We’ve hit a pretty slow week in terms of major releases. Sure, we’ve got quite a bit of smaller titles and indies, but I don’t think anyone is going to be knocking down GameStop’s door for anything coming out. It’s such a slow week that our top release isn’t even a game, but a service. Read on…
Nintendo Switch Online (Switch)
Nintendo Switch owners have known this day was coming for some time now. The free ride is over, and just like their competitors over at Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo is charging you money ($20 for a year or $4 bucks a month if you like spending more money) for the privilege of playing your games online. Lucky us. Now I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have an Xbox Live Gold or PS+ subscription; I do, and I’m going to get this one. Why? Well aside from me just being in love with throwing my money away, I’m also into the perks these offer. Nintendo is doing something similar to their rivals in that you get free games every month, but instead of the modern AAA/indie titles you get from Sony and M$, you get three NES games, you know, those games you already have on your NES Classic that you bought on eBay for $200 bucks. However, free games aren’t your only perk, we finally get some kind of save data backup for the Switch! Now that 200 hour Zelda save file is going to be safe just in case you break your system or decide to buy a new one (there are at least two new versions coming out in the fall with I’m sure many, many more to follow). On top of that your online subscription will somehow communicate with that voice chat app I know we all downloaded when Splatoon 2 came out (right, didn’t’ we?), as well as other special offers that are currently TBD. The final cherry on top appears to be the exclusive privilege to purchase (for $60) two wireless NES controllers that can only be used to play the sick free games we’re getting every month. I’m sure many of you have strong (negative) opinions on this, and if YouTube thumbnails are any indication then the Nintendo Switch is now dead and their online service is LITERALLY the biggest failure in the history of Nintendo. Don’t be a 19 year old neckbeard who thinks the N64 is the greatest console of all time and immediately poo-poo this, be smart about it, do your research, and if it sounds good to you then get it. If it doesn’t, don’t. It’s $20 bucks for an entire year, the other guys charge $60 a year (my god, I’m going to spend $140 a year on this bullshit). Be a smart consumer, not a reactionary one.
THE SKY IS FALLING!! THE SKY IS FALLING!!
Discerning takes from various reputable sources
The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrow’s Deep (PC)
I have to admit, I’m not very familiar with this series, but I understand the importance of it (perhaps our good friend Singingbrakeman can do a future Franchise Festival on this series…), so now here we are, 30 years later with the next chapter in the Bard’s Tale series. Yeah, I know there was that 2004 release, but that was more side story than full-on sequel (mostly due to copyright issues *shakes fist at EA*). Now you can return to Skara Brae and take on quests that will lead to treasure, fame and glory! Put together a party of four and level them up into 1 of 21 (!) unique classes. According to a few curators on Steam this is “GOTY material”. I think they’re confused, the title of this game isn’t Red Dead Redemption 2. If you’re a PC gamer though, this game is built for you. Grab your franchise by the horns and embrace it.
Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk (PC/PS4/Switch)
If western RPGs aren’t your thing then maybe you’ll fancy this JRPG, that takes influence from western RPGs, most notably Eye of the Beholder and something called…let me check my notes…ah, The Bard’s Tale (huh, imagine that?). This first person dungeon crawler is from the creators of the Disgaea series and looks pretty fun. Generally speaking I usually find these types of RPGs to be confusing and bland, however the graphics on this game are great and it comes with a mini map of where you’ve been, which should make traveling around these dungeons much easier.
Transference (PC/PS4/PSVR/Rift/Vive/Xbox One)
I feel like Elijah Wood and his friends played Resident Evil VII and were like, “oh, that was fun; we should do that too”. Transference is a first person narrative adventure that can be played in VR, in which you must solve puzzles to move forward. According to the Steam product page the game is a bit like an escape room. The trailers are all pretty vague, only hinting at some kind of strange experiment that maybe this scientist is doing on his family. If you’re into VR then I hope you enjoy this; as for me, I’ll pass.
Ports and Re-releases:
Undertale (Switch) – A modern indie classic that was previously unreleased on a Nintendo console is now coming to Switch. It’s a story we see every week, however I am not sure there is a game out there that is probably as anticipated as this one, and also one that I am the most confused by. Now I love retro-style pixel graphics games, just look at how much I gushed about The Messenger a couple weeks ago, but for some reason I’ve been completely cold on this game. Maybe it’s the fan base that sprung up around it, the, admittedly perceived, “tumblr-esque” nature of the game, and the odd concept of playing an RPG as a pacifist. Perhaps it’s the masterpiece of the decade, perhaps! I’ll probably find out when I’m done playing the other 5,283 games I bought this year.
Anodyne (PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Sep. 18th on PS4 and Sep. 21st on XBone. The fact that this love letter to the Game Boy and Zelda is not coming out on the Switch is a huge oversight. Anodyne is a fantastic game that, like Undertale, skews the conventions of retro games. Big thumbs up from me.
Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle (PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Sep. 18th, coming to PC later this year.
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! This is a game I can get behind. This collection includes:
- Final Fight
- The King of Dragons
- Captain Commando
- Knights of the Round
- Warriors of Fate
- Armored Warriors
- Battle Circuit
I am so ready to beat the hell out of some bad guys.
Scrbblenauts Mega Pack (PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Another bundle launches this week and is for fans of platforming and goofy shit. In this “Mega Pack” you get two games; Scribblenauts Unmasked and Scribblenauts Unlimited. For those of you not familiar, Scribblenauts is a platforming, puzzle solving game in which you can write out, or type in, the name of just about any noun and it will appear on screen. Need to move a cow out of your way? Why not try burning it with a blow torch, or conjuring up a T-Rex to eat it, or build a set of stairs and walk over it. The games are fun and silly, if not a little empty.
Fishing Sim World (PC/PS4/Xbox One) AND Legendary Fishing (PS4/Switch) – Is this image above from Fishing Sim World or Legendary Fishing? Does it even matter?
60 Parsecs (PC) – You have 60 seconds to grab as much junk as you can before the Earth explodes and you are sent out into space to find a new planet to live on. Will the objects you take be of great value or doom us all?
Blind (PSVR/Rift/Vive) – Have you ever wanted to be blind and see like a bat does?
Seers Isle (PC) – A narrative driven game in which your choices determine the fate of a group of people in medieval northern Europe.
The Gardens Between (PC/PS4/Switch) – Releases Sep. 20th. Another narrative adventure game, this time you play as “…best friends, Arina and Frendt, as they fall into a mysterious world of beautiful garden islands. Manipulate time to solve puzzles and discover the secrets of each island“. Thanks for the info Steam.
Light Fingers (Switch) – Releases Sep. 20th. In this Switch exclusive multiplayer game you play the role of a thief of some kind and will wager your treasure in a game of wits and bluffing to come out the richest of them all!
The Slater (PC) – Releases Sep. 20th. No, this is not a game based on beloved character A.C. Slater from Saved by the Bell. Instead it is yet ANOTHER “…story-driven first-person stealth-action-puzzle game that puts you in the shoes of a former cop Mark Slater“. If you like reading then this week is your Nirvana.
My Brother Rabbit (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Sep. 21st. Hey, look, we’ve got another narrative focused adventure game, this time it is inspired by classic 90’s point and click adventure games. The story sounds like it will wreck my precious little heart, in which “A young girl faces a terrible reality when she falls ill. The little girl and her brother use the power of imagination to escape the hostile outside world. Together they envision a fantastic universe that provides the play and comfort they need. In this magnificent land of make-believe, a little rabbit wants to nurse his ill friend the flower back to health in any way he can“. Cue the water works.
Witch Thief (PC) – Releases Sep. 21st. A third person bullet hell game? Might be fun.
Wizards Tourney (PC) – Releases Sep. 21st. Need a party game for your PC? Why not Wizards Tourney?
HEVN (PC) – Releases Sep. 24th. Explore an alien planet 100 years in the future in this ambitions sounding indie game. You work for a mining company and are tasked with gathering materials in a hostile environment. The team who created HEVN wanted to give players an immersive sci-fi sim game, but they might just end up giving us patch after patch as they try to fix the bugs in their code.