As far as big video game releases go, next week is a little slow, even for this sluggish period of the year as we wait for the onslaught of games releasing this fall. But since that won’t begin until the very end of August, we’ve got to play something in the meantime.
Don’t worry. Even though it’s a slow week, that doesn’t mean the gaming well runs completely dry. If you’re a fan of niche genres like turn-based dungeon crawlers or retro games, you’ll find something to play next week. Read on for details about all the noteworthy video games launching the week of August 3.
1. Freedom Planet
Releases August 3 for Wii U
In the warp-speed tradition of Sonic the Hedgehog comes this game that stars a group of heroines who can tear across terrain with the best of them. But don’t mistake this retro-style game for a straight-up Sonic clone. There’s a good bit of depth to be found here, from four playable characters who each have special abilities to a bigger focus on combat. And as you’re speeding along, you don’t have to worry about taking damage, which is pretty great.
The game launched on Steam last year, and if the overwhelmingly positive reviews there are any indication, Wii U owners are in for a treat with Freedom Planet.
2. Etrian Odyssey Untold 2: The Fafnir Knight
Releases August 4 for Nintendo 3DS
If you like old-school dungeon crawlers in the vein of Wizardry, then the Etrian Odyssey series is for you. Basically, you assemble a team of adventurers and head deep into monster-infested dungeons. You don’t have a map at the outset, but you can use the 3DS’s bottom screen to draw your own map using the tools provided. (Don’t worry if you’re not the cartographic type; you can have the map auto-fill as you explore).
This installment is a remaster of a game that came out in 2008 for the Nintendo DS. It has new graphics, a new story line with new pre-built characters, and many concessions that make it more user friendly, including an easy mode. If you’ve ever wanted to see what the Etrian Odyssey series is all about, this should be a fantastic entry point.
Releases August 4 for PlayStation 4
Fans of old-school arcade games will definitely want to check out Galak-Z, a game that uses classics like Galaga and Asteroids as a launching-off point to do its own thing. The game has you fly through procedurally-generated caverns, fighting off aliens and beasties of all kinds. Like the games of its inspiration, it’s also tough as nails.
So whether you played these kinds of games growing up or you’re on the lookout for a challenging game to test your skills, Galak-Z: The Dimensional is worth a look.
4. Rare Replay
Releases August 4 for Xbox One
Ever since Microsoft bought Rare, most of the developer’s old games and franchises have been collecting dust. That’s about to change with this huge collection of 30 games from Rare’s past, including classics like Battletoads, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, R.C. Pro-Am, and more.
Achievement hounds will want to take note, because Rare Replay offers a whopping 10,000 possible achievement points (although you may already have some of them if you’ve played games like Viva Piñata on Xbox 360). Best of all, the whole thing only costs $30.
Releases August 4 for Playstation 4
Releases August 7 for Xbox One
It’s becoming less rare these days, but it’s still not every day you come across a third-person game that doesn’t feature combat of any kind. In Submerged, you play as a girl named Miku whose brother is injured. You arrive by fishing boat in a flooded city, and your job is to explore the environment for supplies in order to save your brother.
As you play, you’ll gradually piece together the story of what happened to the city and the world you’re in. Sometimes a relaxing game like this is exactly what you need after a long day. Check it out if you you like games that don’t rely on on swords and guns to progress.