Welcome back to This Week In Games Australia, your weekly look at the games arriving in Aus over the next seven days.
Souls fans, all you need to know is that you’ll be playing Wo Long. Good to see you, catch you next week.
For everyone else, this week is all about the AA’s and the indies. Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty and Scars Above are the week’s two biggest titles — one a brutal Soulslike from the creators of Nioh, and the other a challenging sci-fi shooter. Elsewhere, the indies have another great week with Adelaide’s Partum Artifex, Phantom Brigade, and Brok: The InvestiGator all arriving at once.
If you’d like more on what’s coming out this week, don’t forget to check out the latest episode of The Kotaku Australia Podcast, in which Ruby and I discuss what we’re playing and what’s on the horizon.
Here’s what you’ll be playing this week.
Partum Artifex (PC)
A creepy, atmospheric horror-puzzle game from Adelaide studio DalaKoala Games, Partum Artifex is a game about the slow, methodical tracking of a serial killer, eager to show you their gruesome trophies like a toddler wanting to show you their toys. Fucked up. Horror fans need only apply. You can find it on Steam here.
Lucy Dreaming (NS)
Lucy Dreaming is a comedic point-and-click adventure about a girl who solves mysteries and murders in her own lucid dreams. It’s very cute, possess a bone-dry British sense of humour, and draws a great deal of inspiration from LucasArts genre classics like Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. There’s a demo on Steam if you’d like to try before you buy.
Phantom Brigade (PC)
It’s been a long road to 1.0 for Phantom Brigade, but launch week has finally arrived. For those that love a good mecha anime and a bit of crunchy turn-based strategy, good news: this is your game. I cannot stress enough how cool Phantom Bridge‘s approach to turn-based strategy is. I’ve written about it before such is my own personal level of hype around it. Fully prepared for it to show up on a few GOTY lists this December.
Scars Above (PS5, XSX, PC, PS4, XBO)
Scars Above is one of two major titles arriving this week. It’s a sci-fi third-person shooter that prioritises challenge and suspense. It wants you to get that warm and fuzzy feeling of accomplishment that comes from beating the odds, and it wants you to feel that on a hostile alien world where everything wants to kill you. This much it shares in common with another major release coming this week, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, which we’ll cover later in this piece. We’ve been playing Scars Above, and we’ll have more to talk about there soon.
HTC Vive XR Elite (Hardware)
A week after the PSVR 2’s arrival, HTC comes through with its own next-gen VR headset for PC. Our friends over at Gizmodo Australia really liked the Vive XR Elite, however at $2500, they certainly don’t come cheap. What you get for that kind of money, however, is a best-in-class virtual reality headset for your PC.
Brok the InvestiGator (PS5, XSX, NS, PS4, XBO)
He’s croc. He’s a detective. He solves crimes. (That sound you can hear is Ruby screaming about how excited she is for this game).
Pasha Planet Reborn (PC, iOS)
(Over the sound of Ruby’s screaming, which has intensified) Pasha Planet Reborn is a game by Taiwanese indie studio Scorpio Game Co. It’s a cozy, adorable puzzle game full of little animal people. It’s a Very Ruby Game, and I’m sure you’ll hear her talking about it this week.
Alephant, by Lucas Le Slo, is a wordless puzzle game about language. Its name comes from Hebrew — aleph is the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and is typically silent, but can be combined with niqqud (or vowels) to create a sound. That’s what you’re doing in Alephant, you’re pushing the silent aleph around and combining it with different vowels to create new sounds. This is such an interesting approach to puzzle design, and I’m really taken with it. You can find it on Steam here.
Iris and the Giant (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)
Oh yes, it’s that time of the week when we talk about a new roguelike deckbuilder. Iris and the Giant is a deckbuilder “with roguelike elements”, about a young girl named Iris who must face her inner demons and battle back the raging giant in her heart and soul.
King of the Castle (PC)
Crusader Kings, but make it competitive multiplayer. Really love the ideas that are driving King of the Castle, a multiplayer digital boardgame about kingdom management. You’ll be playing against as a few as 3 players, or as many 3000, all on your council of nobles, and all squabbling over ever move you make. Votes are cast, and your fortunes are decided by the majority based on every decision you make. I look forward to Twitch streamers getting a hold of this one and playing it with their communities because I think it will be fucking chaos. Brilliant gear.
Meg’s Monster (XSX, PC, NS, IOS, LIN)
Monsters Inc, but make it a retro-styled JRPG. You play as a big monster who must escort a small lost child named Meg, and protect her from harm at any cost. The stakes couldn’t be higher: Meg possesses strange, apocalyptic powers: if she cries, the whole world dies in an instant. Keep her happy, make sure she has her favourite toys, and put yourself between her and harm’s way.
The Smile Alchemist (PS5, XSX, PC, NS, PS4, XBO)
Live out your magical protag anime fantasies with this one. The Smile Alchemist is an RPG about a young gun named Nayc, who is studying under a famed alchemist and wants to become the world’s greatest exemplar of the form. Standing between them and their dream: a litany of cute friends with problems of their own.
Metroid Prime Remastered (NS)
This is just the retail release of Metroid Prime Remastered. The digital version has been available on Switch for a couple of weeks locally. Based on the amount of scalping going on in the US, I would recommend putting down a preorder if you really want a physical copy of this one.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (PS5, XSX, PC, XBO, PS4)
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is the newest game from Team Ninja, the studio behind Nioh, which should probably tell you everything you need to know. Wo Long is Souls meets Chinese divine opera. Nioh and its sequel will remember that, even by Soulsborne standards, it was brutally difficult. You should prepare yourself for more pain if you’re going into this one.
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