The best PC games of 2013

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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.