As the Game of the Year discourse descends upon us, what’s a game you’ve played this year that you feel like has not gotten it’s due time in the sun? Whether it’s with game of the year stuff specifically, or just a release without much fanfare that hasn’t picked up steam. It could be something that’s been brought up, but maybe just in passing and you feel people should look more closely. What’s a hidden gem you’ve found that you want to tell folks about?
For me it’s a tactics-story game called Rain of Reflections on PC. It had a quiet release in early October and currently only has 33 user reviews on Steam. I heard about it through a turn-based tactics group, but it’s actually a compelling mix between point-and-click adventure storytelling and tactics portions. The setting takes it’s cyberpunk cues from Blade Runner most heavily, and does a goodjob of world building as well as interesting locations. The tactics portion is solid and has some cool iterations on the modern XCOM formula. There’s more of an emphasis on stealth, and there’s a hacking mini-game system that was fun.
Where it shines are the moments that it let’s you take the story into your own hands. It’s similar to a Walking Dead or even Banner Saga where the main story will proceed mostly along the same path, you can make some fun choices as to how it plays out and how you interact with other characters. There are some bigger choices along the way too, including how you approach combat. One of my memorable delights with it was being able to bypass encounters through stealth, even after enemies had been alerted.
Overall the game is short and sweet (around 3 hours long), which is good. It also is setup to be the first chapter in a set of stories, and it feels like it with how much of a cliffhanger it ends on. This makes the lack of attention worrisome, but I’m glad I tried it out and hope they’re able to create a conclusion to it.
So that’s my hidden gem from 2019. It will probably even crack my top ten list for the year.
What about you? What’s yours?