As detailed in our most anticipated AAA and indie lists, 2016 is going to be a great year for video games. The problem is, many of the year’s biggest games won’t arrive for several months. Once you play through all of the titles you received this past holiday season, you may be left wondering what to play next while you wait. Fortunately we’re here to help. Check out this list recent games that scratch a similar itch, and will help tide you over until the hits of 2016 arrive.
If You’re Puzzled by the Wait for The Witness… Try The Talos Principle
Fans of Jonathan Blow’s previous hit, Braid, have been waiting since 2009 to play his next game. It’s hard to believe The Witness comes out in just a few weeks. However, if you really can’t wait until Jan. 28 to try your hand at a variety of environmental puzzles and brain teasers in a large, open environment, then The Talos Principle can be just the game you’re looking for. It features over 120 puzzles across a variety of beautiful environments, interwoven with a mysterious and compelling storyline.
If You’re Already Planning Your Moves in XCOM 2… Try Shadowrun: Hong Kong
The XCOM series is regarded as best-in-class in the turn-based tactical strategy genre, and the next game in the franchise seems like it’ll continue that tradition on Feb. 5. The original XCOM and its successors have influenced and inspired a number of game developers, including Harebrained Schemes — creators of Shadowrun: Hong Kong. Take the tactical strategy, combat system, and sci-fi setting of XCOM, remove the aliens, add in elves, trolls, orcs, dwarves, and a healthy mix of cyberpunk and magic, and you get Shadowrun. Sound interesting? Yeah, I thought so, chummer.
If You Seek Treasure & Adventure in Uncharted 4… Try Rise of the Tomb Raider
When Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune arrived on the scene in 2007, it was clearly inspired by the original Tomb Raider games, but it managed to improve on the formula to the point where Uncharted overtook Tomb Raider as the premier action-adventure treasure hunting experience on consoles. 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot recaptured a share of that title, but last year’s Rise of the Tomb Raider may have succeeded in taking back the honor altogether — at least until Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End comes out in April.
If You Know How to Pronounce Yooka-Laylee… Try Rare Replay
Those who have been following the Kickstarter launch and development of Yooka-Laylee know that it’s being created by several former key members of the Rare development teams from the Nintendo 64 era. Yooka-Laylee is a spiritual successor to several of the games included in the Rare Replay compilation, including Banjo Kazooie, Banjo Tooie, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Those are just a few of the gems in this compilation of 30 games that spans 30 years of development from Rare.
If You’re on the Hunt for Dinosaurs in Horizon: Zero Dawn… Try Ark: Survival Evolved
People were blown away by the announcement of Horizon: Zero Dawn at last year’s E3. It ended up on several “Best of Show” awards lists, and easily became one of the most-anticipated new titles of 2016. Unfortunately, not a lot of information has been released about the game since then and we have no idea how much longer we’ll have to wait before getting our hands on the game. Luckily, there’s another open-world survival game featuring crafting and dinosaur hunting. Ark: Survival Evolved is available in early access on PC and Xbox One right now, and comes to the PlayStation 4 this summer.