Buddy Simulator, Cruelty Squad and more Hidden Gems Games 2021


There are plenty of Steam games that go unnoticed, but five Hidden Gems, in particular, that stand out have been released in the past year alone.

With this year’s Steam Awards already nominated, some players have found it hard to remember what was released this year. The past two years could easily seem blurry thanks to the global pandemic, and some games that appear to be released this year may be older than some remember. However, there have been quite a few hidden gems over the course of a year filled with disappointing releases, surprise hits, and games that have divided reviews.

The hidden gem games on Steam tend to go unnoticed, but are still worth a look and a lot of fun to play. Hidden Gems tend to be independent titles and are often “hidden” because they are developed for a relatively specialized audience. For fans who found 2021 lacking in exciting releases or new games to play, these Steam games have all released this year and are worth checking out, and maybe even a Steam Award nomination.

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Boyfriend simulator 1984

The opening screen of Buddy Simulator 1984.

Boyfriend simulator 1984 isn’t just a hidden gem, it’s a good market. With a cost of just $ 10.00, Boyfriend simulator 1984 is a horror game that gives players an interactive and “simulated” friend. The whole game has an aesthetic like it’s running on a computer straight out of its title year. Steam’s critics for the game call it smart and spooky, with the game using some ingenious design tricks to sell the concept of real AI in the game.

There’s not much else to say that doesn’t spoil why so many gamers recommend Boyfriend simulator on Steam. Players can expect a story that explores human concepts like friendship through the lens of an AI. There are some very subtle horror elements, but the game never really tries to scare the player. Instead of, Boyfriend simulator 1984 manages to balance the spooky moments with genuinely heartwarming scenes that are better experienced than explained.

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Sunshine Heavy Industries

A Sunshine Heavy Industires ship contract.

Fans of unique puzzle games should not pass up Sunshine Heavy Industries, a sci-fi shipbuilding puzzle game with an incredibly charming art style. Players are tasked with designing ships for customers that meet their specifications while being compact, efficient and visually pleasing. There are lots of little things Sunshine Heavy Industries done to ensure that players focus on each of these elements, such as flying player-created ships in the background.

According to the Steam page, there is also the main story consisting of around fifty missions, with others added in the patches. Many design games only encourage players to make effective choices that meet a list of criteria without promoting the visual aspect of the design. This is what helps Sunshine Heavy Industries stand out from similar games. It emphasizes visual design while having tons of intricate systems to make building ships a lot of fun.

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SuchART: Genius Art Simulator

A painting from the game SuchArt: Genius Art Simulator.

After a successful free demo released in January of this year, SuchART: Genius Art Simulator had its full release in July and offers the most unique gameplay of any simulation game. In TelART, players take on the role of a human in a sci-fi world with rare artistic talent. They have a studio, basic supplies, and a paint dispenser to start taking orders and creating their own artwork.

TelART is distinguished by the in-game paint simulation systems and the level of freedom that the game offers to the player. Even outside of sandbox mode, players tend to get vague explanations of what to paint. This leaves the actual painting up to the player’s interpretation, allowing them to express their creativity. TelART is all about creative expression, with the only real requirement usually being the requested canvas size.

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Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator

A little like TelART, Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator opens the players to the freedom of creativity. In Potions Crafts, players are given a wide array of tools for crushing, mixing, and boiling ingredients in their own potions which they then sell to customers at their own alchemy store. People will come with specific requests and players will be responsible for fulfilling them. One of the most beautiful parts of Potions Crafts is that there is never a time limit for completing specific orders. Customers will never leave or get angry if players take too long.

Another element between Potions Crafts and TelART is that there is a lot of physical feedback with the tools. Mashing leaves and stirring potions feels good with the comments players see. While Potions Crafts is technically in Early Access, the core game mechanics are all here to get started. Add to that a charming artistic style and Potions Crafts becomes a hidden gem to watch out for.

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Cruelty Squad

the cruelty squad is unlike anything else

Cruelty Squad is best described as a surreal assault on the senses, but in a way that makes it stylistically interesting to play. There’s a retro-FPS feel throughout the game that builds on the popular old-web aesthetic that games love. Outlaw of hypnosis also use. While the graphic style is undoubtedly one of the biggest draws behind Cruelty Squad, to say that this is the only reason he found a cult would be a disservice to gameplay.

The Cruelty Squad been compared to Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, although those looking to experience the game shouldn’t expect it to make as much sense as these games do. This is one of those games where things happen and players don’t know why. For example, there is a fishing rod with a full GUI for the fish stock market that allows players to not only fight enemies, but also fish in any body of water they find. Cruelty Squad is an absolutely wild experience that is one of Steam’s biggest hidden gems in 2021.

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