This Week In Games Australia: Wild Hearts Leads 2023’s Busiest Week In Gaming Yet

This Week In Games Australia: Wild Hearts Leads 2023’s Busiest Week In Gaming Yet

Happy Monday and welcome to This Week In Games Australia, your look at all the best games you could be playing in the week ahead. This week is PACKED, with Wild Hearts and The Settlers: New Allies making up the AAA contingent and a tidal wave of incredible indies like Blanc, Red Tape, Joon Shining, and The Last Starship all coming in hot.

Let’s take a look at what you’ll be playing this week.

February 14

Red Tape (PC)

Red Tape is a game that takes the term “corporate hell” extremely literally. All your character wants to do is get a meeting with the Devil himself. You would think that such a task would be simple enough to accomplish, but no. Hell is a bureaucracy, because of course it is. To get to the devil, you’ll have to work your way through nine levels of nightmarish corporate red tape. A great idea, and I love the Build Engine aesthetic for a horror game.


Ten Dates (PS5, XSX, PC, NS, PS4, XBO, AND, IOS)

Ten Dates is an FMV game about speed dating. The sequel to the popular Five Dates, which was about digital dating, Ten Dates is about getting off the apps and getting yourself back out there. It’s got the energy of a rom-com, a dry British sense of humour, and a big, big heart. One to check out if you’re self-conscious about dating (and a lot of us are! There’s no shame in thinking it’s weird! Dating is weird!). Happy Valentines Day.


Wanted: Dead (PS5, XSX, PC, PS4, XBO)

Or, if dating isn’t your thing, maybe you’d rather blast some zombies instead. Wanted: Dead is the new action game from Soleil Ltd, a studio with talent that worked on Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive. I’m sure that paints a picture of what you can expect from a game like this. You play a cop in Hong Kong’s elite Zombie Unit, whose involvement in the force leads to their unravelling a vast corporate conspiracy.


February 15

Blanc (PC, NS)

Blanc is a game about a wolf cub and deer faun, stuck together after a snowstorm leaves them separated from their families. A perfect encapsulation of the tall/small trope, Blanc is a co-operative game about scale. The wolf cub’s small frame allows it to squeeze into cramped spaces, while the faun’s long legs allow it to reach things higher up, or step over obstacles. The game’s aesthetic is a striking pen-and-ink styled black-on-white that perfectly communicates the powdery snow blanketing the world. If you’ve been looking for more couch co-op, pick this one up (though there’s online play too).


Cities: Skylines: Remastered (PS5, XSX)

Cities: Skylines: Remastered, a game with not one but two colons in its name, drops this week. If you’ve ever played Cities: Skylines before, you’ll know why it has become the defacto modern Sim City game. An intricate city builder that demands care and attention, it came to consoles several years ago. Now, it’s getting another console drop for PS5 and Xbox Series X, with a few upgrades to keep it looking and playing as smoothly as possible on your TV.


Corgi Cove (PC)

The pitch for Corgi Cove is dead simple: What if corgi solve puzzle? If that has already piqued your interest, then Corgi Cove is the game for you.


Pharaoh: A New Era (PC)

To be interested in video games while growing up in the 90’s was to be immersed in one of the genres that defined the decade — the city builder. Caesar. Colonosation. Civilisation. These games were a huge part of the PC gaming landscape of the era. Pharaoh was but one of these games, and a beloved one at that. It was a city builder that didn’t automatically demand militarism. It was happy for you to build your Egyptian city and give your citizens a nice life before you reached a certain critical mass, and defence became a necessary evil to ensure continued growth. The ground-up remake, Pharaoh: A New Era, is out this week and I absolutely cannot wait to play it.


February 16

Dust & Neon (PC, NS, IOS)

Dust & Neon is a roguelite twin-stick shooter in which you play a robot cowboy in a cyberpunk wild. Each run helps you level up your character and prepare for the next. The combination of setting and aesthetic is a great one, and I like the look of its game loop. Will be checking this one out for sure.


Elderand (PC, NS)

Just in case having a literal Metroid game shadowdrop on Switch last week wasn’t enough, here’s a brand new 2D Metroidvania for you. Elderand is a 2D, pixel-style Vania with tough bosses and a satisfying loop. One for the genre diehards.


The Last Starship (PC)

The Last Starship is a survival management sim by Introversion Software, creators of Prison Architect, DEFCON, and Darwinia. Your goal is to build the most indomitable starship in the galaxy, fending off incoming threats until you alone remain. As with its previous games, this promises to be a complex and rewarding management sim.


Loretta (PC)

Loretta is a Hitchcockian point-and-click thriller about a woman in the 1940’s named Loretta. Life isn’t great for Loretta — she and her husband uprooted their lives in New York for a rundown farmhouse in the south, and it hasn’t gone well. Neither of them is finding much success — their finances are a mess, and their relationship is strained. Worse, she’s found evidence that her husband is a cheater. Upon discovering the very lucrative life insurance policy he has filed in his own name, a plan to get out of Dodge begins to take shape in Loretta’s mind. How far she takes it is entirely up to you.


Montezuma’s Revenge featuring Panama Joe (NS)

A classic of the Atari 2600 era returns on Switch this week, and what a great excuse for me to post this incredibly 80s TV ad.

There’s a hundred rooms! Crawlin’ with critters! You arcade freaks gotta think! And you computer nuts gotta react!


Returnal (PC)

One of the PS5’s first big exclusives arrives on PC this week. A sci-fi roguelike with bullet hell boss battles from Housemarque, Returnal was one of the best games of 2021. Now, it’s on PC, though you’ll need an extremely sturdy rig to make the most of it.


Verdict Guilty (NS, PS4, XBO)

Verdict Guilty is a Streets of Rage style arcade brawler. You’ve probably heard of it if you’re at all interested in the genre. It’s been around for years on other platforms, and now it’s coming to Switch, PS4 and Xbox One.


February 17

Joon Shining (PC)

Joon Shining is a golf-life (incredible genre) puzzle platformer by Adelaide studio Orchid of Redemption. The vibe is Extremely Tranquil, which is good because when I play golf I get mad very quickly. The goal is to navigate your little ball of light through increasingly complex 3D spaces, achieving perfect arcs and occasional trickshots in order to proceed. Patience and care will be rewarded.


Rooftop Renegade (PC, NS, PS4, XBO)

The second game from a studio based in Adelaide this week, Rooftop Renegade is a speedrunning platformer that pushes the player to make split-second decisions about pathing. Yuo’ll be under fire the entire time, with the level changing around you as you progress. You can play solo, or with up to three players locally or online. Great, great gear and the soundtrack goes extremely hard.


Tales of Symphonia Remastered (XSX, NS, PS4, XBO)

Tales fans have been eating incredibly well over the last twelve months. Tales of Symphonia Remastered brings one of the series’ best entries back to modern platforms. Some of you have already closed the tab and run to drop a preorder. I don’t blame you.


Theatrhythm Final Bar Line (NS, PS4)

Theatrythm Final Bar Line is a rhythm game full of music from classic Square Enix titles. As you play each song, a small crew of characters from games like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger crawl across the screen and do battle with various enemies, a bit like an idle battler. The better you do in the song, the further your heroes will get.


The Settlers: New Allies (PC)

The Settlers: New Allies is a new RTS city builder from Ubisoft BlueByte, the team behind the excellent Anno 1800. It’s a continuation of the 30-year colony sim franchise that brings tons of new touches of modernity to the game, like specialist building units to help you complete projects in record time. Personally, I’m just excited to citizen pathing the works properly. I don’t know if I even need to say more than that. Like the Tales of Symphonia fans, there are a few of you that have bailed straight out of this article to throw down a preorder.


Wild Hearts (PS5, XSX, PC)

Probably the week’s biggest game and of course, it’s last on the list. An unlikely partnership between the EA Originals imprint and Koei Tecmo, Wild Hearts‘ closest comparison is probably Monster Hunter. The loop is fairly similar — gear up and gather intel on various massive creatures before striking out to hunt them down. Securing the kill grants you major resources to upgrade your character and go on the next big hunt. Switching weapons means learning a whole new combat system. It’s interesting to see a Western publisher pursue an idea that has for years been more of a Japanese fascination, but with Monster Hunter‘s explosion into the Western consciousness, I suppose it was only a matter of time. It’s out this week.

Wanna know what’s coming next week and can’t wait till Monday? Follow The Kotaku Australia Podcast! Ruby and I will take you through the next week of releases every Friday! It’s like a little TWIG preview for your ears! Right now you can find us on Apple Podcasts for the audio version, or our YouTube channel for the video version! We’ll be expanding the show to other platforms in the coming weeks, so keep an ear out!

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