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New Releases: December 17th-23rd, 2020

Open wide! It’s time for a heaping helping of new releases. With many of the titles from major publishers already in digital stores and retail shelves, this week brings a number of notable indies. From Crawlco Block Knockers tribute to classic coin-ops, Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons homage to a SRPG classic, and SYNTHETIK: Ultimate’s unique approach to the twin-stick roguelike, remarkable titles are abundant. With the debut of Nekopara Vol. 4, ABYSS OF THE SACRIFICE, Riddle Joker, and Fxxx Me Royally!! Horny Magical Princess, visual novel fans have plenty of reasons for delight.

Header art: Riddle Joker, PC

PlayStation 4
Arcade Archives: Markham (digital, $7.99)
Nekopara Vol. 4 (digital, $14.99)
Nioh 2: The First Samurai (DLC, $9.99)
Override 2: Super Mech League (digital, $29.99)

Switch
60 Seconds! Reatomized (digital, $9.99)
ABYSS OF THE SACRIFICE/密室のサクリファイス (digital, $31.99)
Body of Evidence (digital, $9.99)
Crawlco Block Knockers (digital, $8.99)
Dark Arcana: The Carnival (digital, $14.99)
Defentron (digital, $8.99)
Freddy Spaghetti (digital, $4.99)
Gems of Magic: Lost Family (digital, $9.99)
Isolation Story (digital, $9.99)
Killer Chambers (digital, $9.99)
Landflix Odyssey (digital, $14.99)
Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons (digital, $19.99)
Outbreak Lost Hope (digital, $11.04)
Override 2: Super Mech League (digital, $29.99)
Secrets of Magic 2 – Witches & Wizards (digital, $9.99)
Shikaku Shapes (digital, $2.49)
Smart Moves (digital, $5.99)
Super Meat Boy Forever (digital, $19.99)
SYNTHETIK: Ultimate (digital, $14.99)
Traditional Tactics Ne+ (digital, $9.99)
Traffix (digital, $3.99)
Unto the End (digital, $24.99)
Yum Yum Line (digital, $7.99)

Xbox One
60 Parsecs! (digital, $9.99)
60 Seconds! Reatomized (digital, $9.99)
Cattch (digital, $9.99)
Elemental War (digital, $14.99)
Monster Train (digital, $24.99)
Neoverse (digital, $19.49)
Override 2: Super Mech League (digital, $29.99)
Wilmot’s Warehouse (digital, $14.99)

PC
Airborne Kingdom ($TBA)
Ancient Cities ($49.99)
Don’t Be Afraid ($11.89)
Fireworks Mania – An Explosive Simulator ($11.99)
Fxxx Me Royally!! Horny Magical Princess ($TBA)
Love n Dream: Virtual Happiness ($TBA)
Override 2: Super Mech League ($29.99)
Riddle Joker ($TBA)
Wattam ($TBA)

Rob’s Pick: Nudity in games is often the main enticement, rather than a pleasant consequence. This week, Crawlco Block Knockers subverts that trend. Sure, there’s a bit of cartoonish skin on display. Body parts get uncovered much like that mischievous, old Gals Panic series, as you uncover parts of the backdrop.

But Block Knockers is also a surprisingly good arcade-style game, with developer CosmiKankei delivering an engaging blend of Qix and Pengo. Like many classics, it’s a test of both reflexes and improvisational thinking, where oversights eventually lead to your downfall. And frequently, they lead to yet another attempt to get it right. Had this arrived in coin-op form, it would have siphoned its modest price in quarters long ago.

Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons isn’t going to overthrow Final Fantasy Tactic’s standing in the strategy role-playing world. But it’s certainly not an unpleasant experience, offering the kind of turn-based maneuvers I can’t seem to get enough of. As a standalone title with no direct relation to previous titles, it’s a perfect inroad for Rideon’s underdog series. While the play and art are attractive, the storytelling is a bit too plain-spoken and its characters are just a bit underdeveloped. But that shouldn’t stop genre fans from enjoying this grid-based jaunt.

Matt S’ pick (Editor, DigitallyDownloaded): I do like me a good escape game, and ABYSS OF THE SACRIFICE will, I am really hoping, be a good escape game. Done well escape games are intense dives into the human condition, examining the psychology of people in the most extreme circumstances. Game Theory games into play, as people start to betray one another in order to put themselves over the line. And that’s just the start of the various moral quandaries. Now, ABYSS OF THE SACRIFICE does have the mighty R18+ rating here in Australia, and for this particular genre I’m taking that as a good sign. Beyond that I don’t know much about this game at all and I am very excited to find out.

Also there’s a girl with pink twintails in the screenshots. And boy do I want to get to know her better.

I would also like to echo Robert on Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons. It’s not going to win awards for its storytelling, but given what does win awards that’s not necessarily a bad thing or an indication of quality. It has its heart in the right place, and the tactical combat action that it offers is traditional in the right way. If you’ve ever enjoyed a tactics JRPG, you should find this a very pleasant game indeed.

Ryan’s Pick: Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons is my pick of the week. I’ve been looking for a new SRPG to play recently so I think I will spend some time checking out this one. I do like that they are using 3D maps instead of sprites, so I think that will help set them apart from other tactical RPGs. My only reservations I have about the series is that it does give off the appearance that it may be a bit shorter than other RPGs, but hopefully this will not be the case.

Another fantastic pickup this week would be Super Meat Boy Forever for Switch. Granted this is a port of a game that was released ten years ago, but I would say that if you haven’t played the original game then this is a quintessential indie game with plenty of moments of triumph and frustration. Lastly, if I may be so bold, I would also give the VN Riddle Joker a mention if you are looking for a bit more moe. I mean who isn’t?

Matt C’s pick (editor, Shindig): It’s not weird if we all pick Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons, right? There’s a particular itch that tactical RPGs do a great job of scratching, and Mercenaries Blaze is no exception to that. It doesn’t quite have the same narrative oomph as the games it draws inspiration from, but it gets the tactical combat and deep class levelling systems right, and that’s enough to make for a great way to spend a few dozen hours.

I’ve also got my eye on Fxxx Me Royally! Horny Magical Princess, an erotic comedy visual novel about a very horny alien from a very sex-positive planet who comes to Earth in search of a husband and to spread her planet’s culture. Despite their reputation, erotic games can be—and often are—fun, creative, worthwhile endeavours with a lot more going for them than just titillation (though the titillation doesn’t hurt), and Fxx Me Royally! looks like another great example of that.

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.

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