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New Releases: March 11-17th, 2021

With imminent arrivals like Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning expect to see a number of familiar titles arrive on consoles across the next seven days. But you might also be on the lookout for slightly less familiar titles. A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism brings Artdisk’s prolific rail simulation to Switch while Bishoujo Battle Cyber Panic! offers a nod to a coin-op classic.

Header image: Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, Switch

PlayStation 4
Doodle Devil: 3volution (digital, $TBA)
In Rays of the Light (digital, $7.99)
Journey of the Broken Circle (digital, $7.99)
Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 4 (physical & digital, $59.99)
Mundaun (digital, $TBA)
R.B.I. Baseball 21 (digital, $29.99)
Signs of the Sojourner ($19.99, 16.99 PS+)
Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (digital, $19.99)

Switch
A Day Without Me (digital, $5.99)
A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism (digital, $59.99)
Alchemist Simulator (digital, $11.24)
Battle Brothers – A Turn Based Tactical RPG (digital, $25.49)
Bishoujo Battle Cyber Panic! (digital, $5.99)
Bloody Bunny, The Game (digital, $9.99)
Bob Help Them (digital, $6.39)
Bricks Pinball VI (digital, $9.99)
Chained (digital, $4.49)
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time (digital, $39.99)
Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse (digital, $17.99)
Doodle Devil: 3volution (digital, $6.74)
Faircroft’s Antiques: Home for Christmas Collector’s Edition (digital, $9.99)
In Rays of the Light (digital, $7.99)
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning (digital, $39.99)
Multi Quiz (digital, $9.99)
NoReload Heroes Enhanced Edition (digital, $24.99)
Pinkman+ (digital, $4.99)
R.B.I. Baseball 21 (digital, $29.99)
Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited (digital, $49.99)
Smash Club: Streets of Shmeenis (digital, $1.00)
Sokodice (digital, $5.99)
Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (digital, $19.99)
The Dealer Simulator (digital, $19.99)
WRC 9 The Official Game (digital, $49.99)

Xbox One
Doodle Devil: 3volution (digital, $6.74)
Dungeon Defenders: Awakened (digital, $29.99)
Heaven Dust (digital, $9.99)
In Rays of the Light (digital, $7.99)
Journey of the Broken Circle (digital, $7.99)
Mundaun (digital, $TBA)
R.B.I. Baseball 21 (digital, $29.99)
Self: Where’s My Father (digital, $7.99)
Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (digital, $19.99)

PC
Bloodroots ($TBA)
Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse ($17.99)
Ecosystem ($TBA)
Explorer of Yggdrasil ($TBA)
Majestic Trials ($14.99)
Mundaun ($TBA)
Pascal’s Wager: Definitive Edition ($TBA)
Sapper – Defuse The Bomb Simulator ($7.99)
Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited ($49.99)
Siralim Ultimate ($TBA)
Star Dynasties ($TBA)
Wind Angel ($3.59)
Zack 2: Celestine’s Map ($14.99)

Robert’s Pick: As far as game concepts conceptualized by couples in hot tubs go, nothing can hold a candle to Randy and Sandy Pfeiffer’s Qix. Back when Taito had an American division, the pair’s aquatic-born epiphany became a coin-on cabinet in 1981, an era when arcades were filled with space shooters and arcade games. Qix was delightfully abstract, tasking players with drawing boxes that when completed would gradually capture part of the playfield. While the original game was quickly forgotten, its legacy lived on, inspiring eroge clones under Kaneko’s Gals Panic series during the Nineties.

This week’s release of Bishoujo Battle Cyber Panic! Is a classier, more polished version of Gals Panic. In place of the centerfolds are 40 or so hand drawn models all clad in sexy faux-military gear. So, if you liked the look of Azure Lane, you should appreciate the aesthetic here. The game itself offers a succession of stages that offers a softer learning curve than the original Qix, while still retaining the tension of drawing lines to corral enemies. It’s not an epic experience, but well worth the six-dollar admission price and one I’ll undoubtedly return to when I return to commuting. Expectedly, I also have to give a mention to A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism. As a lifelong rail rider, I’m captivated by the possibility of laying down transit systems while I’m on public transit. I expect plenty of inspiration, with Southern California teaching me how not to build and run things.

Matt S’ pick (Editor, DigitallyDownloaded): The last A-Train that I played, back on the 3DS, became a hobby unto itself. It was that complex, time consuming, but ultimately rewarding that I couldn’t put the thing down for months. It’s a simulator where, rather than build the city, you build the transport network, and if you do a good job of that, the city builds up around the stations, bus stops, and so on. It was so effective in highlighting the value of transport to city development, in fact, that I quite genuinely considered buying a 3DS and copy of the game to send to our state premier here in NSW, Australia, because these clowns do not get it. So, if A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism can capture even a fraction of the depth and quality of that 3DS game, I’ll be over the moon.

I also want to make a call out to Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited. I played Stranger of Sword City on the PlayStation Vita, and it is a magnificent dungeon crawler, with Experience Inc’s trademark mastery over art and deep understanding of dungeon crawler level design, narrative, and structure. I’d jump at the chance to replay that alone. Throw in an all-new game in Saviors of Sapphire Wings, and we’ve got a package that will absorb me for dozens of hours.

Ryan’s Pick: Bishoujo Battle Cyber Panic! is the clear winner this week. I have suggested games from this genre in the past, and that is for a good reason. While the premise is simple, the gameplay is addictive, and there is a considerable amount of skill involved to fully unlock the images once the difficulty ramps. Art and unlocking images is at the core of this genre, so if military bishojou themed stills are your forte, then this is definitely your game. The music selection for games in this genre is fairly eclectic, with this title’s soundtrack featuring higher BPM electronic music. The tracklist gives me BeatMania IIDX nostalgia with what I’ve heard so far, so I feel like the music will add an extra level of urgency as I get verbose for making a poor decision and locking out a key portion of the photo.

If sniper rifle wielding bishojou’s do not align with your chakra this week, then perhaps Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse may be worth a look. In your internet travels you more than likely have encountered the Cyanide & Happiness webcomic featuring stick figures and fairly dark humor. It has grown over the years in both popularity and fandom, with this game being the product of a successfully funded Kickstarter. Over the years they have added quite a few characters into the comic’s universe, so if you are a fan or enjoy fairly abstract humor, then I think this could be a pretty fun experience. Any game that allows you to force your character to wear embarrassing costumes is a must, so that alone is reason enough for me to give this one a go.

Matt C’s pick (editor, Shindig): I was pleasantly surprised to find out that A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism would be getting a worldwide release. I kinda just assumed it would be an import-only deal, but here it is, getting the worldwide release it deserves (and saving me the hassle of jumping through the hoops that come with importing). A-Train’s unique approach to city-building is an endlessly fascinating one: you build the transport network, and the city develops around it. You don’t directly build the city, but you drive its growth and direction. With All Aboard! Tourism, there’s an increased focus on landmarks and tourist attractions, which should add a nice extra layer to A-Train’s fundamentals.

For something a little different, Journey of the Broken Circle is an exploration of relationships, falling in and out of love, and finding your place in the world, all told through an intriguing little puzzle platformer. A broken circle looks for the right shape to make it whole, and the relationships that develop—and fall apart—as other shapes try to fill that void form the backbone of the game’s puzzles. It can be a little on the nose at times (you can probably already guess what the underlying message is), but it’s a heartfelt story told and a neat example of using game mechanics to drive home a theme.

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.

7 comments

  1. Crash Bandicoot 4 is coming to PS5 XSS/X this week too right?

  2. Crash is a unexpected choice this week. Are there no other waifus available?

    A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism sounds good, but I’m not sold on a $60 digital release. At least give me a physical copy for that price!

    • I can understand paying more than $50 for a physical release since there are claims the cards cost money. But $60 feels like a niche cash grab.

      As always, hold and wait for a price drop. From the screenshots, it doesn’t look it supports touch screen input anyway. Are any of you reviewing it?

      • I’ve got to buy a copy yet, but I’ll review it over the weekend.

        The thing is, for super-niche games, that initial price is absolutely essential. The cost of cards and distribution and so on is not *that* significant when you’re doing so by the shipping container, given that the retail visibility will mean more units sold. That physical copy = justified higher price thing is just a perception thing among consumers.

        Really, price is set based on how many units a thing is expected to sell against what it cost to make. When you’re only selling to an expected audience of four digits worldwide, you just don’t have a viable product if too many of them are waiting for price drops.

        Naturally I recommend waiting for the reviews, but if they say what you need to hear and the game looks good to you, I highly recommend buying niche games at full price (if you can afford it).

        • Looking forward to your review.

          But I just want to add that games aren’t released into a vacuum. It’s competing with a lot of other titles every week. So, I can spend $60 on a game I want, or buy two $20 games that might be nearly as interesting.

          I understand that niche products have to priced at a certain point, but I also feel that if A-Train was sold at $30 it would sell more than 2X the amount at $60.

          Not sure if you remember when 2K5 football released at $20, undercutted Madden, (not niche but the point remains) which was selling for $50. It was a very successful strategy.

          Selling 100 copies at $60=$6000
          Selling 200 copies at $30=$6000

          • “I understand that niche products have to priced at a certain point, but I also feel that if A-Train was sold at $30 it would sell more than 2X the amount at $60.”

            Having worked in the games industry and seen how things are priced and how they sell, I can assure you that it almost never works that way for niche products. Halving the price on niche products does not double sales.

            To use your example to highlight, you can only sell 200 copies of a game at $30 if there are 200 possible customers for the game. When you’re selling a mass-market title, then that’s an assumption you can usually make.

            When you’re selling something niche, however, the only working strategy is to assume that you’ve only got 100 potential customers and that your goal should be to get those 100 customers to spend as much as they can bear (however grudgingly).

            You said it yourself. There are a lot of games released each week that A-Train is competing against. The publisher – and I assure you they have people whose only job is to research the market and price these things – knows full well that the market for “super hardcore simulations that make Cities Skylines look like casual entertainment” is a fleetingly-small market, but one that is willing to spend a bit more for a game that suits their interests and otherwise doesn’t exist.

            The 2K5 Football game worked because the potential market for gridiron football games is *massive* and therefore publisher was able to guarantee a big percentage increase in sales by undercutting the competitor… the difference is actually very relevant here that you can’t compare mainstream entertainment to a niche within a niche. I’d be surprised if there’s a single example out there of a truly niche game in a niche area of interest that has doubled sales by halving the price.

            This is how it works in all niche industries, mind you. Ferrari doesn’t discount its sports cars. They don’t end up selling as many as, say, Hyundai or Toyota, but Ferrari also knows that it has a limited audience, and rather than try to eke out a couple of extra car sales to those that may consider buying the car at a discount, Ferrari instead focuses on maximising the value of the sales to their target audience. Dolfie Dream sells Hatsune Miku dolls for $1000, and they *might* sell a couple more if they cut margins and sell them closer to cost, but the business is actually healthier selling them to a smaller audience of suckers like me that just *had* to own a Hatsune Miku doll.

            And so on and so forth.

            Don’t get me wrong, I totally get the disappointment with the price – I gritted my teeth as I made the purchase too – but as a commercial decision Artdink 100% made the right one, I guarantee you.

  3. I feel the same. I have a month gaming budget (i.e. a wife) and I want to get all the enjoyment I can from the amount of money I have.

    That’s why I have avoided $70 games (and the PS5 in general). I can just as much fun from cheaper games. All games eventually drop in price. Even Nintendo dropped the price of some of the first-party titles this week which almost never happens. I can wait until prices fall. Being patient always pays off.