By Jared Cornelius
Welcome back to Sweet Release! Bleeding Cool's look at the new games hitting store shelves and digital platforms. Good lord we made it past July! That's right friends we're almost at the end of summer and only a month away from gaming's biggest time of year. After a very weird month full of cowboy bikini wearing samurai, giant city smashing monsters, commando elephants, and a cavalcade of fighting games, August is looking to start out a bit more low key. Oh course in my mind low key involves love letters too a couple of classic franchises, 70's sci-fi anime, and as always the free games if you subscribe to premium services.
We start out this week with one of gaming's longest running and storied developers getting a spotlight collection from Microsoft. Back in 1985 a little company called Rare was formed in the UK that would go on to be one of the most prolific developers on modern consoles. In their hay day they released some genuine classics like Battletoads, Donkey Kong Country, and Golden Eye. More of a force of nature than a game developer, Rare had an incredible run of titles across the NES, Super NES, N64, Gameboy, and Gameboy Advance. Then back in 2002 something unprecedented happened when a little upstart console company called Microsoft bought 100% of the UK development house.
Unfortunately for Microsoft the acquisition didn't pan out quite like they hoped resulting in a string of not quite as well remembered titles like Grabbed by The Ghoulies, Perfect Dark Zero, and Kameo: Element's of Power. Thirteen years and numerous mediocre games later Microsoft still see's value in the company, and is celebrating that with Rare Replay, a collection of 30 classic Rare titles from across generations. There's too many titles to list out but I'll give you the highlights, including Battletoads, R.C. Pro-Am, Snake Rattle N' Roll, Blast Corps, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, and Conker's Bad Fur Day. While they couldn't include licensed goodies like Golden Eye and Donkey Kong, Rare Replay is hitting store shelves at an astonishing $29.99! That's a dollar a game folks, you can't beat that. Rare Replay releases exclusively for the Xbox One this Tuesday and is a title worth owning.
Ok, confession time, there's not too much in this world I love more than Mystery Science Theater 3000. I own all the DVDs, I own replica puppets of Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, I even have a piece of original artwork created by the dearly departed Jean Jackson. So when I learned of last week's late release of Manos "The Hands of Fate" Director's Cut on PC I nearly lost my mind. The pixelated 2D platformer from the folks at Game Freak is a slavish if not loving NES style tribute to one of the worst movies ever made. Taking place a mysterious estate in the middle of the desert, a vacationing couple is terrorized by a strange cult leader known as "The Master" and his giant legged man servant, Torgo! The Manos game actually came out two or three years ago on I0S, but the action platformer is much more suited to a controller than a touch screen. Game Freak have also added some retro styled cut scenes, an unlockable Torgo Mode, and has a great chip tune soundtrack right down to the haunting "Torgo's Theme". Developer Game Freak isn't any stranger to weird platformers, you might also know them as the folks who made The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures on PC and Wii U. This one absolutely gets a gold star from me, it's only $5, is a loving tribute, and should play on almost any PC. Manos "The Hands of Fate" Director's Cut is currently available on Steam.
Speaking of loving tributes, remember those great old 70's and 80's anime like Robotech, and Gundam? Did you ever wish you were firing a metric ton of missiles at enemy ships? Well live your dream with Galak-Z: The Dimensional from developer 17-Bit Games. The 2D, sci-fi, space shooting, rogue-like lets you live that dream in a procedurally generated environment where every battle and scenario can play out differently. With its roots firmly planted in classics like R-Type and Gradius, Galak-Z boasts of truly intelligent enemies that'll base their attacks on everything from the environment to player's unique styles. With a cool sci-fi look and art right out of the 70's Galak-Z looks like a genuine evolution in the 2D "shmup" genre. Galak-Z: The Dimensional releases Tuesday from PlayStation 4 and PC.
If you subscribe to either PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold, a new month means new games. So what's on the table this month?
Xbox Live Gold subscribers can brush up on Metal Gear, before September's Phantom Pain release with Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. The 3rd person stealth action game is free all month long, while isometric survival game, How To Survive: Storm Warning Edition is available starting the 15th.
Finally Xbox 360 users get a whole month of Metro, the first person survival shooter has its roots in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series and reeks of eastern European horror. The original, Metro 2033, starts off the month and goes free until the 15th when it's replaced by the slightly more accessible Metro: Last Light.
That's it for this week folks, remember to check out my other regular column, Typing on The Dead, where I review and dissect the latest issue of The Walking Dead. Also look out for the next issue of Bleeding Cool Magazine, where I interview Joshua Williamson about his projects like Nailbitter, Birthright, and innovation in the industry.
Jared Cornelius is some guy from the Jersey coast who's headed for the Gulf coast. Recommend places to go on Twitter @John_Laryngitis.