New Game Releases 06/27/23 – 07/03/23

It’s the summer of games
And my heart is on fire (literally)
On the couch I sit, yeah
My spirit is dying
It’s the summer of games
And our hearts will have clogged arteries
The things you can’t do when you aren’t young

Top Releases:

Everybody 1-2-Switch! (Switch) – Releases Jun. 30th

Developed by: Nintendo EPD
Published by: Nintendo

It wouldn’t surprise me if you did not remember the Switch launch title 1-2 Switch, nor would it surprise me if you’ve never heard of this sequel, Everybody 1-2 Switch, as Nintendo haven’t really been promoting it. This game is kind of a throw back to the Wii era, when video games were championed as these massive party staples that anyone and everyone could enjoy. There’s still room for those kinds of games, as we’ve seen with the Jackbox series, but pre-release buzz on Everybody 1-2 Switch has been pretty negative. So negative, in fact, that people though Nintendo had cancelled it after internal testing showed it to be one of the worst games Nintendo had ever made. Is it a surprise, then, that it is being quietly dropped a few weeks after Tears of the Kingdom? The one potential plus out of all this is that the game will likely get a low print run, making a physical version pretty expensive down the road. Yeah, video game speculation, that’s why you come here.

Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life (PS5/Switch/Series X|S) – Releases Jun. 27th

Developed by: Marvelous
Published by: XSEED Games

Can I finally stop talking about how Story of Seasons is the Harvest Moon franchise that we all grew up with, and NOT any of the new games currently called Harvest Moon? No? Maybe? Who cares? Anyway, this is a remake of the game Harvest Moon: A Wonderful life that come out on the PS2 and GameCube back in 2004/2005. You farm, you date, you marry, you raise a family, you die. What a great game.

AEW: Fight Forever (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Jun. 29th

Developed by: Yuke’s
Published by: THQ Nordic

After 2K ditched long time partner Yuke’s, the publisher put out the worst wrestling game of all time, WWE2K20. In the time since then, a new rival in the pro wrestling world showed up, AEW, and steadily gained popularity, poaching many of WWE’s more “indie” style talent. No, AEW has picked up Yuke’s, hoping to find success in the video game realm against WWE as well. Is it going to work? Well, WWE2K doesn’t have Kenny Omega, so yeah, it’ll probably work.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 30th

Developed by: Capcom
Published by: Capcom

Hey, another remake, this time from the DS. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a mystery puzzle game from the director of the Ace Attorney series. In this game, players have only a few hours to solve…THEIR OWN MURDER! As a ghost, players will be able to possess other people, manipulate objects, and rewind time, as they search for not just their killer’s identity, but their own as well.

Master Detective Archives: Rain Code (Switch) – Releases Jun. 30th

Developed by: Too Kyo Games
Published by: Spike Chunsoft

Ghost Trick isn’t the only mystery game this week, as the team behind Danganronpa is back with a brand new game, Master Detective Archives: Rain Code. In this game, players take on the role of a young investigator named Yuma who, with the help of the spirit Shinigami, must work with the World Detective Organization in order to solve a string of crimes. This sounds really familiar. Wasn’t there some detective game a while back where players woke up on an island and had to work to join a group of international detectives?

Everything else:


Notable Releases from 10, 20, and 30 years ago:

Rogue Legacy (PC) – Released Jun. 27th, 2013: Wiki Link

rogue legacy

Notable Film Release: The Heat – Starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1
*Click here to listen to the album*

After finding a bit of success with flash games, Cellar Door Games, co-founded by brothers Kenny and Teddy Lee, embarked on their most ambitious project to date. A 2d, rouge-like platformer called Rogue Legacy.

rogue legacy 01

Inspired by Dark Souls, the Lee brothers wanted to make a game that was accessible, but difficult. They wanted their game to be hard, but they wanted to make sure that players were rewarded for their accomplishments, allowing them to get stronger and stronger with each death, until they were powerful enough to progress further. The game would cost the brothers $15k of their own personal savings to complete, but this wouldn’t be enough cash to keep them afloat permanently, so cuts to Rogue Legacy, like experience point progression, had to be made in order to stay in business.

rogue legacy 02

The gameplay in Rogue Legacy is fairly simple. Players take on the role of a warrior, enter a procedurally generated dungeon, fight some monsters, die, respawn as one of their own descendants, enter the dungeon again, die again, respawn, and so on, and so on. What makes this unique, however, is that the player’s descendant will be host to a number of conditions. Everything from dwarfism, to far sightedness, to irritable bowels, and will be one of a few classes, including barbarian, knight, and wizard.

rogue legacy 03

Before re-entering the dungeon, players can spend the gold that they inherited from their ancestor. This is how you get stronger, by spending gold on increasing your health or your mana, and by hiring people to perform various services, such as upgrading your armor and weapons, bestowing powerful relics upon you, and even letting you keep the layout of the castle your ancestor died in. When players re-enter the dungeon they will lose all of their money, so it is always best to spend everything.

rogue legacy 04

When Rogue Legacy was released on PC in June of 2013 it was a big hit, making the initial $15k budget back in just under one hour. Critics reacted positively towards the game as well, giving it above average scores. There were some critics who took issue with the game’s difficulty, especially in the early parts of the game. However, most other critics agreed that this was part of Rogue Legacy’s charm, having players feel weak and helpless in the beginning, only to become overpowered and god-like near the end.

rogue legacy 05

About a month after its PC release, Rouge Legacy would be ported to the PS3 and PS Vita, eventually making its way to the PS4, Switch, Xbox One, and iOS. A sequel, Rogue Legacy 2, was released in 2020 in early access, before getting a full launch in April of 2022. It also received universal acclaim and was considered an improvement over the original. Rogue Legacy is a modern classic, and is one of my all-time favorite games. The continual feedback loop of fighting->dying->upgrading->fighting->dying->upgrading is incredibly stimulating and has you going, “just one more try…” hours after you probably should have stopped.

Arc The Lad: Twilight of the Spirits (PS2) – Released Jun. 25th, 2003: Wiki Link

arc the lad

Notable Film Release: 28 Days Later – Starring Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendon Gleeson, and Christopher Eccleston
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Take a Break
*Click here to listen to the album*

Hey, remember Arc the Lad? No, that’s okay, it’s probably because you didn’t live in Japan in the 1990’s. Originally released in Japan in 1995, Arc the Lad was a 2D tactical RPG that was, believe it or not, the best selling PlayStation game of 1995, with over 1 million copies sold. Its success led to two follow-up titles, only in Japan, before those were bundled up into a single package for the PSX in North America, just a few months before the release of the PS2. Finally establishing itself in the West, Sony decided to publish the fourth game in the series, Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, for the PS2 in North America and, for the first time, Europe. How did it go?

arc the lad 01

Well, do you remember Twilight of the Spirits? Probably not, that’s why I’m here, to give you the rundown. Like its predecessors, Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits is a tactical RPG. Set 1,000 years after the events of Arc the Lad III, players take on the role of Kharg, a young prince, or something, who is tasked with protecting his village from danger. However, as Kharg grows older he finds that his mother, the leader of the village, is becoming increasingly protective of him. When a group of miners is attacked by their sworn enemies, the Deimos, Kharg’s mother forbids him to go, setting in motion a series of events that will change Kharg’s world view forever.

arc the lad 02

Critics were mixed on their reception to Twilight of the Spirits, giving the game pretty average reviews. It wasn’t outright hated, but it didn’t really move the needle much. In a post Final Fantasy VII world, the standard for RPGs was pretty high. While Square’s magnum opus might have opened the world up to the RPG genre, players were starting to realize that there were only a few truly great RPGs, with many of the others being just kind of run of the mill. Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits falls neatly into the “just okay” category. It’s not great, it’s not bad, it just is.

Duck Tales 2 (NES) – Released Jun. 1993: Wiki Link

duck tales 2

Notable Film Release: Sleepless in Seattle – Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release:  Björk – Debut
*Click here to listen to album*

Speaking of forgotten games, did you know there was a Duck Tales 2? Probably, but I’m going to guess you never had it, nor did may of your friends. Why? Well that’s because it had an incredibly small print run. You see, by the Summer of 1993, the SNES was going into its second year on the market. While Sega was still the dominant 16-bit console in North America, the SNES was no slouch as it began to flex its muscle with hot titles like Star Fox. With the SNES on the rise, the NES began to get left behind, despite the console STILL selling more units than both the Genesis and SNES. This changing of the guard, so to speak, meant that new NES titles were often neglected and forgotten. Duck Tales 2 was one of those titles.

duck tales 2 03

Like its predecessor, the game puts players into the role of Scrooge McDuck, the world’s richest treasure hunter who just loved plundering ancient civilizations for their priceless artifacts; less Indiana Jones, more Belloq (minus the exploding head). The big macguffin this time is the lost treasure of Fergus McDuck, with Scrooge needing to go to several locations around the world and steal the priceless artifacts they contain, which are clues to the lost McDuck treasure. Little does Scrooge know that his arch rival, Flintheart Glomgold, is also looking for the lost McDuck treasure, and is tailing Scrooge. Typical white people bullshit.

duck tales 2 04

Duck Tales 2 is, essentially, just more Duck Tales. It looks the same, it plays the same, it sounds the same, it’s really just a glorified expansion pack. Still, there’s not a lot of harm in that, as Duck Tales is one of the best platformers of all time. Regardless, Duck Tales 2 came and went, the victim of a Nintendo console transitional period. For years, the only way to play this game was to own a physical cart, or through emulation. Happily, Capcom re-released the game in 2017 as part of the Disney Afternoon Collection, letting people play the game, legally, for the first time in almost 25 years. I still prefer the first Duck Tales, but when I beat that game for the 50th time, I know that I can jump right into Duck Tales 2 and continue the fun…or just play Duck Tales again.

Andy Tuttle
Andy Tuttle

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