below-ydm

Every year I’m surprised by a few games. This year Cube World, 7 Days to Die, and Monaco took me unawares, providing more enjoyment than many of the games I was actually expecting. We all know about the big titles coming out in 2014. But what are this year’s possible surprises?

After the jump, expecting the unexpected

1. Below
In development from Capybara Games, Below is due out for the XBox One initially and other systems to follow. The reveal trailers and overall mood and theme for Below excite me greatly. You play a character stuck on a mysterious island where you are forced to explore to survive. The game itself is an entry into the genre known as “Roguelikes.” For fans of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery, it’s worth noting that Jim Guthrie – the man behind that game’s haunting music – is working on the game’s soundtrack.

2. Garden Warfare
It has been a few years since Plants vs. Zombies destroyed all of my productivity. Sure, there was Plants vs. Zombies 2, but it didn’t really capture the imagination quite like the original. Popcap, the company behind Plants vs Zombies, is mostly known for puzzle games like Peggle, Zuma and Bejeweled, but that’s about to change as Electronic Arts and Popcap are preparing to release Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. The Modern Warfare inspired mash-up should be out next month and will feature deathmatch, team deathmatch, and a four player co-op mode.

3. Sunless Sea
For many of us, games don’t have a very long life. I change games like I change pants. More often, actually. So when something pops up time and time again, it’s hard not to notice. One such game started its life as Echo Bazaar and then changed names to Fallen London. The company, Failbetter Games, created a really cool game based on the notion of London descending to the middle of the Earth where the monstrous and arcane are the norm, not the exception. Great writing and a fun sense of adventure have made Fallen London a popular place to visit. Late last year, Failbetter put up a successful Kickstarter for a new game idea set in the world of Fallen London called Sunless Sea. You control a ship as it navigates the cold, dark sea at the center of the Earth featuring role-playing and strategy elements along with a bit of exploratory fun. I can’t freaking wait.