The Latest

New Releases: January 28th-February 3rd, 2021

The end of January brings a number of heavy hitters, with Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, Re:ZERO – Starting Life in Another World: The Prophecy of the Throne, The Yakuza Remastered Collection, and The Medium arriving this week. While quality is suspect, even Nintendo’s oft-ignored platforms, the Wii U and 3DS get some new software, while PlayStation 5 owners receive Destruction AllStars, which is still listed as a full-priced title by some retailers.

Header image: Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4
Bonkies (digital, $11.99)
Citizens Unite!: Earth x Space (digital, $26.99)
Colossus Down (digital, $17.99)
Disjunction (digital, $15.99)
Gods Will Fall (digital, $24.99)
Habroxia 2 (digital, $9.99)
Märchen Forest (digital, 34.99)
Olija (digital, $14.99)
Re:ZERO – Starting Life in Another World: The Prophecy of the Throne (digital, $59.99)
Silver Chains (digital, $TBA)
Sword of the Necromancer (digital, 14.99)
The Pedestrian (digital, $19.99)
TOHU (digital, $13.49)
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox (physical & digital, $59.99)

PlayStation 5
Control: Ultimate Edition (Free with PlayStation Plus)
Destruction AllStars (Free with PlayStation Plus)

Switch
Bonkies (digital, $11.99)
Burn! SuperTrucks (digital, $7.99)
Caves and Castles: Underworld (digital, $4.99)
Chill Panda (digital, $1.99)
Citizens Unite!: Earth x Space (digital, $26.99)
Colossus Down (digital, $16.19)
Cooking Festival (digital, $10.99)
CROSSBOW: Bloodnight (digital, $4.99)
Cultist Simulator: Initiate Edition (digital, $19.99)
Disjunction (digital, $15.99)
Glyph (digital, $19.99)
Gods Will Fall (digital, $24.99)
Golden Force (digital, $15.99)
Heaven’s Vault (digital,$17.99)
Habroxia 2 (digital, $9.99)
Märchen Forest (digital, 34.99)
Olija (digital, $14.99)
Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- The Prophecy of the Throne (digital, $53.99)
Royal Tower Defense (digital, $5.99)
Save Farty (digital, $6.99)
Strange Field Football (digital, $6.99)
SushiParty (digital, $TBA)
Sword of the Necromancer (digital, 14.99)
The Choice of Life: Middle Ages (digital, $4.99)
TOHU (digital, $13.49)
Vera Blanc: Ghost In The Castle (digital, $4.99)

Wii U
Seasonal Assistant (digital, $TBA)

Xbox One
Another Dawn (digital, $19.99)
Bonkies (digital, $11.99)
Caves and Castles: Underworld (digital, $4.99)
Gods Will Fall (digital, $24.99)
Golden Force (digital, $19.99)
Habroxia 2 (digital, $9.99)
Olija (digital, $14.99)
Royal Tower Defense (digital, $5.99)
Sword of the Necromancer (digital, 14.99)
The Yakuza Remastered Collection (digital, $39.99)
TOHU (digital, $13.49)
Yakuza 3 Remastered (digital, $19.99)
Yakuza 4 Remastered (digital, $19.99)
Yakuza 5 Remastered (digital, $19.99)

3DS
Bricks Pinball 4 (digital, $9.99)
Silver Falls – Undertakers (digital, $4.99)

PC
Academia: School Simulator ($13.99)
Ambrosia ($TBA)
Curious Expedition 2 (digital, $17.99)
Devour ($4.24)
Disjunction ($14.39)
Gods will Fall ($24.99)
Journey to the Savage Planet
Love Fantasy ($TBA)
Märchen Forest (34.99)
Monstrum 2 ($TBA)
Re:ZERO – Starting Life in Another World: The Prophecy of the Throne ($53.99)
Sword of the Necromancer ($14.99)
The Medium ($44.99)
TOHU ($13.49)
Wild Terra 2: New Lands ($TBA)
Yakuza 3 Remastered ($19.99)
Yakuza 4 Remastered ($19.99)
Yakuza 5 Remastered ($19.99)

Rob’s Pick: Sure, I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to shooters, preferring the classics over many of today’s offerings. Habitually, the new ones are a bit too on the nose, mimicking the gameplay of yesteryear but lacking the polish. Pleasingly, Habroxia 2 can’t be directly compared to any title in particular. While the horizontally scrolling and mixture of flying foes and ground-based turrets might seem to draw comparison to Gradius, the game pivots, sporadically shifting to a vertical scroll in the middle of a stage. It’s not perfect, with the game rather stingy toward power-ups and boss battles that are a bit too pedestrian. But for retro fans, it’s well worth the price of admission.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the heavy hitters. If you’re in Microsoft’s camp, The Yakuza Remastered Collection is a requisite purchase. Packed with melodrama, laugh out loud hilarity, and a plethora of minigames to get lost in, this trio of titles is some of the most fun you can have with a controller in hand. While I’m not sold on the business model of gaming as a streaming service, Game Pass owners are privy to lot of enjoyment this week.

Finally, there’s the arrival of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, the ninth entry in Falcom’s famed franchise. I got to play a bit of the import and from what I witnessed, the latest feels a lot like Lacrimosa of Dana. It’s a rollicking action-role-playing game peppered with heartwarming bits of exposition and occasional instances of Falcom creativity. Unfortunately, there’s some technical issues that sullied things in the original release. Let’s hope that nearly a year-and-half later, Falcom’s staff has fixed those setbacks, because Adol and Dogi relationship is only overshadowed by Kiryu and Majima’s kinship.

Ryan’s Pick: Sony historically has been excellent at introducing new IPs and interesting games during their new console launch window, and Destruction AllStars sure feels like it is going to be one of those games. While it’s not exactly the same, it reminds me of the original PS1 launch window and Demolition Derby. I thought it was so funny when the announcer would yell “You’ve blown your radiator!” in a Brooklyn accent. The game was really tough because it forced players to drive the car in reverse during the derbies, but nevertheless it was still really fun because the system could handle 3D pretty well. It made for a really fun new experience compared to other racing games I’d played on older consoles. Destruction AllStars looks to continue this tradition of introducing new cool ideas for a car game during launch, and I can’t wait to try it.

At first look I thought it was just some sort of Twisted Metal clone but then I saw the drivers getting out of cars and running around. Seeing this immediately had me laughing because the mental picture of me running my friends down in a car while they’re out of their vehicle is my definition of entertainment. Plus, the characters all look interesting and the cars equally look spectacular amidst the chaos in the arena. In general, I think this one is a can’t miss if you have a PS5. The best part is that it’s going to be free for those with PS Plus next month on February 2nd. I can’t think of a reason not to get it if you have the new console.

Matt S’ pick (Editor, DigitallyDownloaded): There’s a visual novel I made. It’s out this week. It’s inspired by the Marquis de Sade, and it’s called Sade: A My Time With Dee Dee Game. I’m recommending it because I want all your money. I mean, I reckon it’s an alright game too, but I need money to keep making them, so buy it please!

Shameless self-promotion aside (and my desperate bid to make Dee Dee the header image on these weekly wraps just once), in a week that is really packed with interesting things, I’m going to go with Märchen Forest as my top pick this week. I really like a good dungeon crawler, and this looks like a really good one. With an aesthetic that recalls the DS era, and a nice pastel sheen to everything, this humble little indie game might just jump out to catch a lot of people – it’s done great on Steam, and it looks very much like it’s a better fit for consoles.

I’ll also throw a mention of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox out there, because while I’ve had an up-and-down history with this series, Ys VIII took things in the right direction for me, and IX delivers everything its predecessor did and then some. The series’ trademark pacey combat combines beautifully with some really dark themes and a gorgeous aesthetic that shows that Nihon Falcom has refined its artistic niche to the nth degree. Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is excellent stuff.

Finally, I’d like to throw a call out for Cultist Simulator: Initiate Edition on Nintendo Switch. I love my digital card games, and I know that this one has quite the reputation. However, I also want to play my card games on Nintendo Switch (for the on-the-go quality), and I’ve been holding out for a port of this for a while now. I love the slick aesthetic, too.

Actually, I lie. One more recommendation this week. Seasonal Assistant. It’s a Wii U release in 2021. I’m sure it will be quite terrible, but the idea of dusting off my Wii U for any reason whatsoever intrigues me.

Matt C’s pick (editor, Shindig): That is one heck of a list of games to all be coming out in one week. I have to echo Matt’s thoughts in Marchen Forest, which looks like a delightful mix of dungeon crawler and crafting RPG, with a beautiful aesthetic to go with it. It looks almost like an indie Atelier, which certainly gets my attention.

Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is also high on my list. It looks like a nifty mix of the energetic combat the series is known for and the exploration focus that Ys VIII really doubled down on, but this time in a very different setting. Almost the whole game takes place within the walls of a giant city full of ancient ruins and plenty of secrets, in a way that gives an almost Vagrant Story-esque sort of vibe.

Olija is a game that manages to blend lo-fi pixel art, sharp combat, and a story that’s both a grand swashbuckling adventure and something much more personal and intimate. It draws clear inspiration from a lot of places, not least of all the cinematic platformers of yesteryear, but still manages to find its own little space. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it.

But my top pick has to go to Heaven’s Vault, a game I missed when it came out on PC a while ago but is now making its way to Switch. A lot of games claim a “different story every time you play!” and choices that have a serious effect on the outcome, but few can actually live up to those claims like this one does. It’s also got a deep, complicated, and extremely satisfying archaeology element wrapped around deciphering ancient hieroglyphs, a wonderful cast, and a unique sci-fi setting that’s less about spaceships and more about dusty old ruins on distant planets.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

5 comments

  1. I’m worried that Ys IX: Monstrum Nox has gotten little to no buzz. No real previews and I don’t see anyone streaming it right now. Was there a last minute delay?

  2. “Sony historically has been excellent at introducing new IPs and interesting games during their new console launch window”

    I feel like they dropped the ball with PS5. Dark Souls remake and Miles Morales (which is kind of a Spider-Man remake) aren’t cutting it as a launch line-up. I’m sure I’ll eventually get one when my PS4 dies but they need to do better.

  3. No Touhou games but we get TOHU instead.