So many new releases cash in on gamers’ nostalgia for the things they played in decades past, but this week in new releases offers a few games that do more than just rehash — they remix and re-envision these classic games for modern technology and design sensibilities. Axiom Verge is one man’s ode to side-scrolling platformers, embracing both the intentional and the accidental features that made them special. War for the Overworld is another attempt to bring back the spirit of fan-favorite Dungeon Keeper, perfectly poised to cash in on the general disappointment with EA’s recent mobile reboot.
What new games are you playing this week?
PS4/Vita/Windows (March 31)
You star in this side-scrolling action-adventure game as Trace, a man who suffered an apparently fatal injury, only to wake up on a strange world filled with ancient, advanced technology. The action and exploration gameplay borrows liberally from other platforming classics like Metroid, Contra, and Bionic Commando.
Beyond embracing the intentional gameplay elements of classic games, designer Tom Happ has also integrated the tendency of those older titles to be full of glitches, passed around on the playground as sacred knowledge. The Glitch Gun allows you to alter objects, enemies, and the environment in unexpected ways, recreating that feeling of illicit discovery when you manage to break the game a little bit in your favor.
MLB 15: The Show
PS3/PS4/Vita (March 31)
This tenth entry in Sony’s PlayStation-exclusive baseball franchise, and the second on PlayStation 4, continues the series’ tradition of providing a maximum fidelity simulation of contemporary Major League Baseball. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder and Cuban defector Yasiel Puig stars as the cover athlete for versions of the game sold in the United States, while Russell Martin of the Toronto Blue Jays and Wei-Yin Chen of the Baltimore Orioles will be featured on the Canadian and Tiawanese releases, respectively.
In addition to improved visuals and improved online features, MLB 15 offers “a renewed focus on player emotion and personality.” Is your pitcher going through a rough divorce? Maybe send him some flowers before the league championship if you don’t want to see it impact his game. (N.B. this is probably not how that works.)
Xbox One (March 31)
First launched for Windows in 2013, Neverwinter is a free-to-play massively multilayer online role-playing game set in the Dungeons & Dragons world of Forgotten Realms. Players with fond memories of exploring Baldur’s Gate, the adventures of Drizzt Do’Urden, and Neverwinter Nights might want to check out this online foray into the Forgotten Realms.
Join up to four other players, each with one of seven, classic D&D classes, for adventures. Mechanically, Neverwinter is based on the fourth edition rules set for Dungeons & Dragons, which is, appropriately, the most combat-focused and video game-like edition of the classic roleplaying game.
War for the Overworld
Linux/Mac/Windows (April 2)
Build a dungeon full of deadly traps and sinister minions, then lure hapless heroes in with the promise of treasure, only to find death. This real time strategy base construction and management game from Subterranean Games was started as a spiritual successor to Peter Molyneux’s 90s classic, Dungeon Keeper. It will include a single player campaign, sandbox mode, and online multiplayer.
In the wake of EA’s universally-panned Dungeon Keeper reboot for mobile, fans are eager for a proper successor. War for the Overworld was Kickstarted in 2012, giving it a strong fan mandate.