SURVIVAL AND EXPLORATION GAMES OF 2018
Skull and Bone
Fall 2018 | Ubisoft Singapore | Link
The high-seas buccaneering of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag is expanded on in this multiplayer pirate ship sailing game. Team up with friends for five versus five matches or build up your own gang of raiders to take down trade routes and establish your own pirate empire.
Late 2018 | Twirlbound | Link
In a world where humans never dominated the planet, societies of weapon-wielding moose, mammoths, and alligators run the show. A young boy named Hue is tasked with finding a new home for his small tribe of humans. The anthropomorphic animal species of Pine will give Hue quests that change their attitudes towards him. You and Hue can carve out a palace for humanity by fighting other tribes for dominance or by diplomacy. Given that the humans are outclassed even by foxes, diplomacy is the encouraged path forward. Pine’s open-world adventure setting is the playground for its emerging stories between tribes.
A Knight's Quest
2018 | Sky 9 Games | Link
A Knight’s Quest gives a comedic spin to the classic adventure story, featuring a hero named Rusty who’s tasked with saving the kingdom from an evil spirit that he accidentally unleashed upon it. It’s self-proclaimed inspirations are Zelda and Metroid, which manifest in its focus on exploration and acquiring various tools and weapons to solve puzzles.
We Happy Few
Summer 2018 | Compulsion | Link
The unsettling tale of a society controlled by mind-altering drugs and an authoritarian police force, We Happy Few mixes a full-length campaign with three playable characters, with more than 250 encounters set in a procedurally generated world. After existing as an Early Access “rogue-lite” for quite some time, the game’s expansion has pushed its original $30 price tag to $60. Developer Compulsion pushed back the release date once again from April to Summer 2018, temporarily closing sales of the early access version until a later date.
TBA | Robot Gentlemen | Link
Like its 2015 post-apocalyptic predecessor, 60 Parsecs! puts players in charge of a group of people, in this case Cold War astronauts, who are 60 seconds away from disaster and death. Their space station is about to blow up, so there’s only a minute to gather supplies and get everyone ready for the 60 parsec jump into the unknown. For the rest of the game, you’ll need to live (or die) with the consequences of those 60 seconds while dealing with rationing, radiation and the horrors of space travel.
June 14, 2018 | Chibig | Link
Deiland is a relaxing sandbox RPG that calls to mind both Stardew Valley and Mario Galaxy. As 10-year-old Arco, you’ll take care of your tiny planet, building, crafting and even exploring other worlds, befriending their inhabitants. There’s combat too, of course, and some survival elements, but it’s not meant to be stressful. A mobile version is already available.
May 29, 2018| Madmind Studio | Link
Doom might currently have a monopoly on the most twisted video game depiction of Hell, but this survival horror romp is clearly aiming for the throne with its stairways of flesh, stained glass windows segmented by tendons, and doorways made of teeth. That’s not even mentioning the more taboo imagery. When you’re not slinking through the shadows avoiding demons, you’ll be possessing one to exploit its demonic strength as you search for the queen of the underworld.
2018 | Team Fugl | Link
Voxels are back! Fugl is a game about soaring through colourful voxel worlds as a voxel bird that can shapeshift into other voxel animals. It’s in Early Access at the moment, and should be roosting there for another three months or so.
2018 | Glumberland | Link
As long as there are video games, there will be people who enjoy collecting adorable monsters in them. Ooblets combines elements of Pokémon, Harvest Moon, and Animal Crossing, letting you build a farm full of cute little creatures, explore a charming town, and battle other Ooblets.
Thief of Thieves
Early 2018 | Rival Games | Link
Based on Robert Kirkman’s comic series by the same name, Thief of Thieves will be an episodic stealth adventure following Celia, the protege of the comic series’ hero. The game’s art style pays plenty of homage to its comic book origins, with brightly-colored, high contrast scenes and actual speech bubbles.
Call of Cthulhu
2018 | Cyanide | Link
A first-person survival horror game with a sanity system, Call of Cthulhu resists the familiar hide and seek tendencies of the genre with investigation scenes. As you peruse tomes full of ancient knowledge you are at risk of developing phobias and awakening ancient horrors.
2018 (Early Access) | Phoenix Labs | Link
If you’re looking for a more accessible, less grindy Monster Hunter, Dauntless might be for you, featuring a bunch of “behemoths” sporting ethereal spikes, giant wings, or flame-spewing orifices, among other pleasantries. Our preview detailed some of its free-to-play shortcomings, but you have the chance to join its closed beta to get an idea for yourself.
2018 | Ten Chambers Collective | Link
GTFO drops 4-player teams of scavengers into dilapidated, claustrophobic sci-fi tunnels that are, unfortunately, full of horrible mutant monstrosities that look a little like Dead Space’s nightmarish Necromorphs. There’s more than a hint of Aliens about it, with the dim lighting and the long stretches of silence punctuated by waves of grotesque creatures. Ten Chambers includes ex-Overkill developers, so expect to see a bit of Payday’s influence, too.
2018 | Aurora44 | Link
As a wanderer in search of a permanent home, the bleak open world of Ashen looks pretty uninviting. You’ll need to seek out other players and NPCs, encourage them to support your settlement with their own skills, and all while avoiding the murderous beasts that wait in the dark.
2018 | Magnus Games | Link
You’ve washed up on the shore of a mysterious island without a single memory, but at least there are cute little monsters to make friends with. Tame the little creatures, known as Magnus, to help you with farming, traveling, combat, and more in this chibi adventure.
2018 | tinyBuild, Ice Pick Lodge | Link
In 2017 the project to remake the original Pathologic was renamed Pathologic 2, a reinterpretation of the strange, disturbing original story about a disease-ravaged town. You only have 12 days to save as many people as you can, but it’s not an ordinary disease, and the are surreal horrors lurking behind the town’s rotting wooden doors.
Praey for the Gods
2018 | No Matter Studios | Link
Awkwardly named Praey for the Gods (blame a trademark dispute with Bethesda) looks a lot like a Shadow of the Colossus we’ll be able to play on PC. It’s a game about climbing up gargantuan deities and then killing them in the hopes of ending an eternal winter. There’s a bit of Breath of the Wild-esque mountain climbing and gliding thrown in for good measure, too.
2018 | Altered Matter | Link
Etherborn is an exploration platformer that messes with the laws of physics to create a non-Euclidian world of strange paths and staircases, like an M. C. Escher lithograph, but brightly-coloured and serene. The incredible environment completely dwarfs the player character, who can traverse the peculiar realm with greater ease than you’d expect, largely thanks to gravity that’s always relative.
TBA | Black Riddles | Link
Fortnite’s not even out of early access yet and already another game is nipping at its heels. Crazy Justice has all the crafting, building and shooting stuff up that you might be familiar with from Epic’s colourful romp, but in a steampunk setting. And like Fortnite, there’s both a last man standing-style mode, and a story-mode where you’ll be gallivanting all over the world, fighting the forces of evil.
2018 | Mobius|Link
Explore a handcrafted open-world solar system with one big hitch: the sun will explode 20 minutes after you start. Luckily, time rewinds when the supernova happens, and the things you learn as you explore can be utilized in your next life.
RELEASED AND DELAYED TO 2019
Out now | Zoink | Link
Fe is a 3D action-adventure romp starring a fox-like beasty, the titular Fe, as it protects its lovely forest from the ominous Silent Ones. Fe can sing to communicate with other creatures, as well as the forest itself, getting them to lend a hand. Sing to some flowers, for instance, and they might let you jump on them to reach a new area. Thanks, flowers!
(Out in Early Access) | Crytek | Link
One of the most visually stunning games we’ve seen in some time, according to our own preview, Hunt: Showdown mixes the monstrous horrors of Resident Evil and Stalker with the permadeath combat of DayZ. Five teams of two hunters scour miles of swampland for up to three demons to kill, procure their loot, and attempt to make it out without another team stealing the prize.
Sea of Thieves
March 20 (Out now) | Rare | Link
Rare’s first-person pirating sim revels in that Disney-esque pirate charm, complete with co-op treasure quests and multiplayer naval warfare. Based on our time with the beta, we think it's going to be a whole lot of fun.
Marcy 16, 2018 (Out Now) | Greyson Richey and Nicholas Lives | Link
Lonely Astronaut is about about propelling your corpse through space without making yourself dead twice-over. If that sounds weird, it’s because it is. Lonely Astronaut is a single-button arcade game about “skeleton-thrusting” your way around deadly astral bodies. It’s Steam page features this relatable reminder: “Not related to the game, but here's a friendly reminder that you and I are all going to die someday, probably sooner than we'd like to think.” We can’t really top that as far as explanations go.
March 15, 2018 (Out Now) | Haemimont Games | Link
Cities: Skylines meets Mars Attacks. OK, not quite, but this space colony building simulator promises more than just bad traffic to contend with. Players choose a sponsor agency for initial resources, then it’s up to you to grow your settlement from an automated mining operation to a fully enclosed glass dome with a bustling sense of life, making use of a randomized research tree. But Mars holds many secrets, and not all of them might be friendly.
April 13, 2018 (Out Now)| Sebastian Nigro, Christopher Anselmo, Daniel Marques | Link
A 2D pixel-art pirate sandbox, Don’t Sink draws from the likes of FTL and Sid Meier’s Pirates, giving you a boat and sending you on your way towards adventure—capture islands, duke it out with other pirates and their cannon-toting ships, govern towns and look after your loyal crew. There’s a lot going on, then, but Don’t Sink is more of a relaxing, casual game than its spaceship inspiration.
Way to the Woods
Early 2019 | Anthony Tan | Link
An exploration game about life as a deer with an absolutely wonderful art style. "Two deer in a strange, abandoned world without humans must find their way home," the game's official description reads. "Find food, shelter, safety and answers on your way to the woods." And what a looker.
May 8 2018 (Full Release) | Funcom | Link
The world of the Conan the Barbarian has been yet another staple in the early access survival game wheelhouse since early 2017, but its arrival on consoles suggests a sense of finality. Crush some enemies, drive some wild beasts before you, and hear the lamentations of their women when you use a towering demigod to smash their fortresses to pieces.
State of Decay 2
May 22, 2018 | Undead Labs | Link
The well-received zombie apocalypse survival simulator goes from singleplayer-only to multiplayer in this sequel. Three new maps, each the size of the original game’s single map, will be available, as well as improved settlement crafting.