Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Games of April 2015.

April is a spectacular month... if you're a fan of indies.  If triple-A is your only fix, the only thing you can hype yourself for this month is Mortal Kombat X - but given that MKX is looking awesome enough that I of all people actually have a preorder down on it, that ain't such a bad position to be in.

If you like triple-As and indies?  Oh boy.  Have I got a month for you.

April 7th
Monsterbag, a cute stealth/puzzle/platformer with gorgeous animation.
Hype-O-Meter: Day One.

A well-animated platformer has been a fetish of mine, ever since I played Aladdin on the Genesis.  Monsterbag has a whole other bag, though, with puzzle elements and stealthiness - and to be honest I'm not quite sure it is a platformer, but that's what the devs are calling it.

I saw an appealing trailer for it over a year ago, I think, but this latest one locked it in as a must-buy.  The fact that it's free with PS+ makes it all the easier to say yes.  Bring it on.

April 7th
Bastion, a sublime action-RPG from Supergiant.
Hype-O-Meter: If you haven't played this, you should play this.

Bastion is the game that put Supergiant (Transistor) on the map, and enjoys this weird indie-as-triple-A kind of regard.  Excellent music, art direction, voice work, gameplay, design and narrative - it possesses a uniformly high level of quality across every facet - the envy of (almost) every other indie developer in the world.

Buy this, if you haven't.  Play this, if you haven't.  Or just wait for the Vita version later this year.

April 7th
Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, the masterpiece of an action-RPG, up-ported to new-gen consoles.
PS4, One
Hype-O-Meter: I've got Bloodborne.

Dark Souls II should need no introduction - but if you need one, here goes.  The sequel to Dark Souls, Dark Souls II on PS3/360 was less perfect than its predecessor, in the same way my LEGO space ship is less perfect than your LEGO space ship.  Both are spectacular, but it's worth noting that (series auteur) Hidetaka Miyazaki didn't direct Dark Souls II.

He was working on Bloodborne, which was built from the ground up for new-gen consoles.  And Bloodborne is out right now.  On your PS4.  You could be playing it right now, but instead you're reading this blog post.

You're a trooper, is what you are.

April 14th
Mortal Kombat X, the new-gen rebirth of the legendary franchise.
PS4, One, PC
Hype-O-Meter: Day One.

I'm not much of a fighting game guy, and if Chamberlain ever catches me playing this online and sucks me into a match, he will surely get a bunch of brutalities on me (brutalities are secret finishers you can only unlock by performing certain feats throughout a match!) - but here's the thing... I know what brutalities are.

That's weird.  I have actually been paying a ton of attention to MKX in the past few months - I find each new trailer irresistible - which isn't something any fighting game has ever achieved.  I feel strongly compelled to pick this up - and will, if I've finished Bloodborne by the fourteenth.

...which is actually unlikely, at the rate I'm going.  But still!

April 14th
Titan Souls, an indie riff on Shadow of the Colossus.
PS4, Vita
Hype-O-Meter: Day One

Titan Souls made a splash when it was created over the course of three days for the Ludlum Dare game jam last year.  The developer spent the past year spinning the prototype they carved out there into Titan Souls as it exists today - a rock-hard combat-as-puzzle game in which you fight a series of single, colossal enemies with nothing but a bow and one lonely arrow, which flies back into your hand when you call it.

Color me intrigued.

April 21st
Shovel Knight, the love letter to 8-bit action-platformers.
PS4, Vita
Hype-O-Meter: Day One

A Kickstarter success story, Shovel Knight went on to earn a lot of best-indie nods at the end of 2014 after appearing on PC.  Its developers have taken to porting it everywhere they can to capitalize on that success, and in three weeks it's coming to a PS4 and Vita near you.

If you loved those wonderful platforming RPGs of olde like Mega Man and Castlevania, Shovel Knight was made for you.

April 28th
Broken Age, Tim Schafer's return to classic adventure gaming.
PS4, Vita, PC
Hype-O-Meter: Day One

Broken Age is legendary creator Tim Schafer's first adventure game since the earthshattering Grim Fandango in 1998.  Kickstarted to a whopping 3.3 million dollars in 2012, Act I was released to a warm critical response in early 2014.  On April 28th, Act II closes out the game, and you can enjoy the whole thing on your PlayStation of choice.

Hell yeah.

April 28th
State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition, a lovely zombie survival-RPG.
Hype-O-Meter:  Eh, don't have a One.  This should be cool, though.

Between State of Decay and Dead Rising 3, the Xbox has a lot of exclusive zombie content - and I'll admit, that kinda' stings in the case of State of Decay.  Undead Labs' awkward, gritty little survival-RPG actually made me turn on my 360 last year, and was memorable enough to mention when Game of the Year time rolled around.

If you've got an Xbox One and you haven't tried State of Decay, you'll probably want to get in on this.

April 28th
Project Root, a free-roaming shoot-em-up.
PS4, Vita
Hype-O-Meter: Must... hold out... for Galak-Z...

Okay, so remember like 1942 or R-Type or any of those 2-D shooters where you guide a little ship around levels swarming with enemies, and enemy fire?

Imagine one of those in which you can freely fly around a big top-down map, collecting powerups and kicking the crap out of enemy ships, artillery and installations.

Sounds cool, right?

* * *

And that's April!  A month absolutely lousy with indies!  

I think I'm most hyped for Broken Age.  I'm really excited that's comin' my way. 


  1. I am terrible at MK but if the netcode is better than MK9 was we should play a few matches.

    1. I'd imagine the online would be as solid as Injustice: Gods Among Us... Lemmie look into that... From the Giant Bomb community: "General consensus is that it's somewhere between "silky-smooth" and "unplayable," which, by default, means the netcode is better than Mortal Kombat's."

      So... I have no idea, really. Better maybe?

    2. Injustice was not good online. KI has shown that online play can be very, very good, so there is some hope.