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Don’t Let These Hidden Gems from the October 2023 Games Slip Under Your Radar

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As we step into October, it was no secret that this month would be one of the busiest times for video games ever. Several notable game franchises are receiving new entries; just this week saw the arrival of a new Assassin’s Creed game and the early access launch for Forza Motorsport. However, these flashy AAA games are far from the only ones released at the moment, and just eight days into the month, we recognize that some fantastic games have already gone unnoticed.

Games Worth Noting in the First Week of October

Especially for those who enjoy games that require strategic thinking, the first week of October featured three new games that didn’t grab the spotlight like Forza Motorsport and Assassin’s Creed did, but still deserve attention: Silent Hope, League of Lighters, and Groove of War 2. These are three solid games worth playing while you await Spider-Man and Mario.

The Lamplighters League

Did you know that Harebrained Schemes, the developer behind fantastic strategy RPGs like the Shadowrun Trilogy and BattleTech, released a new game this week? Indeed, on 3rd October 2023, the studio dropped The Lamplighters League, a supernatural strategy game inspired by the pulpy stories of the early 20th century. This is reflected in the game’s cartoonish art style and charismatic voice acting, which I found quite charming.

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In terms of gameplay, it will be familiar to anyone who’s played Harebrained’s previous games or the XCOM series. Players can sneak in real-time between fights. During these segments, they can explore, glean more from the world and lore, position their soldiers properly, and even dispatch some enemies before the encounter starts, using each character’s unique abilities. This feature makes The Lamplighters League missions more intense and extensive than its peers.

The Lamplighters League

While it’s not groundbreaking for the strategy game genre, it makes you feel like the mastermind behind a diverse team of spies overcoming overwhelming forces working against them. While many of this month’s biggest releases are fast-paced, action-focused romps, The Lamplighters League will make you stop, think smart, and execute intelligent tactical strategies to complete a mission with as few hiccups or casualties as possible.

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The Lamplighters League is now available for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. It’s also accessible through Xbox Game Pass.

Wargroove 2

Next up is Wargroove 2, released by Chucklefish on October 5th. While it’s also a strategy game like League of Lighters, it approaches the theory differently. Advance Wars is the inspiration here, rather than XCOM; the original Wargroove was released when the Advance Wars series was missing, and a strategy game genre really needed a game like this. The fact that Advance Wars 1+2: Boot Camp Reset released earlier this year seemed like it might diminish the need for a game like Groove of War 2, but that’s not the case.

Wargroove 2

Wargroove 2 is a deep and engaging strategy game that emphasizes terrain and tactical interplay between standard units and the powerful Commanders, who are active on the field in this game. Commanders are strong, bolster certain units near them, and possess powerful Groove abilities, like forcibly moving enemies from one space to another, opening up new combat strategies.

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You must be careful not to overextend these Commander units and minimize the damage they take while trying to fight on terrain that strengthens your unit’s defense. This becomes even more crucial in Conquest, the game’s roguelike mode, where players traverse paths filled with tactical challenges, collecting new units and abilities while trying to keep everyone healthy along the way. Conquest gives Wargroove 2 a sense of endless replay value, which works well in a genre that involves mastering mechanics to develop the best strategies. Instead of just one mission in League of Lighters, you can fit in entire runs of Conquest between other games for the rest of the year.

Wargroove 2 is already available for PC and Nintendo Switch.

Silent Hope

Finally, there’s Silent Hope for those who simply want to fully immerse themselves in a roguelike experience with a lot of replay value. Released on October 3rd by Marvelous and XSEED, this is a roguelite set in a world where only a princess shrouded in a giant tear can speak. After seven heroes manifest from the crystals, they work with the Princess to delve into a giant darkness and seek the reclusive king at the bottom of this abyss.

Silent Hope

In practice, this means players must venture through the darkness in various runs as one of the seven character class archetypes, fighting enemies and gathering resources to gradually improve the character’s stats and survival chances each time. While its combat and story aren’t as ingenious as something like Hades, Silent Hope presents a cute and endearing charm that could only come from a Japanese developer.

It follows the core gameplay loop that makes roguelikes immensely enjoyable, while infusing a lot of charm into the world and visuals. While other games this month might be much more ambitious or refined, something as simple as a good roguelike can also be entertaining in the quieter moments scattered throughout the 2023 release calendar.

Silent Hope is available for PC and Nintendo Switch. A free trial will give you a solid sense of all its basic gameplay systems and loops, allowing you to dive into the first stretch as much as you want, and that alone is worth the download.

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