When March 31 rolls around, we'll certainly be able to look back fondly on Q1 2017 with the knowledge that it was far more busy and packed with must-have titles than anyone expected. From Nier: Automata, Ghost Recond Wildlands, Breath of the Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn, For Honor, all the way back to Resident Evil 7, 2017 has had no shortage of quality big-budget, top-shelf titles.
But, in a season this busy, it's easy to miss out on all the hidden gems this year had to offer. Flying under the radar, these titles could be some of the best you've played this year, even including the big names. Here are five smaller titles (in no particular order) you may miss this season, but probably shouldn't.
Night In The Woods
What is Night in the Woods? A fair question considering it released right after For Honor and competed for traffic with Halo Wars 2. It's 2D story-based indie sidescroller using anthropomorphized animals as its main characters.
More than anything else, though, Night In the Woods is a fun little adventure game that could successfully pass as an indie animated film, extra symbolism and all, beautifully weaving its themes of class and mental illness into a game that goes down easy, but will linger in your mind for some time.
Gravity Rush 2
It's easy to see how this one could get missed. Gravity Rush 2 released right around the same time as Resident Evil 7, but I'm sure you wanted to get it, thinking "this PS4-exclusive looks pretty dang good, just let me finish RE7." But then For Honor came out, and then, immediately after that, Horizon Zero Dawn came out, and then the Nintendo Switch released, and now it's already the middle of March, and I can't waste my time buying January games.
But Gravity Rush 2 is unlike any game you'll play this year, with a traveling and fighting system you have to experience to appreciate. Gravity Rush 2 pulls off its compelling narrative while also providing truly unique gameplay mechanics that allow you to simply fly around and still have fun.
This one was undone by its own publisher. While launch titles for the Nintendo Switch are admittedly thin, there is one obese behemoth that can't go without mentioning, and its name isn't Snipperclips, I promise you that. So, Snipperclips, like all of these games, is bound to be one of those games that one weird friend played and will occasionally fondly recommend, as if to start a conversation, only to find that no one around him has anything to add.
But is it worth it? According to our review, definitely! Essentially, if you only own two games on the Nintendo Switch, the second one should be Snipperclips, especially since it has an attractive $20 price tag and actually makes use of the Nintendo Switch's more social aspects, being a co-op game.
Torment: Tides of Numenera
I said it in my review, and I'll say it again, I've never before played a game like Torment: Tides of Numenera, and I doubt I ever will again. The price may turn some people off, but that's only because it doesn't have the namesake of something like Wasteland or Pillars of Eternity, but it has no trouble standing up to and even surpassing those titles.
Tides of Numenera completely reinvents the wheel, in terms of its alignment system, and its use of consumable stat pools to complete actions is a high point. More than anything else, though, the 1.2 million words inXile Entertainment wrote for Numenera is worth the asking price alone, as you go further and further into this imaginative world you start to learn and understand more, and you question everything and everyone you encounter. Make the wrong choice, and it's game over.
Styx: Shards of Darkness
I've tried to talk my friends into getting the new Styx game, especially because it seems like it's so much better in Co-Op, but their answer is always about the same: "I'm saving for Mass Effect: Andromeda" (which comes out the following week) or "I'm still working through my Nintendo Switch games," blah blah etcetera.
This one hasn't yet released, but I have it on good authority from those in the industry that it's going to be worth it. But releasing right before mass effect and right after Nier and Wildlands? That's not going to be the best recipe for getting noticed.