A lot of video games come out every month, even during slower months like August. If you gave the game release calendar a thwap with the ol’ broom, a few huge AAA-tier games would likely drop to the ground like anvils. Games like Madden NFL 24, the rerelease of Red Dead Redemption, Immortals of Aveum, and Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon kick up a cloud that overshadows the arrival of smaller games — potentially great ones, even, from developers you might’ve heard of and new indie creators alike. Like, some that may actually end up on your GOTY list.
We don’t want to let these games slip by (and you’d probably like to know about them, right?), so each month we’ll be rounding up a handful of notable game launches that you should know about. Stay tuned near the end of every month for our next batch of video game deep cuts.
Gord is an isometric adventure strategy game set in a dark fantasy realm. The main goal is survival, and to do that your community will need to build (and fortify) a home base, then forage for materials. It’s not quite as quaint as that, though. In your journey through the darkness surrounding your fortress, you’ll call upon gods to make your life easier, or clash with them, making things much harder.
Gord launched on PlayStation 5, Windows PC via Steam, and Xbox Series X on Aug. 17 for $34.99.
While many of its mechanics are borrowed from Dark Souls and Metroidvania titles, 2019’s Blasphemous brought more than enough originality to the table with its grotesque, gory art style and memorable boss battles. Nearly four years later, a sequel is upon us. Blasphemous 2 seems to be packing more weapons, combos, and difficult platforming. In other words, more of the good stuff that it delivered the first time around.
Blasphemous 2 is launching on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Windows PC via Steam, Xbox Series X on Aug. 24. It costs $34.99 for all platforms except PC, where it costs $29.99.
Sea of Stars
If you take a look at Sea of Stars’ art style and catch whiffs of Chrono Trigger, you aren’t alone. And if its soundtrack sounds similar, well, that’s no coincidence. That game’s composer, Yasunori Mitsuda, graced Sea of Stars’ soundtrack as guest composer. This new title was developed by the same team that made The Messenger, and it’s clear that these devs love putting their own modern spin on popular games from decades ago. Even without some all-star musicians attached the the project, the graphics are charming, and I’m particularly taken with the game’s smooth transition between exploration and turn-based battles.
Sea of Stars is launching on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC via Steam, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X and on Aug. 29 for $34.99.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Here’s another game that’s deeply reminiscent of its inspiration. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is Jet Set Radio by another name, with an overall vibe that matches the Sega Dreamcast cult favorite. Catchy music (including songs composed by none other than Jet Set Radio’s Hideki Naganuma) backs the gameplay, which involves grinding on rails, doing tricks, collecting what appear to be paint canisters, and battling rival gangs. The game makes some attempts to differentiate itself, not that it has to for fans of Jet Set Radio. To get some graffiti spots, you’ll have to wall run, or run on foot. And there appears to be a social hub that you’ll spend time in as well, so there should be more stuff to do than in Jet Set Radio.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk launched on Nintendo Switch and Windows PC via Steam on Aug. 18 for $39.99, per the description of the YouTube video above. Developer Team Reptile confirmed that it will come to PlayStation and Xbox on Sept. 1.
Moving Out 2
Featured recently during our Polygonathon 2023 Twitch stream, Moving Out 2 is a cooperative game that can feel pretty competitive at times. You’ll have to work together to move stuff through houses that are built to feel like escape rooms. If you want a family-friendly multiplayer game that’ll make you laugh and test your patience in equal measure, you should keep an eye on this one.
Moving Out 2 launched on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC via Steam, and Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on Aug. 15. It costs $34.99 on all platforms except Switch and Steam, where it costs $44.99 and $29.99, respectively.
Dungeon crawlers are making a comeback. The spotlight is on Hammerwatch 2, a top-down adventure game where you can play alone, or be joined by up to 3 players online. The pixelated look of the game is charming, but seeing the game in motion looks stunning. This seems like a game that’d be a treat to plow through with some close pals.
Hammerwatch 2 launched on Windows PC via Steam on Aug. 15 for $24.99. It’s coming to Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch at a later date, and pre-orders for those platforms are live now.
Goodbye Volcano High
The latest from KO_OP, a developer with a wide variety of games under its belt, is Goodbye Volcano High, which is a tough game to describe. Even the devs can’t seem to land on one genre. In the description for the YouTube video above, it’s described as “a hybrid cinematic narrative/rhythm game/coming of age/interactive movie experience.” Oh, and all of the characters are the most fashion-savvy dinosaurs I’ve ever seen.
Goodbye Volcano High launches on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC via Steam on Aug. 29.
Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
The current generation of consoles, including the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, has been treated to native versions of Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition. The eerie, ambitious, and gorgeous five-part narrative series has been available on most consoles for a while now (not to mention playable on the aforementioned PS5 and Series X) but now you won’t have to play a backward-compatible version, in case that matters to you.
The newer version of the game launched on PS5 and Xbox Series X on Aug. 17.