I wanted to make this post as a sounding board for people to talk about the games they think are most underrated in 2012. It could be for reasons of you think the game was unfairly criticized by press, ignored because of its aesthetic or marketing, or for whatever reason it was not even discussed by people.
My personal few underrated titles include:
This title I only came across because the good guys at Rock Paper Shotgun had an article on it, and I then decided to check out some videos. Later I had a friend purchase the game for me on GoG, and was completely entranced. It does the Audiosurf thing by taking any piece of music on your hardrive, and generating a level based on the peaks and valleys of your tunes. Instead of Audiosurf where you ride a rollercoaster of music and dodge things, this game puts you in a top- down shooter Your ship has 4 slots that you can pack with different weapons you acquire along the way, like scatter shot subwoofer notes, burst missiles, shotguns, and you can place their direction and set them to manual fire to a key or just auto. The game is tons of fun, has boss battles, and is currently 50% off on Steam (going to re-buy it myself), so only $5 to get into.
I feel the game was mostly forgotten by many people, because of its similarities to Portal, and people hearing it isn't as good as Portal. Barring the setup of you entering puzzle rooms, with a voice quipping jokes, the games don't have much similar. Quantum Conundrum is a game that has you flipping between dimensions, that change objects in the levels work, and you use this to unlock and/or get to the exit of the room. You can make objects fluffy or metal heavy, change gravity, and slow down time, but the magic is how you can switch between these abilities, and the levels designed around them. It doesn't have the story of Portal, nor the production values of Portal 2, but I actually find the puzzles in this game more challenging than the fairly easy stuff in Portal 2. It's on sale on Steam for 40% off at $9 (price could lower before Jan 5th) for those interested.
Orcs Must Die 2
The first game was already underrated, and I think this second one was even more, despite it adding one of the biggest things people requested: co-op. It's entirely too much fun just to get together with a buddy, lay out some traps, and deal with the larger levels where we have to work together to hold the line. Aside from placing traps, which have a stunning amount of tactical variety, your own character has some fun abilities that make it a third-person action game (melee and ranged weapons available) when the Orcs come out to play. It is that "just fun" game in all the right ways, on sale on Steam right now for 50% off ($7.50), and gives you tons of levels to keep you playing for a while.
Feel free to list you own, give reasons for why they're awesome, and maybe convince some fellow gamers to give them a shot. Voice your opinion!!!