The 5 Best Games of April 2018

Games Lists God of War
The 5 Best Games of April 2018

This year has officially spiraled away from us. Somehow April is already over, even though my brain is 100% positive it just started like two or three days ago. Normally this sense of complete helplessness in the wake of time’s unceasing flow doesn’t hit me until maybe June, or late May at the earliest. (It’s as much a part of Memorial Day as crushing a case of High Life on my own and riding in the bed of a pickup truck.) But April 2018 is done, forever and ever, and like the rest of the world I’m just gonna have to make my peace with that.

While I’m grappling with the accelerating dissolution of my brief time on this here planet, we might as well talk about videogames. After all, that’s probably how I spent most of my free time in April—not trying to better myself, or the world around me, or spending time with my friends and loved ones. I had gods to war with, and a single minute to relive over and over, and so much pinball to play. (And lots of TurboGrafx-16 shoot-’em-ups. I go through that phase a few times a year.) This April saw a surprisingly deep roster of new games to explore, and we pretty much explored them all here at good ol’ Paste Games. Here are the best of ‘em.

Honorable Mentions: Monster Prom; Rogue Aces; the Nintendo Labo; The Swords of Ditto.

5. Dead in Vinland
Platforms: PC, Mac
Read our full review

Dead In Vinland is difficult to describe. It’s a game about managing a family, and eventually a small band, of refugees displaced by vikings, storms, shipwrecks and other nightmares of the pseudo-medieval era. It’s a game about managing resources like water, food, lumber, and ore to keep your small colony operational. There are jobs, skills and emotional levels of colonists who have to be managed. And, on top of that, it’s a game that tells a story about a group of people brought together by tragedy and violence. Somehow it all coheres into something wonderful. Dead In Vinland is one of the most interesting games I’ve ever played.—Cameron Kunzelman

4. God of War
Platform: PlayStation 4
Read our full review

More than most action games, combat in God of War has the pacing of a rhythm game. You have to tap various buttons in the right sequence to strike and block at the right times, unleashing your extra-powerful attacks when needed. When you’re surrounded by enemies and dancing over the various attack buttons, calling in arrows from Atreus while blocking at the exact right moment to stun your enemy, you might find yourself entering a kind of trance where you’re locked so tightly into the rhythms of that combat that everything else momentarily fades away. From the pulse of that violence, to the feeling of that axe chopping through a monster as it flies back to you after a perfectly aimed strike, to the sweeping range of the weapon that’s unlocked later, the combat in God of War is about as satisfying as action games get.—Garrett Martin

3. Battletech
Platform: PC
Read our full review

Battletech presents combat as a cascading series of desperate choices. It is nearly impossible to escape a mission without taking damage in some form, and Battletech knows this, and plays on the cruel randomness of ‘Mech-on-‘Mech strategy. At its most gratifying, it is a struggle against impossible odds, with brave pilots constantly fighting for the slightest edge on one another. At its lowest, it feels like your squad is outmatched and outgunned at every turn.

But even when I found myself banging my head against a particularly hard mission, I never felt unsatisfied. Battletech shows a cruel and vast universe of empires and kings and queens, and narrows the lens of storytelling to a tight and contained thread of a queen regaining her throne with the help of a mercenary crew. You never feel like an army, and that’s to the game’s benefit. This isn’t a game about a war, even though it is set against the backdrop of one. Battletech is a game about battles, in all their sad and joyous desperation, and the machines that they so lovingly destroy.—Dante Douglas

2. Yakuza 6
Platform: PlayStation 4
Read our full review

What makes Yakuza 6 so compelling is that it succeeds in making the insignificant seem significant. It focuses on the minutiae of the world, from the detailed shop interiors that serve no purpose other than to ground you in the setting, to the nearby citizens who go about their daily business as anarchy unfolds around them in your wake. But perhaps the greatest feat of all is that the game trusts you, the player, to find it all yourself. By refusing to hold your hand and lead you from A to B, it gives you room to explore, to procrastinate and breathe between story steps, and it’s in those moments of respite that you’ll find the best of what the Yakuza series has to offer.—Andy Moore

1. Minit
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux
Read our full review

Minit is an adventure with a twist and also a critique of capital split up into tiny bite-sized chunks and told through adorable animals in a sparsely drawn fantasy land. After enough stop and start minutes you’ll realize a factory is running roughshod over this place, polluting the land and working some of its employees to the bone while firing others whose jobs can now be done by machines. Behind it all is a maniacal manager prioritizing productivity over all else. After all these minutes and all these lives the true story reveals itself, and to reach the end you have to collect item after item, life after life, to eventually have the skills necessary to grind the factory to a halt. Even after realizing this it’ll take many minutes and many lives to finish everything you know you need to do, tiny bits of incremental progress in-between passages of rote, mundane, repetitive busy work. If it starts to feel like a job, well, maybe that’s the game’s point. The factory is Minit itself, its employees all of us who play the game, and its dictatorial boss the developers who put us through these paces again and again and again in hopes of the smallest iota of progress. Like the unending and uncaring work shifts that eat up our days until we die, we expend most of our vital energy redoing the same soul-killing nonsense over and over. It is one of the most effective metaphors for the exploitation of the working class seen in videogames. The minutes pass, we experience multiple tiny deaths every day doing the job we’re expected to do. And we press a button, and we do it again.—Garrett Martin

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