E3 2017 has come and gone, leaving us with a lot of awesome games to look forward to for the next year — well, realistically, for the next few years. But not all of those games got time on the big stage during press conferences or even a spot on the show floor.
Here are the 13 coolest games you might’ve missed at this year’s E3.
Absolver continues to impress with its sleek mix of smart, customizable fighting game mechanisms and social role-playing elements. Being able to fine-tune your brawler’s approach to combat, from individual kicks and punches to versatile blocks, dodges, and parries creates an action RPG experience like no other. — Chloi Rad
The abstract action of Ape Out first caught our eye at this year’s GDC, but it made another appearance on the big screen at Devolver Digital’s E3 2017 parking lot-turned E3 booth. Rampaging through the silhouetted hallways of a zoo or lab as an escaped gorilla, smashing shotgun- and flamethrower-wielding guards and other armed enemies through the sheer force of your momentum is a blast, made better by an eye-catching minimalist style and a dynamic soundtrack made up entirely of pulse-pounding drums and explosive cymbal crashes. — Chloi Rad
The Artful Escape is, simply put, one of the most impressive game demos I’ve ever seen. Like a fever dream that exists between David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and a Studio Ghibli film, Artful Escape presents a surreal world filled with neon colors, imaginary creatures, and absolutely phenomenal music. Though it currently looks to be a mechanically-simple melding of 2D platforming, rhythm mini-games, and some light conversation trees, everything about Artful Escape’s tone makes it one of our most anticipated games of… well… whenever it comes out. — Marty Sliva
Jason Oda, the creator of Coma, describes it as an emotional action adventure game, but it’s also a deeply personal experience that taps into events we all experience. Reflections on life and loved ones is a major part of what Coma is. In it, you are trapped in a coma and dark figures want to lull you into accepting death. You defend yourself with sacred relics based off of personal parts of your life. The relics you use to fight can be based off a variety of things, like dirt from your hometown or the memory of a pet you had at one point in your life. Fighting back against Coma’s dark forces brings you one step closer to hidden answers. “The plot is all wrapped up in this mystery about how you got into this coma,” Oda explains. “As you go through and fix your memory, these answers become clear to you.” We look forward to learning more about the answers when this game comes to Xbox One via the ID@Xbox program. — Jose Otero
There are two genres you don’t see combined very often: racing and RPGs. Desert Child is a stylish as hell game about a young racer trying to raise enough money to maintain his hoverbike and pay bills so he can enter the Grand Prix. With influences like Redline, Akira, and Cowboy Bebop, a clever mix of intense shmup combat and traditional adventure games, and a killer soundtrack, Desert Child is definitely one to watch. — Chloi Rad
Detention is probably the closest a horror game has come to feeling like a genuine Silent Hill experience in a while. (The last one I can think of is Lone Survivor.) Set during the White Terror period of 1960s Taiwan, Detention explores both the experience of living under martial law as well as supernatural horror rooted in Taiwanese culture and folklore. It has one of the most haunting atmospheres I’ve seen in a 2D side-scrolling adventure and some awesome old-school survival horror puzzles that give me hope in the genre’s recent revival. — Chloi Rad
Knights and Bikes quickly surpassed its March 2016 Kickstarter goal for a whole mess of reasons. A cross between Goonies and EarthBound, the game’s whimsical pop-up-book visuals immediately give it an identity of its own. Dig a little deeper, and its fantastic developer pedigree of Media Molecule talent, including Rex Crowle, who was the Creative Lead on the wonderful Tearaway, clue us in on the game’s potential quality. Couple this in with two-player co-op and the backing of Double Fine (much like Ooblets), and Knights and Bikes is a hand-painted PS4/PC adventure that we can’t wait to embark on. — Marty Sliva
Ooblets is an infectiously-adorable melding of Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, Pokemon, and Viva Pinata. Showcased during Microsoft’s press conference, this colorful indie gained traction when Psychonauts-developer Double Fine put its backing behind it. So far, we’ve seen all sorts of gameplay ranging from farming and town-building, to Pokemon-esque battling and exploration. With a core team of just two people, we’re giving them as much time as they need leading up to their 2018 release on PC and Xbox One. — Marty Sliva
Overland is probably one of the most adorable apocalyptic survival games I’ve ever seen. Its squad-based strategy gameplay takes place across small, randomly generated levels that have the charm of a diorama or tabletop miniatures. But despite its cute low-poly looks, Overland’s compelling turn-based tactics require some serious resource management and decision-making on your part. — Chloi Rad
Semblance is a clever puzzle-platformer where the platforms themselves can be bent and transformed into new shapes and angles, allowing you to reach higher places and overcome obstacles in ways you couldn’t before. I only got to play a small slice of this one, but the responsiveness of its jelly-like world, fun sound effects, and experimentation afforded gave it a wonderful sense of freedom that I look forward to seeing more of in the future. — Chloi Rad
The Swords of Ditto manages to put a clever twist on the Link to the Past-style dungeon crawler while still retaining its own distinct personality thanks to its vibrant hand-drawn art style. Whether you succeed or die on your journey to defeat the main villain, a statue appears of your past hero in the central village where the game begins, keeping your legacy alive good or bad. Your new character then takes up the mantle of the old to become a hero for the next generation. That means permadeath isn’t just a gimmick, but an important part of the game’s storytelling. Hack and slash RPG action with a ton of fun skills and abilities, plus some clever puzzles in the dungeons, and the ability to locally co-op with a friend really elevates Swords of Ditto into something special. — Chloi Rad
Anything that draws comparisons to classic Legend of Zelda games immediately gets my attention. But Tunic, formerly known as Secret Legend, quickly transcends its inspirations by dropping us into a gorgeous pastel world and placing us in the shoes of what might be the cutest video game character of all-time. While the isometric hack-n-slash action and adventure puzzles aren’t anything new, Tunic displays it all with a stunning use of camera elevation, depth of field, dynamic focusing, and environmental effects. And while the sword-wielding fox is undeniably adorable, the action and giant bosses clue us into a game that won’t hold our hands. — Marty Sliva
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine puts a unique spin on the “narrative-driven” adventure and brings the spirit of the American folktale to life in a way I haven’t seen since Kentucky Route Zero. As you journey through its gorgeous hand-drawn map of early 20th century America, you’ll come across a number of interesting people and places. Some of the people you meet want to be told stories, which you can only deliver by reaching into memories of your travels. The core experience of hearing, collecting, and then passing on stories as you try to survive your surreal trip through the country is unlike any other game out there. Its beautiful overhead style is like viewing the shapes and colors of the countryside from a dreamy airplane ride, and it’s all accompanied by an excellent folk music soundtrack. — Chloi Rad
What were your favorite games from E3 2017? Let us know in the comments!