The Latest

New Releases: October 28th-November 3rd, 2021

With Halloween approaching, it’s not surprising that this week’s new releases are filled with witches, spiders, yōkai, and perhaps the scariest of them all, the price of Super Robot Wars 30’s Ultimate Edition. As such, prepare yourself for the jump scare lurking among this week’s listings. Apparently, licensing isn’t cheap.

Header: Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water

PlayStation 4
Backbone (digital, $24.99)
Bassmaster Fishing 2022 (digital, $39.99)
Black Widow: Recharged (digital, $9.99)
Bloodshore (digital, $14.99)
Bloody Rally Show (digital, $TBA)
Conway: Disappearance at Dahlia View (digital, $TBA)
Cotton 100% (digital, $14.99)
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (digital, $39.99)
Just Die Already (physical $ digital, $29.99)
Panorama Cotton (digital, $14.99)
PJ Masks: Heroes of the Night (physical & digital, $39.99)
Riders Republic (physical & digital, $59.99)
Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi (physical & digital, $59.99)
VirtuaVerse (digital, $14.99)
Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars (digital, $29.99)

Switch
Abarenbo Tengu & Zombie Nation (digital, $11.99)
Astria Ascending (physical, $39.99)
Black Widow: Recharged (digital, $9.99)
Bloodshore (digital, $14.99)
Brain Meltdown – Into Despair (digital, $7.19)
Cape’s Escape Game 4th Room (digital, $3.90)
Cotton 100% (digital, $14.99)
Cupid Parasite (physical & digital, $49.99)
DISTRAINT Collection (digital, $11.99)
Dollhouse (physical $29.99, digital, $26.99)
Dragon Hills (digital, $5.60)
DUSK (digital, $19.99)
Ekstase (digital, $9.99)
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (digital, $39.99)
Gas Guzzlers Extreme (digital, $49.99)
Ghosts and Apples (digital, $7.99)
Halloween Snowball Bubble (digital, $5.99)
Happy Game (digital, $13.13)
Hexceed (digital, Free)
HOLY COW! Milking Simulator (digital, $9.99)
Horror & Adventure Pinball (digital, $14.99)
Jigsaw Finale (digital, $4.99)
Jigsaw Fun: Amazing Animals (digital, $9.99)
King Leo (digital, $19.99)
Lost Dream (digital, $4.99)
Mario Party Superstars (physical & digital, $59.99)
Okinawa Rush (digital, $19.99)
Panorama Cotton (digital, $14.99)
PJ Masks: Heroes of the Night (physical & digital, $39.99)
QB Planets (digital, $6.99)
SEDOMAIRI (digital, $4.99)
SHINRAI – Broken Beyond Despair (digital, $14.99
The Legend of Tianding (digital, $17.99)
The Sokoban (digital, $12.59)
The Suicide of Rachel Foster (digital, $15.99)
Trash Sailors (digital, $TBA)
Tunche (digital, $16.99)
Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi (digital, $59.99)
Unpacking (digital, $19.99)
VirtuaVerse (digital, $14.99)
Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars (digital, $29.99)
World War Z (digital, $39.99)
Zumba Aqua (digital, $2.99)

Xbox One
Backbone (digital, $24.99)
Bassmaster Fishing 2022 (digital, $39.99)
Black Widow: Recharged (digital, $9.99)
Bloodshore (digital, $14.99)
Conway: Disappearance at Dahlia View (digital, $TBA)
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (digital, $39.99)
Light Fairytale Episode 2 (digital, $TBA)
PJ Masks: Heroes of the Night (physical & digital, $39.99)
Riders Republic (physical & digital, $59.99)
The Solitaire Conspiracy (digital, $7.99)
Tunche (digital, $16.99)
Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi (physical & digital, $59.99)
VirtuaVerse (digital, $14.99)
Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars (digital, $29.99)

PC
Age of Empires IV ($59.99)
Bassmaster Fishing 2022 ($35.99)
Conway: Disappearance at Dahlia View ($TBA)
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water ($39.99)
Happy Game ($11.42)
Saint Kotar ($22.49)
Subway Midnight ($8.99)
Super Robot Wars 30 ($59.99-$104.99)
Time Loader ($TBA)
Tunche ($16.99)
Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars (digital, $29.99)

Rob’s Pick: I’m always confused when online factions celebrate the big publishers purchasing smaller studios. For years, Ensemble Studios was crafting entries in the engaging Age of Empire series. But then Microsoft offered the developers a big bag of cash, coaxing them into making Halo Wars, then promptly shut down the studio when it wasn’t the runaway hit that they had hoped. Adding insult to injury, Microsoft continued iterating on the acquired Age of Empire properties, with output that’s almost universality regarded as inferior to Ensemble’s original work. As such, I’m skeptical toward Age of Empires IV. While it might end up being a worthwhile effort, part of me will always wonder how things would look if the original developers continued to follow their ambitions.

Which brings us to EXPERIENCE, the dungeon-crawl dedicated developer behind titles like Demon Gaze and Stranger of Sword City. Their latest work, Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi arrives this week. It mixes the studio’s customary affection for exploration and turn-based combat with a contemporary look and remarkable allegory. As workers coerced into exploring perilous places to benefit the power elite, there’s social commentary in Undernauts as well.

Finally, it wouldn’t be Halloween without an adorable witch themed game. While Deathsmiles on Switch is still a few months out, the candy-craving Nata de Cotton, along with her loyal fairy companion Silk, make two appearances this week. Cotton 100% is the more orthodox 2D entry, revisiting the SNES/PSOne shooter, while Panorama Cotton demonstrated that the Mega Drive could offer a viable Space Harrier clone.  Both are fairy bare-bones ports, but fans of classic STG probably won’t want to miss them.

Ryan’s Pick: Lighthearted game picks are again taking the back burner this week, as horror games continue to dominate this month in my opinion. There’s actually a multitude of games that I really am interested in trying out this week, but I think I’ll start with my official pick which is Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi. DRPGs aren’t for everyone as they do require a certain level of patience, and more importantly time to invest into them. If you like exploring every part of a map and trying to see everything inside a game however, I would give this genre a try. Demon Gaze was my first EXPERIENCE dungeon rpg, but there was plenty to enjoy and also to rue, such as the rotting floors in trap rooms where you would fall through the floors. My hope is that Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi will continue to utilize their DRPG engine and improve upon some of its shortcomings.

I know that not everyone enjoys first-person dungeon crawling, so I’ve prepared a few other suggestions in time for Halloween. The first is Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water which was actually released back in 2015 on Wii U. If you missed it back then, this would be a very fitting game for a good scare this week from a classic series. Another noteworthy game that looks pretty frightening is SEDOMAIRI which came out this August on Steam and is now being ported to Switch. It’s a procedurally generated horror game where you maneuver through a seemingly endless old Japanese house in search of small straw figures as you evade evil spirits. Lastly, Happy Game also got my attention as the game is actually very much the opposite of its title. It’s a 2D psychedelic horror adventure game with comical violence. The art is quite frightening as it blends seemingly happy enemies and smiley faces with blood and other violence. In general it looks terrifying and the fact they set it to a Czeck freakfolk band music is even more intense.

Matt R’s pick (editor, Shindig): It seems extremely poor planning to have Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi, A Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars, and Fatal Frame / Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water all coming out on the same day. Please, I’m begging, just a crumb of collusion to help overlapping games that are clearly going to appeal to the same people and give us time to play them.

Anyway.

Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi might be one of the most compelling dungeon crawlers yet from a developer who’s reigned over the genre for years. It combines the classic mix of exploration and turn-based combat with some clever twists in labyrinth and puzzle design, but what really makes it stand out is its setting and the story that unfolds through it. Taking place in an alt-history version of 1970s Tokyo, Undernauts envisions a grim industrial hellscape where labour laws are basically non-existent and the poor and desperate wind up throwing themselves into the deadly work of mining resources from a demon-infested maze for the benefit of the rich and powerful. It’s gripping, potent stuff, and makes great use of the ‘70s aesthetic to build a particularly creepy, oppressive atmosphere.

Speaking of atmosphere, Maiden of Black Water. I couldn’t stand this game when I first played it on Wii U, but hindsight, reflection, and personal growth can make an eye-opening experience of revisiting things you once loathed. I’ve found a new appreciation for a game I once wrote off as boring and uninspired, for exactly the things I once criticised it for. Black Water is a game steeped in atmosphere and history, drawing from yūrei folklore tradition to tell a tragic story that’s only made more powerful for its quiet moments. Go in expecting a deep, thoughtful work of horror instead of a haunted house theme park attraction, and you’ll find something special here.

And finally, A Voice of Cards. I haven’t started playing yet so I can’t say too much about it, but what I know is that it’s a game with Yoko Taro at the helm that seeks to put its own unique twist on tabletop role-playing. It looks like it’s cut from the same cloth as Dungeon Encounters, in the way it lovingly reimagines those classic adventures.

Matt S’ pick (Editor, DigitallyDownloaded): I’m going to say Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water, because that is one of my favourite horror games of all, and it shines up beautifully on Nintendo Switch. It is a very “me” game. Not only does it feature some genuinely interesting reflections on Japanese art and aesthetics, and not only is it a fun ghostly adventure, but it has really pretty girls and really pretty bikinis. Resident Evil’s Ethan dude doesn’t have that.

But I don’t want to be unfair to everything else that is getting a release this week. A Voice of Cards is a Yoko Taro game and the demo was excellent. I can only imagine how compelling the full game will be. Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi appeals to the commie bastard in me because it’s both a really good horror-themed dungeon crawler, but it’s also very much an anti-capitalist treatise, and I’m all for that. And then there’s Mario Party Superstars, which Nintendo might be throwing out to rake in some easy money, but come Christmastime and family parties, that thing’s going to be a lifesaver (mostly because it saves me from braking down into commie rants at the rest of my extended family… they’ll appreciate that game too).

Finally, there’s Cupid Parasite, which looks like the most vividly colourful, hilarious thing. It’s an otome from Idea Factory, and they know their stuff, and also, after all the dark and misery of everything else I’ve been playing for Halloween, something bright, colourful and silly is exactly what the doctor ordered.

 

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.

4 comments

  1. “Brain Meltdown – Into Despair” is a really intense title.

  2. I bought The Solitaire Conspiracy because of Greg Miller and after playing I hope Greg Miller doesn’t do any more voice work in games. It was bad.

  3. Who called Project Zero, “Fatal Frame”?!?!

  4. Thanks for the contest!