The best PC games of 2013

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.