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: January 24
Developer: Hilltop Studios
Lil’ Guardsman is basically a whimsical take on Papers, Please: protagonist Lil is a kid covering for her dad as a guard of the Sprawl kingdom, and it’s up to her to decide who is allowed to come in and who isn’t. Leaving aside the madness of allowing a kid to make decisions of resounding diplomatic consequence, it’s a pretty cool idea. Decisions make a big difference not only to the kingdom Lil is helping to guard but also to the characters seeking entry, with interrogation puzzles helping your verdicts. The art style is lovely too.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Release: January 25
This package collects three Ace Attorney games from the Nintendo DS era: Apollo Justice, Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice. For those unfamiliar with the series, these games are basically visual novel legal dramas, and can be at least partially credited for the recent rise in popularity of the visual novel outside Japan. Apollo Justice collects a total of 16 episodes—basically different cases—and also a wealth of bonus material like an art library and an animation studio. It’s nice to see this collected for PC, but Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy might be a better place to start.
Ancient Warfare 3
Release: January 27
Developers: Jannik Nickel
Ancient Warfare 3 is a sandbox battle editor basically: you create scenarios across a handful of different modes (including deathmatch and conquest) and then take part in the action, or else just sit back and watch the proverbial crap hit the fan. Battles can be tweaked on-the-fly, and during its recently finished Early Access period a wealth of mod content has been developed. In other words: up to over 23,000 battles can be downloaded already. it’s a huge amount of content for the asking price. If you’re wondering why there’s an AW3 and not an AW2 or 1, it’s because the first two were Minecraft mods.
Release: January 23
This tycoon game pits writers against writers though sadly not in combat. The objective is to become the bestselling writer on the planet, and to do so you have to cobble together books while interacting with other writers and also responding to hatemail. You can dole out books across five genres with 69 possible themes, and all writers included seem to be based on actual real writers in the real world, including George (R.R. Martin) Murphy, Ian (McEwan) McClaren and most obscurely, Wally “Mad Dog” Shakespeare.
Release: January 27
Developer: goop lord
Developed “for sickos”, Freakhunter is a first-person dungeon crawler with rail shooter elements. It’s pretty simple: you move through increasingly bizarre realms reminiscent of the age of texture warping, and as the name suggests, hunt down freaks (different kinds of surreal monster). Then you shoot them to death. It’s inspired by Silent Debuggers and Shadow Over Innsmouth. Come for the weird genre hybrid, stay for the morbid fever dream atmosphere.