According to a Polygon article, 7,672 games were released on Steam in 2017. As gamers, having this much choice in the games we play is a dream come true. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the developers, who may put their heart and soul into years of development, only for no one to ultimately even glance at the finished product because fifty other games came out that day. The market is getting increasingly competitive, to the point where many perfectly competent titles are being completely ignored.
The thought of games that deserve attention going unnoticed in a crowded market is something that I hate to even think about. The easiest way to combat this is simply to try and play smaller games, so I like to check the upcoming releases on Steam and either purchase or try to get a review code for anything that catches my eye. Not solely relying on the top sellers has led me to find some really interesting and unique titles, and this is how I came across Owl Watch.
I got a code for Owl Watch from the publisher after finding it on Steam and thinking that its cartoon-based art style was easy on the eyes. After playing it to completion, I can honestly say that this is a really fun game and I’m glad I got a chance to experience it. The game’s premise is pretty simple, as the player controls a character that needs to find three crystals in the environment and then traverse to the next world. Instead of jumping, like in a traditional platforming title, the character can perform a quick air dash that allows for navigating over gaps and other hazards. This air dash certainly operates the same way a jump typically would, but I still enjoyed myself as I was rapidly dashing through the levels.
My only real complaint about the game is its short length, since it can be beaten in an hour. The game is less than the price of a cup of coffee, however, and I would much rather a game leave me wanting more than drag on longer than it should, so this complaint is quite minor. In my eyes, while this is hardly the best game I have ever played, I had a solid experience and was eager to write a review on Steam and on my blog. That’s when I realized that this game only has ten reviews at the time of writing this piece, including my own review.
This is the problem with the overflowing games market that we have these days. While I am thrilled at the amount of games I get to play and I love to see so many small teams putting out titles, there’s just not enough room for all of the games. This inevitably leads a few titles to rise to the top, while everything else sinks and is never heard from again. Since we never see or play any of the forgotten games, we have no way of knowing if any of them are amazing hidden gems.
While part of the intention of this post is to give Owl Watch some attention, as I believe that it’s a game well worth the few dollars it costs in order to experience it once through, I also wanted to bring attention to the larger issue of the abundance of games we can buy as consumers in 2018. There are so many games going unnoticed across all platforms, especially the PC, and that’s not fair to the developers that invest so much time and energy into their projects. Therefore, I encourage everyone, especially other content creators, to try buying a game or requesting a review copy for a game that looks promising, but you’ve never heard of it before. If you end up enjoying the game, write, tweet, stream, shout from the rooftops, or whatever else you want to do to promote it. Advocate for some of these smaller titles so more gamers can hear about them. Maybe we can get more games the audience they deserve this way.
What’s your favorite game that didn’t get much attention on release? Let me know in the comments!