I've been hearing it since the new year: "There are no games to play!"
Sure, we seem to have found ourselves in a bit of a lull when it comes to the big blockbuster video game. When I posted what I felt were 2014's most anticipated titles, I may have overlooked the fact that the beginning of 2014 was a bit on the light side for games.
Wrought with guilt that I may have in someway performed a disservice to you fine people, I felt compelled to compile a short list of interactive software worthy of your hard-earned income. The best part? Most of these titles are significantly cheaper than the $60 you're probably used to paying for a shiny new game.
There are plenty of games to play, you just need to know where to look. Here's what you should be checking out right now:
The Wolf Among UsThe team that brought us The Walking Dead video game series is back with another story-driven five-episode comic adaptation called The Wolf Among Us (based on the Vertigo series "Fables"). In this game, all the characters from classic fables are actually living in New York, disguised to look like normal humans. You'll play as the Sheriff of Fabletown -- who's actually the Big Bad Wolf -- and work on a series of disturbing murder cases. It's a gritty and dark vision of some wholesome fairy tales and it's certainly not for younger gamers.
Episode 1, "Faith," hit last October and Episode 2, "Smoke and Mirrors," was just released on February 4. You can pay $5 for each individual episode or $15-$25 (depending on platform) for a season pass. (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac, iOS, also coming to Vita)
Octodad: Dadliest CatchOctodad might be the strangest game you'll play in a while, but it's equally hilarious and fun at the same time. From indie development studio Young Horses, Octodad: Dadliest Catch dizzies players with a unique control system that makes you feel like you're a puppeteer controlling a severely inebriated octopus. Yes, you read that correctly. ($15 on PC, coming soon to PS4)
OlliOlliI'm just going to come out and say it. OlliOlli might be the best skateboarding game since the heyday of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater days. It's that addictive. So how does a 2D side-scrolling skateboarding game get mentioned in the same breath as the all-time best in its class? It may not have the flashy physics and graphics of next-generation consoles, but it does offer a giant list of tricks to pull off and master, along with a really smart combo and landing system. Once you get going it's really tough to stop. ($13 on Vita)
Broken AgeThe Kickstarter-backed Broken Age graphics adventure game comes to us from the mind of Tim Schafer (Grim Fandango, Pyschonauts, Brutal Legend). It's a love letter to point-and-click purists and should appeal to gamers who might be new to the genre. Schafer is a master video game storyteller and he and the team at Double Fine absolutely nail it this time around.
If that's not enough, Broken Age features a celebrity cast of voice actors including Elijah Wood, Jack Black, Wil Wheaton, and Jennifer Hale. ($25 on PC)
OutlastIn the mood to jump out of your skin? Fortunately for you that's a known side effect of Outlast, an indie horror game that debuted on PC last year. You play a journalist who has the brilliant idea of searching an insane asylum that's rumored to be haunted. Guess what? It is!
Armed with nothing more than the night vision mode on a camcorder, you must traverse the labyrinth of madness that awaits you. Yes, people have paid money to play Outlast, but if you're a PlayStation Plus member you can get it right now for the low discount price of absolutely nothing. (Free for PlayStation Plus members, $20 if not; $20 on PC)
Tomb Raider: Definitive EditionSo maybe you played Tomb Raider last year. It was awesome, right? Well if you did, you should probably skip to the next game on this list. But if for some reason you didn't, and you own a next-generation console, you may want to consider plopping down full price for the "definitive edition" of Tomb Raider. Not only does the game look gorgeous on these powerful machines, but you also get all of the DLC the game has, though it doesn't really add an awful lot to the overall experience.
Nevertheless, there are handful of technical improvements to the game and the PS4 version runs at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second, which gives it a hair-thin advantage over the Xbox One version. ($60 on Xbox One, PS4)