Games You Should Have Played in 2012, But Probably Didn’t
Another imaginative indie title, Dustforce came early in 2012 and didn’t see much of the limelight, which is a shame. Taking a page from the crop of great indie side-scrolling platformers of the last few years, Dustforce has players leaping, running, wall-jumping and more through various levels, on a mission to clean things up.
Dustforce’s fast pace, light atmosphere, great art style and wonderful soundtrack combine to make it an airy experience. It’s also got some pretty great platforming design, turning up the challenge on players while also making sure that everything feels natural and surmountable. It’s the kind of game in which you’ll play levels over and over again, trying to eek out a better score. Plus, with four playable characters, you can try each level in a different way multiple times.
The other cool thing about Dustforce is that it supports local multiplayer, and it’s definitely worth trying with a friend; there’s also a free level editor so you can make stages of you rown. A gamepad is recommended, though, as Dustforce requires a whole lot of fast-twitch, precision execution.
Read our Dustforce review.
Natural Selection 2
I can’t say enough good things about Natural Selection 2. The multiplayer indie title does something that rarely is accomplished well: it created well-balanced asynchronous multiplayer that’s crazy fun to play, and offers a wealth of different experiences. You can play as strange, melee-focused aliens, tech-driven marines, or RTS commander variations of the two. That’s a lot to offer.
More than that, NS2 is a game, like Tribes, that is fun every time out the gate and really rewards players for their skills. The longer you play, the more fun it is, and though it can be a bit hard to climb NS2′s learning curve at first — the aliens in particular can be tough to control, and not knowing what you’re doing on the FPS side of things is frustrating — adding a little time and experience with it really shows just how meticulously balanced the whole thing is.
Perhaps contrary to some popular shooters, NS2 always feels like it’s a game about skill, and rewards players for building those skills and thinking critically about their teamwork and interaction. And teamwork is an incredibly important part of the whole situation, making the game feel like a community much more than just something you step into by yourself. I highly recommend it for fans of multiplayer titles.
Read our Natural Selection 2 review.
That’s it for our picks this year, but certainly there are more games we haven’t had a chance to try, and other titles that deserve mention that we’ve covered more elsewhere (our HorrorScope series is absolutely bursting with them). If you’ve got additional great games that everyone should know about, please — leave a comment, spread the word, and turn us on to the awesome.