On an average day about a dozen new games are released on Steam. And while we think that’s a good thing, it can be understandably hard to keep up with. Potentially exciting gems are sure to be lost in the deluge of new things to play unless you sort through every single game that is released on Steam. So that’s exactly what we’ve done. If nothing catches your fancy this week, we’ve gathered the best PC games you can play right now and a running list of the 2024 games that are launching this year.
Release: February 1
Developer: LameCat Studio
After two years in Early Access Wulin Chess has launched into 1.0. The name is something of a misnomer: it’s not a chess reskin but a turn-based strategy all of its own that borrows certain elements. For example, each class works like a chess piece in the sense that they have distinct movement abilities, but their attacks and skills are each unique. The gridded board is also borrowed from chess, though in Wulin Chess it can be strewn with obstacles and, if you’re lucky enough to reach it first, rewards. It’s a fascinating twist on the OG strategy game, and it’s all couched in a gorgeously grim “Chinese dark martial arts style”.
Boxes: Lost Fragments
Release: February 2
Developer: Big Loop Studios
From the creators of Doors comes Boxes, a game about unlocking increasingly elaborate puzzle boxes. You play as a thief on a routine mission to rob a mansion, but instead of a quick smash and grab, it turns into a brain-frying puzzle extravaganza. Boxes is actually a lot more than just a series of brainteasers: there’s a story here too, chiefly about the mansion itself and whether you’ll ever make it out alive. This one is for fan of The Room and the aforementioned Doors.
Release: February 3
Nothing sends me running for the hills quite like “tower defense” but Legendary Hoplite looks pretty interesting, blending that genre with an ARPG. Set in the city of Ithaca and infused with the attendant Greek mythology, you’ve got to smartly command your army to slay the onslaught of invaders, who range from pretty normal looking military dudes through to giant boulder-wielding cyclops. Expect the usual array of upgrade trees and weapon enhancements across 40 levels with 150 baddies and, at some point, a battle against Cerberus.
Release: January 31
Developer: Flyway Games Inc.
This Early Access action roguelite looks pretty run-of-the-mill at first glance, but in addition to supporting online co-op it has a few tricks of its own. If you look closely at the gameplay footage you’ll see there’s not just one playable character but three, and you guide them all around the map at once. The trick is to mix and match these characters so that their strengths combine to suit the murderous task at hand. In addition to finding the best character formation, each character has ability paths and progress paths of their own. The Early Access period will last for around ten months (but longer if need be) while new features are added and improvements made based on feedback.
Soak & Splash
Release: February 4
Developer: Hosthood Studios
It has admittedly been a slow week on Steam, but that’s not why Soak & Splash is included here. It’s included because it’s a game about hanging out in a sauna with online randoms (or friends, if you have them), hitting them with brooms, or maybe even fighting them to the death, if the mood takes you. I dunno, it’s free, and as far as I know there aren’t any other chilled out sauna games out there. I guess think VRChat except in a sauna and no one’s LARPing as Tails.