We’re one month into 2022, and still have no idea where we’ll find the time to play all the great games on their way this year. This edition of Keep An Eye On It has a bevy of historical and fantasy games, all of which show considerable promise. Whether you like ancient history, modern history, or even alternate history, there’s a game for you on this list. For the fantasy enthusiasts, there are exciting titles aplenty with magical thieves, stressed-out guardian angels, and the wonders of virtual reality (that’s right, there’s a VR title this time around!)
Most of the titles here don’t yet have their release dates set in stone, but with one exception should be playable by the end of the year. Use that time to clear your backlog, because chances are you’ll want to try at least one of these RPG & Strategy Games when it launches. When you see one that piques your interest, don’t forget to follow the game on Steam so you can… Keep An Eye On It.
There are a ton of World War II games out there, and there are a ton of mecha games out there. There are even a healthy number of World War II mecha games in the world. Tanasurga brings a breath of fresh air to this particular subgenre courtesy of Rainman Studios and Niji Games with a focus on narrative, relationships between characters, and the personal costs of smoke-belching alternate-history warfare.
The game’s RPG combat and hand-drawn visual style are reminiscent of Warsaw, but Tanasurga allows for conversations between the player and their soldiers, potentially allowing for a deeper connection with them. Whether the pilots of Tanasurga get a happier ending than their Polish counterparts remains to be seen – we’ll have to wait until August to find out.
In Muki Software‘s debut title the sun has vanished from the sky, and a band of heroes sets off to fight evil and – maybe – save the world from its impending doom. As the heroes’ guardian angel, you won’t be able to influence battle directly but instead cast spells to help give them a chance to succeed. Their actions in combat serve as your source of power, so you’ll need to push them in the right direction – otherwise, you’ll run out of energy and be forced to watch helplessly as the heroes succumb to their foes.
Grim Road is heavily stylized, with a black-and-white color palette that gives it a pixelated Darkest Dungeon-meets-Othercide look. The fact that the game lists “a lot of dithering” as one of its selling points suggests that it probably doesn’t take itself quite as seriously as those titles. The end of the world sure looks fun – Grim Road heralds our demise in 2022.
In Outlandia, the player controls a wizard tasked with protecting a small town from corrupting forces. This isn’t a far-flung quest to retrieve macguffins from the edges of the world, though – you’ll be staying at home in Skala Village, getting to know the villagers and helping them thrive.
Fans of Stardew Valley and Graveyard Keeper will no doubt enjoy Outlandia, as it has the same style of town-building and crafting gameplay that has made those titles so beloved. Where it departs from its predecessors is its turn-based combat, a life-or-death affair based around exploiting elemental weaknesses. Even though it won’t be released until August of 2023, Outlandia could be the next game in this beloved subgenre’s renaissance.
Robozarro 2: Operation Atlantic
The original Robozarro was a physics-based side scroller whose “Grab N Blast” system allowed for plenty of mechatronic mayhem. The sequel, Robozarro 2: Operation Atlantic, brings the Grab N Blast mechanic into turn-based JRPG battles. Pulling weapons and environmental objects from your opponent’s side of the screen over to yours (and shooting them back) will create a plethora of explosive effects.
Robozarro 2 allows players to install upgrades and chips on their robotic protagonist, making loot and equipment the focus of progression. The futuristic wasteland in which the game takes place is full of locations to visit, all of which are inspired by real-world places in Chicago. There is not yet a firm release date for Robozarro 2, so it could still be a while before it’s available, but it should certainly be worth a try once it is.
Unshaken is an ambitious game that could turn out to be the coolest thing ever. In this fantasy game, players will plan their strategy on a hex-based map, engaging or avoiding enemies as the situation demands. When battle is joined, they’ll be dropped into first-person battles in VR. That’s right, Unshaken is the closest we’ll probably ever come to actually fighting trolls, dragons, and other fantasy beasts.
Needless to say, Unshaken will require a VR headset to play. With early access planned for sometime in 2022, it could make for a compelling reason to finally invest in a VR rig.
It’s been a delight over the last several years to see prehistory in video games that doesn’t look like it came out of a Flintstones episode. Dawn of Man, Ancestors, and to an extent Humankind all highlight the challenges of our earliest forebears, and The Ancients looks to continue that tradition. As the different clans of your tribe wander the hex-based map, their experiences will shape their culture leading to an engaging emergent narrative.
Harsh environments, dangerous animals, and personal conflicts are just some of the challenges players will face during a typical campaign in The Ancients. The result is a game with the potential for lots of depth that will bring players back to start a new game over and over again. The Ancients is expected to enter early access in Q2 of 2022.
Circle Empires Tactics
2018’s Circle Empires received acclaim as an RTS that actually did something new. With each map consisting of interconnected circular nodes, the tides of battle could quickly turn as armies marched from one circle to the next. Now the game is getting a turn-based companion with Circle Empires Tactics.
In this iteration of Circle Empires, players will issue orders to their units at the same time, who will then simultaneously attempt to carry them out. Anticipating your opponent’s decisions and knowing how to counter them will be the game’s key tactic. The game is scheduled to release in 2022, but considering that Luminous has already held a pre-release tournament it’s a sound bet the game will become available sooner rather than later.
Ozymandias: Bronze Age Empire Sim
Okay, by a show of hands – how many of you immediately heard Leonard Nimoy saying, “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings” in your head when you read that title? I can’t see you, but considering you’re here at TBL there’s a good chance you’ve played Civ 4 and have your hand up right now. Although it still has no firm release date, Ozymandias brings simultaneous turns and streamlined 4X gameplay to the Bronze Age.
Ancient history buffs will no doubt have a field day exploring what might have been with the game’s 52 playable empires. Its simple but eye-catching visuals make sure everything “pops” that needs to do so. No release date has been announced, but players can request playtest access from the game’s Steam page.
Who doesn’t love a good heist? In the first title from Koi Snowman Games, players can steal all sorts of fabulous treasure right from under the noses of their marks. Spirited Thief is a tactical RPG following the exploits of Elaj, a spellcasting thief who’s lost his magic, and Trin, his snarky ghost sidekick.
The longer Elaj spends at a location, the more security he’ll have to deal with. Casing the joint, scouting ahead, and staying one step ahead of the guards are all common themes in the gameplay. Spirited Thief will release in 2022, and playtest access can be requested from its Steam page.
Fleet Commander: Pacific
Fleet Commander: Pacific brings grand naval strategy to the Pacific Theatre of World War II. Players will choose to command either the Allied or Japanese navies and compete to control strategic sea zones over the course of ten turns. Each turn represents four months, so a lot will happen in each. Raiding ports, intercepting enemy vessels, and even sending marines to take land objectives are all part of the game’s overall arc.
Engagements have their own battle phases sure to excite naval history fans who are sick of tanks getting all the attention. Fleet Commander: Pacific claims to have included every major surface combat ship from the historical conflict, allowing dedicated recreations or what-if scenarios. It won’t be long before it’s time to weigh anchor – the game is set to release on 10 March.
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