A bit late, but it is a new month and with that comes a new list full of cool hidden gems you may have missed. I have six games to show you all this time, some big, some small, but hopefully at least one of which catches your interest. As usual, thanks to the publishers who sent me these games in order to make this list possible and let’s go ahead and jump into it.
FAR: Changing Tides
I got some heavy Limbo vibes playing FAR: Changing Tides. You control this little 2D dude whose sole goal is to move a boat forward, overcoming obstacles along the way by way of puzzle solving. Sometimes the solution is simply to drop your sail in a certain direction, but sometimes it requires using the environment in unique ways. The gameplay is simple, yet effective and also very aesthetically bright – which provides for a cool contrast with the desolate game world. Ruined buildings, no signs of life, no real goal in sight – it’s somehow both depressing, yet hopeful. Aimless, yet relaxing.
I have no idea how far I am into it, or if there is even a set goal in mind, but I have enjoyed what I’ve played thus far and do plan on finishing it up – maybe I’ll even give the original a look since I wrongly passed that one up a few years ago.
FAR: Changing Tides retails for $20 USD and is available on Steam, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Switch. You can get the Steam version cheaper through my Gamesplanet partner link. This also applies to the deluxe edition.
The Cruel King and the Great Hero
A heartwarming JRPG adventure game that is told in children’s storybook style. Not only that, but it kinda plays like one too. This is by far one of the most casual JRPGs I have ever played – including everything from the simplistic visuals, to the 2D-style exploration, the straightforward combat, and the story scenes with their soft-spoken and whimsical dialogue. It is quite the change of pace for Nippon Ichi – the studio behind the game – and honestly, maybe that is why I have heard practically nothing about it since it launched just a few weeks ago.
You basically play as this fearless little girl that dreams of becoming a hero and is helped along the way by a friendly dragon. The gameplay is VERY simple for the genre, so I wouldn’t say it’s an easy recommendation to make, but maybe if you’re looking for a JRPG for a younger player or maybe you just want something more laidback than even the last few Atelier games. This game will check that box for sure – so give it a look if that sounds like your thing.
The Cruel King and the Great Hero retails for $30 USD and is available on PS4 and Switch.
Hero’s Hour is a fun little mashup of genres. Turn-based strategy, auto battler, RPG, and a bit of tactics too. You get this large open world map to explore full of enemies, loot, and all sorts of resources – all of which feed back into your town. This town can be upgraded with various buildings that let you further expand upon your empire and build up massive armies to equip to each of your heroes. These heroes then go off and do all that exploring, something taking on other factions, sometimes getting slapped by some mega enemy 4x your size.
It’s honestly all over the place, but I could not help but get sucked into it. A quick tutorial and I was off, mapping this massive island and duking it out in these large-scale battles. The battles are technically done automatically, but you can issue commands and spells at the same time, so there is an element of tactics there and it comes in handy when you need to do something like take out the backline of archers or buff your frontline for a castle siege. Whatever the case, it’s a fun, addicting indie game that I would recommend.
So this might just be one of the most niche picks I have ever included in one of these lists. Not only is this a visual novel developed exclusively for April Fools, but it is one starring the cast of characters from The House in Fata Morgana and the jokes, story, and setting build heavily on it. Not that it spoils stuff from the main game – you can technically play it without since it exists in a parallel universe – but it would almost be a waste to do so.
If you have played Fata Morgana though – Seventh Lair is a ride. It literally starts with the Fata Morgana characters being thrown into a JRPG world and then quickly becomes this fourth-wall breaking, meta adventure that examines the relationship between an indie game developer and fans. It is sometimes touching, a bit dark, but somehow never not interesting and I’d say it’s worth a look if you’re a Fata Morgana fan.
Seventh Lair retails for $8 USD and is available on Steam and directly from publisher MangGamer.
Submerged: Hidden Depths
Submerged: Hidden Depths is a really neat walking – or rather, boating – sim that has you exploring the ruins of a sunken world. You’ll be piecing together what happened to the world’s residents, cleansing the corruption from different villages, and keeping a journal of all of the discoveries made along the way – such as the unique creatures living in these waters. It is a very good-looking game and also a very relaxing one, with just that right mix of setting, atmosphere, and music to really cement that feeling.
It’s one of those games where I don’t necessarily feel like I did much, but I somehow spent the past two hours playing and hardly noticed. The entire thing is around six or so hours, so it is not too long, but it is a journey well worth partaking in – even if the game may suffer from the occasional stuttering problem (hopefully this is something that can be patched). I literally got my Steam Deck the same day I started this game, so this is definitely the type of game I’ll finish up there.
Submerged: Hidden Depths retails for $30 USD and is available on Steam, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Stadia.
Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus?
It seems like we don’t get a lot of FMV games these days, so it’s always nice when something like Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus? rolls around. It’s a murder mystery that has you trying to unravel who poisoned Uncle Marcus, but you must uncover this information while partaking in your family’s annual family quiz over a Zoom session. The game itself was created during lockdown and that’s kinda the vibe you get here.
The gameplay is the usual for the genre – making decisions that may or may not lead you to uncover evidence which may or may not lead you to draw a conclusion on who the killer is. Evidence remains through playthroughs, so you’ll need to go through multiple times in order to build a solid case (and yes, you can skip scenes you have already seen). A single playthrough is maybe 30 minutes or so, so it’s not that bad. The acting is all over the place, but that kinda gives it a unique charm in a way and I’d say it’s worth a look if you’re an FMV guy.
Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus? retails for $13 USD and is available on Steam, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, iOS, and Android.
And that’s it for this month. Six games, six different genres – my personal favorite was FAR: Changing Tides. Hopefully at least one of these games caught your interest and as usual, I have all of the links included in the article here.