This week was difficult to pick out a top three for as there were so many interesting games released that all seemed to have their upsides and downsides! But, as usual, this top three list is an opinion piece so I also highly recommend checking out the honorable mentions at the bottom for more ideas of interesting games to try out!
#3 Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond
Don’t let the game’s name fool you. Though the game is based on a kids movie, its metroidvania gameplay brings joy and nostalgia to veteran gamers while the style and humor makes it a blast for younger gamers. Reviewers have described the game as reminiscent of Donkey Kong Country in physics and gameplay yet with classic metroidvania exploration and hidden secrets. I was honestly caught off guard by how well made it is and how well received the game had become given that licensed games typically don’t do so well, especially ones based off of obscure titles, but Ravn Studios did a great job with this one!
For those that don’t know, Sniper Elite 4 was an installment from Rebellion Developments back in 2017 that was all about taking a third person shooter and making it both tactical and full of guilty pleasure in watching the slow-motion x-ray footage as your enemies die. The Sniper Elite series is a game where you’re put on a map covered with enemy soldiers where you must kill each and every one of them without being overrun and killed yourself. To do this may take some tactical thinking, stealth, and well timed retreats, weapons switches and well placed bombs. The game also put a big emphasis on fatal points on the weapons characterized by an x-ray camera that shows exactly what parts of the enemy gets damaged from your shots or shrapnel and a decent AI that will employ actual tactics to search and destroy you such as flanking and searching wide in small groups. Don’t expect a deep story from this game, it’s all about the thrill of the hunt.
Ok, so this one may not come as a surprise to anyone really. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity has been built up on a lot of hype and just from the demo and the recent release as of writing this article, it’s held itself up to the hype. For those that don’t know what Hyrule Warriors is, dev team Koei Tecmo made itself famous for a series known as Dynasty Warriors in which you played as a powerhouse soldier amidst a war who hacked and slashed through armies to turn the tide of a battle. While the combat was rather repetitive, the main difficulty of the games came from the strategy of deciding which points of the map needed your help the most and which ones could either wait or stand to be sacrificed. Then, Koei Tecmo got the green light from Nintendo to create the first Hyrule Warriors for Wii U, which took the formula of Dynasty Warriors, but set it into the Zelda universe with a plot that implemented several Zelda games. While it was an enjoyable game on its own, it was non-canon to the lore of the Zelda universe. Now that changes with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity which is set 100 years before Breath of the Wild in which you’ll control Link, Zelda, the four champions, the Sheikah, and many more characters in the war against Calamity Ganon. While we may already know how this war ends up given the story of Breath of the Wild, they still managed to throw in some twists with the introduction of an all new villain bearing the Gerudo insignia and taking charge of the Yiga Clan. It should be said that framerate drop may be an issue as it is a consistent issue among all Dynasty Warriors game, though there are often steps that can be taken to avoid it. I’d advised for one thing to turn off health bars for the minor footsoldiers, and that should help the game run a lot better.
- Serious Sam Collection: The trilogy collection to the classic shoot-em up games that take place across times all about fending off hordes of enemies. (Croteam)
- DREAMO: A first-person puzzle game that takes place in the mind of a comatose man after he suffered a plane crash. Over time, unveil more of this man’s mysterious backstory as well as the story of the voice guiding him through his dreams. The game only implements one type of puzzle in different iterations (connection cogs on a cube from point A to point B) but offers a heavy narrative story and great voice acting. (Hypnotic Ants)
- Mars Horizon: A resource trading incremental game about attempting to colonize Mars. While the game is very relaxing and fun to plan out, it does get mixed reviews for a repetitive minigame played at every launch step and for RNG often making even the most well prepared launch fail. (Auroch Digital)
- Star Renegades: A new take on Roguelites in which you build a team for turn based battles and exploration, and an AI that develops based on your playstyle forcing you to change your style up. (Massive Damage)
- Art Sqool: A very cutesie game where you are given art tasks to complete by an AI professor. Explore the world to unlock more brushes and colors. This game gets mixed reviews as the grading system by the AI professor doesn’t seem to follow any real algorithm, but is mostly random. But the fun is in creating the art, not pleasing some robot. (Julian Glander)
- Micetopia: A very fluid metroidvania game with a combat system reminiscent of Zelda 2. (Ninja Rabbit Studio)