It’s over! Peak is finally over (not now, Halo Infinite), the hype train has reached the end of the line, and its passengers are disembarking and making their way home. We like to think of ourselves as the complimentary newspaper that’s tucked under their arms, loaded with gaming news, long reads, and indie treats that they can return to at a moment’s notice.
While the triple-A calendar is now looking pretty sparse up until February (when things suddenly get very busy again), there’s no relenting for the indie release schedule, and December’s bounty is as good as it’s been all year round. We’ve got organ-trading strategy games, John Wick-inspired deck builders, co-op games about surviving in space, biopunk FPS games, autumnal adventure games, turn-based RPG games with mechs, and plenty more.
So, whether you’re looking for a few new games to see you through the dark winter nights, or you’ve got some free time on your hands with the holiday season right around the corner, this list should keep your Steam library fully stocked.
If you take a shine to one of our picks then head to its Steam store page where you can wishlist it or follow for future announcements – it helps the developers out.
Mechajammer – 2 December
If Cyberpunk 2077’s take on the genre was a little too sanitised and glamorous for your liking then Mechajammer promises a cyberpunk RPG that’s packed with grit, grift, and grime. This is a ‘sewer full of mutants/grindhouse wasteland’ brand of dystopia, and developer Whalenought Studios has done an incredible job bringing some life and vibrancy to its gloomy off-world colony setting.
Combat is turn-based, but as turns are taken simultaneously battles play out as fast as you want them to. There are also a few nods to classic RPG and immersive sim design that go beyond recruiting companions and having each key decision lead to a range of consequences – there are dice rolls for persuading NPCs and landing critical hits, and technically anyone can be recruited to join your party. You can check out Mechajammer here.
Fights in Tight Spaces – 2 December
This deck-building strategy game has been available via Steam Early Access for a few months now, but it’s just about to get its 1.0 update. Its Early Access patches have been loaded with useful additions like a card compendium, the ability to roll back the turn if you make a critical mistake, additional difficulty levels, and better post-game stats, but there are also heaps of new cards, combat styles, and enemy types.
In case this is the first time you’re reading about Fights in Tight Spaces, it essentially captures all of the intricacy and brutality of a close-quarters John Wick brawl and distils it into a tactical card game. To survive each encounter you’ll have to manage the space around you so there’s always an escape route, all the while chipping away at a barrage of gangsters and goons with your chosen melee discipline. The best bit? You get an instant playback of each fight, so you can admire your handiwork from a series of cinematic camera angles. You can check out Fights in Tight Spaces here.
Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator – 7 December
Meat. Wet, corpulent wodges of flesh. A quivering slab of pancreas, mucousy nerve clusters, puffy alien air sacs – it’s all product, and you’re going to make a name for yourself buying and selling it for profit. Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator is not your average tycoon game.
You’re not alone, either, there’s a whole organ trade market out there. You’ve got competitors to manoeuvre against, specific requests to fulfil, and practical issues to contend with, like ensuring your stock of organs doesn’t bloat and explode, spoiling everything in your cargo hold. You can check out Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator here.
Heavenly Bodies – 7 December
What if you put QWOP in space? In Heavenly Bodies, it’s up to you and a friend to navigate a zero-gravity space station where nothing is still, using a control system that gives you complete command of your cosmonaut’s limbs: you can move each arm independently, push and pull yourself along, and squeeze through tight gaps by tucking each leg in. It sounds simple, but it turns even coasting from one side of a room to the other into a fiendishly tricky challenge.
Throw in a series of increasingly fiddly tasks to complete around the space station, plus the added complication of a friend joining you, and Heavenly Bodies is shaping up to be a great couch co-op adventure. You can check out Heavenly Bodies here.
Wolfstride – 7 December
The first game from Brazil-based indie collective Ota Imon Studio, Wolfstride is a monochrome mech battle RPG that’s presented with style and swagger to spare. Set in a world where goliath mech brawls are big entertainment, you control a party of three oddballs fumbling and scheming their way through one of the biggest tournaments on the planet.
Each party member has their area of expertise. Mechanic Duque – who, by the way, is a dog – keeps the trio’s inherited mech in fighting shape between each bout; Knife Leopard is the mech pilot and handles all the actual combat; and ex-yakuza goon Dominique Shade, who you’ll explore Rain City as, picking up odd jobs, recruiting extra help, and reliving your dark past. You can check out Wolfstride here.
Wytchwood – 9 December
Autumnal, painterly backdrops, Brothers Grimm fairytales, and potion brewing combine in Wytchwood, a crafting-based adventure game where you take control of the judgemental wicked witch of the woods.
Your days consist of wandering around the forest collecting ingredients to take back to your hut, where you can craft powerful poultices, potions, and powders to help navigate the fantastical wilderness. Oh, and every time you discover something new you let out a piercing, gleeful cackle, which somehow doesn’t get old. You can check out Wytchwood here.
Wrought Flesh – 10 December
We don’t often get to talk about flesh this many times in a single article, so we were thrilled to come across Wrought Flesh, a biopunk FPS where you equip the severed limbs and organs of your enemies to bolster your stats.
From developer Narayana Walters – whose telekinetic gunslinger, Theyest Thou, should also be on your wishlist – Wrought Flesh has some deliciously dark details like your character opening up their torso to equip newly pilfered organs. Beyond some clips of explosive shootouts and some sparse details about its story and setting, much of this game remains a total mystery, but we’re hungry for more. You can check out Wrought Flesh here.