New Game Releases 04/04/23 – 04/10/23

I went on vacation this past week so there’s no commentary today, just a list of games. ENJOY!


Top Releases:

GrimGrimoire OnceMore (PS4/PS5/Switch) – Releases Apr. 4th

Developed by: Vanillaware
Published by: NIS America

Road 96: Mile 0 (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Apr. 4th

Developed by: Digixart
Published by: Ravenscourt

EA Sports PGA Tour (PC/PS5/Series X|S) – Releases Apr. 7th

Developed by: EA Tiburon
Published by: Electronic Arts

Meet Your Maker (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Apr. 4th

Developed by: Behavior Interactive Inc.
Published by: Behavior Interactive Inc.

Curse of the Sea Rats (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Apr. 6th

Developed by: Petoons Studio
Published by: PQube


Ports and Re-releases:

Hogwarts Legacy (PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 4th


Everything else:

  • Moviehouse – The Film Studio Tycoon (PC) – Releases Apr. 5th
  • The Library of Babel (PC) – Releases Apr. 6th
  • Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Apr. 6th


Notable Releases from 10, 20, and 30 (and sometimes 40) years ago:

Guacamelee! (PS3/PS Vita) – Released Apr. 9th, 2013: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Evil Dead – Starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze
*Click here to listen to album*

Got a cool, 2D indie game for people to play? I bet it’s a metroidvania, am I right? Huh? Huh? Yeah, of course I am. I mean, 2D indie titles weren’t ALWAYS metroidvania’s, so did Guacamelee! start a trend? Maybe, but since I’m on vacation I’m not going to really get into it *insert GIF of Joe Biden wearing sunglasses that says “Deal with it”*.

Guacamelee! is, of course, a metroidvania title where players take on the role of a young farmer named Juan Aguacate who is tragically murdered by a skeleton named Carlos Calaca. While in the land of the dead, Juan meets a female luchador, named Tostada, who gives him a magical mask that grants Juan super powers and the ability to traverse between worlds, which is used as the main gameplay mechanic when solving platforming puzzles. Oh, why is Juan doing this, you might ask? That’s because Carlos has kidnapped the president’s daughter, Lupita, so only a bad enough hombre can save her.

Guacamelee! was a kind of rare Sony exclusive (at launch) with the game releasing simultaneously on PS3 and Vita, with a cross-buy promotion to boot! Eventually the game would come to more systems, including PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, and Switch. Critics were very impressed with Guacamelee!, granting it high scores, with only the game’s length being seen as a negative. I agree with critics that Guacamelee! is a fine metroidvania, though I disagree on length, I think it’s too long. You should check it out if you get the chance, along with its superior sequel).

Midnight Club II (PS2) – Released Apr. 9th, 2003: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Phone Booth – Starring Colin Farrell, Forest Whitaker, Katie Holmes, Radha Mitchell, and Kiefer Sutherland’s voice, which is not a surprise to anyone when he turns out to be the bad guy
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: The Black Keys – Thickfreakness
*Click here to listen to album*

In 2002, Angel Studios founder Diego Angel wanted to sell his company. He entertained offers from a few companies, including Microsoft, Activision, and one of his company’s closest partners, Rockstar Games. Angel appeared to really want to work with Rockstar but felt their initial offer was too low. Rockstar knew that Angel Studios was key to the future of Grand Theft Auto, as the studio was looking to ditch the previous engine they had been working with in favor of a new engine that Angel Studios had built, so they presented Diego Angel an offer he couldn’t refuse, so to speak, and the company was renamed Rockstar San Diego.

Almost immediately the work culture changed at the former Angel Studios, with the team being told that their customary 1 week vacation following the release of a new title was ending and that, of course, they would be expected to crunch hard, long, and fast for all of their upcoming games; hooray! New owners rule…woo….

Their first title after being purchased was Midnight Club II, a sequel to their PS2 launch title Midnight Club: Street Racing. Taking a page from the GTA series, Midnight Club II featured a bit more story than its predecessor and included various cut scenes that showcased a few key characters. The game takes place in three real-world cities, Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo, with each city featuring tons of hidden secrets and pathways to help you be the best god damn street racer out there.

Critics were impressed with the second Midnight Club game, calling it an improvement over its predecessor, and received high scores from just about every outlet, with the one outlier being Edge magazine which seemed to think the game was average, at best. There would eventually be ports to both Xbox and PC and, well, that’s where it would stay, with no modern re-release as of this writing. A third title would appear on the PS2, PC, and Xbox while a fourth entry in the series would arrive on Xbox 360 and PS3. If you’ve got your PS2 still hooked up (or you know how to emulate), give Midnight Club II a spin, it’s worth your time.

The 7th Guest (PC) – Released Apr. 1st, 1993: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Cop and a Half – Starring Burt Reynolds and Norman D. Golden II
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release:  David Bowie – Black Tie White Noise
*Click here to listen to album*

Believe it or not, computers used to have these things in them called CD-ROM drives. If you wanted to install a program on your computer (before we started calling them apps), you took the CD-ROM, put it in the drive, and ran the executable file (or sometimes batch file) and then your new program would be available to play. Well, BEFORE CD-ROM drives were the hotness, people used these other things called floppy disk drives, with two kinds of disks a larger, floppy disk, and a smaller, hard disk that was called a floppy disk and was not to be confused with your hard disk. Got it?

Why talk about all this? Well that’s because the first game to ever be released exclusively on CD-ROM is our 30 year old notable title The 7th Guest. Taking advantage of the high storage capacity of CD-ROM’s, as well as their digital video and sound capabilities, The 7th Guest utilized a fully 3D polygon world which was populated by live-action actors who filmed many of the game’s scenes. The 7th Guest is a point & click adventure game and interactive movie, one that engrossed PC owners across the globe, helping to make sales of CD-ROM drives skyrocket.

In The 7th Guest, players take on the role of a man named Ego, who has awakened to find himself in an empty mansion. As Ego moves around the creepy place, he sees ghostly apparitions that move the game’s plot forward. Typically, after seeing one of these scenes, players must solve some kind of puzzle. Initially, these puzzles were from modern day but they were copyrighted. Unwilling to pay, the developers decided to find puzzles in the public domain, with each of them stemming from the 19th century, giving the game an old-timey feel and further enhancing the “ghostly” atmosphere.

The 7th Guest was a smash hit both commercially and critically, gaining high praise from critics for its outstanding graphics and sound. Players were mesmerized by The 7th Guest, snatching up a CD-ROM drive for their PC in order to play it. They then told their friends about the game, who went out and bought copy and a CD-ROM drive, then they told another friend, and soon the game would go on to sell half a million copies and was one of two games in 1993 that would solidify the CD-ROM as the preferred format for PC software around the world. That second game? Oh, just a little title called Myst, we’ll get into that one sometime in September. The 7th Guest is easy enough to play today if you have a PC, as it is available digitally from Steam and GOG. A sequel, The 11th Hour, would come out in 1995 to far less fanfare from critics and players, who had moved on from point & click games, prompting the cancellation of a third game in the series. I wish I could tell you if this game is good or not, but I’ve never played it! I was too chicken when I was a kid and I was on vacation this past week and didn’t have time to check it out, oh well. Maybe you can tell me more about it.

Mario Bros. (Arcade) – Released Apr. 1983: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life – Starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam. Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: David Bowie – Let’s Dance
*Click here to listen to album*

Wow, I can’t believe I get to talk about the third entry in the Donkey Kong series! Wait, what’s that? Why am I calling it that? Well that’s because Nintendo referred to Mario Bros. as just that when it first released. How could they know that these two Italian plumbers would go on to become, arguably, the most well known video characters of all time?

Produced by Gunpei Yokoi and designed by Yoki and Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario Bros. was initially seen as a spin-off of Nintendo’s mega-popular Donkey Kong series, where players were first introduced to the Mario character. A working class carpenter who first had to save his girlfriend from a giant ape named Donkey Kong, then becoming the antagonist in the sequel, Donkey Kong Jr. For his first starring role, Mario’s occupation was changed from carpenter to plumber, due to his signature red overalls, and for Miyamoto’s desire to set his new game in a pipe filled sewer.

The gameplay in Mario Bros. is fairly simple, with players moving Mario around a single screen as turtles, crabs, and giant flies, come out of pipes at the top of the screen. In order to defeat the enemies, players must jump and hit the platform above them when the enemy walks by, causing them to flip over. Mario must then jump up to the platform and kick the enemy out of the play field. Initially all players had to do was hit the enemies from underneath to beat them, but this seen as too easy, leading the team to add the secondary attack to fully defeat them.

Having been inspired by the American video game Joust, Miyamoto and Yokoi wanted to add a second player function, which led directly to the creation of Mario’s twin brother, Luigi. Fundamentally, there is no difference between the character sprites for Mario and Luigi, aside from a simple palette swap from red to green. It wouldn’t be until the release of Super Mario Bros. 2 that Luigi would finally get a look that differed from Mario.

If you know video game history then you’re likely aware of the great video game crash of 1983, which saw players leaving the hobby in droves, but mostly in the home console market. The arcade side of video games was still going strong and Mario Bros. was one of the highest grossing cabinets in 1983. There’s some debate about when the game actually hit the market, but it was likely sometime between April and July of 1983, with the game really only finding it’s footing near the back half of the year.

Of course, we all know what happened next with Mario, and Nintendo. Their console the Famicom was a huge success in Japan when it released in 1983, and a port of Mario Bros. was sixth game to be released for the console. Over in the U.S., Atari held the console rights to the game and ported it to both the Atari 2600 and 7800 consoles. Eventually, Nintendo would release Mario Bros. for the NES in 1986, but by that time players had been introduced to the game’s sequel, Super Mario Bros. which launched both Mario and Nintendo into the stratosphere. Mario Bros. is easily available today in a variety of formats, with the most accessible being the digital release on the Switch. It’s amazing to think that there was a time in modern history where people didn’t know who Mario was, who Nintendo were, or even what a video game was. As I get older I am starting to see that, despite how old I feel, my time on this planet is incredibly short and 40 years is just a drop in the bucket. Will Mario still be around a thousand years from now? I don’t know, how many things from 1023 are still floating around? Enjoy your time now, folks, it’s all you’re gonna get.


Andy Tuttle
Andy Tuttle

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