The spring time doldrums continue with a slate of games that, while probably pretty interesting, don’t quite inspire much in the way of hype. We are also continuing to see the deep pockets of the Epic Games Store and its ability to court publishers to their digital storefront for exclusive distribution rights. How this all plays out over the next year or so is going to be really interesting.
Anno 1800 (PC) – Releases Apr. 16th, PC version (probably) exclusive to Epic Games Store
After two titles that took place in the distant future, the developers of the Anno series are going back to their roots, setting this latest title in the 1800’s, during the Industrial Revolution. In this game, you are in charge of developing a series of island cities, using your urban planning skills to create the most beautiful, but profitable, cities in the world. This is going to be tough, because while there is a ton of money to be made through industry, these factories are pollution machines, and no one can relax on the beach if they’re worried about catching the black lung. Other features returning in this entry that were previously removed include combat while you build, randomly generated maps, and AI opponents building on the same map as you. Huzzah!
World War Z (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 16th, PC version exclusive to Epic Games Store
If there’s one thing people really love, it’s video game adaptations to moderately successful movies. I mean, how else do you explain the rationale behind releasing a game based on World War Z, a movie that came out six years ago to tepid reviews. Described on the Epic Games Store as “…a thrilling four-player cooperative third-person shooter featuring massive swarms of zombies…”, which is in no way derivative of a game put out by their biggest competitor. No way, not even close! You see, World War Z is based on a movie, which was based on a book, and Left 4 Dead is an original idea, so HA!
Katana Zero (PC/Switch) – Releases Apr. 18th
Devolver Digital is showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to game releases, and this week’s release is another brutal exercise in precision timing and muscle memory through trial and error. The developer describes the game as a “…stylish neo-noir, action-platformer featuring breakneck action and instant-death combat”, this Nicolas Winding Refn wet dream is sure to delight fans of other Devolver titles, such as Hotline Miami and Not a Hero.
Ports and Re-releases:
Final Fantasy X/X2 (Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 16th
Released on the PS3 in 2014, then again on the PS4 in 2015, this HD port of the PS2 JRPGs are coming to Nintendo Switch and Xbox One this week. A bona fide hit for the PS2, Final Fantasy X has a hit with both critics and audiences. Featuring a likable cast of characters on a quest to save the world (as well as some of those sweet, sweet daddy issues) this game was the perfect dose of teenage angst and youthful optimism. X-2 is a bit of a pioneer in the Final Fantasy series, being the first direct sequel in the series (well, in video game form at least), and a static team of three, all three of which were female. The game was also a hit with players and critics, as both titles sold more than enough to get the “greatest hits” treatment.
Cuphead (Switch) – Releases Apr. 18th
Originally released for the Xbox One in October of 2017, this seemed, on the surface, to be a Microsoft property, but it turns out looks can be deceiving. Now StudioMDHR is bringing their modern classic to the Nintendo Switch to frustrate and awe a whole other gaming fan base. Conceived originally as a series of boss battles, the game was delayed in order to flesh it out a bit more. What really makes this game stand apart from the rest of the pack is the graphics, which were painstakingly drawn by hand in an effort to emulate the style and look of old 1930’s Max Fleischer cartoons.
Konami Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 18th
Retro gaming enthusiasts should be in heaven right now. It seems like, every 3 or 4 months, we get another collection of classic games, packaged into a big collection. This week, Konami gets in on the retro action by releasing eight of their classic arcade titles; the Castlevania spin-off Haunted Castle, the shmup forefather Scramble, the vertical shooter classic TwinBee, another vertical shooter called Typhoon, another shmup called Thunder Cross, and three Gradius titles, Nemesis, Vulcan Venture and Life Force.
Overcooked! 2: Campfire Cook Off (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 18th
Just in time to hate your family this Easter, comes brand new DLC for Overcooked! 2. With a brand new map, 12 new levels, four new chefs, and a handful of new mechanics, you’ll waste no time yelling at your grandma for not chopping the tomatoes fast enough.
Heaven’s Vault (PC/PS4) – Releases Apr. 16th
I can’t lie to you folks, I’m dragging ass this week, I’m sorry. Instead of my cool dry wit on each title, I’m just going to give you the description from various digital storefronts. This one is from Steam:
“Explore the lost ruins of the Nebula, read ancient inscriptions, and uncover a forgotten past in this narrative archaeological science-fiction adventure game from the creators of 80 Days”. These graphics look like something out of a 90’s Hannah-Barbera cartoon. Alright, some cool dry wit.
Snooker 19 (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 17th
Bro, do you even snooker? FYI, snooker is a type of pool game. Not swimming pools, like, the game with the balls.
Whispers of a Machine (PC) – Releases Apr. 17th
From Steam: “Whispers of a Machine is a Sci-Fi Nordic Noir that tells the story of Vera, a cybernetically augmented detective in a post-AI world, who investigates a string of murders and unravels a dark conflict over forbidden technology”. A tale as old as time…
Forager (PC) – Releases Apr. 18th
From Steam: “The highly popular and quirky “idle game that you want to actively keep playing”. Explore, craft, gather & manage resources, find secrets and build your base out of nothing! Buy land to explore and expand”.
God’s Trigger (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 18th
I wish the tagline for this game was “Atheists need not apply”, but it isn’t. Missed opportunity IMO.
Nurse Love Syndrome (PC/PS Vita) – Releases Apr. 18th, Vita on Apr. 19th
Again, why isn’t the tagline for this game “Atheists need not apply”? If there was no god, how else do explain this game that is clearly a gift from heaven.
The Padre (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 18th
Currently in Early Access on Steam, The Padre is ”… a retro stylised 3D horror adventure game tapping deep into the roots of classic horror games”. There do they keep coming up with this stuff?
Sigma Theory: Global Cold War (PC) – Releases Apr. 18th
Also currently in Early Access on Steam, Sigma Theory is “A Turn-based Strategy game in a futuristic global cold war from the award-winning creators of Out There. Recruit a squad of special agents and run your intel agency to secure the control of the singularity”.
Active Soccer (Switch) – Releases Apr. 19th
Two words most Switch owners know nothing about, “active” and “soccer”. BOOM! Roasted you mother fuckers!!
Moto Rush GT (Switch) – Releases Apr. 19th
From the Switch eShop, “Racers, beware”, huh? What? Why? WHY???? What are these motorcycles going to do to me?
Jupiter & Mars (PS4/PSVR) – Releases Apr. 22nd
VR? Fuck you.
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
Things got pretty extreme in 2009 and 1999. I’m not sure WTF 1989 was up to; Jazzercise?
Excitebots: Trick Racing (Wii) – Released Apr. 20th, 2009: Wiki Link
How many of you knew this was part of the Excitebike series? Did you even know this was a first party Nintendo game? Did you know it was the FOURTH game in the series after Excite Truck? Did you know Excite Truck was a first party Nintendo game and part of the Excite series? Did you know that they made an Excitebike for the Nintendo 64? Did you know that Excitebike is one of my girlfriend’s favorite games and that she played it a bunch when she was a child? Oh shit, did you know there’s a fifth entry in the series called Excitebike: World Rally? Do you think Nintendo knows any of this?
3Xtreme (PlayStation) – Released Apr. 21st, 1999: Wiki Link
Originally started as an ESPN licensed title, Sony Interactive Studios eventually dropped the ESPN name and rebranded the series as “Xtreme”, using numbers to represent each title’s sequential order. Made during the X-Games craze of the 90’s, 3Xtreme features the three biggest sports in these extreme competitions, such as rollerblading, skateboarding and biking. In a first for the series, the player controlled characters were no longer 2D sprites, instead being replaced with fully 3D polygonal models. Technology is tight.
The Adventures of Lolo (NES) – Released Apr. 1989 (Wikipedia says Apr. 20th, but I don’t trust that): Wiki Link
This quirky puzzle game is actually not an original game. It is part of a series called Eggerland, with The Adventures of Lolo being comprised of several puzzles from previous Eggerland games. Originally released by HAL Laboratory (creators of Kirby) for the MSX computer in 1985, Eggerland featured a round blue hero named Lolo, who was on a quest to save the princess Lala from King Egger (not to be confused with what Dave Eggers calls himself when he’s having sex, I assume). By 1989, HAL and Nintendo decided that they wanted to help stretch children’s imaginations by having them solve complex puzzles with a cute mascot. Despite their efforts to appeal to children, the game was a hit with adults, who found the puzzles to be quite taxing, and caused the game to reach a bit of cult status in gaming circles. The crux of the gameplay revolves around Lolo pushing square blocks around a room in an effort to open several treasure chests. After all chests are opened, Lolo must make his way to the exit, all while dodging enemy projectiles and eluding them as they give chase. This game was also worked on by famed Nintendo President (and former HAL employee), Satoru Iwata, which may be part of the reason why the game has such lasting appeal.
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