Horizon Zero Dawn, Spider-Man, God of War… as with Nintendo’s eShop, the Playstation Store has no shortage of fantastic first-party titles, and as a result there are a load of smaller titles that can go overlooked to the average gamer. If you are looking for something a little different to invest your time into look no further as we have five smaller titles that you should check out.
ABSOLUTE DRIFT: ZEN EDITION
After a very brief history lesson on drifting from a stone head that has risen out of the ground, you are set off by yourself to master the art of drifting – or go forth and hit walls – and doing so can only be done by reaching the top of the mountain. There are five substantial free-roam areas in the game and each gives you a number of challenges to complete before you can move onto the next, from drifting in between two obstacles to doing donuts within a zone, alongside a number of optional drift/gymkhana tracks for you to jump into as you like. The drifting provides a surprising level of difficulty, taking time to master, but when you do there are few things more satisfying than doing a perfect run or rubbing a wall. The minimalistic approach to the design of the game is really cool and I love that it gives off strong Mirror’s Edge vibes. As you drift you leave long, charcoal-like lines behind you again which can make just drifting around doing nothing mesmerising. Accompanied by the soundtrack you can find yourself sliding around turns and doing your best to skim walls for hours without realising how much time has went by. I love this game and it is by no coincidence that it happens to be the only platinum trophy I have unlocked.
Absolute Drift: Zen Edition is available now on the Playstation Store for £9.49 ($11.99)
Not one person I have spoken to has heard of or knows what ECHO is. Given the incredible premise, the gorgeous presentation and the fact that the studio, Ultra Ultra, was a love-child of several names responsible for the Hitman series, it is still very hard to comprehend two years after the game initially released. You play as En, venturing forward into a space palace that has only been told in legends, in an attempt to resurrect someone she cared deeply about. However, when black space goo begins to form into clones of her, you quickly come to the realisation that something is not quite right. These clones, or Echoes as En calls them, will learn from and mimic the players actions throughout the game. If you run, the Echoes will learn to run. If you shoot, the Echoes will learn to shoot. It is a stealth game in which your biggest enemy is yourself. There may be times where you want to run, vault over a wall, or use your gun but cannot because it will gives the Echoes the chance to do the same later on. There is nothing quite as unsettling as watching something sprint towards you because you taught it how. Whilst the game may never quite reach the heights of its ambition, it is a fascinating experiment on the stealth genre, and dares to take it to new heights and I love it for that.
ECHO is available now on the Playstation Store for £18.99 ($24.99)
Permadeath is a mechanic I adore in video games and Rogue Legacy tackles it in unique way that it deserves a spot on this list. After every death you have the opportunity to choose your offspring, all who have varying traits that will change the playthrough, so on top of the challenge of tackling the castle you may also have to balance the side effects of things like ADHD, dyslexia or dwarfism. My favourite by far is alektrophobia, giving your chosen warrior a fear of chickens, and results in a chicken called Kentucky attacking you if you break furniture. Death awaits at the entrance to the castle and will take the remaining amount of gold you have so you need to use the opportunity to spend all you can on skills and acquiring better equipment to give the next generation the best possible chance of conquering the castle.
Rogue Legacy is available now on the Playstation Store for £9.99 ($3.39 – on sale)
Time only moves when you do. Or more accurately it moves very, very slowly. Originally designed as a prototype for the 7 Day FPS Game Jam, Superhot takes a well-worn genre and innovates by slowing it down to a crawl. Every level is a set piece and it is the players goal to dispatch of all the red dudes as they see fit. Watching a scene play out in real-time after you have carefully orchestrated the whole thing is really cool and some of the best moments I had in the game were looking around and realising I had no way out of a situation. Whilst the gameplay is the main focus, it was a surprise that the story was as intriguing as it is, tackling themes of player agency and free will. For those who finish the campaign there is two extra modes to jump into, Endless and Challenge, giving you a lot more Superhot to jump into. And if you are still wondering if Superhot is for you, well you are in luck, as the original prototype that was built for the 7 Day FPS Game Jam is available here: https://superhotgame.com/play-prototype/
SuperHot is available now on the Playstation Store for £19.99 ($24.99)
At first glance you might not realise that Hotline Miami is a puzzle game. Maybe it is the gravitation towards excessive violence or the hazy neon electronic soundtrack that blurs your perspective, but each level is designed to be solved. You die, a lot, but every death gives you a piece of the puzzle that you slowly put together, until you know the precise route you need to take a room to effectively take out everyone in it. Your natural inclination will be to pick up a gun at the first opportunity but pulling the trigger a couple of times quickly reminds you of the disadvantages associated with firearms – they are very loud and attract a lot of attention – and this highlights one of the small issues I have with the game. My preferred approach was the knife, taking down enemies quickly and quietly, and eventually I relied almost exclusively on this play style. When I finally unlocked Tony’s mask, giving me the ability to kill others with a single punch, I settled down and felt no need to experiment with different approaches or play styles.the need to experiment with different approaches or play styles vanished. However, the game feels incredible to play. The way in which the soundtrack comes together to drag the player into a zone, a rhythm in which they tap into, dropping enemies left and right is hard to put down on paper. There is a reason Hotline Miami skyrocketed to become one of the biggest names in the indie scene when it first released back in 2012 and you should definitely check it out.
Hotline Miami is available now on the Playstation Store for £2.49 – on sale ($9.99)
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