You can’t blame anybody for playing videogames in March. Sure, it might have technically turned to spring three weeks into the month, but that doesn’t mean the weather was nice. Between snow storms, tornadoes, constant rain and unseasonably cold temperatures, March was a good month for staying indoors for about 31 straight days or so. And don’t even get us started on the pollen down here in Paste’s hometown of Atlanta.
So yes: it was a good month for playing games. But was it a good month for new games? There was a lot of new product, but was it product worth moving? Let’s dig into the very recent past and churn out some words on what we enjoyed playing and why this past month.
5. Sea of Thieves
Xbox One, PC
Rare’s open world pirate sim has earned its fair share of detractors. It’s true that in time it slows down into a grind, although the promise of adventure remains intoxicating. (Along with the promise of future updates injecting more life back into the game.) For those first few hours, though, Sea of Thieves feels like little else out there in the game space, capturing the unpredictable sense of adventure that has made a pirate’s life such an enduring part of pop culture.—Garrett Martin
4. Kirby Star Allies
You get what you expect from a Kirby platformer: an adorable art style, infectious music, and a simple, straight-forward videogame that isn’t particularly challenging. Kirby Star Allies doesn’t buck that trend, but expands the possibilities a bit, by letting Kirby turn enemies into allies and letting up to four players join in together. It can get hard to keep Kirby games straight—Nintendo seems to release one every six months or so—and Star Allies isn’t as gorgeous or memorable as the more visually striking Epic Yarn. Still, it’s a fun, inviting romp and another fine game for the Switch.—Garrett Martin
3. Surviving Mars
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Surviving Mars seems like the kind of game that is perfect for a person who enjoys crunching numbers, managing their domes, and looking for emergent stories that happen among the denizens of Mars. If you enjoy Paradox games like Crusader Kings II but not city builders, then this is probably a great bridge for you to relax and play. If you like managing numbers, resources and people, then this is the game for you.—Cameron Kunzelman
2. Detective Pikachu
It almost doesn’t matter what the actual game is like—that name, that concept, and, most importantly, that character design would all guarantee any version of this game a slot on our list. Thankfully it’s also an enjoyable little adventure game built around finding clues and talking to witnesses (both human and Pokémon) in order to crack the case. Imagine a cuter, simpler, and, frankly, more fulfilling L.A. Noire, but with the king of Pokémon scowling inside a Sherlock get-up. If the series continues hopefully we get Pikachu as Jim Rockford next.—Garrett Martin
1. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
PlayStation 4, PC
If you pay attention to what we write about here at Paste’s games section you probably realized there was no other feasible option for number one on this list. This is the game, remember, that made me question my lifelong ambivalence towards anime. Ni no Kuni II is a big leap forward from the middling original for a few reasons, one of which is that it more elegantly unites its gameplay loop with the anime aesthetic of its cut scenes. The camera seamlessly transitions into action when the talking is done and it’s time to take control of your characters, and the new real-time combat scheme also breaks down the off-putting distance found in the first game’s fight scenes. On top of all of that is a surprisingly thoughtful political storyline and characters that are deeper and more human than you might expect from their extremely anime appearances. If you’re remotely interested in role-playing games or anime, you should play this one.—Garrett Martin