There are now more than 1000 games available for the PlayStation 4. That’s a whole lot of games – more than any human can possibly play and complete in a lifetime. With at least 5 games releasing each week (and as many as 11 some weeks!) it’s easier than ever for some great games to fly under the radar. With that in mind, we wanted to shine a spotlight on some of the fantastic PS4 games that we don’t think get the recognition or adoration they deserve. These games might not have had the press coverage at launch that they needed, games that improved dramatically after release or games that simply got drowned out by other titles at the time. Without further ado, please allow us to present “9 Fantastic PS4 Games You’ve Probably Not Played (But Should)”.
N++ is the inspiration for this article. Developers Metanet Software were very frank back in August 2015 that they’d probably spent too much time putting the finishing touches to the game and hadn’t reached out to the press in the right ways to get the right launch coverage. This meant that the game didn’t sell as well as they’d hoped. All the work that Metanet put into N++ is obvious once you start the game because it’s one of, if not the best platformer to release in a decade. That might sound like hyperbole but just search Twitter for “N++ is best platformer” and you’ll get a tonne of hits and the game, which released on Steam in August 2016 has Overwhelmingly Positive reviews (10/10 from 982 reviews). The N++ Ultimate Edition released on Steam in April 2017 and will be coming to PS4 soon – this update brings the game up to a mammoth 4,340 levels. What’s even more impressive is that I have yet to play a level which is anything less than a masterclass in platforming game design. N++ has a heft and weight to its gameplay which can’t be found anywhere else and it offers a unique challenge and feels incredibly rewarding. Everything is against the clock and it’s heart pounding action from start to finish (which will be in a few years time if you try to complete everything). If you’ve not yet played N++, I implore you – go and give it a go. If you like it, you’ll have literally months of content to get through.
Cast your mind back to August 2015 and Sony’s short lived foray into the PlayStation Plus “Vote to Play” system. This enabled PlayStation gamers to vote between Grow Home, Armello (more on that in a second) and Zombie Vikings for which game would be free on PS+. Ubisoft’s Grow Home romped home with the win and became part of the Instant Game Collection – but it was Zombie Vikings which became the biggest loser. You see, Yoink Games’ Zombie Vikings is a Golden Axe-esque side-scrolling whack-’em-up with a wicked sense of humour that’s a lot of fun – but it’s a game designed with co-op in mind. It’s fun played in solo but a raucous laugh when played with others – of the 3 games in the first “Vote to Play”, Zombie Vikings would have benefited from winning the most by populating the game with players to play alongside. Zoink realised this. They knew the game needed a second player, even when playing in single-player and so, a few months after release, they added an AI ally, Oink the Unicorn Pig who accompanies you throughout the game. Almost 2 years on, Zombie Vikings is still one of the funniest games on PS4 and is an absolute blast with friends.
Ouland. Dead Nation. Super Stardust. Nex Machina. (The incredibly underrated) Furmins. And of course Resogun. Housemarque just continue to knock it out of the park, game after game – but I don’t feel Alienation get’s anywhere near the recognition it deserves. Combining the chilling scares of Dead Nation with sci-fi RPG elements, it’s one of the best twin-stick shooters available for the PS4. While Housemarque have monopolised the arcade shooter market, Alienation toned this down to bring a more measured, more tense shooter to PlayStation and it has atmosphere in spades. If you enjoyed Dead Nation on PS3/Vita, give Alienation a go.
Over the past few years, there has been a resurgence in “board games as video games” with the challenging Tharsis, the excellent Blood Bowl II, the interesting Talisman and the engrossing Chess Ultra among them – but Armello is by far the best of these games, in my opinion. Set in a fantasy world called Armello, the game is a hex-grid based role playing board game where a cast of colourful characters are in a race to usurp the current King who is infected by the dreaded “Rot”. With multiple opposing strategies that can be used to win and hundreds of subtle nuances to learn, it’s a game that gives back as much as you put into it. There’s still a reasonable community playing online (although, you might need to wait for a few minutes to get a match) and if you’re looking for something a little different, I highly recommend it.
While many of the big developers in the FPS genre were adding wall jumps and jet packs and then claiming to be revolutionising the First Person Shooter genre, Screencheat was actually creating something entirely unique. Harking back to the “good ol’ days” when a “multiplayer game” meant having to be in the same room as one another, Screencheat takes its inspiration from those cheating punks who would watch the other panels of a split screen to get an unfair advantage. Turning the idea on its head, Screencheat actually requires people to watch each other’s screens (even when playing online or offline against AI) because – here’s the kicker – everyone is invisible. The only way to see where every other player is is by screen cheating. Ingenious. Rossko and I had a tonne of fun playing this when it first released and I feel it definitely deserves far more love that it gets.
When we talk about recent examples of games with really impressive environmental storytelling, the same few names get thrown up – Fallout 4, The Division, Uncharted 4 etc. But a game that doesn’t get anywhere near enough recognition in this area is Mad Max. The creepy church buried beneath sand dunes, the crumbling lighthouse and the reclaimed oil platforms are stand out moments that are all well designed and are full of those “Huh, something bad happened here” moments. The Mad Max game seemed to release to very little fanfare and has since been resigned to the bargain basket but I’ve yet to meet a single person who has played it who wasn’t pleasantly surprised by it. Looking for a massive, sprawling open world game with decent car combat mechanics and a bizarre plot line that could only belong in a Mad max game? Give this a chance.
The past few years have seen the resurgence of a number of genres from the 80’s and 90’s. 3D platformers are getting a lot more love these days and point and click adventures are somewhat popular again. The isometric adventure game, however, is still mostly lost to the 1980’s – Except for Lumo, that is. Lumo is a modern day take on the classic isometric graphic games of the ZX Spectrum. Think Knight Lore meets Head over Heels built with some modern day sensibilities and you’ve on the right track. It’s a love letter to everything the genre did right way back then, shedding some of the annoyances and niggles of isometric games along the way. Lumo was one of my favourite games of 2016 and, if you remember the good old days of Zaxxon and Ant Attack, it’s a fantastic rose-tinted stroll down memory lane.
Wales Interactive’s Soul Axiom is a bit of a Marmite game as in, “You’ll either love it or hate it”. When it released, it received polarising reviews ranging from a 25/100 from Destuctoid to the 8’s from Hooked Gamers & MondoXbox. Having recently played through it, I can firmly say I’m in the latter camp – I loved it. Combining a plethora of different art styles with Tron-esque visuals and some pretty interesting puzzles, Soul Axiom does a lot right. It tells a unique story of an unnamed protagonist traversing the virtual afterlife, unlocking memories as they go. It’s a game full of symbolism and if you look beneath the surface, it asks some pretty interesting questions about morality and spiritualism.
When I reviewed ADR1FT back in July 2016, when it finally released on PS4, I finished my first play through and dove straight back in to play it again. It’s a game that has stuck with me over the past year but it’s a game I think flew under the radar of many who would enjoy it, given the chance. Maybe it’s because people were still hoping for the PSVR version to arrive or maybe it’s because there were a myriad of space titles floating around at the time – I don’t know. But what I do know is that whenever I mention ADR1FT to people, the response is almost always “Oh yeah, I have to go back and play that“. And you should. Aside from the stunning visual reads (a technical term I’m told is used for the reveal of a landscape) and a fantastic soundtrack, it has a plot full of symbolism that represents the loneliness and regret felt by designer Adam Orth after the infamous “Deal With it” event. It’s a plot that’s full of the pain left after a terrible mistake and the effect that has on others that’s really emotive.
Have you played a fantastic game that you think deserves more love? Head to the comments section and let us know about it.