Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (PS4)
Action 08 August 2017
A third-person action game set in a fantasy world inspired by Celtic mythology. Title was developed by the British studio Ninja Theory, known for Enslaved, Heavenly Sword, and DMC: Devil May Cry. In the game we traverse a dark, mythical world, full of references to popular stories, characters, and monsters born in the imagination of the Celts. Protagonist of the game is a female warrior named Senua, who embarks on a dangerous journey to the land of the dead. As you might have guessed, during her journey, the heroine faces scores of dangerous enemies, with which she usually deals using a sword. Using a variety of combos and special abilities, Senua makes her way to the destination of her journey. Although a fully independent production, Hellblade features high-level visuals, and the gameplay mechanic brings several innovations to the slasher genre, in which the developers from Ninja Theory had become specialized over the years.
Dear Esther: Landmark Edition (PS4)
Adventure 20 September 2016
A remake of Dear Esther, a popular narrative exploration game from 2012 that started a whole new genre – the so-called walking simulators. It was developed by the independent studio The Chinese Room. Contrary to the base version of the game that was powered by the Source engine and released only on personal computers, this edition is powered by the Unity technology. This enabled the developers to release their game on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as well. The new version introduces completely new sounds, including the developers’ commentary that can be played during the game. In Dear Esther: Landmark Edition the player calmly travels through locations (the action is presented in a first-person perspective) and gradually discovers new pieces of the story. The plot is presented in the form of letters to the titular Esther, which are read by a mysterious male voice. Since the game lacks any interactions with the environment, it caused many discussions about whether it is still a video game or simply an interactive experience.
Nier: Automata (PS4)
RPG 23 February 2017
Third-person perspective action game with RPG features and a sequel to the warmly-received production created by Cavia in 2010. The second installment was created by a different developer – Platinum Games known for the Bayonetta series. Despite that, Tarou Yokou, the creator of the first game, retained his position as the director of the project. The game takes place in distant future in which Earth was destroyed due to war against deadly machines. Humans, having found a safe haven on the Moon, created the limited YoRHa series of sapient androids to fight on their behalf. The YoRHa combined forces with androids of older generation and together they face the rebel machines. Two out of three protagonists of NieR Automata are completely new characters, but during the game player will also encounter characters from the first installment of the series as both stories are connected. Gameplay mechanics of the game are similar to ones in its predecessor and they offer an attractive combination of hack-and-slash, magic and RPG.
Night in the Woods (PS4)
Adventure 21 February 2017
A combination of adventure and arcade games, created by an independent developer known as Infinite Ammo. The player assumes the role of Mae - a cat with paranormal abilities. The protagonist quits her studies and returns to her hometown - Possum Springs, in order to have some quality time with her old friends. The place has fallen into decline since the last mine in town was closed, because the inhabitants have been left without work. What is worse however, is that a neighboring forest has apparently kept some dark secret concealed. The plot serves the role of an parallel to human existence, with themes such as death, transience of all things or longing for certain moments from the past elaborated on throughout the story. The player is required to explore (by jumping across platforms mostly) a unique in-game environment, solve simple puzzles connected to it, talk to NPCs, as well as engage in joyful activities, such as playing the guitar or having fun with the in-game friends. What distinguishes Night in the Woods from other titles, are its visuals based on an original art style - those were crafted by Scott Benson. The unique soundtrack on the other hand, was created by Alec Holowka.
What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4)
Adventure 25 April 2017
What Remains of Edith Finch is a unique adventure game developed by Giant Sparrow, which focuses on the evanescence of life. The game tells a set of short stories about the fate of the members of a certain American family that has been cursed. The history told in those episodes takes place over a span of one hundred years in Washington state, a place filled with forests and mountains, a location that resembles a little the cult TV show Twin Peaks. In terms of gameplay mechanics, What Remains of Edith Finch is your typical first-person adventure game. The climate and gameplay mechanics change depending on which family member we are currently controlling. What connects every story told in the game is the fact that in each and every one of them our protagonist dies. Another common ground between them is the titular character of Edith, who tries to discover her family's dark secret and find out why she is the only surviving member.
Never Alone (PS4)
Arcade 18 November 2014
A platformer with puzzle game features, developed by Upper One Game studio. The story of Never Alone is based on Inuit beliefs, with players taking control of a young girl from the Inupiaq tribe who sets on a dangerous journey with her white fox to save her people and stop the arrival of the eternal blizzard. During her adventure, she will meet many creatures from Inuit legends, such as Sky People, Rolling Heads or Blizzard Man. Never Alone presents its world from the side perspective, as we traverse vast levels, avoid traps, fight enemies and solve puzzles. The single player campaign lets us switch between the girl and the fox, both of which have unique abilities that are necessary to progress; however, control is split between two players in the cooperation mode. Never Alone features good-looking three-dimensional visuals accompanied by a soundtrack based on traditional Inuit music. Interestingly, the narrator speaks in Inuit language and the dialogue is translated into English through subtitles.
Arcade 16 August 2016
An experimental, three-dimensional platformer offering an abstract, alluring game world. Bound is the third project developed by Plastic - a Polish team popular for a dark adventure game Datura and an artistic logic game Linger in Shadows. Similar to these titles, Bound was created exclusively for PlayStation 4 and it was developed in cooperation with Sony Santa Monica (the God of War series). Although the game is hard to classify, calling it simply a three-dimensional platformer is a relatively accurate description. Special emphasis was placed on puzzle solving, which is done together with other players. When creating the game world, the developers were inspired by works of abstract art from the beginning of the twentieth century - the player observes lively colors contrasting with one another, as well as simple blocks the virtual environments are made of. Additionally, certain elements of the in-game world are generated procedurally. Motion-capture techniques with the participation of Maria Udod (a professional, Russian dancer) were used in creation of character animations for the game.
Action 19 July 2017
SUPERHOT is an unusual FPS developed by Blue Brick studio. Finished in just 7 days, the first version of the game was presented during the 7 Day FPS Challenge in 2013. Gameplay of SUPERHOT consists of eliminating subsequent opponents in sterile rooms and corridors, where time stands still as long as the player doesn't move. The game focuses not on the shooting itself, but rather on achieving the mastery of time control which allows you to dodge bullets while accurately aiming at the heads of your enemies. You start the game with no weapons, but you can find them on enemies’ corpses. Ammunition is limited and even a single shot can kill your avatar, forcing you to restart the game. SUPERHOT features a minimalistic visual style with a palette of colors basically limited to white, dominating the environment, contrasting with red opponents and marks left by the bullets.
RPG 15 August 2017
An old-school RPG from the independent developer Toby Fox, referencing the Earthbound series. Undertale's story takes place in a world that was witness to a lengthy, cruel war between humans and monsters after a long period of coexistence between both races. It ended with humans driving the monsters underground. Many years later, somewhere in the vicinity of the now-legendary mount Ebott, a little girl looking for shelter from the rain finds a cave and in it a mysterious hole, through which she falls. We play as this girl and explore the underground world, facing various monsters and interacting with various characters. The game’s most characteristic feature is the innovative battle system – we can engage in direct combat in the form of arcade minigames or avoid more difficult fights through talking and complimenting.
Adventure 21 July 2015
Developed by the thatgamecompany studio, Journey is a remarkably unique exploration game, in which we embark on a journey through the desert sands. Our goal is to reach the summit of a great mountain, constantly visible on the horizon. A distinctive feature of Journey is the fact that we do not get a lot of exposure - the production lacks a classic narrative and does not have any dialogues; the nature of our protagonist and of the world we are in, which once harbored a mighty civilization, is all but unknown to us, a mystery, the true nature of which we can only speculate. The game consists of semi-open levels, which contain various puzzles and hidden locations. After passing through each of them we arrive at the next stage and the accompanying cut-scenes allow us to gradually discover and interpret the subsequent fragments of the plot. Journey also has one very intriguing curio - while playing the online mode we can encounter other players and at any time start playing in the co-op mode - but we still have to make do without verbal communication. All of the above is distinguished by an unusual, melancholic atmosphere and very artistic visuals, with focus on a minimalistic but incisive graphic style.
Dragon's Crown Pro (PS4)
RPG 08 February 2018
A 2D RPG developed by Japanese studio Vanillaware. The game combines elements of such genres as classic beat’em up games, platformers and fantasy RPGs. In Dragon’s Crown the player becomes a hero looking for gold and glory. Together with his companions, the protagonist is trying to obtain the eponymous treasure hidden deep in an underground labyrinth. In order to reach their objective, the heroes must pass through forgotten ruins and face monsters inhabiting them. The protagonist can belong to one of six character classes with various abilities. During the game the player can move only in two directions and the gameplay is fast and intensive. Many various opponents will try to stop the player, to defeat each of them different battle strategies must be employed. The greatest challenge are the boss battles, usually consisting of several phases. The game focuses mostly on a cooperation mode for up to four players.
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4)
Adventure 11 August 2015
An unusual FPP adventure game that lets you relive the last day of several characters facing impending apocalypse. The game was created by The Chinese Room, the developer known for Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and Dear Esther. The game is set in a small village in Britain. Each playthrough lasts 60 minutes and you have no clear objectives to follow. The open world is inhabited by 6 independent characters, each one having their own ideas on how to spend the last moments of life. Playing as one of them you get to freely explore the world and interact with other characters to influence their fate and behavior. The game was designed for multiple playthroughs, each time to discover something new and shape the story differently. The game’s world created with CryEngine 3 features high level of interactivity, as almost every object can be manipulated.
Adventure 02 August 2016
The first project by Giant Squids, an independent studio founded by Matt Nova – the artistic director of the extremely successful game called Journey, created for PlayStation consoles. Abzu is an interactive exploration production in which you reveal secrets of a lively underworld. The player assumes the role of a cat-like diver who delves into the ocean and meets schools of fish, groups of aquatic mammals, as well as some other truly majestic creatures and remnants of an ancient civilization. Abzu offers a fluid control system which enables you to perform underwater pirouettes, flips, and gives you a chance to ride sea creatures, such as a shark. Sometimes, getting to a place requires a skillful use of available abilities or solving a logic puzzle. Yet, Abzu puts a strong emphasis on its artistic value. Therefore, the game enchants players with a riot of colors, an abundance of diverse underwater life, and amazing special effects.
Gone Home (PS4)
Adventure 12 January 2016
An original exploration adventure drama with first-person perspective. Gone Home is a debut project of an indie developer The Fullbright Company, whose members previously worked on a successful DLC for BioShock 2, Minerva’s Den. Gone Home is set in the United States of 1990s. You play as a young woman named Katy, who returns home after spending a year away in Europe. When she gets home, instead of her family she is welcomed by an empty house. In order to find out where have her close ones gone to Katy explores the house in search of notes, documents, recordings and other traces that reveal the game’s story step by step. Despite the relatively low tempo of gameplay and complete lack of supernatural events, Gone Home effectively creates and keeps an atmosphere of anxiety and motivates the player to keep searching for more and more clues. Because of its low budget, the developer decided to base the game on the popular Unity Engine, therefore it offers decent 3D graphics at low system requirements.
Arcade 15 November 2013
Another innovative title from thatgamecompany, the authors known for the very original games such as flOw or Cloud. This time, the gameplay focuses on free exploration of your surroundings, as well as observing the changes caused by the forces of nature. In Flower, we are able to control the wind gusts, which allows us to interact with various elements of the environment. The game is divided into several different levels, between which we can watch simple introductory animations. Depending on the currently traversed zone and our progress, the game gives us various challenges that are mainly focusing on gathering the petals from titular flowers – which causes a number of changes in the game world. The developers put a lot of emphasis on using the gyroscopic functionalities of the Sixaxis controller.
Last Day of June (PS4)
Adventure 31 August 2017
An adventure game by Ovosonico, co-produced by director Massimo Guarini (Shadows of the DAMNED, Naruto: Rise of a Ninja), Steven Wilson (the founder of the band Porcupine Tree) and Jessica Cope (the director of Metallica's music video for “Here Comes Revenge”). The story focuses on Carl, whose beloved June died from injuries she sustained in a car crash. However, thte protagonist discovers that he can use June's paintings to travel in time. From this moment onward he decides to change the course of events and save his lover, while also bearing the consequences of his choices. The gameplay in Las Day of June consists of exploration of varied locations and finding places where you can change something — from time to time it means that you have to solve a relatively easy puzzle or make a decision which will affect the later events. Apart from the unique theme, the game also features unusual artistic visuals.
Odin Sphere: Leifdrasir (PS4)
RPG 14 January 2016
A remastered version of the Japanese 2D action RPG - Odin Sphere - which was released in 2007 on the PlayStation 2 console. The story of the game takes place in a fantasy reality loosely based on the Richard Wagner's famous epic opera Der Ring des Nibelungen and focuses on the stories of five, seemingly unrelated characters. The player gets to know each of them better as he progress in the game and their histories intertwine with each other, creating a single, epic tale. Similarly as the original game, Odin Sphere: Leifdrasir focuses mostly on combat, and the token jRPG elements such as exploration and dialogues are kept to a minimum. In contrast to the original 2007 game, the remastered edition offers improved graphics, slightly upgraded gameplay and new enemies and bosses. Fans of the original game can play using old rules in the special Classic mode.
Adventure 30 October 2017
An adventure exploration game that takes place in a sky world. As a child that can transform into a dragon the player must restore ancient order that was maintained by Titans. For unknown reasons the creatures had abandoned their responsibilities.
Rez Infinite (PS4)
Arcade 13 October 2016
A refreshed version of the cult-classic rhythm game from 2001. The new edition, developed by Enhance Games studio lead by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, has been adapted to make use of virtual reality goggles, but a traditional gameplay is also available. Aside from the content present in the original game, the developers added a new location, called Area X. In Rez Infinite, the player’s task is to remove the effects of a malfunction inside an advanced AI called Eden. The game mixes the gameplay of so called rail shooters, with elements of rhythm games. As a result, we don’t control the direction where our character is headed – all we have to do is to mark groups of elements appearing on the screen, which explode, generating various audio-visual effects. The abstract visuals, characteristic of the original title, have been adapted to modern standards.
SUPERHOT VR (PS4)
Action 19 July 2017
A special edition of the unusual Polish game, SUPERHOT, developed specifically for virtual reality devices and dedicated movement controllers. The game’s most prominent feature (same as in the original) is the fact that in SUPERHOT VR, time flows only when the player moves. Contrary to the original, however, the player cannot move freely around the environment; instead, they are teleported to another section of the level after clearing the current section of all enemies. Mechanically, the game is focused entirely on swift dispatching of enemies, which are done in with just one shot or hit. In order for the game not to be too easy, the protagonist has virtually no health points – they key to success in to plan every move and skillfully utilize every available resource. The player can resort to bare fists, firearms, shurikens and other items (such as frying pans, which can be used as shields).