The Best New Games of May 2024

Games Lists best new games
The Best New Games of May 2024

Months like May don’t come around often. I mean, sure, we get a May every single year, and they’re usually pretty great—school’s out, it’s warm but not blisteringly hot yet, it’s got the first federal holiday most people get off since January—but in terms of videogames, the medium and artform this section of Paste exists to pontificate upon, May of 2024 is nearly unparalleled. It’s given us an almost unrivaled bounty of great new games in a diverse array of genres, from spooky mysteries to adorable puzzlers to confounding platformers, all with striking art styles and sharp writing. It’s been such a deep, rewarding month for games that Hades 2 maybe wouldn’t even make this top 5 list even if we did factor in early access games (since we don’t, Supergiant’s unfinished latest hit wasn’t eligible). Add in the excellent remake of Nintendo’s Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and the divisive Senua’s Sacrifice: Hellblade II (we didn’t love it, but many do), and pretty much anybody who plays games had something new and exciting to play this May.

If you’re not sure which of these games to prioritize, or even know nothing about any of them, here’s a quick look at our picks for the month’s best new games. No matter what you play on—a computer, the Switch, a PlayStation or Xbox—you’ll be able to play at least a couple of these games. And trust us: they’re all worth it. Here are the best new games of May, 2024.

5. Crow Country

Crow Country

Set in 1990 in an abandoned theme park in Paste‘s home town of Atlanta, Ga., Crow Country wears its OG PlayStation influences on the sleeves of its Charlotte Hornets Starter jacket. On the surface it ticks off all the classic survival horror boxes: limited ammo and health, an awkward aiming system, incentivizing head shots (or even just running) over any other attacks, and a claustrophobic atmosphere full of dread and jump scares. I generally hate survival horror, so I’m glad to report there’s so much more to Crow Country beyond those genre trappings. It’s really more about puzzles than action, almost like a Sierra point-and-click with a three-quarters view and the occasional need to shoot something. You explore the park’s various themed areas, looking for clues to a bewitching central mystery about the park’s creation and abrupt closure. The writing is compelling throughout, both creepy and funny, and its small cast of characters are concisely sketched with lifelike depth. It’s an engrossing enigma that’s clever from start to finish, and with buckets of retro warmth and charm. Plus it mentions the Atlanta Falcons. Obviously I’m going to dig it.—Garrett Martin

4. Little Kitty, Big City

Little Kitty, Big City

“Hang out games”—games without urgency, that explicitly try not to stress you out too much—cozy games, as many call them—can be tough to get right. They can feel too much like busy work, with a checklist of stuff it wants you to do every day (hey, Animal Crossing!) It’s also not easy to build a world players want to hang out in. You have to be really good at writing stories, creating characters, and putting them in an environment that, if not warm and inviting, is at least compelling enough to keep players checking in. That’s the greatest strength of Little Kitty, Big City. I love this little kitten. I love how it slinks, stalks, crawls, and runs through the city. I’ve tripped probably 100 very serious business people on their way to work and it’s never gotten old. I love all these characters—the brave ducklings who roamed the city for show and tell, the sleepy bodega cat who proclaims himself the mayor, the shiba inus who go out of their mind barking at the kitty unless you give them a bone, which they’ll manically gnaw and slobber on for the rest of the game. Charm coats this game like hair and dander on a cat lover’s couch. With Little Kitty, Big City, Double Dagger has given us an ideal “hang out” game that helps so much to alleviate stress and sadness that it might also be the first “hang in there” game.—Garrett Martin

3. Lorelei and the Laser Eyes

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a game with vision. It wraps intriguing puzzles in a digital gothic framework. It makes the most of its chosen medium as it forces us to navigate the tenuous details of this backdrop. Just about every layer of the experience is creatively risky, from its fragmented narrative to its uncompromising barrage of challenges, but these gambles largely pay off to deliver something with purpose and direction. Crafting this kind of maze isn’t easy; it takes a combination of subtle guidance and faith in your audience. But despite these challenges, Simogo never loses sight of how to stoke curiosity about what’s lurking around the next corner, whether it’s a treasure you’ve been seeking or, conversely, something horrible lurking in the dark.—Elijah Gonzalez

2. Animal Well

animal well

You’ve probably seen many of Animal Well’s components in isolation before. Its structure is at least partially inspired by games like Metroid, its style of puzzles bear a lot of resemblance to Fez, and its retro aesthetics call to mind a whole host of older games and contemporary works. But the way these parts come together is nothing short of uniquely enrapturing. Its smaller puzzles are rewarding, and its larger ones are so satisfying that things can quickly spiral into outright obsession, something made more captivating by this well-realized setting that is charming and disquieting in equal measure. At its core, Animal Well profoundly understands how to encourage and pay off curiosity, which is probably why, even after digging into and solving many of its mysteries, I still need to know just how much deeper this rabbit hole goes.—Elijah Gonzalez

1. 1000xRESIST

1000xRESIST is many things, but it’s not a game that holds back any gut punches. It refuses to fit into any one box. It’s a walking simulator for a few hours before switching to a side-scroller. The third-person perspective suddenly shifts to a top-down view. It’s a visual novel but also you’re lunging between different nodes on a wide map. It’s a time puzzler and, at times, survival horror. It’s wholeheartedly committed to furiously surprising you again and again and again, and it undoubtedly excels in this mission from beginning to end. It’s the kind of game that can leave you feeling transformed. Few are the games as bold and brave and brilliant as this one; throughout its 15 hours, there’s a palpable eagerness to take the risks that many other teams would shy away from, especially considering this is Sunset Visitor’s debut game. 1000xRESIST is a dazzling testament to the stories this medium has yet to tell; an exemplification of the best that small yet ambitious teams can create; and a gateway to a future in which more videogame narratives have the courage and soul to tackle the ideas that it executes with equal precision and grace. It’s simply triumphant in everything it sets out to do.—Natalie Flores

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