The Unity game engine from Unity Technologies was first made available in 2005 and was initially designed to be used exclusively to develop games for systems using Mac OS. Over the years twenty-four additional platforms have been added; including Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. There have been numerous Unity builds since 2005, with the current build being 2019.3. Unity is primarily designed for development of 3D games, but can be used for the creation of 2D games (like side-scrollers) as well. One of the best aspects of Unity is that it’s free to use for individuals regardless of income, and also for small companies with a yearly income of $100,000 and under.
10 Cities: Skylines
A few years after Maxis/EA disappointed gamers with their 2013 release of Sim City, Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order decided the time was right to provide an alternative to the de facto city-building sim. This game may owe a lot to Will Wright and Maxis, but it is a phenomenal game that surpasses the 2013 Sim City game in every way.
Cities: Skylines can handle fairly large geographical areas filled with hundreds of buildings and almost a million citizens. To handle this computational workload and give the player a visually impressive experience the developer (Colossal Order) went with the Unity engine.
Rust attracts a certain type of gamer – that is, gamers that welcome the challenge of taking on the world. Rust is basically a more realistic and unforgiving version of Minecraft. Players are dropped into a large open-world environment armed only with a rock and a torch. It is up to the players to craft/find better weapons and build bases and defensive structures. As with most games in this genre, player-created clans quickly form as players seek to survive. The level of difficulty this game presents turns off a lot of gamers; which has led to somewhat mixed reviews. The freedom, challenge, and setting given to players make Rust as much of a compelling anthropological experiment as it is a game.
8 FAR: Lone Sails
FAR: Lone Sails is not for everybody. Players that need non-stop, in-your-face action in the games they play will probably not understand this game at all. That is because FAR: Lone Sails is more of a journey than a game. The setting in FAR: Lone Sails is that of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and the player must traverse the countryside on a quest to discover what is left of the world. The game starts the player-character out on foot, but a vehicle is soon found. This vehicle is similar to those in the movie Mortal Engines and the player is given a cross-section view of the interior. Gamers who love an adventure complete with beautiful, sweeping landscapes should check this game out.
7 My Friend Pedro
The last entry dealt with a long, epic adventure with occasional moments of downtime. My Friend Pedro is quite the opposite. This is an intense 2D action/platformer filled with moments requiring superior hand-eye coordination.
In My Friend Pedro, the player controls the protagonist through various levels; defeating enemies with the help of bullet-time, an interactive environment, and parkour skills. Combining these available skills to perform feats like leaping through a window while shooting enemies during a slow-mo somersault is immensely fun and rewarding. My Friend Pedro has already achieved a cult following since its release last year.
Hearthstone, from Blizzard, is a digital collectible card game set in the Warcraft universe. It plays much like Magic: The Gathering without the mana generating lands – mana is automatically generated each turn. The game has risen in popularity to the point it is being played professionally by many gamers – the Hearthstone World Championship typically has a prize pool in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The game has it fair share of critics though, who feel the game relies too heavily on a pay-to-win model. The Unity engine was reportedly chosen by Blizzard because it would allow the game to run faster.
5 Escape Plan
Escape Plan was originally released in 2012 as a Sony Vita exclusive and made good use of the handheld’s motion controls and touch screen. However, it saw a later release on the PS4 in 2013. This is a charming puzzle game featuring vivid black and white graphics. The player must guide the two protagonists Lil and Laarg through rooms filled with obstacles that often result in gruesome deaths if not avoided. Escape Plan was praised by critics and players for its striking graphical design, challenging puzzles, and for the little details added by the developers – like the number of times each of the two protagonists have died displayed on their torsos.
Fe is a fun 3D action/adventure game set in a starkly colored world where the player controls a small animal that resembles a fox but behaves more like a flying squirrel. The goal is to stop the mechanical invaders that are attacking the animals in the game-world. To interact with the world and the creatures therein the player-character learns songs that produce an effect when performed. This is somewhat reminiscent of gameplay found in Spore during the Creature Phase.
At times Fe feels like it was also inspired by games like Journey and Shadow of the Colossus. The game has received some criticism for being a bit too short, but that is typically a sign the game is worth playing – nobody complains about a terrible game being too short.
3 Ori And The Blind Forest
The setting in Ori and the Blind Forest is very similar to Fe. The player controls a forest spirit that resembles a small animal, with the goal of saving the forest from an invading force. The biggest difference between the two is whereas Fe is set in a 3D world, Ori and the Blind Forest is a 2D side-scrolling platformer. The challenges present in this game come as much from the puzzle-solving as it does from the navigating obstacles. The game is a Metroidvania style game; meaning the player will often have to revisit areas when newly acquired abilities grant access to new areas the player was forced to bypass.
2 Pillars Of Eternity
When Black Isle Studios, the development team behind the Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale games went out of business, many of its employees left and formed a game development studio named Obsidian Entertainment. Anyone who has played those above-mentioned games will certainly notice the similarity between them and Pillars of Eternity. Because of this similarity Pillars of Eternity is often considered a “spiritual sequel” to those D&D-licensed Black Isle titles. The game features beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds, dazzling spell effects, strategic battles, and an intriguing plot that effortlessly drives the player forward. This is easily one of the best games to use the Unity game engine.
Cuphead is one of the most popular games of the last decade. This is due in no small part to the game’s throw-back art style that brings to mind the cartoons of Walt Disney and Max Fleisher from cinema’s Silent Era. Cuphead is a 2D side-scrolling run ‘n gun type game, along the lines of classics such as Contra and Mega Man. It has a reputation for being as difficult as those two classics as well. The Unity engine handles the scrolling and animation is Cuphead flawlessly; producing a steady framerate of 60 fps (24 fps for the animations).
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