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13 Awesome Games You Might Have Missed This Month

13 Awesome Games You Might Have Missed This Month
From IGN - July 31, 2017
By Chloi Rad

Tons of awesome games come out every month, but in the shadow of high-profile AAA titles, even the best ones can slip under our radars. Whether youre a fan of challenging post-apocalyptic platformers, creepy puzzle games, or charming dating sims,theres plenty to love in this months roundup.

For more, check out our list on themost-anticipated 2017 indie games, a love letter to theglory of weird, free web games, or dive intolast month's must-play games roundup.

Playing Wire Wood Daughters feels like chasing a chain of recollections triggered by a mundane object, or returning to a place you were once familiar with and reliving fading moments from the past. Its a moody exploration of memory, punctuated by personal collectibles scattered about a dim forest (broken glass, old coins, a brass button) and narrated by a glitched and fragmented voice from off-screen. The contrast between the sepia otherworld of the woods and the cold machinery of the bright green underground you occasionally wander into creates a rollercoaster of tension that never subsides, especially when a mysterious spirit starts to trail behind you. I love the noisy soundscapes that underscore the whole experience, against the deeply personal bits of narration.

Play if you like: The Path, Limbo

Available: itch.io

Little Red Lie is like a gut punch or a splash of ice cold water to the face. Its an interactive story about the horror and uncertainty of a life plagued by financial debt and the ever-present feeling of failure that comes with it, particularly as it relates to the generation of people born in the 80s and 90s. The entire story is delivered with a twist: the only way to engage with the people around you is to lielie about work, lie about your life, lie about your thoughts, feelings, and motivations. But Little Red Lie doesnt flirt with abstracts. Its boldly unafraid to drill deep into its subject matter, which can result in moments that are both terrifyingly relatable and hopelessly cynical. If you have a lot of conflicted feelings while playing Little Red Lie, thats probably the intentionat times you might be struck by its ability to confront such specific generational anxieties and at others you might find yourself internally debating its stark nihilism. Perhaps the most clever part of Little Red Lies core lying mechanic is the way it serves to highlight not only the ways people tend to deceive others in their fight for survival, but also the ways we tend to lie to ourselves.

Play if you like: Actual Sunlight, To the Moon

Available: itch.io, Steam

Despite being a little rough and hard to control, Night & Fire is hypnotizing. Your only goal in it is to power a strange machine in the middle of the forest, but its a lot harder than it sounds. Figuring out the actual mechanics of the contraption is the first piece of the puzzle, but once you do, you have to balance that with kindling a small campfire so it doesnt get too dark and keeping an eye on the creatures lurking at the edges of the screen, waiting for the light to fade. Darting from one pump or lever or valve to the next creates a comforting rhythm, but you can never get too involved with one thing because theres always something else to deal withwhether its releasing steam before it drains the machines energy meter or powering down the whole thing before it attracts the vicious dogs that lie in wait in the woods not to mention the fact that the machine itself becomes more complicated with every stage. According to its itch.io page, Night & Fire is a demo for something larger, but even in its state as a small, occasionally janky prototype, its a satisfyingly eerie and compelling standalone puzzle worth checking out.

Play if you like: Inside, Five Nights at Freddys

Available: itch.io

The End Is Nigh is a surprise game from Super Meat Boy co-designer Edmund McMillen and Closure creator Tyler Glaiel. Another challenging 2D platformer like Meat Boy, The End Is Nigh stands out with the way it strings together over 600 single-challenge screens to create an interconnected open-world adventure. It isnt quite a Metroidvania, but theres plenty of room for backtracking and discovering hidden rooms and secrets rather than following a linear path through each puzzle. While its darker in tone than Meat Boy (the black blob of a hero reminds me of McMillens earlier game, Gish), it still has that same crude humor youll either love or hate about McMillens work. But as a silly post-apocalyptic platformer, it does the job and does it well.

Play if you like: Super Meat Boy, VVVVVV

Available: Steam

When it comes to games emulating iconic art styles, the Flemish renaissance isnt very high up on the list of inspirations. Thats why Lupus in Fabula stands out. A standard puzzle-platformer and admittedly a bit janky at times, Lupus in Fabula manages to create something strange and silly out of cut-out paintings from 16th century Dutch artists. Its Monty Pyton-esque in its absurdism and worth a look if you want something weird and new.

Play if you like: Monty Python

Available: Steam

In most action games, youre the one committing acts of violence. Its become such a normal part of games that we dont even think about the aftermathonly games like Hotline Miami have really forced us to confront it. Then theres Serial Cleaner. In Serial Cleaner, you play a professional cleaner for a criminal organization. Its your job to clean up crime scenes and dispose of bodies without being detected, a challenge that combines strategy and stealth with fast-paced actioncleaning action. Its blood-splattered 70s style manages to keep it cartoonish enough to avoid being too gruesome it reminds me of Saul Basss poster work (Anatomy of a Murder in particular) or minimalist comic booksbut its still a game about cleaning up hits.

Play if you like: Hotline Miami, Viscera Cleanup Detail

Available: Steam, Xbox One

If you like minimalist puzzle games, especially for your phone, Shn!p does a great job at creating something fresh from familiar ideas. Its part matching game and part sliding tile puzzler with 160 levels of increasingly tough challenges, and enough new obstacles and mechanics sprinkled throughout to keep it interesting to the end.

Play if you like: Two Dots, Threes

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