Hey Harvey!

Posted on Sep 19th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Hidden Gems, Return of Double Dragon, Sushi Striker, 428 Shibuya Scramble, Bridge Constructor Portal

Pictured: When the best graphics were in your imagination.

I'm going to forgo the endless "winter is coming" jokes about the fall gaming release season, and just get to the point: lottsa big AAA games are here and on the way, and that means many nifty games with a smaller budget are swept up in the crowd and I'm here to champion the under-the-radar releases.  These are the ones that personally caught my eye (OW!) over the last few months and I wanted to bring more awareness.

428 Shibuya Scramble (PC, PS4)
The FMV genre isn't dead, and part of it just integrated into the visual novel format.  This one has been around since its debut on the Wii, but the PS4 release is the first version translated over here. 

The Banner Saga Trilogy (PC, PS4, XB1, Switch)
Beautiful art, a compelling narrative and superb and challenging tactical gameplay.  Now all three games are on disc, along with the gorgeous soundtrack in the limited edition.

Bridge Constructor: Portal (PC, PS4, XB1)
Here's a surprise physical release!  Not only does it come with the original Bridge Constructor and Stunts expansion, but of course GLaDOS her/itself insults/helps you in the newest set of challenges.  For science, of course.

Darkest Dungeon: Ancestral Edition (PC, PS4, XB1, Switch)
If you want a crazy-tough Lovecraftian classic dungeon RPG, look no further.  Maybe take some caffeine and candy before you delve in, the oppressive mood and dreary atmosphere is pitch perfect and therefore quite a downer.  In a good way?

Dead Cells (PC, PS4, XB1, Switch)
Probably needs no introduction, this indy darling mixes classic 2D Castlevania-like gameplay and atmosphere with traditional rogue-like elements, set in a morbid techno-future castle setting.  Great graphics and animation and the combat is spot on, there is a reason it has such acclaim.  I'm picky about anything rogue-like, and I'm a fan.

Earthfall (PC, PS4, XB1)
A couple of admissions: yes, this is pretty much a Left 4 Dead mod and no, it is not as good as its heritage.  It lacks the randomness and overall intensity of its forebears.  That aside, if you take it for what it is and play with four friends, it is still a fun time and it continues to get new, free content.  Stay away if it is just you, but if you can talk three friends into it you have a pretty good time lined up.

Flashback: 25th Anniversary (Switch)
So this is pretty much just the original without much touch-up, but if you regard the original a classic this is a great nostalgic trip.  The Collector's Edition may seem pricey but I was impressed with the contents, and it is already getting pretty rare.

God Wars: The Complete Legend (Switch)
One of the best and prettiest Final Fantasy Tactics style games (yes, I'm very aware of SRPG history, but I use what most folks know as reference) compiled all of the generous dlc from the PS4 and Vita releases and comes together as a complete package on the Switch.  This is what you were looking for all those years ago after the GBA FFTA.

Little Dragons Cafe (Switch)
Not exactly unknown, and not the best rated game of recent release, but it is charming, interesting, and despite just being released it is already delisted for most if not all retailers.  I'd grab it now if you were interested.  While we're on the subject, the same can be said for 1v1 fighter Blade Strangers.

If you kinda liked Tower of Guns but wanted a sci-fi backdrop and the ability to stack a dozen rocket launchers on a minigun, here you go.  The weapon customization is hilarious, the campaign worthwhile and the newly added online co-op gives this a thumbs-up in my book.

Musynx (Switch)
I'm a music genre game guy, and this (along with Voez) kind of stealth-released on the Switch.  Great gameplay and music, and the price is already starting to creep up...

Overcooked! 2 (PC, PS4, XB1, Switch)
The sequel to one of our recent favorite co-op games only needed to give us more creative missions, and it did that along with the ability to throw food.  Shut up and take my $.

Owlboy (PC, PS4, XB1, Switch)
So many good metroidvania 2D adventures have released lately, but it would be a shame to overlook this one.  It has a great cast, excellent music, an interesting world, and the flight element feels refreshing.  Don't miss out if you like the genre.

Penguin Wars (PS4, Switch)
You are a buff penguin who plays a crazy game of dodgeball.  I really don't know what else to say to get you to buy this game.  I loved the Game Boy release, but they went all out in all the right ways here.  A great four player party game and a compelling, just-one-more-match campaign, and a came-out-of-nowhere release means you should track this down!

Penny-Punching Princess (Switch)
Games like this prove that the Switch isn't just a Wii U port machine, but home to some of the best and craziest games on the market.  An overhead action game where you can pay the bad guys to fight for you, and your greatest weapon is a calculator.  It's A Link to the Past meets unrepentant capitalism.  Where else can you say that?  I can't make this stuff up.

Railway Empire (PS4, XB1)
A modern train sim that sort of just got swept under the rug.  If you don't have a PC and have an interest, it's pretty good overall.

The Raven (Remastered) (PC, PS4, XB1)
I love it when a sort of hidden gem classic gets another chance, and the excellent point-n-click adventure The Raven fits the bill.  I think even fewer copies of this came out than the original, so you may want to nab while you can.  To a lesser extent, the not-classic but interesting Black Mirror (not directly connected to the modern show, mind you) also kinda thudded upon release and is drying up.

Return of Double Dragon (SNES)
I never would have thought this would happen, but the superior Japanese version of Super Double Dragon has been translated and released on the Super Nintendo in the Year of Our Lord anno Domini 2018.  Sure, it costs $50, but so did the original more than a quarter century ago.  Game value has changed, but given inflation I- you know what?  I bought it, played through it with a buddy, and I think it is well worth it.  What a time to be a gamer.

Runner 3 (Switch)
I'm already a fan of the series, so this was an easy pick for me, and it is definitely the biggest and best in the series. It won't convert you if you don't care for rhythm runners, but for fans it doesn't get better.

Slime Rancher (PS4, XB1)
This came out as a freebie on Games With Gold awhile back, and now it has a budget physical release on both PS4 and XB1.  A cute farming FPS, there is loads of charm and fun here.

Strange Brigade (PC, PS4, XB1)
This was a pleasant surprise in that it is just as good as I hoped.  A rollicking 30's Indiana Jones style third person shooter with a surprising amount of puzzles, a horde mode, and lots of toys to unlock and upgrade.  Decent for one, superb with four players in a moderately lengthy co-op campaign. 

Surviving Mars (PC, PS4, XB1)
Sort of a scaled-down Sim City where your choices are more costly, this is a great game that takes awhile to understand the poorly communicated nuances.  Once you get the mining and survival tactics down, there is a lot to like for sim fans.

Sushi Striker: The Way Of Sushido (Switch, 3DS)
For fans of competitive match-three gameplay, this one feels like style-over-substance until you get the flow.  Goofy but endearing, and not a big print run.

Tempest 4000 (PS4, XB1)
For my many, many hours of Jeff Minter games, I still think Tempest 2000 on the Saturn was the peak, but this TxK re-release means I get a new variant on one my personal favorite classics.  In a weird turn of events I actually prefer the XBox One version since I don't have to use the motion controls on the bonus between stages.  All in all, I'm a fan.

Voez (Switch)
Another quietly released Switch music game, with a huge amount of great music and a simple but fun interface.  Recommended.

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr (PC, PS4)
40K has been doing medieval sci-fi gothic cyberpunk for longer than many readers have been around, and this Diablo-like take on the franchise rates higher in my book than the critical reception suggests.  It is the reason my backlog is getting worse lately, as the admittedly clunky setup still has its hooks in me and I want to keep playing, particularly with a buddy in online co-op.  Not as good as the best in the genre, mind you, but I'm really enjoying it.  A small print run means if you want a disc, you may not want to wait.

Yoku's Island Express (PC, PS4, XB1, Switch)
Combine pinball, metroidvania gameplay, and a heap of charm, and here we are.  This has been mentioned in passing on the site, and GameStop just converted their new copies to used, and it didn't have a huge print run to begin with, so now's the time to grab! 

Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner: MARS (PS4)
A runner-up to the Craziest Title Award (Martyr is still in the lead), here is a game that IMHO never got the reception it deserved upon release.  The first Zone of the Enders was a game I wanted to like more than I did, and The 2nd Runner corrected a lot and was/is a personal gem.  This release adds nicer graphics, PSVR support for the whole thing, and a budget price, making it a no-brainer for me.

As always, please feel free to add your under-the-radar interests below!


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I must say, I was slightly disappointed when I clicked the article, and saw it wasn't another piece heaping praise upon Radar Mission, which I think is an underrated Game Boy game. That said, I enjoyed reading about some of your collection additions, and there were a couple Switch titles you mentioned that I didn't know got physical releases, so I might have to keep my eyes peeled...
I didn't realize Bridge Constructor Portal got a physical release on Xbox One. Wow. Maybe Switch will follow.

Dead Cells is my current GOTY.

Flashback is on my want-list. Thanks for the heads-up on it getting a bit harder to find.

I don't *think* Little Dragon's Cafe interests me. Maybe? Blade Strangers I do want, though. I should have bought that instead of the severely underwhelming SNK Heroines.

The Railway Empire campaign really bummed me out. The CPU literally cheats, as it can do things that you can't. Not cool. I really wanted this to just be a sandbox, though. I think I'll probably just dive back into Cities Skylines when I need my relaxation fix. On the same note, I was looking so forward to Surviving Mars, but it just felt so obtuse. Sigh.

@noiseredux: They should have just been honest about SNK Heroines and called it "Super Waifu Fighter" Tongue
Owlboy is buggy on the PS4 and especially the switch. I liked the game but it crashed on me at least 12 times on the PS4 and the switch is at least three times as bad.

Yoku mentioned in passing? I wrote a review of the game!


I really liked what I played of Little Dragon's Cafe and Sushi Striker. I need to go back to them but DQ11, Spider-Man and Shadow of the Tomb Raider are eating up all my gaming time.
@MetalFRO: I'm not big on games mostly based on luck, like Battleship, which Radar Mission pretty much is as far as I can tell.  Personal taste, although please let me know if I'm misjudging.

@noiseredux:Yeah, I was quite surprised that Bridge Constructor Portal got a physical console version, very pleased about that!  Little Dragons Café is a bit of a let-down IMHO, but it is extremely charming and (as mentioned) a small print run.  I second being extremely underwhelmed over Heroines, in many ways.  But Blade Strangers is as good as I hoped. 

Railway Empire was a bit annoying, and limiting (no real sandbox) but may scratch an itch for genre fans unaware it even exists.  City Skylines is definitely superior, hoping the surprise console releases for it will eventually extend to the Switch, which just got it digitally (and the Switch is getting the new Civ (!?) which could doom my free time.)  Definitely give Surviving Mars more of a shot if you will, it really gets good past the obtuse early learning curve.  I'm also a personal fan of Aven Colony.

@Addicted:I didn't mean to snub your Yoku review, Addicted!  I remember reading it but I forgot to reference it, sorry. 

I've played but not cleared Owlboy on Switch and PS4, and I haven't had any issues on either so far.  Perhaps I'm just really fortunate?  And I played it mostly on the go on Switch since day one. 

I like the setup and atmosphere on Little DC, but the gameplay felt too constricting after awhile.  Perhaps I didn't give it enough time?  Sushi Striker is a really nice surprise, and DQ11, Spider-man, and Shadow otTR are all on my backlog until I can put down Inquisitor Martyr, which has that Diablo-like hook of me wanting to keep playing despite all these other great games to play.

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