Today is March. Yesterday was February. We just crossed over the threshold into a brand new month, one with its own new games to look forward to—a wide open vista of possibility and potential that will bridge us from the last dying days of winter into the warm embrace of a new spring.
We’re gonna talk about February instead, though.
That was the month that just damn was, and these were (some of) its games. There wasn’t a sizable amount of videogame action this past February, but a number of must-play experiences made their way to the public. From the eldritch folk spooks of Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, to the myth-creating sci-fi adventure of Dandara, it was a month that blurred the lines between fact and fiction, history and hearsay. It was also a month that had at least five tolerable new games come out. These are those games.
(Okay, one isn’t really new. I mean, it’s old, but this is an entirely new version of it, and not just like a marginally tweaked new version of it. Eh, just read the stuff. Get crackin’.)
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Singing is healthy, especially with friends. You should probably go start a band right now.
(Grab some instruments, too, though—the world doesn’t need any more a capella goofs.) Or at least just hit a karaoke room tonight. Fe lets you harmonize with the impressionistic world around you, buddying up with its adorable woodland creatures after sharing a tune and then knocking out a bit of classic 3D platforming together. It’s a beautiful, color-saturated jaunt, and one that doesn’t hinge too heavily on violence. There’s a bit of an “indie game” paint-by-numbers feel to it, especially at first, but it flashes enough personality and spirit to establish its own identity.
4. Where the Water Tastes Like Wine
Our full review is still in the works, and until then just sit back a spell and let these humble words suffice as Paste’s official opinion on this shaggy exploration of the power of folktales and storytelling: SGOOD! The folklore game made by a Gone Home designer and co-written by just about every prominent videogame critic is good. Like the folktales that inspires it—hell, like America itself, the country that inspires it—it’s not perfect and it’s not great but it has moments of greatness within it. It’s a messy, awkward, poignant journey into the heart of America and the legends, jokes and horror stories that we’ve created about ourselves and our country. Whatever you think about it, you pretty much have to admit it’s a true original in the games world. Also the score, inspired by a variety of traditional musical idioms, is a beaut. (Disclosure: So many people who worked on this game are friends with Paste’s games editors and/or former contributors to Paste. Like, too many to list here. We’ll spell it all out in that review, when it runs.)
3. Shadow of the Colossus
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Normally we don’t include remasters or ports in this kind of list, but the PS4 version of Shadow of the Colossus is a weird little number. It’s not just a spruced up HD version of Team Ico’s classic, but a completely new version, built from the ground up for the PlayStation 4, that almost identically recreates the original. Many comparisons to Gus Van Sant’s baffling shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho popped up in reviews, and for good measure: there aren’t a lot of examples of this kind of slavishly faithful remake in any medium. The new game might give you a weird, creeping case of déjà vu, but the original design of this one can’t be denied. The new Shadow of the Colossus retains the epic grandeur and unforgettable sadness of the original, and reasserts the original’s impact upon games as a medium.
2. A Case of Distrust
Platforms: PC, Mac
Detective game A Case of Distrust is immensely charming. Designer Ben Wander did a superb job of coming up with an eclectic aesthetic on such limited resources. While the game is more or less like reading a book, the restrained use of a few slick animations keep the visuals interesting. Not a single page stagnates or feels stale. The music, a light noir-style jazz, supports the simple but stylish presentation, accentuating its minimalist appeal. In A Case of Distrust, the verdict is in: guilty of being an enjoyable game.—Holly Green
Platforms: Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android, Linux, Mac
Long Hat House’s first game might play fast and loose with history—its hero, Dandara, is a real-life figure from Brazilian history—but its Metroid-style design and unique approach to motion make it compulsively playable. It’s part myth, part dream, all wrapped up in an occasionally psychedelic sci-fi action game heavily indebted to the aesthetics of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, and the best new game that came out last month.