter Russian winter. Despite the change in setting, it's remaining true to what made the first game great: tight, tactical battles, with an emphasis on using the environment to flank and overcome your bitter enemies. Is there a barn in your way? Burn it down. Have a tank behind a wall? Smash it through. See a frozen lake? Trudge dangerously across, or break it apart with grenades it to prevent your enemies from passing.

With THQ's rather public financial woes doing the rounds, Company Of Heroes 2 could be a more important release for the publisher than anyone would have imagined back when it was announced. Their coffers may be helped by a multiplayer component with microtransaction, employing what Relic learned from the short-lived Company of Heroes Online.

Company of Heroes 2 eventually saw release courtesy of new publishers Sega - here's what we thought of the frosty WW2 sequel.

Europa Universalis 4

Publisher: Paradox Development Studio

Release: August 13

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Taking place in a time of muskets, pikes and natty helmets, Europa Universalis 4 brings grand strategy ideals to the fore: nation building, diplomacy, war and exploration. Given strategy gamer's long-lasting love for EU3 and its many mods and expansions, expect EU4 to have a similarly long tail, and a similarly expansive scale.

Indeed it does, as revealed in our review of this particularly grand grand strategy game.

End of Nations

Publisher: Trion Worlds

Release: TBC 2013

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Developed by Petroglyph, who were founded by former Command and Conquer developers. Published by Rift, who brought considerable tech and online expertise to their MMO, Rift. End of Nations combines the two company's disciplines: a massively multiplayer real-time strategy game, set in a near-future world where three factions are vying for total control of earth and its resources. With up to 64 players on any particular map, each directing an army of dozens of units, you'll work together to capture territory from enemy factions and conquer a global campaign map.

Scrolls

Publisher: Mojang

Release: TBC 2013

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Scrolls is a collectible card game set in a traditional fantasy world, of which there are many. What sets it apart from the likes of Magic: The Gathering is its 3D battlefield, which impacts the effectiveness of your cards. It's a card game that could only ever exist digitally. Right now it's available in its early alpha stages, and can only be played against other human opponents. By the time it's finished - sometime in late 2013, we reckon - there'll be a full overworld, where you'll be able to fight the computer and conquer territory. Oh, and it's made by Mojang, the Swedish developer founded on a base of Minecraft's millions. For that alone, it's worth keeping an eye on.

Impire

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Release: February 14

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Peter Molyneux picked Populous for his first nostalgic Kickstarter campaign, leaving Dungeon Keeper fans to look elsewhere for their devilish strategy games. Thankfully they don't have to look far, with Impire more than happy to pick up the mantle. As in its admitted inspiration, you tend to your underground dungeon, recruit and train up minions, and generally make a nuisance of yourself to the heroes of the world. It's being published by Paradox, who have a good line in compact, throwback strategy. (See also: 2012's A Game of Dwarves).

Read our review for our verdict on this adorably diminutive strategy game.

Medieval Mayor

Publisher: Tilted Mill Entertainment

Release: TBC 2013

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From the developers of Caesar 4, Children Of The Nile, SimCity Societies and Pharaoh, Medieval Mayor puts you in charge of a medieval city. From placing the buildings to hiring the local executioner to perhaps implementing the old world equivalent of Boris Bikes, it's a simple enough idea presented by a developer with at least some pedigree.

Eador: Masters Of The Broken World

Publisher: Snowblind Studios

Release: April 19

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Hexes and fantasy and turn-based strategy are common bedfellows, but Eador: Masters Of The Broken World introduces a karma system to mix things up a bit. As the developers say - you are the leader of a people, and your choices will have an effect on the world and its people. Beyond just making them all slaughter each other, that is.

Omerta: City Of Gangsters

Publisher: Kalypso Media

Release: February 5

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For ten years now Tropico has developed its own small niche, delivering light-hearted strategy japes as the leader of a banana republic. From the same folks, Omerta: City of Gangers may do the same thing for 1920s organised crime. A management game of criminal empire building and turn-based fighting, it's a nice change from more traditional strategy settings.

Read our review to find out if Omerta makes you an offer you can't refuse.

Expeditions: Conquistador

Publisher: Logic Artists

Release: May 30

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A successful Kickstarter campaign has helped launch the expedition of this strategy/RPG, in which players take on the role of a Spanish explorer in the 1500s. Featuring actual topological maps of regions in South America, you're looking at exploration, conversation, management and strategic combat. And brilliant conquistador helmets.

Divinity: Dragon Commander

Publisher: Larian Studios

Release: August 6

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How to improve dragons: strap time-slowing jetpacks to them. From the developers of trad-fantasy hack-and-slasher Divinity, Dragon Commander is a mad and brilliant sounding spin-off. As the captain of a fleet of armoured dirigibles, you form your armies (and find a wife) via Mass Effect-style conversations, then switch to a combination of real-time dragon action and mid-battle turn-based strategy to win sky battles.

Dragon Commander's disparate elements mesh surprisingly well, as explained in our divine review .

Prime World

Publisher: Nival

Release: TBC 2013

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The minds behind Heroes of Might & Magic 5, Blitzkrieg, and Etherlords come together to make this online strategy title, trying to appeal to the MOBA crowd. They even have a page on their site explaining why you'll love it if you're a Dota 2 or League of Legends player, which is a bold tactic.

Godus

Publisher: 22 Cans

Release: 2013

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Peter Molyneux and his team at 22 Cans want to rebirth the god game genre. I have no problem with that, what with Molyneux and chums practically inventing it in the first place. With the shackles of big publishing houses removed, this could well be 22 Cans' magnum opus. Or it could be a confused mess of ambition over coherent design.

Chaos Reborn

Publisher: Julian Gollop

Release: TBC 2013

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Chaos is one of the best - and earliest - turn-based strategy games of all time, designed by Julian Gollop in the years before he created his most famous game, X-Com: UFO Defense. Having since lost the rights to both XCOM and Laser Squad, he's now making a sequel to Chaos. It's very early along in the development process, as you can probably see from the screen, but Gollop's recent handheld work proves he hasn't lost his touch.

Maia

Publisher: Machine Studios

Release: TBC 2013

Link

Maia just barely scraped its way to crowdfunding success in late 2012, but it should have had a far easier time. A procedurally-generated strategy game that combines throwback elements from Dungeon Keeper with forward-leaning ideas from Dwarf Fortress, it sounds great in theory and looks great in screenshots. One to watch.

We made first contact with Maia back in 2012, before returning to check up on our colony earlier this year.

The Banner Saga: Factions

Publisher: Stoic Studio

Release: TBC 2013

Link

An absolutely gorgeous turn-based strategy-cum-RPG title featuring everybody's favourite pillagers, the Vikings. The Banner Saga: Factions stands out with its very pretty hand-animated art style.

Head here to read our Banner Saga review.

March Of The Eagles

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Release: February 19

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The above screen may make it look like a bunch of bored-looking men in pyjamas standing on an oversized floating model of Europe (probably in order to tell you the weather), but March Of The Eagles is actually a deep strategy title taking in the era of the Napoleonic Wars. With a slight chance of rain.

Plants Vs Zombies 2

Publisher: EA

Release: TBC 2013

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We know next to nothing about it - hence the screenshot above being from the first game - but there's a good bet that it'll contain zombies, plants and their never-ending war. This is also PopCap's first big game since being bought by EA and laying off a chunk of their staff early in 2012. Amongst those lay-offs? Original Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan.

Legends Of War: Patton's Campaign

Publisher: PQube

Release: TBC 2013

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If you've ever wanted to be General Patton, or if you're a fan of high level strategy and turn-based combat, then Legends Of War: Patton's Campaign could be the game for you. No word yet on whether there'll there be a 'rousing speech' mini-game.

Dreadline

Publisher: Eerie Canal

Release: 2013

Link

Not only does Dreadline have an interesting concept - real-time strategy that sees players (as monsters) killing people off just before they would die in otherwise calamitous real life events - but it has a team with credits like SWAT 4, Bioshock, System Shock 2, Freedom Force, Titan Quest and Rock Band behind it.

Wargame: AirLand Battle

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive

Release: May 29

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Continuing the theme of Cold War-based wargames, Wargame: Airland Battle is an RTS set around a series of 'what if' skirmishes - as in 'what if the world had been that dumb and actually broken out into all-out war in that period?' It's also developed by Eugen, they of the excellent and overlooked poker-style strategy game RUSE and last year's just-as-excellent and even-more-overlooked Wargame: European Escalation.

Starlight Inception

Publisher: Escape Hatch Entertainment

Release: Late 2013

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Starlight Inception is pegged as "the rebellious stepchild of Wing Commander, X-Wing and Freespace 2". That sounds like a dream game, and references enough beloved memories that the game reached its funding target during a recent Kickstarter campaign. Some skepticism is warranted, though: its developers are unproven, we've seen nothing more than concept art so far, and creating vast space games is hard, content-intensive work.

Northstar

Publisher: Kerberos Productions

Release: TBC 2013

Link

Only last year it seemed like everyone was jonesing for an Elite-alike - this year there are almost too many to choose from, thanks to Kickstarter's nostalgia-fuelled boom. But while most are thrashing around wildly to gain the public's attention, Kerberos have opted to drop space-trading game Northstar off the radar entirely. It'd be easy to write the game off entirely were it not for the creators' development pedigree with Sword Of The Stars.

Planetary Annihilation

Publisher: Uber Entertainment

Release: TBC 2013

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Another dream project funded via Kickstarter. Planetary Annihilation is about massive real-time battles spread across entire planets, in which its even possible to build rockets on a moon and use it as a projectile missile against your planet-bound enemies.

While it sounds too good to be true, the game has established developers behind it. Jon Mavor was a programmer on Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander, and has an artillery unit named after him in the latter. He founded PA developer's Uber Entertainment and they made the underrated Monday Night Combat. Now, he's returning to his roots with Planetary Annihilation. It's a throwback to the games that made Mavor's name, but also unlike anything you've ever seen. It was crowdfunded to the tune of $2.2 million, and is one of PC Gamer's most anticipated games of 2013.

X Rebirth

Publisher: Deep Silver

Release: November 15

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The X series has often proved a difficult proposition even for committed fans of space-trading games. With this reboot, Egosoft is hoping to make it easier for newcomers while not compromising its hardcore following.

Drifter

Publisher: Celsius Game Studios

Release: 2013

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An original creation backed by a successful Kickstarter campaign, Drifter is another space-trading game looking to take on Elite. A galaxy 100,000 light years across and 10,000 stars means there'll be a fair bit of exploring and adventuring to do - but can a single-man dev studio take on the big budget Elite-alikes?

Defense Grid 2

Publisher: Hidden Path Entertainment

Release: TBC 2013

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Everyone who played the original Defense Grid loved it, pretty much, because it was a fantastic, fun and funny tower defence game. This Kickstarter-funded sequel looks like it will end up being more of the same, but with added bells and whistles. That's might not a bad thing.

Kinetic Void

Publisher: Badland Studio

Release: 2013

Link

Freedom, openness, the ability to choose: it's all I really want from my space-faring Elite-alikes. So with a procedurally generated universe, customisable ships and the ability to forge your own path, I'd say Kinetic Void is making all the right noises. Plus it asked for 20 times less than Elite: Dangerous did. Thrifty.

Clockwork Empires

Publisher: Gaslamp Games

Release: TBC 2013

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Dwarf Fortress meets SimCity in a Lovecraftian steampunk world from the creator's of Dungeons of Dredmor. It's absurdly ambitious, but we're happy they're trying.

War Of Nations

Publisher: Chris_Entropy

Release: January

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An ambitious turn-based strategy title from a one-man developer, War Of Nations also takes gold for having the least inspiring name of all time. Still, it has AI opponents, multiplayer, management elements and most of the other things you'd expect from a bigger, commercial release.

Xenonauts

Publisher: Goldhawk Interactive

Release: Late 2013

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Oh, Xenonauts, I still love you. It's just the romance has worn off a bit. Back when you were announced, we both lived in a world where the only XCOM remake in development was a first-person shooter, and the idea of a turn-based strategy game about defending the earth against alien invaders was a novelty. Now it's something I've become used to. But I do still love you. I do still want you. I do still care.

Castle Story

Publisher: Sauropod Studio

Release: TBC 2013

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The three-man team at Sauropod Studio asked for a modest $80k to make Castle Story - a Minecraft-inspired strategic game in which players build and defend their own castle from enemy attacks. They got over $700,000. Seems a fair few people are interested in this idea.

Folk Tale

Publisher: Games Foundry

Release: TBC 2013

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Fantasy city-building with adventure and questing elements in a world of goblins, blacksmiths and cows. Folk Tale has some interesting ideas and a sense of humour.

Skyward Collapse

Publisher: Arcen Games

Release: May 23

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Skyward Collapse, from the ever-interesting Arcen Games, is a god game with a twist: rather than trying to impose your immortality on a bunch of puny humans, you're simply trying to maintain the status quo. Influencing two warring nations rather than your typical one, your goal is to maintain the balance of power, without tipping it too heavily to one side. It's a fascinating approach, adding a bit of Jenga-like tension to this whole deity business.

Sanctum 2

Publisher: Coffee Stain Studios

Release: May 15

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After fusing the tower defence game with the FPS with the original Sanctum, Coffee Stain wisely stuck with the formula for their embiggened sequel, rather than chucking in a text adventure or anything mad like that. New features include four character classes, new customisation options and even an in-game visual novel, which – dammit, they added that third genre after all.

Age of Empires II: HD Edition

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Release: April 9

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'HD Edition' is a curious term when it comes to the PC, and it's one that here means 'you can play it at a higher resolution'. £15 might be a tough sell for a 14-year-old game given a light buffing and Steam Workshop support, but if you've never played Ensemble Studios' defining real-time strategy title, consider this your way in.

Brutal Legend

Publisher: Double Fine

Release: February 26

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Double Fine's heavy metal-obsessed strategy/action game took its sweet time arriving on PC – in the meantime its star Jack Black has been withdrawn from the spotlight, and all actual music has been replaced by siren-addled dubstep. Nevertheless, there was much to enjoy about this ode to classic heavy metal album covers, which turns out to be much more of an RTS than you may have thought.

Skulls of the Shogun

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Release: January 30

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It took a while for it to escape from the confines of its Microsoft/Windows 8 exclusivity agreement , but when Skulls of the Shogun finally climbed over that particular walled garden it was revealed to be one of the most novel, witty turn-based tactics games of recent years. The Bone-A-Fide edition of the skull-gobbling undead samurai title added a bunch of new levels, among other stuff, to make up for the delay.

XCOM: Enemy Within

Publisher: 2K Games

Release: November 15

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This very orange expansion adds mechs, bio-augmentation and more to the excellent Enemy Unknown, giving you the power to genetically alter your soldiers, in order to turn them into far more effective killing machines. For instance, you can 'enhance' your troops with the processed flesh of aliens, while jumping into mech suits will require drilling your poor teammates full of holes.

We recently went hands-on with Enemy Within here , before going back for more a couple of weeks later.

Civilization V: Brave New World

Publisher: 2K Games

Release: July 9

Link

Brave New World adds a ton of new content to Firaxis' hexy strategy game, including trade routes, tourism and a whopping nine new civilizations. It's the missing ingredient to Civ 5's mostly tasty 4X broth, making huge changes to trade, diplomacy and culture, all with the aim of stealing another few hundred hours of your free time .

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