Jesus Christ, did someone murder Father Time, or is he just sat there with a giant egg timer saying “hehe, time go brrrr” to himself? It only feels like yesterday when 2021 started, but now we’re already here counting down the biggest new games of March 2021. Can someone slow things down a little bit? I still haven’t gotten over last year.
As is typical in the annual gaming seasons, the move to Spring brings with it more games for us to enjoy. A large portion of the releases this year are already released games coming to more platforms, like Yakuza: Like A Dragon for PS5 (March 2nd), Apex Legends for the Switch (March 9th) and more besides. However, there’s still some big releases that you should keep an eye out for on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, and Switch.
If you want games that walk the fine line between thought provoking and unique, publisher Annapurna Interactive’s back catalogue offers plenty of truly out there games (play Sayonara Wild Hearts), and Maquette certainly looks like no exception. If you enjoy first person puzzle games that play with perspective, Maquette should be your jam.
The main gimmick with Maquette is that it’s a recursive puzzle game, meaning that everything in the game is simultaneously large and tiny at the same time. You’ll have to play around with the levels in order to find your solutions, with a love story playing out between Kenzie (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) and Michael (Seth Gabel).
Mundaun | March 16th, 2021
Developer: Hidden Fields Publisher: MWM Interactive Platform(s): PC
The gaming industry has a lot of time for hand-drawn games, and rightly so considering they’re often the most visually appealing or striking games out there. Mundaun definitely lives in the striking category, as its pencilled in visuals help to showcase the game’s horrific and grim storyline from the get go. Even from screenshots, you can see how bleak this game is.
After the death of your grandfather, you return to Mundaun in the Alps in order to investigate the circumstances surrounding it. Unfortunately, something ancient and mysterious has started haunting the residents of Mundaun mountain, leaving the player to discover what’s really happening here. Players will have to explore, solve puzzles and survive hostile encounters in order to succeed.
Minute of Islands | March 18th 2021
Developer: Studio Fizbin Publisher: Mixtvision Games Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Another hand-drawn game, Minute of Islands might look like a cutesy platformer on the surface, but underneath the surface lies a sombre tale about a loner attempting to repair a world on the brink of collapse. If anything, the art style is fitting for the game’s story, as the world’s problems exist below the surface.
As a young mechanic by the name of Mo, you explore a world that’s continually decaying, and you’ve taken it upon yourself to use your Omni-Switch tool to repair the machines underneath the world’s various islands that keep an ancient threat at bay. The developers promise a poetic story and plenty of memorable characters, so be sure to keep an eye on this one.
Balan Wonderworld | March 26th, 2021
Developer: Arzest, Balan Company Publisher: Square Enix Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, Nintendo Switch
If it’s vibrancy and colour that you want, Balan Wonderworld seemingly has that in spades. Developed by some of the key minds behind the likes of Nights Into Dreams and Sonic Adventure, Balan Wonderworld is an old school 3D platformer that sees players entering worlds that exist somewhere between reality and fantasy.
Unfortunately, Balan Wonderworld might not be a well-received release, considering the demo that emerged at the end of January was met with wide-spread criticism of the game’s systems, with many comparing it negatively to more modern 3D platformers. Personally, I played the demo for about an hour and I ended up with a 2 day migraine, so there’s that.
I’m not saying the two events are related, I’m just saying. Legally, this is a joke.
Name a series that’s had a more meteoric “Rise” than Monster Hunter. I’ll wait. Pun absolutely intended, by the way. The series has always enjoyed a cult following, but the release of Monster Hunter World and follow-up expansion Iceborne have exposed the monster killing series to new audiences, making it incredibly lucrative for Capcom. Now, they’re back with Monster Hunter Rise.
As is tradition with the series, you control a hunter who goes out on missions to bring down or capture various massive monsters, taking their loot to create new weapons and armour that’ll allow you to take on harder hunts. Rise takes some inspiration from World, with more open hunting grounds to battle monsters, but players will explore areas that have greater emphasis on verticality than before.
There’s also Wyvern riding and the ability to take a dog companion with you. Game of the year.
It Takes Two | March 26th, 2021
Developer: Hazelight Publisher: EA Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S
Josef Fares’ studio Hazelight established itself as one of the best co-op developers out there when they released A Way Out back in 2017. The story of two prisoners trying to escape and get revenge on a criminal who wronged them both resonated with a lot of players, so all eyes are on the team for their follow-up, It Takes Two. To their credit, it couldn’t look like more of a departure if it tried.
While still a co-op adventure, It Takes Two focuses on Cody and May, a couple whose relationship has been rocky for a long time. Through a magic spell, they’ve been turned into dolls and must explore a magical world, and maybe save their fractured relationship along the way. From the trailers alone, It Takes Two’s gameplay looks incredibly unpredictable, and should make for something wonderful.
Evil Genius 2: World Domination | March 30th, 2021
Developer: Rebellion Publisher: Rebellion Platform(s): PC
There’s been many games out there that allow you to play as the suave and sophisticated super spy, infiltrating the villain’s base, thwarting their plans and saving the world, just like James Bond would. However, there’s not enough games out there that allow you to play as Blofeld instead, or Hank Scorpio if you prefer your villains to have some degree of likeability.
Evil Genius 2: World Domination is exactly what it sounds like, as you control one of several villains in an attempt to bring the world to its knees. A sequel to a cult classic management sim, Evil Genius 2 attempts to build on the formula put forth by the original game with new villains, new henchman, lots of new features and more to boot. Who’d have thought being bad would be this good?
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