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E3 2014: Top Ten Hidden Gems

by Jason Cipriano   June 16, 2014 at 2:00PM  |  Views: 3,662

E3 is a wonderful place that's home to all types of games, both big and small. Unfortunately, it's usually the big ones that get the lion's share of the spotlight. Over the last couple of years, most of the major press conferences have carved out some time for these smaller games, but really, many of the best games of the next twelve months can only be found while walking the show floor. So, once you've gotten your fill of the biggest games, your Halos, Far Crys, and Smash Bros. of the world, these are the biggest little games of the show.


N++
Developer: Metanet Software | Platform: PlayStation 4
The definitive, and final, version of Metanet Software's infuriatingly wonderful, platform/puzzle game N was on display in the back of Sony's booth. N++ boasts as awesome amount of content: new levels, new enemies, new co-op, and new ways to die, which is great, because players have new consoles, with new controllers to take out their new frustration on. Friggin' lasers.


Road Not Taken
Developer: Spry Fox | Platforms: Playstation 4, PS Vita, PC and Mac
Road Not Taken probably isn't what you expect from a game that blends puzzles with a roguelike, but the end result is some smart fun. Players have to help out a town by saving lost children and scarce resources using a limited number of moves in a world of randomly generating puzzle boards. Sure, the description might boggle your mind a bit, but that just makes solving each board that much more satisfying.


Axiom Verge
Developer: Tom Happ | Platforms: Playstation 4, PS Vita, and PC
For the last few years indie games have been trying to recapture the joys of gaming in the 1990s. From pixel art to chip tunes, developers have tried just about everything to churn up nostalgia for classic games. Axiom Verge does the same thing, but it actually does a great job, and succeeds. The game looks and plays a bit like the SNES classic Super Metroid, but it feels like it was made in more modern times.


Cuphead
Developer: StudioMDHR | Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Cuphead actually got a moment or two of the spotlight at the Microsoft press conference, but it really deserves more than a few seconds. The game's art style is derived from 1930's cartoons, and stands out as something that's completely unique, and beautiful. The gameplay on the other hand, is a 2D side scroller that blends fighting with twist of run 'n' gunning, and places Cuphead in a weird category all by itself.


Dreadnought
Developer: Yager | Platforms: PC
At first glance Dreadnought could have been one of the slowest, and most boring games of E3: after all, it is giant ships fighting in the sky. As it turns out, the creeping, team-based gameplay is actually quite enjoyable, since it makes you focus, and consider your attacks with more intent than in your standard shooters. Also, flying a hulking Dreadnought class ship into battle, and deploying a couple nuclear strikes before you warp across the map to finish off your opponent by broadsiding them is pretty badass.


Night In the Woods
Developer: Infinite Fall | Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, and Linux
The recently Kickstarted Night in the Woods was shown on Sony's PlayStation 4 for the first time at E3. The game tells the tale of Mae, a cat, and her friends, as they set out on an adventure to discover what's lurking in the woods. The game blends adventure, platforming, and some adorable character design in a way that should keep Night in the Woods on your radar until it is released in 2015.


Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Developer: Nintendo | Platforms: Wii U
If you spent any time at all playing Super Mario 3D World, you'll remember the Captain Toad mini-missions as a great diversion from an overall wonderful game. Well, Nintendo seems to have heard their fanbase and given Captain Toad his own game, by giving players the opportunity to take one of the Mushroom Kingdom's most intrepid explorers on his own journey through a host of new levels on the Wii U. From a small part to his own game, Captain Toad is already on the right track to fame and fortune.


The Walking Dead Pinball
Developer: Zen Studios | Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Wii U, PC and Mobile
Two of gaming's quietest heros have come together to create something altogether awesome. The Walking Dead developer Telltale Games and Zen Pinball creators Zen Studios have combined forces to bring the world something they never knew that they needed: The Walking Dead Pinball. Play through the first season of Robert Kirkman's award-winning video game with flippers and a virtual steel ball instead of an ax and a gun. You may have never expected to see Clementine and Lee's journey through the zombie apocalypse in this form, but now that it's there, it's amazing.


Guns Up!
Developer: Sony's San Diego Studio | Platforms: PlayStation 4, and PS Vita
Guns Up! comes as a bit of a surprise from Sony. The free-to-play combat games puts players in charge of advancing military forces, forcing you to manage your resources as you march towards your opponents. The updated take on the RTS scuttles the stigma that comes with the association to "free-to-play," and is actually a competent, and enjoyable game all on its own, leaving the decision of whether or not you want to invest up to you. Choose which forces you want to send out on to the field, and have at taking down your opponents militia - send in gunners, bazookas, plant landmines, and do whatever it takes to win later this year when it comes out on all of Sony's platforms.


Hohokum
Developer: Honeyslug | Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PS Vita
Hohokum is another one of Sony's indie investments that made its second E3 appearance this year. While it's release is the on the horizon (August 12), it's still a sublime and relaxing experience that shouldn't be overlooked. It's basically the updated version of Snake mixed with a little bit of Katamari, where you fly around and collect things on a trippy rollercoaster ride. It's a blissful, low stress experience that demonstrates just how far Sony is allowing some of their developers to venture to create completely unique games.

THE DAILY FOUR

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