New year, new games; welcome to Tuesday New Games 2019 Edition! While we got a few new titles (ports really) over the last three weeks like Sundered: Eldritch Edition, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition, Donut County, Vermintide 2 and Fitness Boxing, this is the first real week of solid content coming out for every platform. Well, maybe solid is the wrong word, it’s still a bit light, but at least things seem to be back to a normal schedule. I hope you’re as excited for this year as I am, it’s going to be a fun one!
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (Switch) – Releases Jan. 11th
Nintendo doesn’t seem like they’re going to rest until every Wii U game is remade for the Switch, and I’m okay with that. This deluxe version of New Super Mario U comes with all of the levels from the original game, as well as all of the levels from New Super Luigi U (remember the year of Luigi?). Other additions include two new characters, Nabbit, who appears to be invincible to enemies, and Toadette who, inexplicably, turns into Peachette when she eats a super mushroom. The introduction of Peachette also brought upon the world the hottest internet sensation since Gangnam Style, Bowsette. If you haven’t seen Bowsette then I assume you live under a rock, but just in case you need a refresher, here she is below:
Stunning, I know. If Nintendo was a smart company, they would add this character to their game, but I don’t see that happening (particularly after reading this Kotaku article).
Aftercharge (PC/Xbox One) – Releases Jan. 10th. Metcritic says this is also coming out for Switch, but the official website does not mention it coming to that system.
It looks like competitive team shooters aren’t going away anytime soon. Enter Aftercharge, a 3v3 FPS game that tasks you with destroying your opponent’s glass thingy before they destroy your glass thingy. This has an indie vibe, but it’s also really generic looking. I don’t think Overwatch has much to fear from this one. Battleborn on the other hand…
Double Cross (PC/Switch) – Releases Jan. 10th
Do you ever download an old ROM for the NES or Genesis and think “wow, this game is a lot of fun, but entirely forgettable”, that’s what Double Cross looks like to me. The game looks competent enough, with some interesting platforming mechanics and a slick presentation, but it’s also fairly generic looking based on the character and art design. The only nice looking things are the bosses, which are incredibly detailed and sinister looking. I don’t think this will be 2019’s Celeste, probably closer to 2018’s Rise & Shine (remember that game? Probably not).
Elli (Switch) – Releases Jan. 10th
I’m intrigued by this title that has seemingly come out of nowhere. It has a really interesting vibe, kind of Zelda, kind of Bastion, kind of every puzzle platformer ever made, but dangit, something is hooking me here. Maybe it’s just the mystery of this game that sprung up out of the ground overnight and was like “Here I am!”; I’ll probably pick it up during a sale.
Ports and Re-releases:
Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story/Bowser Jr.’s Journey (3DS) – Releases Jan. 11th. This week brings not one, but two remakes of Mario games. The 2009 DS game Bowser’s Inside Story, part of the Mario & Luigi RPG series, is coming to the 3DS. Aside from the graphical update and 3D functionality, we are also getting a side story called Bowser Jr.’s Journey which, according to the Nintendo website, will allow us to “…discover the untold story of Bowser Jr.’s Journey”. Hopefully we figure out why he keeps calling Peach, “mama”, or maybe it’s better we didn’t. Oh shit, is Bowsette confirmed canon now?!
Sega Ages: OutRun (Switch) – Releases Jan. 10th. Sega continues to show that it knows how to best present its vast library of games on modern devices, with the release of its fourth Sega Ages release in North America, OutRun. Having already released Sonic The Hedgehog, Lightning Force and Phantasy Star, the latest entry is Yu Suzuki’s classic arcade racer that still holds up to this day. Using a non-linear gameplay style, and allowing you to choose your music, made this game feel more alive than most other racing games that just kept you on a single, looping track. Expect all the previous bells and whistles like save states and various versions of the game to play through, as well as new features like brand new music tracks and motion controls.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Jan. 11th. Need something to whet your JRPG appetite before Kingdom Hearts III comes out? Bandai Namco has you covered. Originally released in 2008 as a North American Xbox 360 exclusive, the tenth game in the Tales franchise is now coming to your favorite home console. The game received decent reviews when it came out, so if you missed this 11 years ago it might be time to give a look.
Lego DC Super-Villains: Aquaman Movie Pack 2 (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One). Aquaman is now THE biggest DCU film, beating Batman vs. Superman, which is nuts if you ask me; Aquaman sucks. Well, whatever, no one cares what I think about the subject, even though I KNOW DC HAS GOTTEN MY LETTERS!! I’m having trouble finding any information on what you actually get in this pack, but I assume it is characters from the movie that you didn’t get in pack 1, you know, because of the name of the pack; Aquaman Movie Pack 2.
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
It’s exciting to go back to ’89, ’99 and ’09, mostly because I graduated high school in 1999, so it’s like I get to relive my senior year all over again. Man, wasn’t high school great, I was so awesome and cool and popular…j/k. I was a fucking nerd that played video games and liked Star Wars, probably two of the worst things you could be into in 1999. How times have changed though, the #nerdlife is not only celebrated, but something people strive to have. Join me, as I awkwardly re-live my first year as a big brother, my final year of high school, and the final year of my career in video store management, plus all the games that came out during those turbulent years.
The Lord of the Rings: Conquest (DS/PC/PS3/Xbox 360) – Released Jan. 13th, 2009: Wiki Link
Looking to do for Lord of the Rings what it did with Star Wars, Pandemic and EA created a large scale, battlefield game based on the LotR trilogy in the same vein as their Battlefront franchise. The results were less than stellar it seems. Critics thought the game lacked any gravitas and was missing the excitement of the films and books. They were also put off by the repetitive nature of the combat and the less than stellar AI. Balance was another issue, with our mother ship, The A.V. Club, saying that the mage class was pretty much the only one you should play due to the fact that you could heal yourself, and calling the scout “a griefer’s dream” while playing online. The reception was so bad that the multiplayer servers were shut down in March, 2010, just over a year after release.
Civilization II (PlayStation) – Released Jan. 1999, maybe Dec. 31st, 1998, no real consensus: Wiki Link
After being released for PC in 1996, then again in 1997 with new content, Civilization II made its way to the PlayStation in late ’98/early ‘99. Despite a graphical downgrade (like, really down) the PSX version was just about identical to the PC version, with a couple of minor changes. According to a GameSpot review, the combat system was re-worked to play like the first Civ game, instead of the new system introduced in part 2, and certain automation features were missing, the most notably being the “smart” settlers that would improve your cities. I honestly can’t imagine playing this without a mouse, but as we’ve seen over the years, and most recently with Civ VI, these games can do well on consoles, mouse be damned!
Bomberman (NES) – Released Jan. 1989, or maybe sometime in 1987, these records are not good: Wiki Link
Originally released in Japan in the year 1983 for seven different home video game consoles, Bomberman was eventually ported to the Famicom in 1985, considered by some at Hudson Soft to be the definitive version of the game. Four (or two) years later, the title was localized and released in North America, with a character on the cover that looked far more badass than what the little guy eventually looked like. While not much of a looker, the game, with its maze-like levels and frantic pace, was successful enough to warrant a sequel, and then after that 68 more Bomberman games were made, so I think it was a success. Bomberman was one of my favorite game franchises growing up, so much so that the band I used to sing in wrote a song about him, here’s the chorus (no audio exists online, sadly):
Bombs in his hands and he knows exactly where to throw them!
KA-BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!
You think that you’ve stopped him but you can’t ‘cause he’s Bomberman!
Bomberman…he’s got a white helmet
And pink gloves, oh, oh-oh yeah!
Bomberman…you can’t stop the unstoppable
His name is Bomberman
I’ll take my Grammy now, thank you.