The Latest

New Releases: July 15th-21st, 2021

From revisiting Electric Town in Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed, getting reunited with a candy-obsessed witch girl in Cotton Reboot! or returning to the floating island of Skyloft in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, many of this week’s new releases are rooted in the experiences of the past. But unfortunately, there are a number of new experiences, with Cris Tales offering a colorful turn-based RPG adventure and Death’s Door extending a bird’s-eye journey through a delightfully dreary world.

Header: Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed, PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC

PlayStation 4
Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed (digital, $39.99)
Cotton Reboot! (digital, $39.99)
Cris Tales (physical & digital, $39.99)
F1 2021 (physical & digital, $59.99)
Hotline Miami/Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (physical, $29.99)
Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing (digital, $29.99)
Observer: System Redux (physical & digital, $29.99)
Streets of Rage 4: Mr. X Nightmare (DLC, $7.99)
Within the Blade (digital, $10.99)

Switch
Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed (digital, $39.99)
Cotton Reboot! (digital, $39.99)
Cris Tales (physical & digital, $39.99)
Dark Fantasy: Jigsaw Puzzle (digital, $3.99)
Dark Nights with Poe and Munro (digital, $11.69)
Defend the Kingdom (digital, $4.99)
Escape From a Deserted Island ~The Adventures of Nyanzou&Kumakichi: Escape Game Series~ (digital, $3.00)
Guild of Darksteel (digital, $14.99)
Junkyard Builder (digital, $4.99)
Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective (digital, $9.95)
Lambs on the Road: The Beginning (digital, $2.99)
Lost Grimoires 3: The Forgotten Well (digital, $14.99)
Lotus Reverie: First Nexus (digital, $13.91)
Macrotis: A Mother’s Journey (digital, $11.99)
Mind Maze (digital, $4.99)
Our Battle Has Just Begun! Episode 1 (digital, $8.99)
Red Colony 2 (digital, $6.99)
Restless Night (digital, $4.99)
Risk System (digital, $9.99)
Rogue Wizards (digital, $14.99)
Squeakers II (digital, $2.99)
Steam: Rails to Riches Complete Edition (digital, $19.99)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD (digital, $59.99)
Within the Blade (digital, $10.99)
Wizodd (digital, $4.99)
Word Crush Hidden (digital, $3.49)

Xbox One
Batbarian: Testament of the Primordials (digital, $19.99)
Blaster Master Zero II (digital, $7.99)
Cris Tales (physical & digital, $39.99)
Death’s Door (digital, $16.99)
Mind Maze (digital, $3.99)
Restless Night (digital, $4.99)
Streets of Rage 4: Mr. X Nightmare (DLC, $7.99)
The Last Rolling Hero (digital, $3.90)
Within the Blade (digital, $10.99)
Wizodd (digital, $4.24)

PC
Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed ($39.99)
Creepy Tale 2 ($TBA)
Cris Tales ($39.99)
Death’s Door ($16.99)
F1 2021 ($59.99)
First Days of Atlantis ($8.99)
Ghost Hunters Corp
Highrisers ($11.89)
Mini Motorways ($TBA)
NEKOPARA – Catboys Paradise (Free)
Streets of Rage 4: Mr. X Nightmare ($6.79)
Zodiac DX ($2.54)

Rob’s Pick: I’m pretty picky about remakes of eight-bit properties. All too often, developers wander from the fundamentals that made the original games so fun. But Blaster Master Zero is retro revision done right. Don’t expect ray-tracing or even polygonal models. Instead, Inti Creates keeps the sprites chunky and the bit-mapped visuals simple. It is a process that truly captures the charm of the original games. If you enjoy old-school titles, Blaster Master Zero II delivers. I can’t wait for the third iteration later this month.

Speaking of yesteryears’ hits, Cotton Reboot! has me excited. First, the game includes the original Sharp X68000 version, an iteration that improves on even the coin-ops broom-flying virtues. Sharing some of the same microprocessors of arcade cabinets of the era, the X68000 is rather difficult to emulate, so seeing it on Switch is almost worth the price of admission. I haven’t devolved into the new version yet (but there’s a review forthcoming) but so far it does justice to Nana de Cotton and Silk’s exploits.

While I could have loved to have seen a Cotton compilation, this seven-stage cute ‘em up is the next best thing. For those that haven’t played the original, seek it out. It’s spooky Halloween vibe and tough horizontally-scrolling action was undoubtedly influential. I doubted we’d have Deathsmiles without Successes’ candy-loving witch. Also, every STG needs a timed score attack mode. In a perfect world, the Summer Carnival competition would still be going on and bigger than battle royales.

Ryan’s Pick: You know, crows get a bad rap. Crows and I go way back. They are very intelligent birds, and with so many of them where I live, it’s hard to not see or hear one on a daily basis. While they at times most certainly are up to no good, they also have been known to befriend humans and bring them gifts even. Most games that involve crows typically want you to shoot at them (like in RE:Village), but this week Death’s Door takes a slightly different approach. At first glance the game looked an awful lot like Hades to me due to its isometric viewpoint, but once I learned a bit more about it, it is actually not a roguelike and is more of an adventure game more in line with The Legend of Zelda.

Animals that can wield weapons are infinitely appealing to me, so naturally I am really enjoying the idea of the main protagonist crow using a sword. Speaking of the battle, I always tend to enjoy games with a rolling dodge mechanic like Dark Souls or Dead Cells, so I believe this should keep the action portion of the game entertaining for me. A lot of the interest for me in this game lies in the story about this soul-reaping crow. As the main character you end up in a realm that defies the laws of death, and the inhabitants are much older and affected because of this fact. I feel like that’s a pretty interesting idea and a good medium to be able to create some memorable characters, especially bosses. Speaking of bosses, this developer also created the game Titan Souls which also had some large fantastic bosses, so in general this is another reason why I’m making it my pick this week.

Matt C’s pick (editor, Shindig): Cotton came and went long before my shmup awakening, so I’m looking forward to diving into Cotton Reboot! and finally experiencing what is, but most accounts, an impressive and influential game. If nothing else, the whole “cute-’em-up” thing always gets the stamp of approval from me, and Cotton Reboot! looks like it really leans into that with wonderful character designs and delightfully eccentric enemies. I’ll join Robert in wishing we were getting a Cotton collection, but a reboot of the original is still a nice way to bring this adorable witch back into the spotlight—especially with a brand new game on the horizon, too.

My other pick is Mini Motorways, the new game from the same folks behind the utterly brilliant Mini Metro. Like Metro, Motorways is a minimalist strategy puzzle game that sees you building up a transport network in a city that’s forever growing, in both map size and population. A road network brings unique challenges to the mix, though, with traffic lights and roundabouts to manage, and motorways that can be your biggest blessing when well-placed or your biggest downfall when used poorly. It’s a game that’s somehow both extremely relaxing and borderline infuriating, but one where every inevitable failure comes with an urge for another spin that’s hard to resist.

Matt S’ pick (Editor, DigitallyDownloaded): I do love ripping the skirts off schoolgirls in Akihabara…Wait. Did I write that? Something tells me that I’ve just landed on some law enforcement lists for that. If I should disappear, Robert, I nominate you to take over my job at DDNet, okay?

But seriously, Akiba’s Trip (where the entire game is about ripping clothes off people – not just schoolgirles) is genuinely entertaining stuff, and while this PSP remaster might not be the most beautiful modernisation effort that we’ve ever seen, the game itself remains one riotously-entertaining satire of just about every subculture that haunts the hallowed streets of Japan’s electric town. God I miss it there…

For a more… arthouse… pick, I’ll also mention Cris Tales, and I’m a bit surprised that none of my esteemed colleagues above have. Cris Tales is inspired by the SNES genre classics (think Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI), but it comes to us from Columbia, South America, and the developers are very proud of this. They’ve made their intent clear here – this game is here to represent Latin American storytelling, art, and traditions and I very much love that. The more games we get from places like Columbia, telling Columbian stories, the better.

Beyond the amazing concept, Cris Tales also features some beautiful art and what looks like a wonderful combat system that’s a blend of old and new. I know this one has been on people’s radars for a few years now, but I’m starting to think that 2021 has been so packed with great JRPGs that people are getting a bit exhausted with the genre. Hopefully, Cris Tales revitalises them.

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.

3 comments

  1. Yes, I’m that guy that’s going to say Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed is overpriced. $40 for a digital PSP game in 2021?

  2. If I should disappear, Robert, I nominate you to take over my job at DDNet, okay?

    I have a feeling, he’ll be rounded up too. Give it to Matt C. He seems to have less loli thirst. 😉

  3. I like F1 games but not enough to buy this year’s game when last years can be had for $10.