As gaming has become more well established it can often be difficult for something new and exciting to be offered, the biggest genres offer much of the same on provide a similar experience to the many that have come before. Every once in a while, there is a newer option that comes along offering something completely different and these innovative games push the bar forward on those that follow, but which have been some of the most innovative games of 2021?
Valheim – A huge number of indie games found enormous success throughout the year, and this is certainly one of them – a huge number of survival games have been popping up and mostly all the same, but this Viking themed game innovated in a very specific way – the building. Some of the biggest survival titles like Minecraft and Terraria have used building to great effect, but the fidelity of the controls within Valheim allowed players to do some truly creative things, and with real physics to consider with loadbearing beams and ensuring that smoke from your fire could escape, it has shown that future survival titles may need to innovate in the same way moving forward to deliver something new to the genre.
It Takes Two – In recent years games from big studios have been a bit hit or miss, packed with some features but lacking in others, but the two-player couch co-op of It Takes Two certainly delivered on something new, and innovates on every different level. A would-be divorced couple find themselves turned in to dolls and must solve a series of different challenges together in order to return to normal – the puzzles faced within the game however require co-ordination and teamwork from both players at the same time as each will have unique abilities aimed specifically at helping the other progress, and each different level is just as creative as the one that came before. Couch co-ops have been on the way out for a while in favour of multiplayer, so this game shows there are plenty of creative juices still to be squeezed from the genre and provide a huge hit and one of the best-selling and most innovative titles of the year.
Ratchet and Clank; Rift Apart – As the first game in the series for over four years, Insomniac Games’ have always had a great track record of delivering on everything other games in the series do well, as well as expanding on and delivering newer features too. Whilst it certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel in any meaningful way, it does introduce a creative and innovative roster of exciting weapons and game mechanics that continue to keep each game feeling as fresh of the last, and by pushing the hardware on the next generation of console for the Playstation 5 too, it’s a great way to kick off the new gaming options.