It’s a one-way ticket to trouble this month.
As summer rapidly approaches and the video game drought of the holiday period looms ahead, May delivers us some seriously dangerous trips into the unknown. Things are going to get pretty tense, so time to prep your underground survival bunker or take to the road to try and outrun the coming storm.
Better yet, you could escape the dangers of the land altogether, although the empty expanse of sea and endless void of space don’t seem to look much safer. Here are the best six games we could find to keep you entertained – or should we say, in a perpetual state of terror – this month.
6. Road to Guangdong – Story-Based Indie Car Road Trip Driving Game
From the publishers of Jalopy comes a ‘Story-Based Indie Car Road Trip Driving Game’ that sees you hit the road on the trip of a lifetime. Bundled into your beloved family car, “Sandy,” you’ll step into the driving shoes of Sunny accompanied by her Aunt Guu Ma on a journey through 1990s Guangdong, China. As you travel you’ll meet long-lost relatives and rekindle relationships you’ll need to save your family restaurant business.
You’ll have to go full My Summer Car, maintaining the tyres and engine condition whilst monitoring fuel consumption. Without the money for a mechanic, you’ll have to get your hands dirty on this beautiful trip through the province of Guangdong. This includes going under the hood to change the oil or maintain the engine – and don’t expect much help from your 68-year-old aunt, who has absolutely no knowledge of automobiles.
Inheriting the family restaurant might not be as easy as signing a few papers, but a few crucial stops across Guangdong should get you the secret recipes you require. Time to buckle up for an adventure.
5. Mr. Prepper
If you enjoy the show Doomsday Preppers that follows overtly paranoid Americans as they prepare for the apocalypse, then you’ll probably see something you like in Mr. Prepper. As the title suggests, it’s all about being prepared, and Mr. Prepper is certainly that. This survival crafting game allows you to go one step further than a bug-out bag, however. You can craft elaborate underground shelters that can house food, resources and even vehicles. But make sure to keep you hideout under wraps, as everyone from the secret police to your jealous neighbour might want a piece of your survival pie.
Set in a fictional universe not much unlike our own, Mr. Prepper will have to subvert an ever-more-intrusive government as he seeks to break free of the status quo. Determined to watch Alex Jones in peace, our friendly neighbourhood conspiracy theorist has opted to live underground.
Jokes aside, there’s something fascinating about the sort of person willing to build an underground bunker in their backyard in the effort to survive a nuclear explosion. This game lets you step into the shoes of that individual and share the paranoid confines of a man prepared, hopefully, for any eventuality. Break the conditioning, people.
4. American Fugitive
Before GTA went all 3D it used to be a top-down action game where you’d run away stealing cars and blasting cops. You can see the spirit of classic sandbox games like GTA in American Fugitive’s design, although it opts for a modernised approach with a 3D top-down viewpoint. Coming from a studio with some triple-A experience, the game looks great, with frantic sirens and explosions bringing back some fond memories.
Playing as escaped convict, Will Riley, you’ll have to evade the law as you try to track down the real killer of your dad, a crime you were framed for. But narrative depth isn’t the goal here; sandbox mayhem is. So, fueled by grief, vengeance or any of the other characteristically red emotions, you storm through Redrock County determined to find the culprit at all costs.
It looks like a lot of fun, and, of course, taps into that crime was cool in the ’80s vibe. Sunglasses and shotguns never fail to impress.
3. Pathologic 2
The original Pathologic was pretty weird but the sequel looks set to take things to the next level of strangeness. Landing you back in the centre of a viral outbreak you’ll have to navigate a surreal and hostile environment if you ever hope to survive. Describing itself as a ‘narrative-driven dramatic thriller’ is interesting enough in itself, but Pathologic 2 also boasts some unusual design features including full management of your bodily functions as you battle the plague.
After the chief healer falls to the vicious disease eating away at your town, you’ll be forced to take up the mantle and try to save a society collapsing around you. With only 12 days to make a differenece, you’ll have to make brutal moral decisions in a last-ditch attempt to find the mysteries of the outbreak. It’s also full of strange kids, which is always unsettling – especially when they’re trying to kill you.
Observation has looked good for a long time – ever since it was first revealed last year, the sci-fi thriller looked set to impress. Coming from developers of the critically-acclaimed Stories Untold, No Code, this space odyssey looks ready to enthrall audiences with its stunning visuals and inventive gameplay. You play as S.A.M, the orbital space station’s A.I tasked with piecing together what happened to the craft and its crew.
Guiding the remaining crew through the eerily abandoned station, you’ll have to solve logic puzzles as Dr. Emma Fisher digs deeper into uncovering the truth. You’ll operate internal cameras, sift through data and find your way through the computer’s complex systems to aid the good doctor. It all seems very Event Horizon, teetering on the edge of horror to a backdrop of the omnipresent void of space. If the devs’ last game is anything to go by, Observation is going to be something really special for the world of sci-fi.
1. Close to the Sun
Often compared to Bioshock, mostly due to its visual style, Close to the Sun is first-person adventure game dripping in gorgeous art deco styling with a distinct hint of horror. Playing as journalist Rose Archer, you sneak aboard the Helios, a mysterious freighter lurking in international waters. Determined to find your sister, Ada, you discover an experimental facility born of Nikola Tesla’s teachings – and it looks like things may have taken a turn for the worst.
Exploring grand hallways festooned with gold finery, you’ll explore this doomed vessel. The smell of decaying bodies and scrambled scrawlings of ‘quarantine’ on the walls might hint at the fact that finding your sister will not be as easy as first planned. It seems, maybe like the tale of Icarus that inspired the title, that the Helios’ researchers have pushed the limits of morality and created something truly horrific. With your sister trapped on board, there’s no other choice than to find out.
It seems like nearly everything has a dash of horror to it this month, so you might want to sleep with the light on for the next few weeks. If nothing else, this month’s titles truly showcase the potential of indie games, with small studios creating some stunning work.
If you’re still catching up on last month and want to see what we thought were the best games of April then check out our previous article. If the horror theme has got you in the mood for some more scary stuff then our 5 Indie Horror Games That Don’t Rely On Jump Scares article is for you.