A new year (ok it’s February but WIZARD MONTH demanded our full attention) means new releases, and new releases means talking about which we’re anticipating. We’re relentless optimists here at Pixel Die despite how some of our reviews go, honest! Let us prove it with 10 games that we’ve been looking forward to, some for longer than others.

Demetri’s Top 5:

Cardboard dungeon crawls are a dime a dozen. Most of them aren’t worth that dime, but most of them don’t have you plundering the realm of the dead for its resources with a team of necronauts. Cryptic Explorers is a journey into an inky black place from which souls rarely return all in the name of fun and profit. It’s a creative riff on the genre both artistically and mechanically, and I look forward to exploring them crypts.

Keep up with it: Tempest Tome Games Official Website

There’s been a dearth of games where you can John Woo your problems away for some time now. I’m talking jumping, diving, two-fisted pistol-ing, and of course plenty of slow motion. EPE promises a return to Max Payne-fulness through the eyes and pen of Xalavier Nelson Jr., one of the best writers working in video games right now. Strange Scaffold’s output thus far has not been action focused so I have some reservations, but I want to believe more than I want to be right.

Keep up with it: Steam

Return with me to 1992, a time remembered for bright colors and CRT monitors. Comfy, right? Now throw all of that in the garbage because we’re talking about a horror-drenched board game that has been relentlessly killing its players since it was unleashed upon our world. Long out of print, The Gothic Game is seeing a re-release with a gorgeous Darkest Dungeon-esque facelift and a smattering of new content. What the new folks have promised is that this is every bit as nasty, brutish, and unfair as the original. If this makes it to people’s homes before Halloween I suspect it’ll see an event held around it, plague permitting.

Keep up with it: Blackletter Games Official Website

I don’t need to say a damn word about BRC. The gameplay speaks for itself.

It’s funky. It’s fresh. It’s the game Sega has refused to make for 20 years. It’s made by Team Reptile, whose track record consists of two games so full to bursting with concentrated style that I’m amazed they don’t put eyes out. They even got Hideki Naganuma to do some of the soundtrack! Let’s GO.

Keep up with it: Steam, Nintendo Switch

Every year I look at my list of upcoming games on Steam. Every year I see UFO 50 in the top slot. Every year I sigh wistfully. I can only hope this year is the year.

UFO 50 is a compilation of retro-style games from a group of devs led by Derek Yu. They’ve been taking their time on it, hence why it missed its original window of…2018? 2018??? Oh sweet mercy I’m going to crumble to dust before this comes out.

Anyway, 50 games from a group of devs whose work I’ve enjoyed prior is a no-brainer. The sheer variety on offer here, and I’m just talking about the games they’ve shown off on the site and their personal socials, is off the charts. If this releases in 2022 I’m going to play every single one of them enough to write ‘em up, you have my word.

Keep up with it: Steam

Kyle’s Top 5:

I tend to gravitate to the cutesy in the indie, and man you’ll be hard pressed to find a more bubblegum looking time than Lil Gator Game.  You’re a little gator, completing quests ala Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, complete with similar hat and movement.  Gator will meet a bunch of friends to tackle missions and collect goodies that will shape the world park they’re playing at.  It looks to be a blast and just a dash of cute fun that I’m excited to see in its entirety.

Keep up with it: Steam (Also releasing on Nintendo Switch)

Setting itself up as a Chinese-setted Groundhog Day, A Perfect Day follows the life of Liang Chen as they relive the final moments of the 20th century, for better or worse.  Boasting gorgeous hand-drawn settings and point and click genre’d puzzles, I’d love to dive head first into it this year…once it’s localized for English.  Fingers crossed it’s soon!

Keep up with it: Steam

OlliOlli took the 2D world by storm with it’s simple but deep mechanics and addictive gameplay, but the franchise has laid dormant since its last release in 2015 with Welcome to Olliwood.  Now sporting a 2.5D palette and a ton of new content (with an Expansion Pass already announced), there’s going to be a lot of OlliOlli stick-flicking to burn hours away in Radlandia.

Keep up with it: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Playstation

If you aren’t on the OFK bandwagon now, consider this a helping hand onto the caboose because you’re gonna hear about this game a lot in the coming months.  A coming-of-age tale of a band’s struggle to make it in the cutthroat music industry, and just Los Angeles in general: We are OFK is an episodic visual novel on musical steroids with all the slice-of-life fans of the genre have come to enjoy and full interactive music videos to finish each episode.  The production value and voice direction is off the charts and it’s style is pure eye-candy.  It’s gonna be a good year for music gaming titles, and We are OFK looks to lead the pack for all the right reasons.

Keep up with it: Steam, Playstation

Every year I look at my list of upcoming games on Steam. Every year I see FAITH in the top slot. Every year I sigh wistfully. I can only hope this year is the year. [I’d make fun of Kyle for lifting and shifting my intro if it wasn’t for the fact that I know he means every word. – D]

The Unholy Trinity chronicles the three pixel-horror chapters of Priest John Ward’s return to a botched exorcism at a rural Connecticut home and the horrors that follow the priest’s decisions.  Yes, the first two chapters are out (in 2017 and 2019 respectively), and yes I could play them, but no.  This is 110% a game you go in seeing nothing beforehand and indulging yourself completely.  My friends have told me how great the first game is, the anticipation is palpable now, and here I sit.  To wait.

Please come out this year. I need to experience this.

Keep up with it: Steam