At first glance, WARCO might look like yet another military combat shooter trying to carve out a niche in a crowded, highly competitive market. Yet while the game features settings inspired by real-world events, the game isn’t a shooter, at least not that kind of shooter. Instead, it has you viewing the action from the eyes of a journalist sent to cover the dangerous conflicts in hotspots around the world. Instead of a gun, you’ll point and shoot a video camera to record the turbulent events happening around you. There are objectives to keep track of, such as getting a shot of a specific vehicle, but the game also lets you decide what to shoot and record.
While photography-style games have been explored in the past, such as Pokémon Snap or Sea Life Safari, they have been on rails, funneling you through a pre-defined area in order for you to capture images instead of freely exploring the environment on your own – after all it’s much more difficult to create emergent scenes in an open-world environment. It’s not clear which direction WARCO would take, but the developers do state that "no two WARCO stories will ever be alike." There’s also the added flexibility of editing your own footage together, which is perhaps where the true diversity will lie. Could it really become "a powerful entry-level training tool for future combat reporters" as promised?
2. SpyPartyA big part of what makes The Sims 3 so compelling is watching how Sims interact with other Sims. In Chris Hecker's SpyParty, you are cast in a very specific role in a very specific place, but you’ll also be watching other computer-controlled characters mingle and socialize with each other. The key difference in this game is that you must actually try to blend in, pretending to be a computer-controlled character instead of a living, breathing human. Why? Because in SpyParty that’s what will get you killed. You will play as either a spy looking to complete a covert mission or a sniper trying to snuff out said spy. As the spy, your goal is to casually complete your objective with as little fuss or fanfare as possible. As the sniper, it’s your job to closely monitor the area and determine who the spy is from a crowded room.
Developer: Arkady Studios
Omicron has you guiding an amoeba-type creature through the cosmos, looking for colorful bursts of energy to make your organism grow in size, and presumably, improve your odds at survival. There is a peaceful pacing to the game judging from the early videos of the gameplay, and the lack of any HUD, stats, or similar on-screen visual cues (other than the game itself) seems to draw you closer into the experience of exploring a strange new world. It’s not entirely a peaceful experience, however, as there are rival creatures that will try to destroy your organism. One key question: Will the creature be able to evolve into new lifeforms as in Spore?
4. Octodad 2
Developer: Young Horses
By far the most unusual game on this list, Octodad 2 is the anticipated follow-up to a student-designed octopus simulation game. Of course, it’s not an octopus in the beautiful briny sea, but an octopus disguised as a human father to a unwitting family. If you haven’t played the original Octodad, you can download it for free. What makes the Octodad series so entertaining is the wild motion of your tentacles as you attempt to do seemingly ordinary things. The slapstick comedy alone is almost guaranteed to be worth the price of admission.
Developer: Electrolyte Games & Last17
With its gloriously retro visuals and gameplay that hews closely to Bullfrog's classic Populous series of god games, the Flash-based Reprisal already has an addictive factor judging from its free-to-play demo of the beta, which can be found at the above link. As the supreme ruler over a series of islands, you’ll be able to use your godly powers to raise and lower land, call forth fire, and oversee your tribe of people as they automatically build settlements and engage in combat with nearby enemies. The more followers you have, the more mana you'll be able to accumulate, allowing you to channel earth, wind, and fire (the powers, not the band). In other words, it’s just like Populous, which given the dearth of similar games on the market, is certainly not a bad thing at all.