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15 Games That Could Be the Sleeper Hits of 2022

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15 Games That Could Be the Sleeper Hits of 2022

2022 is set to bring a ton of blockbuster titles to our screens. From Horizon Forbidden West to Gran Turismo 7, God of War Ragnorok to Starfield, and everything in between, it feels like everyone’s excited about at least one big game this year. It’s easy to forget about the smaller games and indie titles amidst such a jam-packed year, though, so we’re here to point out 15 games that could become the sleeper hits of 2022.

By sleeper hits, we’re talking about games that are likely to only truly get appreciated months after they’ve released, or just completely blow critics and players away by massively exceeding expectations when they do launch.

Sifu – Feb. 8

Coming from the developer behind Absolver, Sifu tells the story of a young Kung Fu student on a path of revenge hunting for those who murdered his family.

What’s got us truly excited about Sifu is the combination of a striking art style and what looks to be super-fluid, satisfying hand-to-hand combat. Players will be able to use pretty much anything in their surroundings to defeat the onslaught of enemies, and your positioning in your environment will be key to surviving their flurry of incoming attacks.

Normally, we’d say that Sifu will just be an immediate smash-hit with players and critics alike. However, due to how packed the end of January and entire month of February 2022 is looking for releases, we could imagine this one flying under the radars of many until later in the year. Will we be right? Only time will tell.

Tunic – March 16

Games That Could be Sleeper Hits in 2022

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All you need to do is look at the image above and you’ll immediately know what Tunic’s primary inspiration was. That’s right, this is a game where you play as a lovable fox, dressed incredibly similar to a certain Hero of Hyrule.

The gameplay looks set to follow the same format, too, with players having to explore a magical world, uncover ancient powers and take down fearsome monsters. Of course, there’s plenty of dungeon diving to be done, with chests granting keys and other special items to help you on your way.

Tunic may not immediately appeal to all who see it, but with it due to release in the middle of March, just a mere week after Gran Turismo 7 and Triangle Strategy and two days before Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, there’s a good chance it’ll struggle to gain the traction with fans it normally would, especially with the increasing cost of games.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands – March 25

From the world of Borderlands, Tiny Tina has embarked on her own standalone adventure in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. This time around, the action takes place in tabletop realms where you’ll be busy exploring mushroom forests, fortresses, and sprawling cities as you try and take down the big, bad Dragon Lord.

The whole thing looks absolutely stunning, and while the tabletop realm may have you thinking things were about to go turn-based, the gameplay looks very similar to the series its spun off from.

As such, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands appears to have received a fairly average reception since its reveal. However, with such a memorable art style and the performance of next-gen consoles (hopefully) delivering exceptional performance and super-smooth combat, we could see this one blowing up far more than current expectations suggest.

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp – April 8

Games That Could be Sleeper Hits in 2022

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Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp doesn’t really need a whole lot of explaining. It’s a compilation of the original two games, freshened up with some QoL features and improved visuals, with the same head-scratching tactical genius in its turn and grid-based gameplay.

While the series certainly has its fans, it’s still a fairly niche series in comparison to the modern-day juggernauts of Fortnite, FIFA, and Call of Duty. As such, we could see this one getting a lot of attention post-launch, maybe a few months down the line when people are looking to play something during their travels over Summer, following an exceedingly positive critical reception.

Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown – Sept. 22

When you think of big racing game series, you immediately go to Forza, Gran Turismo, or possibly even GRID. Few would have mentioned Test Drive Unlimited right away, and given the series has been dormant for almost 10 years, it’s not hard to see why.

But then Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown was revealed last year and piqued my oil-covered interests. With its flashy visuals, the entirety of Hong Kong island to explore, and what looks set to be an eclectic mix of vehicles to choose from, Solar Crown has its eyes firmly set on pole position.

Whether or not it will ultimately do enough to dislodge Forza Horizon 5 from its throne, and outpace its 2022 competitor in Gran Turismo 7 remains to be seen. We’ve not seen a ton of the game since its initial reveal, meaning it could blow us away out of nowhere, or get lost in the pack.

Little Devil Inside – TBC

Games That Could be Sleeper Hits in 2022

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Little Devil Inside had originally started out as a Kickstarter project seeking crowdfunding. Sadly, after failing to reach its release goals, the game and its developers seemed to disappear off the face of the earth… until it returned years later as a PS5 and PC release.

The game takes place in a “Victorian-like era where creatures, monsters and other mysterious lifeforms exist.” The game is an action-adventure game where you’ll be tasked with helping research, investigate and study paranormal activities for a professor at the local university.

It’s a novel premise and one that we’re eager to see more of, but having been fairly quiet thus far and with a troubled initial reveal, there’s reason to be skeptical of Little Devil Inside.

Lord of the Rings: Gollum – TBC

“Sméééééééééééagooooooool.”

It’s about darn time the creepy former hobbit got some time in the limelight and Lord of the Rings: Gollum is here to do just that. Even if he does get a little bit murderous whenever there’s a ring involved.

But before his epic adventure with Frodo and Sam, Gollum had lived a life of sneakily murdering orcs, murdering soldiers, murdering basically anyone who crossed paths with him, and of course, protecting the ring at all costs.

It’s a premise that, as a big Lord of the Rings fan, has me very excited about, but the lack of gameplay we’ve seen thus far leaves a lot of intrigue and uncertainty around the title. It could be great, and certainly has the source material to do so. But it also runs the risk of getting repetitive quickly if there’s not enough variation in what we’re doing from moment to moment.

Stray – TBC

Games That Could be Sleeper Hits in 2022

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When Stray was first revealed back in 2020, it garnered a ton of attention from critics and fans alike. The novel premise of controlling a stray cat as it explores the neon-soaked streets of a cyber city in the not too distant future was enough for most to immediately wishlist the title on their digital storefront of choice.

Players will have to use a cat’s natural agility and nimbleness to navigate the world, take down lethal threats and sometimes just annoy the residents of the city in order to get their own way. Sounds like a cat simulator to us!

With the help of your drone buddy B12, you’ll uncover an ancient mystery in order to escape a long-forgotten city.

It’s all very cool sounding, but exactly how fun it’ll be remains to be seen. If developer BlueTwelve Studio is able to keep gameplay varied and interesting throughout the duration it could be onto a winner here. On the other hand, if the feline gameplay lacks enough depth to remain interesting, this could end up being a bit of a slog.

We’ll need to see more before we know for sure.

Somerville – TBC

A new, cinematic-platforming experience from the ex-CEO and co-founder of Playdead? Sign us up.

This is coming from one of the brains behind the likes of LIMBO and INSIDE, two titles praised for their chilling atmosphere and clever puzzle gameplay. Somerville looks set to bring its own beautiful art style to the table, but this time giving the premise a sci-fi spin.

In Somverville, players will navigate a dangerous, rural landscape in the hopes of making their family whole again in the wake of a catastrophe.

Very little else has been revealed regarding the narrative or gameplay of the title, but if LIMBO and INSIDE are anything to go by, Somerville should absolutely be on your wishlist for 2022.

Coromon – TBC

Games That Could be Sleeper Hits in 2022

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Coromon is exactly what it looks and sounds like — a Pokemon clone releasing on PC at some point in 2022.

What makes this stand apart from the modern entries in the series its inspired from are Coromon’s seemingly more challenging dungeons and puzzles. Where Pokemon games have got easier in recent years, Coromon looks set to dial up the difficulty to deliver a turn-based, monster-battling experience that’s reminiscent of the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Pokemon experiences back on the GameBoy.

Of course, when you take such clear inspiration from a global phenomenon like Pokemon, the pressure’s on to deliver a solid experience. From the demo currently available on Steam, it certainly looks like Coromon will deliver on expectations, but with no console release currently slated, it’s likely going to take a little while to gain traction amongst the masses.

Sea of Stars – TBC

This turn-based RPG tells the story of two Children of the Solstice who combine their powers of the sun and moon to perform Eclipse Magic, the only force capable of fending off the Fleshmancer’s evil monsters and other creations.

Promising to modernize the classic RPG with refreshed turn-based combat, storytelling, interactions with characters and the environment, and much more, Sea of Stars has quickly garnered a ton of attention. Its stunning old-school graphics certainly didn’t do it any harm, either.

If you’re looking for that old-school RPG adventure with some modern conveniences and QoL improvements, then be sure to keep your eye on this one.

Trek to Yomi – TBC

Games That Could be Sleeper Hits in 2022

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Trek to Yomi is absolutely dripping with style. Telling the story of young swordsman Hiroki, players must protect his town and its inhabitants from any and all threats.

The game was lauded for its breath-taking, cinematic visuals, reminiscent of 2020’s Ghost of Tsushima. The gameplay appears to largely take place on a 2D plane, but that doesn’t make the art style any less impressive.

We don’t know a whole lot else about Trek to Yomi, but if its gameplay can deliver on the same level as its visuals, this is one that could easily become the sleeper hit of 2022.

Goodbye Volcano High – TBC

Goodbye Volcano High is a narrative-driven experience where players are ultimately here to follow the story and drive things forward with the occasional button press for a mini-game or to make a decision.

The narrative includes themes of love, change, and the end of an era. Players will follow character Fang through their final year of high school, making tough choices that will shape who Fang becomes which, in turn, impacts how the story plays out.

The whole thing’s brought together by its musical undertones. When things get too much, Fang can write songs to provide an outlet for their emotions. Write enough of these songs and you’ll create the perfect soundtrack to fit the tailored story that you crafted.

Goodbye Volcano High certainly feels like it’ll move the narrative-driven genre forward, and with its visuals that look like they’re ripped right out of a cartoon, we’re eager to dive in and see what’s going on in Fang’s life.

Oxenfree 2 – TBC

Games That Could be Sleeper Hits in 2022

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If you’ve played the original Oxenfree, you already know what kind of experience to expect from its upcoming sequel. There will be some spooky, supernatural goings-on, a varied cast of characters that you’ll need to converse and work together with, and some exceptional writing, all rounded out with basic but beautiful visuals.

Adding onto the gameplay of the first game, however, Oxenfree 2 will also introduce walkie-talkies, allowing players to “engage with people in different places and interrupt different moments.”

The events of the game will also play out in ‘real-time’ as the game progresses. For example, if protagonist Riley opts to go to one place, things will transpire elsewhere and could result in opening up new opportunities to explore, or blocking you out from others.

While Oxenfree 2 isn’t going to be a sleeper hit in terms of offering up something bold and wholly new, the series is still fairly niche and so could finally hit the mainstream with another top-tier entry.

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