New Game Releases 05/23/23 – 05/29/23

Well it’s Tuesday, again, and we get to all talk about new video games. Why; because we like gawking at the new toys while ignoring our old ones, that’s why!

Top Releases:

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 25th

Developed by: Daedalic Entertainment
Published by: Daedalic Entertainment/Nacon

There was a time, about 20 years ago, where a Lord of the Rings video game would have been the biggest thing on the planet. Today, it just seems like it’s, well, 20 years too late. Told in parallel with The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, players will take on the role of Gollum/Smeagol as he tries to retrieve his “precious” ring, stolen by those nasty Hobbitses. Now I just want to watch the movie.

Conv/rgence: A League of Legends Story (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 23rd

Developed by: Double Stallion
Published by: Riot Forge

Riot Games went from releasing just one game in ten years (League of Legends), to releasing 8 more games in the last 4 years. Their latest title comes from their publishing branch, the side scrolling action/adventure game Conv/rgence. Set in the LoL universe, Conv/rgence has players taking on the role of Ekko, an inventor who has created a device that allows him to manipulate time, and mastering this mechanic is key to finishing the game.

Star Trek: Resurgence (PC – Epic Games Exclusive/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 23rd

Developed by: Dramatic Labs
Published by: Bruner House

Some of the team behind Tell Tale’s biggest hits are back with a brand new, original game centered on a licensed property. Who would have thought?! The character of Spock has a big presence in this game, apparently, so that cool. Remember his line from Wrath of Khan? “I have been – and always shall be – your friend“; classic.

Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 23rd

Developed by: Auroch Digital
Published by: Focus Entertainment

Warhammer 40k: Boltgun is what the “youths” call a “boomer shooter”, a somewhat derogatory name for a genre of FPS games that look and play like games from the 1990’s. This is a stupid name, mostly because the kinds of people who played stuff like Doom and Duke Nukem 3D were most likely Gen X and Millennials, so why call these new games boomer shooters? Well, first off, it rhymes, so that’s fun, second, it’s because to “the youngs”, anyone older than them is probably a Baby Boomer, because young people have no concept of time or space. What’s that? Talk about the game? Nah.

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! (Switch) – Releases May 23rd

Developed by: Taito
Published by:  ININ

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! is described as “Uncomplicated, relaxing, and enjoyable gaming for all ages and the whole family“, so “not good“. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, FUCK, I’M FUNNY!


Cities: Skylines – Hotels & Retreats (PC) – Releases May 23rd

Have you ever been to a Great Wolf Lodge and though, “this place is fucking bullshit, I can build a better resort than this dog turd“, well now is your chance to prove to the world that you have the best ideas. Go on, do it; I dare you.

One Piece Odyssey: Reunion of Memories (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 25th

Did you all finish One Piece Odyssey yet? Sure you did, so why not check out the new DLC for it! In Reunion of Memories, players will be transported to another dimension made up of, you guessed it, Frank Stallone your memories, where they will encounter strong enemies in a new story. Within Reunion of Memories, players will partake in “Limited Order Battles”, which are fights that are not for the faint of heart. Incredibly tough enemies await in these battles and will require exceptional strategy to defeat. Players will also have the ability to choose the direction of the story by using the “Captain’s Selection” mechanic, letting you choose the easy way, or, the hard way through a situation, in case you feel like wasting your time.

Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust (PC/PS5) – Releases May 26th

Woah; did Forspoken just get DLC? Uh, yeah, that happened. You should totally play it, epic FTW!!

Everything else:

My goodness, what the heck is going on with all of these releases? There’s so much here that I don’t even know which one to feature as the header image, so instead enjoy this picture of Sofía Vergara with a bunch of plates of spaghetti.

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

Remember Me (PC/PS3/Xbox 360) – Released Jun. 3rd, 2013: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Fast & Furious 6 – Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Sung Kang, and Luke Evans
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: The National – Trouble Will Find Me
*Click here to listen to the album*

Before they were an international powerhouse thanks to the game Life is Strange, Don’t Nod (or as they used to be known, Dontnod) were a group of former AAA studio devs looking to make a name for themselves the video game industry. They caught their big break in 2010 when Sony agreed to publish their first game, an RPG set in a world ravaged by Global Warming called Adrift, with players using a jet ski to traverse the world. The team became kind of bored with this scenario and instead became interested in memories and how they can be controlled and manipulated, causing them to move away from the Global Warming angle and focus on this new concept, now called Remember Me. However, as 2010 led into 2011, Sony and Don’t Nod began to have disagreements creatively with this, and budget cuts, leading to Sony dropping the game from their publishing slate, putting Don’t Nod in peril.

Convinced they had a good game on their hands, Don’t Nod brought their demo to Gamescom in 2011 to try and find a new publisher. From the start, Remember Me had been given a female protagonist due to Don’t Nod’s desire to make a game that was “grounded and emotional”, but this proved to be a major turn off for many of the publishers in attendance, saying that they would love to publish the game…if the protagonist was a man. One company that wasn’t staffed by misogynistic dickheads was Capcom, who liked what Don’t Nod had to offer, picking up distribution rights to the game, on the condition that the genre was changed to action/adventure. Don’t Nod agreed and a deal was written up in 2012, with development shifting to this new genre.

The story of Remember Me was influenced by cyberpunk anime films like Akira and Ghost in the Shell, with the core concept of memory manipulation being a dystopian look at how social media websites and apps like Facebook would evolve in the future. Players take on the role of Nilin, and Errorist who has been captured by a company called Memorize, who specialize in helping people remember the best memories of their lives. Nilin is set to have all of her memories erased in order to stop her and her fellow Errorists with interfering with Memorize’s plans to, basically, make tons of money. Nilin is saved by a fellow Errorist named Edge and must embark on a journey into the heart of Memorize where she must recover her stolen memories and bring the corporation down.

It’s a very “I just started college and read 1984 and have opinions on corporations” kind of plot, which is fine, people turn 19 all the time, but it’s pretty clichéd. Mix this with subpar combat and confusing level design, and you get a mess of a game. When Remember Me was released it received praise for its world building a general plot, though the game’s combat, along with specific story decisions, were received negatively. Overall, Remember Me was viewed as a fairly average game, with the game getting a slow start at release. However, when their next game, Life is Strange, was released in 2015, interest in Remember Me skyrocketed and the game sold over 1 million copies post LiS.

Plans for a sequel were put into motion, but the game’s less than stellar sales didn’t give Capcom much desire to publish a follow-up. In fact, the performance of Remember Me was so poor that Don’t Nod almost had to shut its doors, with Life is Strange giving them the financial windfall they needed to stay afloat. Remember Me is a neat but flawed game. There’s a good idea in there, it just wasn’t executed to its full potential. I’m curious if it would have worked better as an RPG, and I’m also curious if having less than a year to switch to an action game made the combat so poor. In any case, if you’d like to play Remember Me today then you better have a PC, or an old PS3/360 disc lying around, as there is no way to play the game on a modern console. It is what it is.

Sorry, I can’t help but think of NOFX when I see the word “Errorist”, so now you must listen to this song:

WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! (GBA) – Released May 26th, 2003: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Bruce Almighty – Starring Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, and Jennifer Aniston
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Less Than Jake – Anthem
*Click here to listen to the album*

Nintendo has a reputation for being a straight laced, family-friendly company, which I think sometimes gives off the impression that they aren’t risk takers, or that they lack the ability to experiment with weird ideas. That’s a load of rubbish, the Big N are consistently taking odd ideas and turning them into video game magic. However, it isn’t often that you get an odd idea pasted onto an odd property, which is what makes the WarioWare series so unique. A popular series well known around the world today, WarioWare made its debut in 2003 and was a surprising smash success, being called one of the best games of the year. You might be surprised to know, though, that the game is not quite an original idea, as it’s origins begin on the N64DD.

In 1999, Nintendo released a Japan only follow-up to Mario Paint on the N64DD called Mario Artist. This game/application consisted of three separate parts, the initial Paint Studio, followed by Talent Studio, and ended with Polygon Studio. It was in Polygon Studio, released in 2000, where a special “micro game” challenge called Sound Bomber was incorporated. Consisting of several very short games that tested players reflexes, Sound Bomber was one of the more memorable additions to Mario Artist. As you can see from the video above, not only was the boom box interstitial copied over into WarioWare Inc., but just about all of the micro games were lifted as well.

Noting that Sound Bomber would be a great stand-alone title, a few members of Nintendo’s R&D 1 began development on a full game in secret. Wanting to incorporate an established Nintendo character, the team agreed on using Wario, as he seemed the most likely candidate to take part in such a bizarre genre of games. In the beginning of WarioWare Inc.: Mega Microgames!, players are shown a brief cutscene of Wario watching television. He sees a news story about a video game called “Pyoro”, which is tearing up the sales charts, making a ton of money. Wario, seeing dollar signs in his eyes, decides to create a video game company and release his own game. After enlisting the help of his friends to make the games, players are subjected to all of them, in rapid succession with ever increasing speed, until they finish all of them.

To come up with the micro games, the team would write down an idea on a post-it note and leave them at the director’s desk. Soon, word got out about this new game and ideas would pop up from people all over the company. Gathering the notes, the team began weeding out the ones that wouldn’t work, or those that were seen as “too Japanese” or too sexual. In the end, 213 micro games were developed, with the work on them being spread out amongst several different team members, which is why the art styles vary wildly between each game.

For its Japanese release, where it is known as Made in Mario, the game was heavily marketed as being a very fast, very quick way to get in some fun while you had downtime, like a mobile game. The tagline used in Japan, and coined by Shigeru Miyamoto, was “More! Shorter! Faster!” and took prominent place on the game’s cover art, appearing larger than the title itself. In North America, this tagline was dropped and replaced with “Instant Action! Infinite Fun!”, and appeared much smaller than the title of the game. WarioWare Inc. was an instant classic, receiving rave reviews from critics and hailed as one of the best games of 2003.

Not only was it a critical success, but it was a financial one as well, selling over 1 million copies world wide (it’s funny how was 1 million units was good in 2003 but bad in 2013; sorry Remember Me). WarioWare Inc. was named the most innovate game of the year by voters in at the 2004 Edinburgh International Games Festival, while GameSpot also gave it their “Most Innovate” award at the end of the year. The game has also appeared on several “Best of…” lists over the years from outlets like Edge, EGM, and Official Nintendo Magazine.

A GameCube remake would arrive a year later with a strong multiplayer focus, while also receiving a proper re-release for the Wii U’s virtual console in 2011, then again on the Switch in 2023. The WarioWare series isn’t the juggernaut that Mario and Zelda are, but it has carved out a nice place for itself in Nintendo’s catalog, with entries on all of Nintendo’s consoles since its 2003 inception. I highly recommend this game, and all of the WarioWare games, they really do offer instant action and infinite fun; more! shorter! faster!

Bubsy (SNES) – Released May 1993: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Hot Shots! Part Deux – Starring Charlie Sheen, Lloyd Bridges, Valeria Golino, Brenda Bakke, and Richard Crenna
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release:  Fishbone – Give a Monkey a Brain and He’ll Swear He’s the Center of the Universe
*Click here to listen to album*

Ah, the 1990’s, the era of the animal mascot in video games. Led by Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog, just about every video game company tried to get in on the craze, from original creations like Aero the Acrobat and James Pond, to established characters like Chester Cheetah and the Tiny Toons. Another original creation, maybe one of the first, was created by a former adventure game designer, Michael Berlyn, a wisecracking bobcat named Bubsy.

Michael Berlyn was a ten year veteran in the video game industry, mostly working on adventure games, when he got the idea for Bubsy. Feeling burnt out on the adventure game genre, Berlyn took some time for himself and did what a lot of us do in our free time, played video games. It was during this break that he discovered Sonic the Hedgehog and became instantly addicted, playing the game for upwards of 14 hours a day in an effort to figure out what made the game so much fun and so addictive. With an idea in his mind, Berlyn returned to his employer, Accolade, and started coming with ideas for his own 2D platformer, Bubsy.

In choosing which console to develop the game for, the obvious choice was the Sega Genesis, since Bubsy was so clearly inspired by Sonic. However, Accolade was in tough legal trouble with Sega after the company had figured out how to bypass Sega’s copy-protection on their proprietary cartridges. Like Tengen with the NES, Accolade had been developing and publishing unlicensed games for the Genesis in the early 1990’s, causing an uproar at Sega that saw Accolade banned from the console, essentially. This put a huge dent in the development of Bubsy, so much so that the team decided to pivot and also release the game on the Super Nintendo, though developed by a different company, using Berlyn’s design, Solid Software.

Bubsy is, as I mentioned, a 2D platformer that is very, VERY, similar to Sonic the Hedgehog. Bubsy the bobcat, clad in a white t-shirt with a red exclamation point on it, must zip, zoom, and jump around stages that look like they were pulled straight out of the Sonic handbook. Along the way, Bubsy can collect yarn balls, in the same way that Sonic collects rings, for points….and that’s pretty much it. Shortly before release, Accolade invited a group of children to come to their offices and play an early version of Bubsy, soliciting their feedback in exchange for pizza and soda. The kids liked the game well enough, but they wanted more secret areas to explore, so the team threw in the underground tunnels and waterways in the first stage to meet this request. Did it make the game better? Eh, I guess.

Eh, I guess” is about all I can personally muster in regards to Bubsy. Is it fun? “Eh, I guess“. Are the controls any good? “Eh, I guess“. Do you want to keep playing? “Eh, I guess“. Would you rather stab needles into your ears then hear Bubsy say “What could possibly go wrong” for the 20th time? “Eh, I guess“. Regardless of my current misgivings, the pre-release hype for Bubsy was at Sonic the Hedgehog levels. Game journalists, retailers, and players alike were chomping at the bit to get their hands on Bubsy, even going so far as to win the “Most Hype for a Character” award in EGM that year. What did people think when it finally came out?

If I told you, “eh, I guess“, would you believe me? I mean, it scored fairly average so “eh, I guess” is pretty close. Critics didn’t hate the game but they didn’t love it either. Praise was given to Bubsy’s non-linear level design, but critics reacted negatively to the controls, particularly with Bubsy’s erratic speed and uncontrollable momentum (which led to many of my in-game death’s). The most praise was given by Gamepro magazine which scored it 5 out of 5 on every category except control, with the magazine hailing it as one of the best games of 1993 and thought Bubsy showed more charm and personality than Sonic (What could possibly go wrong?).

A sequel, Bubsy II, would release in 1994, which was hoped to be a tie-in for an animated series, though it never took off. The game was made without the assistance of series creator Michael Berlyn, with Berlyn eventually leaving Accolade and starting his own company, Bend Studio, who would go on to make Bubsy 3D. While in development on their second game, Syphon Filter, Berlyn would abruptly leave the studio and the video game industry entirely, citing a distaste with the content and tone of modern video games (i.e., violence). Bubsy is available today on PC, where it is bundled with its sequel, and two new games, The Woolies Strike Back and Paws on Fire!, were released for PC’s and modern consoles. While Bubsy may have been a hit back in the 1990’s, it just doesn’t hold up today. There’s a small amount of fun to be had, but the overall experience is one of tedium and frustration. Should you play it? Eh, I guess.

Andy Tuttle
Andy Tuttle

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