This War of Mine
The term «war game» usually means action, lots of explosions and a first-person perspective. But with «This War of Mine» nothing could be further from the truth. This game shows the other, human side of war. You start the game in the ruins of a war-torn building and your goal is simply to keep yourself and your companions alive. You have to deal with everyday problems, such as collecting materials, finding food and protecting your temporary home from potential intruders. Since there’s only you and a handful of other people, you need to organize your time and divide up the few available resources wisely, which often leaves you facing difficult decisions. In keeping with the action on the screen, the visuals are mostly gray and pale hues. A dark game which reminds you that there’s nothing glorious about war.
Oxenfree (Netflix Edition)
At first glance, «Oxenfree» looks like a simple walking simulator with multiple players and dialog options. However, you soon realize that you’re dealing with something darker and much more mysterious. Supernatural phenomena and leaps in time are just two elements you’ll encounter. And so you never know exactly what’s going to happen. Instead, you pay more attention to conversations and whatever else is going on around you. «Oxenfree» manages to make the most of a seemingly simple coming-of-age story – thanks to its narrative structure and the suspense it builds. Definitely a walking simulator like no other.
«Dark Echo» is about as dark as a game can get. Its entire concept revolves around moving in complete darkness. Fortunately, you have the bat-like ability to see your surroundings and find your bearings using sound waves. But of course, «Dark Echo» puts obstacles in your way, such as opponents and traps. While you can recognize them by the color of their sound waves, your opponents can also hear your steps and any other noises. So it’s important to tread cautiously and deliberately. Various gameplay mechanisms, such as the ability to distract opponents by throwing stones, help provide a gaming experience that isn’t just nerve-racking, but also gives you a fair chance and doesn’t get monotonous. If you’re looking for a game with minimal graphics but maximum suspense, «Dark Echo» is just the thing for you.
The Walking Dead
The zombie apocalypse is here! If you’ve paid attention to the movie and game landscape over the last 15 years, you’ll be very familiar with the renaissance of the undead. Robert Kirkman has played a major part in this, garnering fans with his outstanding comic-book series «The Walking Dead». But many people also know «The Walking Dead» as a TV series or video game. The first season of the game in particular managed to snag numerous awards, and for good reason. The thrillingly narrated and often deeply sad story about Lee and little Clementine will really get under your skin. While you’ll find yourself in more of a playable story than a game in which you have full control, that’s exactly what often makes the dialog options so incredibly difficult – when you realize that there are no simple and «right» answers. Fluctuating between hope and despair, «The Walking Dead» offers an exceptionally well-written and unsettling story that every gamer should experience – though it might not be for the fainthearted.
Max Payne Mobile
«Max Payne Mobile» is by far the oldest of the titles shown here. The original was released for PC, the first XBox and PlayStation 2 back in 2001. While the mobile port definitely reflects the game’s age, this doesn’t detract from the dense noir atmosphere and the dark story. You find yourself in the virtual skin of the eponymous protagonist and police officer Max Payne in this unsettling story that’s packed with twists and turns and set in New York City. Drugs, the murder of a woman and child, as well as various flashbacks are just a few of the elements that turn this shooter game – with a slow-mo feature that was truly innovative at the time – into a blood-soaked and disturbing horror trip that belongs in the gaming canon.