Games Of 2015: April

The mammoth month of March was followed by a considerably quieter April, although there were a few titles worthy of attention.

Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin (PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XBO)

Still no Dark Souls 1, apparently

“Man, it feels so good to be back. That’s what smokers say when they take their first drag months after trying to quit.”

That was Mark’s reaction when he got hands-on with Scholar of the First Sin earlier this year. If you’re playing on console, it’s undoubtedly the version to get: the higher frame rate is an absolute must for games like these, and the added patches, DLC and beefed up multiplayer are all good things to have.

Titan Souls (PC, PS4, Vita, Mac)

Titan Souls was another Aussie surprise in a year of solid local titles

My experience with Titan Souls was fairly typical. It was like Hotline Miami in a way, being stuck between wanting to bugger off and play something else and not wanting to let the game beat me.

Mark’s time with the game, as it turns out, was nearly identical to mine. I think it’ll be something I remember when Cuphead eventually comes out, since one of the worst elements of Titan Souls was the arduous travelling you had to do between the bosses.

But still, it’s a clever game. I wonder what’s happened to the other projects in that game jam.

I Am Bread (PC, PS4, Mac)

Silly simulators continued

After the nonsense that was Goat Simulator came I Am Bread, the latest in a line of “simulators” capitalising on the weird and wonderful world of internet humour. You’re a piece of bread, wandering around an environment, trying not to become mouldy in your quest to become an edible piece of toast.

It’s — somehow — a prequel to Bossa Studios’ Surgeon Simluator, which makes no sense. But then these kinds of games seem a touch ridiculous anyway. Just look at the latest update: Goat bread.

Maybe I’m just an old guy who needs to stop yelling at clouds.

Crypt of the Necrodancer (PC, PS4, Vita, Mac, Linux)

The indie roguelike train rolls on

We might have gotten a new Rock Band and Guitar Hero this year, but the rhythm genre as a whole has been on a bit of a downward trend. There’s a few indie titles here and there that incorporate music or rhythm in interesting ways, but perhaps the best proponent lately has been Crypt of the Necrodancer.

The idea is to move your character to the beat of the song that’s currently playing, with the game giving you a coin multiplier the more you keep your movement in tune. It’s incredibly clever, and it makes you pay attention to the soundtrack in a way that a lot of gamers never do.

Mortal Kombat X (PC, PS4, XBO)

It had a rocky launch on PC, but the console launch of MKX was well received

I treated Mortal Kombat X as an opportunity to try my hand at the competitive fighting game scene, and in another life with more time and patience I would have happily stuck with the game. The story wasn’t as long or as enjoyable as MK9 — and there were some weird twists that NetherRealm left hanging, like Kung Jin’s sexuality — and there were some odd matchmaking quirks initially.

But, all in all, I had an absolute blast with MKX and it was equally fun training and meeting the Sydney quarter of Australia’s MK fans (as part of the wider FGC here) too. NetherRealm have been busy adding more and more horror characters to the game since its launch.

If you didn’t jump on board and spot a cheap copy of the game at retail somewhere, it’s not a bad choice. That’s provided you’re playing on consoles though — the PC release still isn’t great (Warner Bros has had a torrid year with PC ports in general) — and it helps if you’ve got some friends around for local play. The online mode worked fine on PS4 the last time I jumped in, although that was over a month ago now.

Broken Age: Act 2 (PC, PS4, Vita, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Ouya)

Tim Schafer’s return to the point-and-click adventure world was beset with bumps and delays

The final days of April also brought closure for fans who had waited far too long, as the final act of Broken Age finally shipped on PC, PS4 and the Vita. It’s since been pushed everywhere else, including mobile platforms (which are well suited to puzzlers, as the Broken Sword games and The Room have shown).

Broken Age is probably better remembered for the impact it had on crowdfunding though than its contribution to the point-and-click adventure. The success Double Fine had through crowdfunding egged on a lot of other developers, and the wave of success Broken Age grew the Kickstarter user base in a way that made other video game projects more successful.

It recently was free for all PS4 users through PS+, and I’ve been considering whether or not to play the game with my point-and-click adventure loving mother over Christmas. I’ll probably give it a pass, though. I think games like The Talos Principle are more immediately interesting, and modern-style adventures like Life is Strange are mechanically simpler (which helps around Christmas time).

April wasn’t the most stacked month, but there were some other titles that caught my eye: Bloodsports.TV, Age of Wonders 3, Kerbal Space Program, Chroma Squad, Tropico 5 and DuckTales Remastered all come to mind. What’s your pick of the litter from April?

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