By Sage Ashford
Ah, and now we come to the first month of Spring. Gamers looking for the typical, big budget AAA titles may find themselves wanting a bit, but there are still quite a few games for PS4, XBox One, and Wii U owners. Let's have a look at what's on deck, hm?
From Tribute Games, the makers of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, comes this little gem. Mercenary Kings is a 2D side-scrolling shoot 'em up with an charming artstyle reminiscent of old-school NES games and referencing tons of 80's and 90's action movie tropes. The game's biggest draw (aside from the retro appeal) is the massive amounts of customization, as items found during missions can be used to upgrade or even create new weapons and armor. That, and the ability to play both online and couch co-op with up to three different players.
Mercenary Kings is out now on the PS4, PC, and Mac.
Legendary developer Rare has created a new, exclusive game for Microsoft's unique motion sensor input technology, the Kinect. Originally meant to be a launch game, Kinect Sports Rivals was pushed back to the Spring to give the game the extra polish the company believed it needed, giving MS gamers another title to enjoy this April. As mentioned in the video, Sports Rivals will allow players to participate in a variety of different sporting events such as bowling, jetski racing, rock climbing, target shooting, soccer, and tennis. And while I'm at a loss as to how some of these will work without a controller (rock climbing?), the game is already on store shelves so if you're curious you can find out now.
The signature humor and gameplay of the Lego games returns to Middle-Earth with Lego: The Hobbit from developer Traveller's Tales. The game is meant to cover the stories of both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, allowing players to revisit the iconic locations of the films only in their infinitely more adorable LEGO forms.
Lego: The Hobbit is out now on Wii U, PS4, XBox One, Xbox 360, and PC, and PS3.
Square-Enix's latest MMO, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, comes exclusively to Sony Playstation 4 on April 14th, after its second beta test earlier this week. (The first was in February, after the system launched in its home country of Japan.) The revised gameplay that sucked millions of gamers into Square's rebooted world of Eorzea remains the same, with the PS4 allowing for improved graphics and framerate to what was already one of the most beautiful fantasy worlds I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Players who even own a PS3 copy of the game are allowed to upgrade for free.
A sequel to the 2012 Trials Evolution, RedLynx has chosen to branch out with this version of their platform bike racing game, Trials Fusion. Players will navigate gigantic obstacle courses, controlling how their rider uses their weight to perform various tricks while trying not to…y'know…make the rider explode into teeny-tiny pieces. And, as with most games like this, Trials Fusion will come with a track editor so players can customize their own courses. Trials Fusion releases on the PC, Playstation Network, and Xbox Live Arcade April 16th.
Young Horses' Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a game series that's oddly reminiscent of obscure Animaniacs side short Chicken Boo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUO32EGdEpg): playing a non-human character who seems to have no grasp of the English language, your goal is to get through everyday human tasks without bringing attention to the fact that…well….you're not human.
Octodad is another Kickstarter success story, coming to the PS4 this April because Sony is determined to bring out as many games in a single year as humanly possible.
And finally, fans of survival-horror games can look forward to developer Zombie Studios' Daylight at the end of the month. Much like February's Outlast, Daylight is another game that takes advantage of the recent "no weapons" trend, as players taken on the role of an amnesiac named Sarah who awakens inside of a haunted hospital and must learn the history of this mysterious area in order to escape, with the player having to rely on their cell phone as a map to make their way around.
What stands out the most about this title is that everything about the game is procedurally generated, from the environment of the hospital to enemy places, making guides impossible because each play through will be its own, unique experience.
Daylight is out on the PS4 and Windows PC on April 29th.
Okay, so as gamers we all know most movie tie-in video games are terrible. Still, with Amazing Spider-Man 2 I think we might actually be on to something half-way decent. First off, developer Beenox is already responsible for one spectacular (couldn't help it) game in 2010's Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. For another, this game looks to be a return to the open-world style popularized back during the PS2 era, and offers what sounds like a pretty robust upgrade system including offering players different types of webbing that can be used in various situations.
The game will feature a wide variety of well-known villains such as Kingpin, Green Goblin, Venom, and Carnage as Peter goes on a search to try and find Uncle Ben's killer. There will even be sections of the game that require you to play as Peter to do detective work before going back out as Spidey to catch the crooks. The "Hero or Menace" morality system sounds dangerously similar to the Infamous way of doing things, though in this game you're granted points for stopping crimes or lose points for ignoring them rather than running around murdering people like a psychopath.
I'd be lying if I said even with all this information the game being good wasn't a long-shot, but we'll all be able to find out on April 29th when the game drops on Playstation 4, Xbox One, the Wii U, PC, and pretty much every other system in existence. (Except the Vita. Sadface.)
One of the more experimental titles to come from a large studio, developer Ubisoft Montreal has said it aims to bring back the old-school feel of J-RPGs with their 2D platforming RPG Child of Light. Done in a beautiful, almost painted pop-up book style, Child of Light is a video game about a young girl named Aurora who finds herself in the mysterious world of Lemuria and must bring back the stars, moon, and sun that have been stolen by the Black Queen in order to return home to her father. The game boasts hundreds of skills, and looks to have fairly complex leveling and crafting systems in place for the RPG hardcore.
Child of Light comes out on PC, PS4, PS3, 360, Xbox One and the Wii U on April 30th.
Like I mentioned, despite dropping a similar number of games (including some whose dates slipped into this month), April simply isn't as big of a month as March, at least if you're a fan of AAA games. It's not just with this new generation of consoles either–last-gen is quieter too. But lulls are to be expected, and next month brings a host of long-awaited titles, included the much-delayed Watch_Dogs and the follow-up to one of the highest selling games of the last generation, Mario Kart. And E3 is on the horizon….
Sage Ashford is a college kid with far more hobbies than he has free time. You can find him on Twitter @SageShinigami, but also at his own blog Jumping in Headfirst (http://sageshini.blogspot.com), talking comics, anime, music and more.