90. Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime
There is a strangely small number of multiplayer titles making it onto this list, but Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime is certainly more than capable of representing the many amazing multiplayer games available on PC. Two to four players have to work as a team to keep their spaceship operational in efforts to rescue an assortment of furry friends. Manning each station is no easy task, but with a strong emphasis on communication and team management, players will soon click into their positions and become an inter-stellar force to be reckoned with. Shoot down enemies attacking your ships from a variety of positions and ensure your systems all remain optimised to make it to the end of each level.
It’s rare to see a space shooter with such a cutesy design. From your AI kitty friend in single player mode all the way through to the menacing forces of anti-love you are attempting to take down with your crew, each stage and movement feels adorably heart warming. Your main task as you hop from constellation to constellation is to rescue to the assortment of animal friends that are dotted around the universe and sending out distress signals. Saving these creatures allows you to upgrade your ship, essentially opening new mechanics to experiment with throughout your journey. Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime is an incredibly engaging experience of frenetic and satisfying multiplayer gameplay that pushes co-op to the best it can possibly be.
89. Slime Rancher
Odds are that you’ve played at least one farming sim before, whether riding a combine harvester in the realistic Farming Simulator or living the good life in the more light-hearted Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon. But have you ever farmed slimes before? If not, you’d be surprised how much you’re missing out.
Slime Rancher mixes some light adventuring with the management of slimy livestock. These cutesy blobs come in all sorts of varieties to collect, and by capturing them in the outside world you can bring them back to your ranch. Just make sure to construct high fences – they love to try and escape!
Each type of slime produces a resource you can trade for money. Cleverly, this is tied into a stock market that encourages you to diversify your slimes and not just stick to the same type, else their resource is devalued. You can even put two different slimes together to breed a whole new variety. All told, it’s pretty wholesome, adorable fun.
88. Year Walk
Årsgång is a Swedish supernatural folklore phenomenon that describes the practice of walking to a local church or graveyard at midnight, fending off dark forces and mythological creatures waiting to prevent you reaching your destination, in order to catch a glimpse of the future year. Translated into English, årsgång means Year Walk. Simongo’s title of the same name places protagonist Daniel Svensson at the start of a year walk. After being warned of the dangers afoot by his lover Stina, Daniel begins on his journey.
The thrilling adventure game that results is one based purely around atmosphere. There are, of course, a plethora of hand-drawn monsters waiting in the shadows, but Year Walk doesn’t rely on them to carry the tension. Rather, it’s the shadows themselves as well as the haunting soundtrack dripping over the top of them that makes Year Walk so delightfully terrifying. With no map, no direction, and no tutorial, getting lost is par for the course, and in essence a central game mechanic. You’ll spend so long wandering around a dank forest listening to the gentle but harried wailing of accompanying music that uncovering a path or clue is reward enough for sticking with the goal. Year Walk is a unique experience that excels in systematically whittling away your sanity.
87. One Finger Death Punch 2
One Finger Death Punch 2 is every bit as violent as it sounds. Coined as the world’s fastest brawler, this high-speed homage to kung fu cinematics takes the fighter genre and boils it down to the basics. Based on a two-button system, you’ll have to punch, kick and defeat the deadly enemies that surround you. Oh, and everyone is amorphous kind of stickmen, so you can kind of get away with the gratuitous violence that ensues.
It is designed to be played quick, as a kind of palette cleanser between other games that doesn’t require a high level of engagement. That doesn’t take anything away from the excessive fun of flooring hundreds of enemies through insane kung fu manoeuvres. There’s no story, only action, and sometimes that’s all you need. There are hundreds of move combinations and combos to keep you entertained as well as a host of karate related challenges. At the very least, this should stop you having to karate chop watermelons in the garage whenever you get bored. We all do that right?
86. A Plague Tale: Innocence
Stealth titles usually have something in common beyond the tactical crouching, sneaking, and hidden attacks we’ve come to associate with the genre. For a stealth game to make sense mechanically, your character must be defenceless in combat. Thankfully, A Plague Tale: Innocence takes this trope and builds it into the central premise of this incredibly atmospheric narrative experience. Two young children find themselves stranded in the bustling and grim streets of the Hundred Years’ War. With danger at every turn, you’ll have to tread carefully through these filthy cobbled streets to keep the children alive. A Plague Tale: Innocence is an incredibly powerful title, and one that will sit in the PC hall of fame for some years to come.
85. The Gardens Between
The Gardens Between is an absolute delight from start to finish. This captivating puzzle game sees you exploring tiny diorama-like islands, each one intricately composed out of stuff. Footballs, buckets and spades, even an old CRT television with interactive retro games console – these objects serve as both obstacles and methods of traversal, while giving a weighty sense of nostalgia.
You see, The Gardens Between is reflective, a look back upon the childhood of a boy and girl, two neighbours and good friends. And in a beautiful way, time is made a central component not just in theme but also the mechanics. By simply moving backwards or forwards you freely advance or rewind time to solve the puzzles of each level. It’s picturesque, relaxing, and just plain good for the soul.
Phil Fish’s Fez has somewhat come to define the golden era of indie development. Featured in the seminal Indie Game: The Movie, Fish’s eccentric personality and hardcore approach to perfectionism led the game down a long and stressful development path. Thankfully for us, the puzzle adventure title finally released in 2012. When young Gomez wakes up and finds his happily two dimensional world has shifted gears and become a full 3D environment, its up to you to help him gather cubes across each level and save the day.
Revolving each platform reveals new pathways and opens up routes previously thought to be blocked, so players need to carefully study each level from every angle to make it through. Plus, the whole experience is far more trippy in first person perspective. With no enemies blocking your path and no nasty time limits or punishments for falling off the edge of a platform, Fez is a decidedly peaceful affair more focused on patience and perspective than button mashing and skill. That being said, there’s still a learning curve in wrapping your head around a 3D puzzle platformer designed in this way. Fez released to widespread critical acclaim and is still being played and talked about today, making it one of the independent industry’s most successful, if ever controversial, releases.
83. No Man’s Sky
Ah, No Man’s Sky, the Icarus of recent gaming memory. There’s no doubt about it, this intergalactic adventure had a catastrophic launch in 2016, with the potential of technological greatness carrying developers away from fan and backer promises. The game launched with little advertised content and was snubbed by all but a few core fans. The trouble was, it was certainly a technological feat – it looked gorgeous, the feeling of freedom was unparalleled and there were… gameplay… elements. There just wasn’t really a game to speak of.
That was then, though. In 2019, No Man’s Sky is quickly gathering steam as a force to be reckoned with. What was once a cartoon alien generator has quickly become a living, breathing ecosystem of unmeasurable size. With new vehicles, missions, and multiplayer options, as well as reams of fixes, changes, and general sprucing, No Man’s Sky is now a massive playground with the crucial substance it needed in 2016.
Night School Studio’s debut title Oxenfree takes players on a teenage island getaway with a supernatural twist. The experience didn’t win Best Narrative at The Game Awards 2016 for nothing, developers dedicated a large amount of energy to ensuring a detailed and rich story experience could be achieved using organic player interaction alone. With no cutscenes to develop the story or characters, Oxenfree hands control directly over to the players themselves, allowing them to make dialogue decisions that alter the protagonist Alex’s relationship with those around her.
Alex and her friends have caught a ferry to Edwards Island to get their party on but, as is often the case, they end up running into a dangerous supernatural force taking over the island. Hate it when that happens. As you encounter ghostly possessions, time loops, and dimensional rifts in time and space, you’ll have to get to the bottom of the mysteries the island holds while maintaining your relationships with your friends. A 2D open world awaits, full of the secrets and teenage drama of all good horror stories.
It’s risky for any game to build its entire experience around a brand new mechanic, let alone one that deals with one of the industry’s most celebrated genres, the first person shooter. But SUPERHOT manages to take on the world of disembodied hands with the deft skill and smooth confidence required to play the game. If you haven’t already bathed in the red shards of your enemies in this minimalistic world of whites, blacks, and reds, you won’t know that, in SUPERHOT, literally nothing happens.
That’s if you don’t move. Time only moves forwards when you do, making a fast action sequence a delicate ballet of ducking, punching, and only just stepping ever so slightly to the right to avoid an incoming bullet. The result is a tactical game of high octane gunfire that gives the impression of sitting right at the centre of a cinematic slow motion beatdown. It’s no surprise the game has gone on to win its fair share of awards and taken on the world of virtual reality, an environment it seems to have been born for.