It’s time to welcome in 2016 and kick off a brand new year! With a new year comes some highly anticipated releases, some which are locked into release dates, some with vague release windows, and some that will inevitably get hit with the delay hammer. Every month I’ll be bringing you a list of games and highlighting eight of them along with two honorable mentions that you should take a look at. Hopefully in this format unexpected games delays should be kept to a minimum.
While the first two months of the year are usually a down time after the traditional strong fall lineups, it’s also a time for other games to sneak in and surprise you. There were a few high profile games releasing in February with new Mirror’s Edge and Deus Ex installments but the delay hammer was swung, and boy was it swung hard. Anyway, I’ll highlighting some games to keep on your radar since January sees some heavy traffic on the 12th with a slew of interesting games getting released, while the end of the month gets busy as well. Without further delay (hehe), here are your games for January:
Developer: Choice Provisions
Platforms: PC, PS4 (Worldwide release)
The first of a trio of games releasing on the 12, Tharsis is a difficult rogue-like turn-based strategy game that will test your patience and skill. Aim to survive the ship by making difficult decisions for your crew mates in a desperate attempt to survive. Its not if you’ll resort to drastic measures in order to survive, but when… and to whom.
Gone Home: Console Edition*
Developer: The Fullbright Company
Platforms: PS4, XBO (Worldwide)
Set in 1995 Gone Home is the story about Kaitlin Greenbriar who arrives home after a year long trip abroad. Gone Home is an interactive adventure game set inside the mansion where players will interact with the environment and piece together a story about who this family really is.
*Last minute delay in Europe and Australia due to ratings and certification issues in those territories according to Fullbright’s twitter account.
The Banner Saga
Developer: Stoic Studio
Platforms: XBO, PS4 (Worldwide)
Another game that demands some output of that thing lodged in your skull, The Banner Saga is a fantasy tactical role playing game. Inspired by Viking lore, players will form a party, build relationships, and shape their story via conversation choices and engaging turn-based combat.
Developer: Night School Studio
Platforms: PC, XBO (Worldwide?)
For their high school graduation a group of friends head out to an island off the coast of their hometown and get caught up in supernatural phenomenon. Explore the island and interact with your friends through dialogue options in this adventure game.
The Deadly Tower of Monsters
Developer: ACE Team
Platforms: PC (Worldwide)
Do you like watching B-rate sci-fi movies? Have you ever wanted to be in a B-rate sci-fi move? Well, The Deadly Tower of Monsters has you covered. Like something ripped right out of old sci-fi movies of of the 70’s, Dick Starspeed, Scarlet Nova, and the aptly named Robot take on classic and cliche monsters in this action-adventure game.
Developer: Thekla Inc
Platforms: PC, PS4 (Worldwide)
January really is a month that will test your thinking abilities. The Witness is a 3D puzzle game meets open world environment. An interesting combination that has players solving puzzles, both natural and man-made, on an abandoned island to explore and uncover its secrets.
Developer: Wolfbrew Games
Platforms: PC (Worldwide?)
A bit of a different selection compared to this months games, Slain! goes old school visual wise bringing some much needed slide scroll action to the mix (with a dash of puzzles). Slain! isn’t afraid to shed some blood and may just have the most metal-heavy soundtrack in video games. After this year’s fantastic Axiom Verge I’m looking forward to taking a swing at more old school inspired side scrollers.
Final Fantasy Explorers
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: 3DS (January 28th, Australia / January 29th Europe / January 26th North America)
Rounding out January is yet another Final Fantasy spin-off game. Sometimes hit or miss, Final Fantasy explorers is shaping up to be more of a hit. For a franchise moving towards action-RPG mechanics the handheld games are the ones featuring more traditional gameplay. Explorers is no different and features customization characters, a job system, the ability to recruit and train monsters, and familiar faces from the franchise.
Here are the two games that are releasing this month that should also get some attention. The first is titled, That Dragon, Cancer releasing January 12th (PC/MAC, worldwide) and then Rise of the Tomb Raider (PC, worldwide) arriving on January 28th. Video games as a medium has an ever increase breadth of experiences and this month has had a good peek into that expanding breadth with Gone Home and Oxenfree. However, That Dragon, Cancer might be the one game to deliver the biggest emotional impact we’ll see all year. After a terminal cancer diagnosis of their year old son, the developers created a game detailing both their joy and sadness pulled right from their real life experiences in this exploration game. Lastly, we have Rise of the Tomb Raider (recently reviewed by Bryan, which can be read here) which is the sequel to 2013 Tomb Raider and was met with a glowing critical reception. It launches on PC later this month.
That Dragon, Cancer (Numinous Games)
Rise of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics):