Maybe you’ve already played all of your games, or your backlog doesn’t look particularly appealing. Maybe it’s time for something new to play. You’re in luck, because you’ve stumbled on our weekly rundown of the best-looking video games coming out in the near future.
Many of this week’s releases are indie games that go out of their way to avoid the tropes of modern AAA titles. Whether you’re exploring your surprisingly expansive basement in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth or looking for dates in Hatoful Boyfriend, you’re in for a unique experience with these games. So keep reading, because no matter what kind of digital experience you’re into, you’ll probably find something worth playing this week.
1. F1 2015
Releases July 21 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC
Racing with regular cars is all well and good, but to get the biggest thrill, you have to race the fastest cars in the world. Formula One cars can go up to 220 miles per hour and pull off the fastest cornering on the planet. Not many average drivers would survive a spin around an F1 track at top speed, so it’s a good thing the F1 series offers a solid simulation of the experience.
F1 2015 has a handful of racing modes with realistic driving physics and the fastest speeds you’re going to get in any racing sim out there. It has the latest team and driver rosters from the 2015 season, as well as all the cars and courses you’d expect to find. And if the regular game seems a little to easy for you, try the new “Pro Season” mode, which removes all of the assists and on-screen display elements that make the game more accessible for casual players. But be sure to read the reviews before buying, because it seems like this game has a few kinks to work out.
2. Hatoful Boyfriend
Releases July 21 for PS4 and PS Vita
This one might sound like a tough sell for many gamers, but hear me out. Hatoful Boyfriend is a visual novel, which means much of your time in the game is spent reading text. It’s also a dating sim, so you’ll have a selection of characters to woo and try to form a connection with. One last thing: it stars pigeons. It’s a pigeon dating sim visual novel.
The weird thing is everything that’s unusual and bizarre about the game comes together brilliantly as you play and re-play the game to date all eight of the eligible birds. If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, this is it.
Releases July 21 for PS4
For many who play Journey, the game offers a deeply emotional experience. You begin as a cloaked figure walking toward a high, shimmering mountain in the distance. As you make your way there, you encounter cryptic monuments, strange structures, and flowing pathways. You also find a scarf that lets you glide through the air, which helps you explore the beautiful landscape.
While there’s more of a “game” here than the developer’s other titles like Flower and Flow, the focus is on the overall experience, not the gameplay. There are few other creatures in the game world — and no combat at all. Journey offers a beautiful, mostly relaxing experience.
4. Tembo the Badass Elephant
Releases July 21 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC
Are you ready for Tembo the Badass Elephant? You probably aren’t, but here it goes anyway. This game, made by the people behind Pokémon and published by Sega, stars an elephant who dresses up like Rambo and kills enemies, rescues hostages, and eats lots of peanuts.
It looks like the zaniest and most charming side-scroller we’ve seen in quite some time. If you don’t crack a smile when you watch the trailer above, you might want to lighten up a bit.
5. Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive
Releases July 21 for PS4
You don’t see all that many beat-‘em-up games anymore. Once a mainstay of the arcades and the NES, this kind of side-scrolling brawler has fallen out of style in recent decades. But that doesn’t mean there’s no life left in the genre, as Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds proved when it came out on last-gen systems a couple of years ago.
This slightly updated version for PS4 has a full story mode, an arcade mode, four-player co-op, and four-player competitive matches. It also adds a few new things to the original game, like extra skills your characters can learn and new hidden rooms. If you want to kick back with friends and lay a beating on loads of enemies, this is the game for you.
6. Blues and Bullets
Releases July 23 for PC
This stylish game puts you in the shoes of Eliot Ness, a retired lawman who just so happens to be the former leader of The Untouchables. Now that you’ve settled down for a peaceful life dedicated to running a diner, you think you’re out of the game. That is until children start disappearing from your small town.
The case brings you back into the crime-fighting fold, finding clues and fighting bad guys just like in the old days. The game is divided into five episodes, and is scheduled to come out on Xbox One sometime later. But for now, you can grab the first episode on Steam starting on July 23.
7. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Releases July 23 for Xbox One, Wii U, and New 3DS
It’s a great week for weird games. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a souped up rerelease of a 2011 PC game. It stars Isaac, a boy who hears that God has spoken to his mother and demanded that she sacrifice him to prove her faith. Isaac immediately retreats to the basement of the house, where he finds floor after floor filled with monsters he must dispatch — using his tears as projectiles.
It’s depressing stuff, but the levels are designed like the dungeons in Zelda, and the weapon upgrades are zany as all get-out. Throw in some shopkeepers, boss battles, and permanent death (you always start from scratch at the beginning), and you’ve got yourself an addictive retro-style romp.