The weeks following E3 are typically light on games, and July 2018 is no exception to that rule. Video game publishers know that even the most devoted gamers bask in the summer sun — at least for a little while. That said, July brings one of the most anticipated Switch games, a pair of Mega Man compilations, and the third entry in an acclaimed indie series. Here’s our list of games to have on your radar in July 2018.
‘Octopath Traveler’ (July 13)
A melding of retro and modern, Square Enix’s Octopath Traveler from the Bravely Default team is sure to please turn-based RPG fans. With eight protagonists — each with their own storyline — and more than 50 hours of gameplay in the main quests alone, Octopath Traveler could very well be the only new game you need in July. The game couples Super Nintendo-style 16-bit visuals with HD animations and 3D backdrops. If you want a taste of the game early, a prologue demo is available now on the eShop. All progress you make within the three-hour time limit will transfer to the full game. Octopath Traveler launches exclusively on Switch on July 13.
‘Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker’ (July 13)
If lengthy RPGs aren’t your thing, you’ll have another option on Switch come July 13. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, a port of the charming 2014 Wii U game, arrives on both Switch and Nintendo 3DS. For those unfamiliar with the premise, Treasure Tracker was inspired by the “Adventures of Captain Toad” mini-puzzle levels featured in Super Mario 3D World. The level-based gameplay combines action with puzzle elements, as you can move the camera around to search for collectables and hidden paths in each level. The port features new levels inspired by Super Mario Odyssey, and the Switch version has two-player co-op.
‘Sonic Mania Plus’ (July 17)
If you skipped Sonic Mania last year, now’s your chance to get the definitive edition dubbed Sonic Mania Plus. The new iteration adds two new playable characters from Sonic’s history, Ray and Mighty, along with a new game mode called Encore. The mode is a little ambiguous, but it will let you experience the game’s levels in a different way. That sounds pretty fitting considering Sonic Mania remixed classic Sonic levels en route to delivering one of the best Sonic experiences in a long time. Also, if you passed on Mania because it was only available digitally, you can pick up a physical copy this time around. Sonic Mania Plus will launch in both physical and digital formats on July 17 on Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘The Banner Saga 3’ (July 24)
If you like tactical gameplay or choice-based narratives with real consequences, The Banner Saga 3 from Stoic should be on your wishlist. The final game in the trilogy brings back the beloved tactical turn-based gameplay from the first two entries and finishes off a story that has been brewing since 2014. Like previous games, The Banner Saga 3 infuses Norse mythology within a dark yet colorful fictional world that favors precision and forethought over endless grinding. Stoic received more than double its crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter. The neat thing about The Banner Saga series is that despite being a turn-based series, the campaigns aren’t overly long. Each of the first two games could be finished in 10-15 hours. The Banner Saga 3 launches on July 24 on PC/Mac.
‘Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 + 2’ (July 24)
Gearing up for Mega Man 11 in October? Well, one great way of re-capturing your skills will be to play the Mega Man X series. Broken into two collections, Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2, the former compiles Mega Man X, X2, X3, and X4 while the latter brings together X5, X6, X7, and X8. Each digital compilation costs $20, or you can buy them together for $40. Like previous Mega Man collections, the games are faithfully adapted to modern hardware. You can play the games in their original resolutions, in widescreen, with CRT filters, or with optional smoothing. Both Mega Man X7 and X8 have slight visual improvements as well. Each collection will be available digitally on PS4, Switch, and Xbox One on July 24. The collections come with full soundtracks for each game, as well.
‘No Man’s Sky’ (July 24)
It’s not hyperbole to say Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky was one of the most disappointing game launches ever. The years-long lead-up to the PS4 and PC launch in 2016 centered around how No Man’s Sky would give players a near endless galaxy to explore. And while that turned out to be true in a sense, there wasn’t very much to do on each planet besides mine resources. Since then, however, No Man’s Sky has received numerous updates that have much desired features like base-building and multiplayer features. Xbox One users can check out a more fully realized version of No Man’s Sky when it launches on July 24, the same day that the game’s fourth and largest content update, Next, lands on all platforms. Next adds a full multiplayer experience to the space sim.