This week’s games aren’t really doing it for me, which is fine, because it’s too damn hot to sit indoors anyway…but COVID-19 is outside, and I don’t want that…but I have a mask, plus being outdoors is supposed to be safer than doing indoor activities…but not everyone wears a mask outdoors, and trust me, I saw maybe half of the people outside this weekend wearing no masks. You know what, I’ll just finish Ghost of Tsushima, or listen to the Teenage Blob soundtrack for the (roughly) 100th time.
Battletoads (PC/Xbox One) – Releases Aug. 20th
The only thing this trailer is missing is someone looking at the camera and saying, “Awkward“. The original Battletoads on NES had a semi-hard edge to it, similar to the original Ninja Turtles comic, but this new game looks like it might as well be a (bad) Cartoon Network show. Maybe the target demographic of tweens will eat this shit up, but is that really the audience? I’d assume they’d want to target guys in their 30’s and 40’s who grew up with the game, not kids, but what do I know; it’s not like I have any experience in market research.
Death end re;Quest 2 (PC) – Releases Aug. 18th (PS4 on Aug, 25th)
Young Mai Toyama is a woman lost after the death of her father and the disappearance of her sister. Living in an all-girls dormitory in the town of La Choara, she follows a series of clues leading to her sister, and the laptop of a game developer named Arata Mizunashi. It’s from this point that Mai’s world becomes enveloped in intrigue…and death. Follow the clues, solve the mysteries, and fight the monsters in this latest JRPG/visual novel from the team at Idea Factory.
Microsoft Flight Simulator (PC) – Releases Aug. 18th (XBone TBD)
This is probably the top game of the week, not that shitty looking Battletoads reboot, but it’s not really sexy enough to be the big dog, sorry. Those graphics are phenomenal, likely requiring a PC much more powerful than the one I bought six years ago, which is basically a piece of garbage now, stupid i5 Intel core, YOU’RE SHIT AND I HATE YOU! I don’t know if this is going to be released for the Series X but, if it is, they should be hyping up this over Halo Infinite as it’s absolutely breathtaking.
Gleamlight (PC/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Aug. 20th
From the developer of Eagletalon vs. Horde of the Flies, and the publisher of Earth Defense Force, comes a Hollow Knight rip-off. Hey, if you’re gonna steal, might as well be from the best, eh? In a world of glass, who will be the first to cast a stone?
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time (Apple Arcade/PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Aug. 21st
Fans of the Cartoon Network/Adult Swim action show Samurai Jack are in for a treat this week. In a brand new story, players will guide Jack through a series of adventures as he team’s up with old friends to take out familiar villains. All of this culminates in a final showdown against the evil Aku, in a battle that ties into the epic series finale.
Ports and Re-releases:
Aokana: Four Rhythm Across the Blue (PS4/Switch) – Releases Aug. 21st
Just your typical “guns & boobs” Switch game.
Frostpunk: On The Edge (PC) – Releases Aug. 20th
The final entry in 11 bit studio’s fantastic city building/survival sim Frostpunk has you playing as the leader of a small settlement under control of the tyrannical New London. Despite living a life of brutal hardships, your rewards all go towards keeping the city of New London afloat. You work hard, and others get the benefit of your labor, leaving you agitated and restless. Desperate to break free of New London’s shackles, you send a team of workers on a quest to find other settlements out in the frozen wastelands, hoping to band together and create a new community built on respect for one’s work and the ability to control your own destiny. Featuring new environments, new relationship mechanics, new units, new structures, and new music, On The Edge is Frostpunk’s swan song, so if you’re been holding out on playing the game for the last two years, (a game that easily made its way into my top 10 of 2018) use this release as your excuse to finally dive in and take it for a spin.
Remnant: From The Ashes – Subject 2923 (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Aug. 20th
A sleeper hit from 2019, Remnant: From The Ashes probably didn’t hit the zeitgeist as hard as it wanted to, but with a pretty dedicated online community, you should hopefully have no trouble finding someone to team up with in this online survival shooter. This latest expansion adds several new quests to undertake, with a slew of new monsters to fight and characters to meet. You might as well give this a try, I mean, what are you going to play instead, Battletoads?
Mortal Shell (PC – Epic Games Store/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Aug. 18th
Peaky Blinders: Mastermind (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Aug. 20th
RPG Maker MZ (PC) – Releases Aug. 20th
PGA Tour 2K21 (PC/PS4/Stadia/Xbox One) – Releases Aug. 21st (Switch on Sep. 25th)
Announced during today’s Nintendo Indie World Showcase:
- Evergate – Today
- Manifold Garden – Today
- Raji: An Ancient Epic – Today
- A Short Hike – Today
- Spiritfarer – Today
- Takeshi & Hiroshi – Today
- Inmost – Aug. 21st
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 (and sometimes 40) years ago:
We’ve got an overdue sequel and two licensed titles this week; one of them is actually pretty good! Can you guess which??!!??!??!!!!?
Mafia II (PC/PS3/Xbox 360) – Released Aug. 24th, 2010: Wiki Link
Illusion Softworks 2002 release Mafia was another in a long line of GTA clones, but strong reviews and word of mouth turned it into a solid hit. Naturally a sequel was announced, but the Czech game developer would run into delays, first with engine issues, then because of a switch from the PS2/Xbox to the PS3/360. In 2007 they would be purchased by EA, allowing them to use their deep pockets to craft a larger, more technologically solid title. When it finally arrived on August 24th 2010, the game was met with mixed to average reviews. It was really a bad game, but it was viewed as just kind of…generic. Bland characters, boring missions, and a lack of much to do in this sandbox game led some reviewers to see the game as incomplete, and they were mostly right. A large amount of content had to be cut from Mafia II because of time restraints, 2K Czech (which is what Illusion Softworks changed their name to) couldn’t afford to delay the game any longer, leading to the removal of several missions, storylines, characters, game modes, weapons, locations, pretty much all the things that would have made its world more interesting. One feature that didn’t get cut was the (I’m assuming) very lucrative partnership with adult magazine Playboy, which featured 50 vintage covers and centerfolds from the game’s 1940’s era, because we all know gamers prefer tits over good controls. In 2020, developer Hanger 13 would release a definitive “remaster” of the game for modern consoles, putting out a buggy, half-baked mess that is near unplayable due to the many technical issues. From what I can tell, Hanger 13 has no intention of fixing or addressing the problems, so I’d stay away from that if you can. Mafia II is not a good game, but it’s not really a bad game either, it’s just there. You should, as they say, fugeddaboutit!
Star Trek: Invasion (PlayStation) – Released Aug. 23rd, 2000: Wiki Link
Regular readers of this column might remember back in 2018 when I went over the notable events of 1998, that Activision had purchased the exclusive rights to release Star Trek video games. Their first title was in 1999, a third person action game for the PC called Star Trek: Hidden Evil. Their first console game, however, wouldn’t release until August 23rd, 2000, with this week’s notable title Star Trek: Invasion, a 3D action flight simulator. Despite the console nearing the end of its life cycle, this was the first Star Trek game to be released for the PlayStation, giving Trekkie PSX owners something to finally cheer about. Invasion is, surprisingly, a solid action shooter. While the controls suffer a bit due to the technical limitations of the era, they aren’t nearly as bad as other flying games (i.e., 1999’s Superman 64). Part of the reason why this game works so well is the development team behind it. Lead programmer Mike Anthony had just wrapped up his time on the critically acclaimed Colony Wars, and the rest of the team had just finished work on another well received PC/Dreamcast flight-sim called Starlancer. Reception to the game was pretty positive, with critics praising the story and graphics, but saying that it was lacking some of the trademark Star Trek feel. Despite having voice-over work by Patrick Stewart and Michael Dorn, and classic villains like the Romulans and The Borg, the license felt slapped on. This was clearly a solid space shooter that didn’t need Star Trek to make it great and, frankly, its inclusion might have hurt the game a bit. Either way, if you are a fan of space flight-sims then I think you’ll really enjoy this title. As for the history of Star Trek video games, Activision would continue releasing titles until 2003, at which time Bethesda would take over for a little while, releasing a handful of space combat games, the MMO would release in 2010 (which we talked about), and now the hot thing is the Artemis clone, Star Trek: Bridge Crew. Like the show itself, Star Trek video games are kind of just there, puttering along for whoever is still interested. Maybe one day the property will command our attention again, but for now we mostly have to look to the past if we want to enjoy a series about the future.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (Game Boy) – Released Aug. 1990: Wiki Link
This week’s top title Battletoads owes their creation to another set of green dudes with ‘tude, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. After the runaway success of the 1987 animated series, the Ninja Turtles were at the height of their popularity in 1990. The first feature film was released in March, their live tour was bringing in the green across the country (a concert I attended, thank you very much) and we were just a month away from their successful Saturday morning run on CBS as well as the highly anticipated NES port of the 1989 arcade game. It’s no surprise, then, that the turtles would make their way to Nintendo’s latest money making machine, the Game Boy, a device that was likely in the hands of just about every kid going on a Summer road trip in 1990. Game magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly had really kind words for the game when it released, with an average score of 8.25 out of 10. They were particularly impressed with the graphics, and found the title to be a breath of fresh air for the Game Boy, which had amassed quite a large collection of puzzle games in the wake of Tetris’ success. They conceded that the game was rather short, and incredibly easy, but it was a fun break from having to try and figure out which cube goes in which hole, or whatever. While this title probably doesn’t come to mind when you think about the best Ninja Turtles video games ever made, there is something special about being the first release in a series, and hey, unlike the Star Trek devotees above, at least Turtles fans didn’t need to wait for the end of the Game Boy’s life before they got a licensed title. Two more Ninja Turtle games would release for the Game Boy (with the third being a Metroidvania!!), and the boyz would continue to appear in titles across a multitude of game consoles for many years to come. T-U-R-T-L-E power indeed.
Check out this totally rad commercial for the Japanese release:
For funsies I checked the price; so 3,500 yen is roughly $33 USD. If you account for inflation, a $33 game in 1990 is roughly $65 in 2020. Can you imagine paying $64.99 for a video game!!?? Wait, NBA 2K21 is going to be $69.99?! I mean, I guess that’s worth it.
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