June is not a good time to release a videogame. You’d think with school letting out kids would have more time to play games, but there are summer camps and vacation Bible schools and family vacations, so they often have less time than they would during the school year. As such the release schedule is usually pretty light this time of year. With E3 falling in June every year, people who passionately follow videogames will be too busy looking forward to the future to pay attention to what’s coming out today. So yes, it was hard to put together five games we’re legitimately excited about this month. Who’d want to read a list with only two games on it, though, or even three? So here are five games, some of which we want to play, some of which you’ll probably want to play, and all of which we know are coming out this June. Who knows, maybe somebody at E3 will pull an Apple or a Sega Saturn and announce that some exciting new game is immediately available for purchase.
Release Date: 6/2
Platforms: Playstation 4, Playstation Vita
Super Exploding Zoo is set in a zoo where everything explodes. We use the word “adorable” a lot here because it is a good word that describes things that we like but it almost feels inadequate to describe exactly how adorable this game is. It looks like a cartoon that we want to watch and plays like a surprisingly complex action puzzle game. It’s also made by the people responsible for last year’s underrated treat Hohokum. Best yet, it’ll be free at launch for Playstation Plus subscribers, on both the Vita and PS4. That means you can download and play this thing today without having to whip out your credit card.
Release Date: 6/4
Platforms: Playstation 4, PC
Wander bills itself as the “non-combat MMO.” As you explore the game world with no maps or instructions, you’ll encounter other players, and have to cooperate to discover more of the environment around you. As the game’s lead developer, Loki Davidson, told Polygon last year, the goal is to make players feel like “part of the rainforest.” Go ahead and be reductive and call it Journey Online. We’ll just sit here with our open mind and an urge to play more games that aren’t about destruction.
Release Date: 6/2
Platforms: Playstation 4
As long-time fans of 17-Bit’s goofy turn-based tactics game, we’re glad to see the bonus content from the Bone-a-Fide Edition finally coming to console. And like Super Exploding Zoo, it came out for the PS4 today, and will be free this month for Playstation Plus subscribers. So basically it’s a game we know we like, with a generous portion of extra business (including new campaign missions and multiplayer maps), for free. That is a hard combination of factors to overcome.
Release Date: 6/23
Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC, Mac, Linux
You can go to the Batwell too many times. This is the fourth Arkham game in under six years, and each one has hit the mark less than the one before it. They’ve all been phenomenally successful, though, and this is clearly the biggest new game of the month for the industry as a whole. We’re sure that the way the action man punches things will still feel good to our fingers as we tap on the buttons, and that the teasing, Metroid-style level design will tap into that same primordial pleasure center that almost all Metroid-style games do. We’re also pretty sure that the aesthetic will repeat some of the most tired and unlikable aspects of modern Batman culture. Still, what are you going to do: it’s June. There’s nothing else to play. Get ready to Batdance.
Release Date: 6/11
It’s shocking how much mileage Nintendo has gotten out of a game that only exists because people wouldn’t just buy a second copy of Tetris. Dr. Mario is like Red Lobster, or Easter—you liked it when you were a kid, so you think you’ll like it today, but you always wind up with a sad, empty feeling when it’s done. Still, we bought that one for the Wii. We played it on the Game Boy, the NES and the Nintendo 64. We even have something called Dr. Luigi on our Wii U. We will be playing this one, too, because it’s what we do.