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New Releases: September 9th-15th, 2021

With September ushering in cooler autumn evenings, it’s that time of year when notable, eagerly-awaited titles are arriving. This week brings Bandai Namco’s Tales of Arise, Nintendo and Intelligent System’s WarioWare: Get It Together!, Arkane’s Deathloop, as well as a Deck Nine’s second effort in the Life Is Strange franchise. Interestingly, the Colorado-based studio wasn’t always so narratively focused. Veteran games might remember when the studio was called Idol Minds and released the wonderfully low-brow Pain.

Header image: WarioWare: Get It Together!, Switch

PlayStation 4
BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites (digital, $19.99)
Catlateral Damage: Remeowstered (digital, $14.99)
Deathloop (physical & digital, $59.99)
Dustwind: The Last Resort (digital, $17.99)
Flynn: Son of Crimson (digital, $19.99)
Hindsight 20/20: Wrath of the Raakshasa (digital, $14.99)
Life is Strange: True Colors (physical & digital, $59.99)
Lost in Random (digital, $29.99)
NBA 2K22 (physical & digital, $59.99)
Tales of Arise (physical & digital, $59.99)
The Touryst (digital, $19.99)
Titan Chaser (digital, $4.99)
Toy Soldiers HD (digital, $TBA)
Ultra Age (digital, $29.99)

Switch
Apple Knight (digital, $7.99)
Ball Physics Draw Puzzles (digital, $3.49)
Beat Them All (digital, $4.99)
Between Time: Escape Room (digital, $9.99)
BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites (digital, $19.99)
Boulder Dash Deluxe (digital, $14.99)
Casino Roulette Royal (digital, $4.99)
Catlateral Damage: Remeowstered (digital, $14.99)
Colors Live (digital, $29.99)
Cruis’n Blast (digital, $39.99)
Dark Fantasy: Jigsaw Puzzle 2 (digital, $3.99)
Dice Legacy (digital, $19.99)
Espgaluda II (digital, $19.99)
Flynn: Son of Crimson (digital, $19.99)
From Earth to Heaven (digital, $6.99)
Frontier Quest (digital, $11.99)
GLO (digital, $4.99)
Highschool Romance (digital, $12.99)
Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa (digital, $14.99)
Knights & Guns (digital, $14.99)
LoveChoice (digital, $4.99)
Luna’s Fishing Garden (digital, $7.99)
Mindcell (digital, $5.00)
Momolu and Friends (digital, $9.99)
Mystik Belle Enchanted Edition (digital, $19.99)
NBA 2K22 (physical & digital, $59.99)
Olympia Soirée (digital, $49.99)
Residual (digital, $19.99)
Smash Reversi (digital, $9.00)
Smashing the Battle Ghost Soul (digital, $14.99)
Tux and Fanny (digital, $9.99)
Ultra Age (digital, $29.99)
WarioWare: Get It Together! (digital, $49.99)
Wild Pinball Bundle (digital, $8.99)

Xbox One
A Day Without Me (digital, $4.99)
BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites (digital, $19.99)
Boulder Dash Deluxe (digital, $14.99)
Catlateral Damage: Remeowstered (digital, $14.99)
Dustwind: The Last Resort (digital, $17.99)
Flynn: Son of Crimson (digital, $19.99)
From Earth to Heaven (digital, $6.99)
Hindsight 20/20: Wrath of the Raakshasa (digital, $14.99)
Life is Strange: True Colors (physical & digital, $59.99)
Lost in Random (digital, $29.99)
Merek’s Market (digital, $19.99)
NBA 2K22 (physical & digital, $59.99)
Nuclear Throne (digital, $11.99)
Tales of Arise (physical & digital, $59.99)
The Artful Escape (digital, $19.99)
Titan Chaser (digital, $4.99)
Toy Soldiers HD (digital, $TBA)

PC
Arboria ($16.99)
BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites ($19.99)
Deathloop ($59.99)
Dice Legacy ($19.99)
Flynn: Son of Crimson ($19.99)
Gas Station Simulator ($TBA)
Life is Strange: True Colors ($59.99)
Lost in Random ($29.99)
NBA 2K22 ($59.99)
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town ($35.99)
Tales of Arise ($59.99)
Terrain of Magical Expertise ($21.24)
The Artful Escape ($17.99)
The Rewinder ($TBA)
Timberborn ($TBA)
Webbed ($9.99)

Rob’s Pick: I’ve talked to quite a few people who love STGs but lack the skills required for survival and enjoyment. But before writing off Espgaluda II on Switch, know that there’s a novice mode that makes the game extremely accessible but still challenging. You won’t miss out on the bullet-canceling details, protagonists Asagi, Ageha, Tateha, and Seseri are all playable, and tate mode can be found in the options screen.

So even if you aren’t the preordained god of bullet hell shooters, mechanics like being able to destroy enemy bullets and the attack-absorbing Guard Barrier keep the level of adversity fair. But what’s best are the game’s recreation of those over-the-top, shōnen-style battles, pitting players against Masaki Hirooka (Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia) best-looking adversaries. Massive guns, foes with enormously fanned mecha-wings all while Manabu Namiki and Mitsuhiro Kaneda conduct a symphony fitting for an epic showdown. Games like Espgaluda II are why Cave is so revered in STG circles.

Ryan’s Pick: I really wanted to choose Tales of Arise this week but my current grind through Eorzea is making me think twice. Jumping into another massive RPG may end up killing my drive to continue my grind to max level, so I need to maintain focus. An FPS however, is different enough that I feel like I could still enjoy both at the same time, so Deathloop is going to be my pick for the week. Saying that Bethesda knows FPS pretty well is an understatement, but the premise for this game really has me interested.

Much like the Hitman series, this FPS allows you to plan and carry out assassinations, which is always a blast for a gamer that is always testing things out to see what happens. The unique part of this game is that if you die or run out of time, time loops backwards and you start the same day all over again. Overall, the premise of time looping over the course of one singular day looks really fun; it’s like they have taken a lot of fun parts of Dishonored and melded it with a bit of Higurashi: When they Cry. One interesting thing about the game is that it’s not a roguelike or roguelite in that the levels are not randomly generated. I think that should make things pretty challenging as you try to make your way through to unlock the ‘Golden Loop’ which is synonymous with the perfect playthrough. I like to believe that all the fun is in the journey though (evening cicada sound).

Matt C’s pick (editor, Shindig): I’ve never been a huge fan of the Tales series. They’re enjoyable enough, but rarely leave much of a mark on me—I play, I mostly have a good time, and I forget about it as soon as I put the controller down. But Tales of Arise is a game that’s going to sit with me for a long, long time.

It’s been talked up as a fresh start for the whole series, and it certainly lives up to that with a new, extremely satisfying combat system, some of the best writing and most memorable characters seen in a Tales game to date, and a new degree of finesse in every aspect of its design. That’s impressive enough in its own right, but what really sets Arise apart from what came before it is the depth and nuance with which it explores the complexities of oppression. A rebel uprising against a villainous empire is far from unheard of in a JRPG, but Tales of Arise takes that familiar—arguably, even worn-out—premise and really, really digs down into it. It’s incisive and insightful, unflinching but without ever losing its sense of hope in humanity. It’s found a spot on the same mental shelf that I have the likes of The Caligula Effect, Scarlet Nexus, Blue Reflection, and NieR on—and that’s good company to keep.

And while Arise is a clear favourite for me this week, there are so many others vying for second place. Espgaluda II, one of the highlights from Cave’s heyday, finally lands on a current system. Life is Strange: True Colours looks to continue that series unique blend of slice-of-life drama, personal reflection, and a dash of the supernatural. Olympia Soiree continues the steady stream of Otomate’s unrivalled romance games. Mystik Belle Enchanted Edition brings a charming, overlooked little indie metroidvania to Switch. If only I had the time to actually play them all.

Matt S’ pick (Editor, DigitallyDownloaded): Tales of Arise is an easy pick for me too. It’s not just that it features Rinwell, the new greatest character of all time (girl looks great with some dark sunglasses on), but also it’s a really good game, with a powerful narrative and some beautifully-tuned gameplay. I’m not even the world’s biggest fan of the Tales series, but I have become a massive fan of Rinwell… I mean Tales of Arise. One of the year’s highlights.

The other one that really stands out for me is Olympia Soiree. I don’t actually know anything about what’s in this visual novel, but I do know that it’s an Otomate effort, and that means I’m immediately on board with it. They’ve never let me down when it come to otome, and a quick glance of the screenshots tells me I’ll love this one too.

Finally, BloodRayne Betrayal. We all know that series is all about the sexy leather-clad vampiress, but WayForward produced this game way back when the PlayStation Network was unheralded, and it was a stand out thing. Brutally difficult, but gorgeous in a way that only WayForward can produce. I love that it has got a second lease on life… I just hope that it’s not nostalgia tainting my perceptions of that game.

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.

5 comments

  1. Ok, Wario, stop playing around. Bring back the Waifus.

  2. I can’t understand why Rob and Ryan didn’t pick Tales of Arise!

  3. Kind of interested in Toy Soldiers HD but didn’t they already make it HD with Toy Soldiers: War Chest?

  4. I feel people are going to sleep on Catlateral Damage. Don’t. It’s a brilliant idea. The world needs more cat-damage sims.