Platforming and puzzle
A Hat in Time
One of Kickstarter’s bigger darlings, A Hat in Time is another throwback to that golden era of ‘90s 3D platformers. Bursting with style and charm, you play a charming little girl named Hat Kid on a quest to recover the fuel for her stranded starship and escape the clutches of the evil Mustache Girl. Yeah, it’s basically the most endearing setup for a platformer ever. As you set out on your collect-a-thon, Hat Kid acquires badges that grants her new powers, letting her traverse each of the massive and wonderfully detailed maps with ease. And if you ever get lonely you can always take a friend along for some co-op play.
Release date: 2017
Developer: Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, PagodaWest Games
Link: Official site
Much like how Mega Man 9 and 10 called back to that series' originals, Sonic Mania a new Sonic game in the style of old Sonic games. It'll include new levels as well as new versions of classic levels.
Project Sonic 2017
And now here's a new Sonic game in the style of new Sonic games. Not much is known about Project Sonic 2017—and that's the working title—except what's seen in the teaser. It's being headed by long-time Sonic designer Takashi Iizuka.
A good puzzle game should bend your brain a bit, and nothing is more mind-bending than trying to make sense of an M. C. Escher painting. Manifold Garden is stuck right in the middle of an Escher-esque universe, so disregard the rules of physics and geometry and dive in.
Memory of a Broken Dimension
Good-looking games are pretty common these days, so it takes special talent to make a game that looks this… well, ugly is the wrong word. Broken? Memory of a Broken Dimension looks like it takes place inside a defragging hard drive. Everything is jagged and artifacted, and it’s up to you to put it all back together.
This four-dimensional puzzle game has been kicking around for a while—which is understandable since making a game with that fourth dimension has go to be a brain-burner. We’re hopeful that with help from the Indie Fund, Miegakure will finally be let loose into the world. The idea, in brief, is that you solve puzzles by hopping between dimensional planes. If there’s a gap in this dimension, you may find a bridge to walk across in the next dimension. (It only gets more complicated from there.)
Gorogoa is “a beautiful hand-drawn story suspended inside a completely unique puzzle,” according to its creator. What that means in practice is mixing and matching illustrated panels, adjusting their zoom and view windows, and making the drawing link up to create and solve puzzles. The illustration work is top-notch; if the puzzles are just as good, we could be in for a treat.
Release date: May 2, 2017 (Out now)
Developer: Benedict Fritz, Greg Wohlwend, Joel Corelitz, David Laskey, Jenna Blazevich
Link: Steam page
Tumbleseed is a roguelike unlike almost any other I've played. It feels similar to a marble maze game, except you move linearly up a mountainside while fighting enemies and collecting new abilities. You play as a round seed, but can only directly control the platform that seed is resting on. You move either end up and down to roll your seed to one side or the other, avoiding holes and baddies along the way. Tumbleseed is extremely challenging and absolutely brilliant, and has one of our favorite soundtracks of the year.
If Yooka-Laylee is any indication, 3D platformers may be primed for the same renaissance 16-bit styled 2D platformers have gone through in the past several years. Former Rare developers banded together to create a game much like their beloved N64 series Banjo Kazooie, but this time with a lizard and a bat with a big red nose. In our review, we found Yooka-Laylee to be "a decent revival of the N64-era 3D platformer, but with all the flaws that carries, as well as some new ones of its own."
It’s not just a hill in Derbyshire anymore! Snake Pass is a puzzle platformer (slitherer?) where you wiggle and wind a smiling serpent around expansive obstacle courses. It might sound frustrating, but Sumo Digital has figured out a physics model and control method that moving around a living rope enjoyable and easy. With a bright, kid-friendly art direction, Snake Pass could be a ssssurpise hit of 2017.
This creepy little platformer is as good-looking as it is unsettling. A small rain-coat covered child (?) explores a giant world (??) deep under the ocean (???) -- or something like that. The details aren’t as important as the heebie-jeebies, which this game is handing out left and right. In our review, we called it "an okay platformer but a deeply imaginative horror game" worth playing for its disturbing imagery.