The Latest

New Releases: April 30th-May 6th, 2020

With the appearance of SEGA AGES G-LOC AIR BATTLE and Streets of Rage 4, nineties nostalgia reigns. Luckily, there’s much more on this week’s schedule of new game releases, such as the appearance of Touhou Mechanical Scrollery, which transports Reimu, Marissa, and the gang into a three-dimensional, danmaku, while John Wick Hex send players into a strategic bullet hell.

Header image: Streets of Rage 4, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One, and PC

PlayStation 4
Arcade Spirits (digital, $17.99)
Book of Demons (digital, $24.99)
Commandos 2 / Praetorians HD Remaster (digital, $39.99)
Down the Rabbit Hole (digital, $TBA, PS VR)
John Wick Hex (digital, $19.99)
Streets of Rage 4 (digital, $24.99)
World War Z Game of the Year Edition (digital, $49.99)

Switch
911 Operator Deluxe Edition (digital, $21.99)
Arcade Spirits (digital, $17.99)
Book of Demons (digital, $24.99)
Bubble (digital, $9.99)
Fairy Knights (digital, $7.99)
Farmer’s Dynasty (digital, $39.99)
Gun Crazy (digital, $4.99)
Levelhead (digital, $19.99)
Ministry of Broadcast (digital, $14.99)
Mushroom Heroes (digital, $5.99)
My Secret Pets! (digital, $14.99)
Pixel Art Bundle Vol. 1 (digital, $5.69)
Pocket Arcade Story (digital, $14.00)
Princess Closet (digital, $24.99)
SEGA AGES G-LOC AIR BATTLE (digital, $7.99)
StarCrossed (digital, $9.99)
Streets of Rage 4 (digital, $24.99)
Swapperoo (digital, $4.95)
The Four Kings Casino and Slots (digital, free)
Tonight We Riot (digital, $15.00)
War-Torn Dreams (digital, $6.99)

Xbox One
Antigraviator (digital, $19.99)
Arcade Spirits (digital, $17.99)
Book of Demons (digital, $24.99)
Commandos 2 / Praetorians HD Remaster (digital, $39.99)
Levelhead (digital, $19.99)
Miden Tower (digital, $14.99)
Streets of Rage 4 (digital, $24.99)
Super Toy Cars 2 (digital, $14.99)
World War Z Game of the Year Edition (digital, $49.99)

PC
Another Brick in The Mall ($11.89)
Close to the Sun ($24.99)
Dream Date ($TBA)
Fairy Fire – Defender of the Fairies ($3.49)
Follia – Dear Father ($TBA)
Landlord’s Super ($TBA)
Lumberjack’s Dynasty ($TBA)
Mobocratic ($7.49)
Path of Wuxia ($TBA)
Population Zero ($TBA)
Streets of Rage 4 ($24.99)
Touhou Mechanical Scrollery ($17.99)
Train Station Renovation ($12.74)

Robert’s Pick: Sure, Book of Demons looks like an unassuming papercraft version of Diablo. Watch gameplay of an adventurer shimmy along dungeon pathways or sweeping a marker around the screen to pick up treasure and you’re likely to underestimate the title. But, it’s one of those games that gradually grabs you tighter, with a drip-feed of new mechanics as you plunge deeper into its depths.

While combat is depicted in real-time, it’s not a test of reflexes. Instead, you’ll need to prioritize targets, evaluating things like their range, speed, offensive abilities, and armor. Items are reinterpreted as cards, adding an intuitive table-top feel. There’s a lot of creativity here, most of it designed around making the game accessible and addictive. This week, the PC release arrives on consoles and I’d love to be able to play Demons on the go, especially since you can scale the length of your treks.

Success hinges on two things: performance and a reduction of the ‘play our other games’ ads. If developer Think Trunk nails these two variables, Book of Demons might deserve a permanent place on your Switch’s SD card. Also, it would be negligent to not mention Streets of Rage 4 to brawler fans, some of whom have been waiting since the nineties to reunite with Alex, Blaze, and Adam.

Ryan’s Pick: The maker genre has really opened up a whole new world for masochistic gamers.

Since the release of Super Mario Maker, speed runners and video game olympians have flocked to this genre to both participate and spectate in attempting to clear some of the most impossible levels ever created. I honestly don’t know how some players even begin to fathom how to approach the timing and mechanics of some of the Mario Maker levels. Despite Mario’s dominance however, it’s only natural for this genre to grow and evolve, which is why my pick goes to Levelhead on Switch this week.

Let’s face it, it’s tough to go up against Mario on his own console, but it’s not to say that it’s impossible. I think that Butterscotch Shenanigans’ Levelhead is extremely polished and poised to make a name for itself, and the fact that it has had about a year to grow an existing fanbase on Steam should allow Switch players to have access to an already existing community. I try to only pick ports of games that I feel would be worthwhile on the new console, and I definitely feel like if you are already an existing maker fan that this honestly would be another fun one to try.

As a quick omake here, I got a chance to play Streets of Rage 4 at PAX, but I still miss my buddy Skate. He never missed a beat, and he was the 90’s  whipping around on rollerblades and performing jumping headbutts. Nevertheless, the new addition to the series looks pretty nostalgic despite the updated art. Turkey straight from the trashcan never tasted so good!


Matt C’s Pick (editor, Shindig): It’s hard to find a group of people as creative and passionate as the Touhou fan-game community. Touhou Mechanical Scrollery is the latest example of that creativity: a game that turns Touhou Project’s bullet hell antics into a hunting RPG in the vein of Monster Hunter and Toukiden. It’s an odd combination on paper, but if everything comes together as well as it looks like it will, this could be the best of both worlds.

All the expected things from a Touhou shoot-’em-up are here: oppressive but stunning bullet patterns to weave through (in a 3D space, no less), Spell Cards that let you unleash your own onslaught of bullets, and a grazing system that rewards you for narrowly dodging enemy shots. So too are all the trademarks of hunting games: massive behemoths to fight against, with destructible body parts that you can fashion into new, stronger equipment so that you can hunt even bigger, deadlier marks.

But it’s Touhou Project’s charming characters and setting that might just make this my go-to hunting RPG. Reimu and Marisa are both playable in Touhou Mechanical Scrollery; their optimistic curiosity and chaotic energy, respectively, should bring a welcome sense of personality to a genre that can often be very mechanical. The mysterious realm of Gensokyo, meanwhile, makes a perfect backdrop for monster hunting, drawing as heavily as it does on Japanese folklore and yōkai stories.

Ginny’s Pick: I think I’m going to be in the definite minority here but I’m going with Close to the Sun. If you fancy yourself a person of culture or history, then you might already have more than a passing interest in this game – it’s if everything that Tesla ever dreamed about came true.

We’re talking cities in the sky (a la Columbia from Bioshock Infinite), ridiculous inventions, and some incredibly beautiful backdrops that wouldn’t look out of place in a steampunk artbook. You play as Rose, a journalist who’s trying to get to the bottom of some shenanigans with her sister, and of course, nothing is that simple.

Puzzles. A dose of mystery. A bit of thriller. A bit of uncanny valley. A bit of running in terror to get the blood up. Things on fire. There’s a whole lot going on if you can stick through the relatively slow burn of the plot getting your motivations set up, and if you fancy yourself a bit of a Tesla buff. Well, that second part is optional – if you can appreciate a cool invention, you’re going to be in good hands here. The game touches on a lot of his more aspirational works, as well as his motivations, and the feeling of crawling along in a hostile airborne machine while being monologued at about the brilliance of technology is a very effective way to set the right ambiance.

I reckon Close to the Sun is a good pick if you’re wanting something that lets you really enjoy the art of exploring in a game, and it has just enough of a hook to keep you from feeling like you’re meandering instead of being properly motivated to see this alternate history plot to the end.

Matt’s Pick (Editor, DigitallyDownloaded):  I’m going to be honest here and say that there’s nothing really that’s tickling my interest this week. That’s fine, given that I’ve got a half dozen games on the backlog (half of them visual novels), and I could use a break.

Now with that said, if I do need to pick something, I’m going to fall back on old faithful genre. Commandos 2 / Praetorians HD Remaster is a pretty good deal, considering that both of those are classic strategy games for a reason. Praetorians, especially, is one I lost a lot of time to when I was younger. The strategy genre has arguably evolved more than any other over time, and it’s rare for a classic strategy game to hold up in the modern era. Whether it’s because the AI is too easy to mess with, the mechanics are too obscure, or the balance is right out, if you go back to your favourite strategy games of yesteryear, you’ll find a lot of them unplayable.

I missed the release of Praetorians HD on PC, and I have no idea how well the game will perform on console, but I’m intrigued, nonetheless. The ancient Roman era was one that is fascinating for military historians, and as an RTS, Praetorians does (or, at least, from memory did) a great job of capturing that. Let’s hope the console port does my memories justice.

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.

6 comments

  1. I always love seeing everyone’s picks. Siding with Matt C’s choice this week!

  2. A lack of JRPGs will break up a perfectly good solidarity!

  3. I’d love to see a “Dream Date” review from at least one person here. Preferably two.

  4. I’ve put quite a few hours into the PC version of Book of Demons and really like it. Its probably one of the gratifying games I’ve played in a while. Everything comes together so nicely and if you play a lot of games there’s almost no learning involved. Everything is pretty clear and easy to understand.

  5. I’m curious about SoR. But there’s a new development team and 9 times out of 10 that means it’s inferior to the original.

  6. Is Commandos 2 / Praetorians HD Remaster just the PC version of the game with controller support? I can’t imagine paying a premium to play the game without a mouse and keyboard.