This Week In Games Australia: Fire Emblem Engages, And An Overlooked Game Freak Classic Returns

This Week In Games Australia: Fire Emblem Engages, And An Overlooked Game Freak Classic Returns

Welcome back to This Week In Games Australia! This week: Fire Emblem Engage leads a week full of strategy and management sims. Also on the docket: Sierra co-founder Roberta Williams returns with Colossal Cave, her hobby project remake of a 1976 text-adventure classic, and supernatural adventure A Space for the Unbound by Indonesian studio Mojiken finally launches into the wild. Oh, and a little game called Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! also launches. But, of course, it’s just an updated version of the most fantastic Game Freak title you’ve never played, no big deal.

Here’s what you’ll be playing this week.

January 17

Farlanders (PC)

Farlanders is a base-building management sim about terraforming a bleak alien world. Your goal is to make the planet you’ve landed on habitable for human life, and the road to doing so requires plundering that planet’s scant natural resources. You’ll need to consider building placement, power, plumbing, upgrades, and sustaining all of the systems operating your base as it grows. Build your base, look for efficiencies, and carve out a home.

Surviving the Abyss (PC)

Entering early access this week, published by Paradox Interactive, is the first of two undersea city builders. Surviving the Abyss is about crafting a base that can endure the crushing darkness and pressure of the ocean floor. You can only see by the power of your floodlights. The only air your citizens can breathe is that which you make yourself. Anything could go wrong at any time, and who knows what lurks in the darkness, just beyond the floodlight’s edge?

January 19

A Space for the Unbound (PC, NS, PS4, XBO)

A Space for the Unbound is a slice-of-life adventure game set in rural Indonesia during the 1990s. A pair of high school sweethearts, who find themselves granted special powers, must race against the clock to stop a catastrophic supernatural event. To do so, they’ll need to explore their hometown and uncover the truth of what has been happening under their noses. The central themes of A Space for the Unbound involve overcoming anxiety and depression, so some players may find this pretty heavy going. However, if you’re up for an emotional journey, I think this one might be pretty special.

Aquatico (PC)

You might remember that we talked about Aquatico in TWIG last week. Unfortunately, its release date slipped a few days, and now it’s launching this week, the second of two survival city builders set on the ocean floor. You can read all about it in last week’s yarn.

Colossal Cave (PS5, XSX, PC, NS, VR)

The legendary co-founder of Sierra Entertainment, Roberta Williams, will this week launch a remake of William Crowther’s legendary 1976 text adventure, Colossal Cave Adventure. Work on the game began in lockdown during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Roberta’s goal, she says, is to recreate the strange and unearthly feeling of playing Crowther’s beloved game in 3D. We’ll have a review for you going up later this week.

January 20

Fire Emblem Engage (NS)

Fire Emblem Engage is the latest in the enduringly popular series of tactics RPGs and appears to be a retreat to the series’ roots in heroic fantasy. The previous game in the series, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, became a massive hit for Nintendo when it launched in 2019, a game about three warring factions that all grew up together. For fans of that game, I think Engage‘s tactical side will still please and delight, but I wonder if they’re interested in the Marth And His Army Of Blue-Haired Friends plotline that Fire Emblem has done to death by now. Nevertheless, I love this series, and I’m keen to play it! I hope you are too. It’s out on Friday, exclusive to the Switch.

Monster Hunter Rise (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

Monster Hunter Rise completes its Tour of the Platforms, finally arriving on PlayStation and Xbox this week. Rise is a popular entry in the series and has more of a ‘classic’ feel to its design than the big open(ish) world swings that Monster Hunter World was willing to take. So if you love your MH and you’ve never played this one on Switch or PC, now’s your chance to take it home on all the other current and next-gen platforms.

Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! (iOS)

Pocket Card Jockey is the best non-Pokemon title Game Freak has ever produced, and I stand by that. A frenetic mix of racing and solitaire, the game’s goal is to set your horse up with the best possible chance to win. You do this pre-race by playing a shit-hot hand of solitaire to boost your horse’s mood. The more cards you clear, the happier your horse will be, which translates into raw equine speed. The difficulty of your solitaire round will be decided by your position in the stalls ahead of the race. You can also pick up cards during the race that will grant your horse more benefits and upgrades. There’s even horse breeding so you can create a thoroughbred racing dynamo with all the best traits of its mother and father. Pocket Card Jockey was initially launched on the Nintendo 3DS, where nobody played it. I’m excited for it to come to mobile so everyone can take it for a spin because it rules. I hate real-life horse racing, but I love this.

Next week:

With the arrival of Fire Emblem Engage this week, the Q1 Blitz has begun. Next week is big, with Forspoken and Dead Space arriving in short order. See you next week.

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