2019 left us with such hope for the new year, but many of us can’t help but feel
disheartened with the number of video game delays announced this year already. To counter that, I bring you a shortlist of video games releasing soon that you can use to pass the time.
Journey to the Savage Planet
What is better to pass the time than joining a pioneer program and exploring a potentially habitable planet known as AR-Y 26? That’s right, exploring a potentially habitable planet with a friend in this upcoming title!
Journey to the Savage Planet is a cooperative adventure game developed by Typhoon Studios and published by 505 Games, which tasks you with mapping an uncharted planet in deep space. The only catch is that your employer decided that there wasn’t room in the budget to provide you with useful equipment, so you’ll have to make that yourself. There may also be a slight chance of predatory insect swarms and temperamental alien chickens, but who are we to know?
If the idea of cataloging aliens, crafting for survival, and running around a brightly coloured, goo filled planet sounds good to you, then you should definitely check it out! Speaking of crafting, you’ll find a 3D printer onboard the Javelin, a grounded spaceship. You’ll be using this to produce new tools and upgrade your existing ones here. Such tools include the Nomad Pistol, Proton Tether, and Jump Thrusters, which will all be used in different ways to assist in your survival and exploration of AR-Y 26.
Journey to the Savage Planet releases on Xbox One, PS4, and the Epic Games Store on January 28th.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War
Previous titles in the Zombie Army series saw you fighting hordes of the undead, under zombie Hitler’s command. You may have (spoiler ahead) defeated the undead leader in the past, but it looks like cutting off the snake’s head didn’t quite work out for the resistance.
Developed and published by Rebellion Developments, Zombie Army 4 tasks you with traveling across Italy in the hopes of discovering the devilish plan that someone (something?) has concocted. Don’t expect it to be easy, though. The dead are undead once more and “with greater hunger than before.” I expect this means we’ll be seeing creatures that are even more horrific than the last…
So other than the gore you’d expect to see in a zombie game, what else is new? Well, for starters the infamous X-ray kill cam we all know and love is making a comeback. This will definitely enhance your bloody, bone-shattering, limb tearing shots. You’ll also find yourself controlling the elements; fire, lightning, and the special “divine essence” to really maximise your zombie killing potential. If you feel like it, you can also spend even more time in the Horde Mode now that the map increases in size the longer you survive. More space to work with but maybe bigger hordes to fill it all up, too?
Zombie Army 4: Dead War releases on Xbox One, Windows 10, PS4, and the Epic Games Store on February 4th.
If you’re a fan of the Hack & Slash genre, then you’ll most definitely have played a Darksiders game before. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? You can pick up Darksiders: Warmastered, the remastered version of the original 2010 release.
Developed by Airship Syndicate and published by THQ Nordic, Darksiders Genesis presents us with the fourth and final playable Horseman of the Apocalypse, Strife. On top of this new character, we also see a return of his revolvers, Mercy and Redemption, which were first wielded throughout Darksiders 1 & 2. War is also making a return with his weapon of choice, Chaos Eater, as well as the Vorpal Blade and Tremor Gauntlet.
Darksiders Genesis remains true to its Hack & Slash roots, but opts for a different approach to the genre. The third-person gameplay has been replaced with a top-down perspective and the game itself is slightly more reliant on finding loot. Not too dissimilar from games such as Diablo or Path of Exile. Additionally, if you’re playing solo, you’ll be able to freely switch between the long-range DPS combat of Strife and the close-range Tank combat of War.
Darksiders Genesis has already been released on Steam and Google Stadia, but will soon be available on Xbox One, Windows 10, PS4, and Nintendo Switch on February 14th.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Games drawn and animated by hand always look so gorgeous and many of them have been popping up lately. Pair this art style with solid platforming mechanics and you end up with fantastic games like Cuphead, Hollow Knight, and Ori and the Blind Forest. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is almost guaranteed to be just as exciting, if not even more than the Blind Forest.
Developed by Moon Studios and Published by Xbox Game Studios, Ori and the Will of the Wisps returns with “a new adventure to discover the world beyond the forest of Nibel, uncover the truths of the lost ones, and unearth Ori’s true destiny.” This new adventure seems to include new styles of boss fights/chases, including a giant wolf, giant spider, and what looks to be the husk of an owl. Speaking of which, the creatures themselves seem to move on a 3D plane more often than the previous title. This makes the chase scenes, from what trailers have shown, much more intense.
Ori and the Blind Forest had a manual save mechanic that acted as a method to heal Ori and create a checkpoint at any grounded location. This has been replaced with an autosave/checkpoint system, so accidentally losing a large chunk of progression will be a thing of the past. The ability tree is also being replaced with Spirit Shards that the player equips to gain additional abilities like an on-screen compass to guide them.
Developers are also working hard to ensure that spikes in difficulty are not as harsh this time around. Areas such as Sorrow Pass acted as barriers for some players, preventing them from progressing due to many high damaging/instant killing spikes that dominated the floor and walls.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps releases on Xbox One, Windows 10, and Steam on March 11th.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Shooting, looting, and fighting baddies might not be your thing. With that in mind, I present to you Animal Crossing: New Horizons. A game all about relaxation and community.
Developed by Nintendo EPD and published by Nintendo, New Horizons takes the player to a deserted island after procuring a vacation package from Tom Nook, a returning character key to the series. “What’s the point?” I hear you ask. Well, players can collect resources from the island to craft tools and furniture, which can then be gifted to the community, placed in their homestead, and for the first time in the series, placed in exterior locations too! That really helps to make the island feel a little more like home.
The Animal Crossing series has always been about taking a step back and just enjoying the feeling of community while working towards your next goal, which is usually paying off your debt to Tom Nook (what a way to escape from reality, right?) That community feeling is only enhanced in this entry as you can play with up to 4 players locally, and up to 8 players online! Nothing like a little bit of teamwork to help pay off that debt…
If none of this sounds appealing to you, then there’s one more thing that might be able to sway you over. The local island folk are all anthropomorphic animals. During conversations, you’ll hear an instrumental relating to the animal and have conversations finishing with a small quip relating to the animal too. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a light-hearted, casual experience all about relaxing.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons releases on Nintendo Switch March 20th.