Sweet Release! Stick It To The Man!, Xeodrifter, Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, January's Free Games

By Jared Cornelius

Hey gang, remember me?  Yes it's New Jersey's least wanted citizen here to wish you a Happy New Year and welcome you back into my loving embrace with Sweet Release! Bleeding Cool's look at the new video games you can find on shelves this week.  Now that the holidays have passed and you're full of cheer and alcohol, it's time to catch up on what we missed.  Unfortunately, January is starting off by following December's trend of minimal content. However that won't stop me as I've got a stealth release of an indie darling, a couple of download games, and the month's free titles if you subscribe to a premium service.

STICKITLet's start this year off with a fantastic indie hit from a couple years ago that's getting a boxed copy on PlayStation 4.  Stick It To The Man! from developer Zoink! is a 2D puzzle adventure game where you play as Ray, a low level hardhat tester who lives in a world made of paper and stickers.  After a work mishap he awakens in the hospital with a long pink arm sticking out from his head that gives him the ability to move things around in the world and read minds.  When he's framed by "The Man" Ray goes on a quest to prove his innocence and help a few people along the way.  The game succeeds on multiple fronts with a really charming art style and theme that reminded me of Tim Schafer's 2005 cult classic Psychonauts, and has a legitimately funny story penned by Dinosaur Comics  and Adventure Time writer Ryan North.  It's been available for download since 2013 so chances are you own a copy of it via PlayStation Plus. Stick It To The Man! is available on PlayStation 3PlayStation 4PlayStation VitaWii USteam, and released at retail this week exclusively on PlayStation 4.

XEODRIFTERIf you've followed anything I've written you might know that I love the 2D action game style popularly known as "Metroid-Vania" and while I was on vacation, developer Renegade Kid released their take on the genre, Xeodrifter.  Focusing on exploration you play as a nomadic "Drifter" charting the universe, until his warp drive is damaged by an asteroid.  Lost and in uncharted space you scan the surrounding planets for the necessary pieces to repair your ship.  Xeodrifter uses the time tested mechanic of upgrades that unlock new areas and iterates on it by having players switches between the background and foreground a bit like Kirby Triple Deluxe. The soundtrack and visual style firmly pay tribute to the Metroid series, with terrific chip tune soundtrack and bizarre aliens that would fit right in on Zebes.  You may remember Renegade Kid from their previous indie hit, the "12 bit" Mutant Mudds, that fell somewhere between Master Blaster and Mega Man.  Xeodrifter released on the 3/2DS e-shop and Steam last month.

POKEMONThe Wii U just got one of its first doses of Pokémon with Gameboy Advance favorite, Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire.  The Nintendo pinball classic got a Virtual Console release last month on the Wii U and faithfully reproduces the joy of catching pocket monsters across a variety of pinball tables.  There's really not much to say other than its Pokémon crossed with pinball, it's still fun after all these years and available for download on the Wii U.

WOAHDAVE!If you subscribe to one of the premium games services, a brand new month means brand new games.  Subscribers to the PlayStation Plus service get the 3rd person action game Infamous Second Son add on First Light as well as indie puzzle hit The Swapper on PlayStation 4.  PlayStation 3 users get Activision's 3rd person superhero/villain game Prototype 2 and Wayforward's 2D platform revival Ducktales Remastered.  PlayStation Vita users get the classic first person shooter, Duke Nukem Megaton Edition and Woah Dave! from the makers of the Bit.Trip series.  It's a bit like someone took Mario Bros. classic and mixed it with a ton of LSD. Woah Dave! will also be a cross buy game on the PlayStation 4 when it's eventually released.

D4Xbox Live subscribers will get MX vs. ATV Alive free until the 16th when it's replaced by 3rd person action adventure game, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.  Xbox One does a little better this month with Swery 65's insane D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die, a bizarre Kinect puzzle adventure game where you play as a time traveling psychic detective who has to eat to use refuel his powers.

That's it for this week gang, my time traveling psychic powers tells me this month is a little light on content so I might be looking at some classics to fill in the gaps.  You can also check out Typing on The Dead, where I recap of the newest issue of The Walking Dead, which gets a new installment this week.  You should also go read, Live From The Comic Shop, which gets made at my local shop, Conquest Comics in Bayville New Jersey by our very own Christine Marie.  Stop by and see how the sausage gets made!

Jared Cornelius, is some guy from New Jersey who's still listening to a lot of Prince while writing these.  If you're going uptown, let him know on Twitter @John_Laryngitis.

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About Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.
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