Happy Monday, friends! Did you enjoy your weekend of Elden Ring? I hope so!
If you were hoping for a quiet week so you could sink more time into Elden Ring and Horizon: Forbidden West, good news, you’ve got one. Gran Turismo 7 and Triangle Strategy dominate the weekend ahead, with a little bit of everything in between. Indies. Musou strategy. Platformers. RPGs. Party games. The (sort of, kind of) return of Portal for a device we can’t get in Australia yet. There’s a bit on. Let’s get into it.
Aperture Desk Job (PC)
As a way to close out its Steam Next Fest event, Valve announced a new “playable short” set in the Portal universe. The game is playable on PC but has been purpose-built to showcase the talents of its new Steam Deck device. Now, we know, we can’t actually get a Steam Deck in Australia just yet. But that ain’t no problem: you can still play it on your PC and best of all, it’s free!
Conan Chop Chop (NS, PC, PS4, XBO)
Conan Chop Chop is a new party game from South Australian studio Mighty Kingdom. It’s somewhere between a brawler and a dungeon crawler and is all about laying into cartoon mobs with a variety of melee weaponry. The Conan series has always hung its hat on heavy violence and other, er, adult themes. Chop Chop is a more family-friendly take on the material, full of animated stick figures and slapstick violence. I can see this being popular on Friday night with friends over.
Far: Changing Tides (PS5, XSX, NS, PC, PS4, XBO)
Far: Changing Tides is the sequel to 2018’s Far: Lone Sails. It’s an exploration game about a little guy and his shuddering, clanking, mechanical hulk of a boat. Far: Changing Tides adds a new submersible mode, allowing players to drive their rustbucket barge beneath the waves. Moody, atmospheric, and possibly a challenge for anyone with a fear of the ocean, this one looks really cool. Made by Swiss developer Okomotive.
Shadow Warrior 3 (PC, PS4, XBO)
In the hands of a lesser developer, the Shadow Warrior franchise might feel increasingly like a series from a different time. The series began life as a bloody 3D Realms shooter made in the Build engine, full of pretty gross Asian stereotypes and “jokes”. It’s now a series of bloody shooters by Flying Wild Hog, somewhat ironically inspired by 3D Realms competitor id Software’s DOOM reboots. Despite keeping the main character’s exceedingly imaginative name Lo Wang (bruh), the games have tried to reign in the stereotypes without reigning in the spectacular gore that is its hallmark. Not really a middle ground on this one: it’s either gonna be your thing, or it isn’t.
Little Orpheus (PS5, XSX, PC, NS, PS4, XBO)
Originally released on Apple Arcade in 2021, Little Orpheus is now coming to other platforms. Little Orpheus is a game by The Chinese Room, part of Sumo Digital, about a Russian cosmonaut. While the US was focused on putting a man on the moon, Ivan Ivanovich was dropped into the mouth of an extinct volcano on a mission to explore the centre of the earth itself. It’s a fun, whimsical little puzzle platformer with a great aesthetic.
Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream (NS, PS4)
This one was actually supposed to drop last week but copped a short delay (possibly due to it being a JRPG heavy week) so here it is again. Here’s what we wrote last week:
“Altelier fans, you just keep winning. This series has more offshoots and permutations than Kingdom Hearts at this point. This one’s got match-3 puzzle elements, and they appear to bop a sheep on the head with a magic rod at one point. Fun!”
Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires (NS, PS4, XBO)
For those who like a little strategy mixed in with their Musou combat. The Empires franchise still lets you wade into crowds of enemies like an invulnerable god, but there’s more to it than that. Empires is about creating your own Three Kingdoms character and slowly building them into a legendary general. You’ll have to forge alliances, create trade routes, choose who to support and who to turn your back on. There’s a reason this series has cultivated a dedicated following and it’s because it offers something unique in the Musou world.
Babylon’s Fall (PS5, PC, PS4)
Square Enix partners with PlatinumGames on a JRPG-infused fantasy game with that sweet, signature PG combat. I can see this being a sleeper hit, maybe becoming a cult favourite, based entirely on how sick the combat looks alone.
Gran Turismo 7 (PS5, PS4)
The beloved console driving simulator returns in its first full-fledged entry since Gran Turismo Sport. New tracks, new cars, a new world map, and new modes all combine with an incredibly deep motorsport simulation that will have enthusiasts revved up. It’ll be lights out and away we go for reviews starting 10:01 pm on Wednesday so make sure you pop back for that.
Triangle Strategy (NS)
The spiritual follow up to Octopath Traveller is a pixel-art, turn-based tactics game in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics. You already know if you’re down for this one, and it will be followed in fairly short order by Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp in April. A good time to be a tactics fan with a Switch.