This Week in Gaming

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This week is a bit sparse in terms of new games. In fact, all we have are indie games and re-releases. Mostly re-releases of indie games. There is one episodic title though and regardless of whether they were released years ago, some of these indie games are critical darlings. So if you’re looking for something a bit smaller, then there’s plenty for you here.

Getting the week started is the Playstation 4 release of indie hit Journey (July 21st). Seen first in 2012, the title won numerous Game of the Year awards, and was praised for its visual storytelling and musical score. Perhaps the game’s most unique feature is how it has you interact with other players. Other people embarking on the same dessert journey as you can be seen throughout the game, and you can meet and assist each other. That side of it is fairly standard, what sets this apart is that players cannot communicate via speech or text, and cannot see each other’s names. The only form of communication between gamers is a musical chime, which has the power to change the game world as well. This is one for players who like a bit more artistry with their video games, as things certainly look beautiful, but the real attraction is the innovative and emotional trip that you make along the way.

The biggest brand new release of the week however would be the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series. Released more or less monthly, the episodic games have you control the various members of a northern family who are ancillary to the events of HBO show. The Edge have been reviewing them for a while now, and in short, they’re all great. This episode in particular promises more interaction with Tyrion and Cersei, and is also looking to be quite Ramsay heavy too (yay!) So far this has been consistently excellent, and with a comparatively low price tag, it’s a safe investment too. The 5th episode is released on PC/Mac, PS3 and PS4 on July 21, with the Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions coming the day after on July 22. On 23rd iOS and Android editions arrive also.

Tembo the Badass Elephant is developed by Gamefreak, the folks behind Pokemon, and distributed by Sega. The game hearkens back to the old school platforming days of Sega’s flagship franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog. Only, unlike recent Sonic Games, this isn’t total garbage. A traditional side-scrolling platformer, the game has a vibrant 2D art style and chaotic visuals. Considering that platforming is now relegated almost exclusively to the indie market, it’s no surprise to see that this hasn’t had too much fanfare but it genuinely does look like a lot of fun. The game will be available on Xbox One, PC and PS4 on July 21st.

The final July 21st release is Squares. A puzzle reflex game for the PlayStation Vita, with a trailer so fast paced and complicated, I’m not remotely sure what it’s about. Reputedly the objective is to turn all the blue squares grey, while dealing with different kinds of squares before the time goes up. But I just read that somewhere, what do I know? The game will feature 80 levels, as well as a level editor for creating your own challenges (is that good?). In a retro kind of way it’s all about about reflexes, dexterity and a minimalist design. If you can comprehend the trailer than you’re probably the type of person this is aimed at. As for me, I have no idea. Let me interact with Ramsay again.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is coming to the Wii U and Xbox One this Thursday. And boy is it a strange one. Here is the official plot synopsis: “When Isaac’s Mother starts hearing the voice of God demanding a sacrifice be made to prove her faith, Isaac escapes into the basement facing droves of deranged enemies, lost brothers and sisters, his fears, and eventually his mother.” Okay not so bad right? What that plot doesn’t tell you is how absolutely mental the game is. For a start you play as a young boy who fights poo monsters with his tears. I’m not making this up. This is a critically acclaimed game. The main reason for said acclaim is the random generation of weapons, treasures and enemies. The game entirely switches up level designs with each player death, meaning you adapt to challenges as you play, never getting too comfortable with a strategy. Notorious for how gamers can play it for upwards of 30 hours and still discover new bosses, power ups and more, this game is one that has infinite replay value.

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I have the enviable skill of making TV watching, Video-game playing and ranting about films appear to be a legitimate form of work. It's exhausting. Oh and I am the Culture Editor now... that too!

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