A fab five.
Summer’s on its way, which means the game industry is slowing down for a bit, adamant that the lighter nights and sunnier weather will encourage people to go outdoors instead of staying indoors and playing games (speak for yourselves!).
But for those more interiorly inclined, there are still a few highlights to look forward to this month. While it’s currently a desert for triple-A’s as they all prepare to butt heads come autumn, this leaves space for the bigger indies, triple-I’s if you will, to breathe – and there are a few such games on our list. Read on to find out what you should be wishlisting in June.
The Sinking City
The first of our most anticipated titles for this month is The Sinking City, a game with strong Lovecraftian vibes. While this is nothing new – if anything, it’s been an especially popular theme as of late – this looks to be a particularly strong example.
It’s the 1920s, and you play as Charles Reed, a PI who travels to investigate Oakmont, Massachusetts. This is far from a standard case, however. Oakmont has always been infamous for its kooky inhabitants and their love of superstition and cult-like behaviour, but recently things have taken a turn for the weirder. Ungodly floods have struck the town, leaving it cut off from the surrounding areas, and its population have turned even crazier than before, suffering mad visions and hysteria.
The supernatural nature of the goings-on in Oakmont is undeniable, but thankfully you’ve developed a mysterious power of your own: extraordinary senses of observation. You’ll need them to get to the bottom of the dark mystery in store here, and to try your best to retain your remaining sanity while you do so.
The Sinking City floods the Epic Game Store, PS4 and Xbox One on the 24th June.
My Friend Pedro
Fruit and vegetables are always said to be unconditionally good for you, but I’m not so sure about the banana of My Friend Pedro. This slippery individual wants you to kill people – a lot of people. As far as I’m concerned, that ain’t too healthy.
But at least My Friend Pedro lets you look pretty damn cool while being a fruit-pleasing murdererer. Remember bullet-time? It brings that back in a big way, allowing you to pull off all sorts of flashy manoeuvres, backflipping through the air with akimbo automatics spraying in all directions. You’ll even rack up bonus points for these extra-stylish executions.
While I don’t expect My Friend Pedro to be the most cerebrally challenging game – despite the promise of an odd puzzle or two – I reckon it’s set to bring a lot of good old-fashioned dumb action fun. And that’s fine by me.
My Friend Pedro slow-mo jumps onto Steam and Switch at some point this month.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
A classic pitch for Kickstarter success is, “A spiritual successor to that game you used to like,” and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night was about as close to that as you could get. Not only did it promise to be a classic Metroidvania in every sense, it was being produced by the legendary Koji Igarashi, who worked on Castlevania for the better part of a decade. Needless to say, it fulfilled its target in hours, and broke records with a total of five and a half million raised.
That was back in 2015, and Bloodstained is finally ready to see the (dim) light of day. It’s a tale as gothic as they come, set in a castle (of course) overrun with demons. You play as Miriam, a warrior who’s slowly succumbing to a curse that threatens to crystallise her entire body. With a 2.5D visual style, Bloodstained can deliver some impressive, dynamic levels while still retaining classic two-dimensional Metroidvania exploration and combat.
Thanks to stretch goals, it also boasts an impressive cast of experienced anime and video game voice actors, including Erica Lindbeck, Ray Chase and even David Hayter of Solid Snake fame.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night seeps onto Steam, Switch, PS4 and Xbox One on June 18th.
Love ’em or hate ’em, the Chaos Empire are perhaps the most well-known and malevolent faction of the vast Warhammer fantasy universe. And as the name suggests, you’ll be facing them in Warhammer: Chaosbane.
You’ll play as one of four classes from the Empire of Man in your bid to fight back the swarms of Chaos forces: a High Elf mage, Dwarven brawler, tanky Empire soldier or a Wood Elf rogue. Chaosbane is a hack and slash with a slew of character abilities, some of which can be combined for greater effect when playing in the game’s four-player coop mode.
Whereas Warhammer has lent itself to many games over the years, action RPGs have been largely absent from their catalogue. Last year’s Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr gave the genre a fair stab, but its technical issues and repetitive mission design weren’t so well received. Let’s hope that Chaosbane will be more successful.
Warhammer: Chaosbane advances onto Steam, PS4 and Xbox One on the 4th June – or if you were eager to get into the fray, pre-ordering a Digital Deluxe edition got you in a few days early.
Steel Division 2
War, huh: what is it good for? I wouldn’t say absolutely nothing – it’s brought us a lot of fine strategy games for us to sink our teeth into, after all. Steel Division: Normandy 44 was one such example, a startlingly deep World War II RTS that brought realistic simulation and brutal, intricate strategy to warmongerers everywhere.
The franchise returns with Steel Division 2, promising just as much – if not more – grand-scale battles and painstakingly detailed WWII simulation. You’ll command an entire Russian army as you fight back against Axis forces. New to Steel Division this time around are ‘Dynamic Strategic Campaigns,’ huge historically-accurate campaigns that combine a grand strategy element of managing your battalions before jumping into real-time battles.
As well as 25 maps, the game also features an unbelievable 600 units from the era – I didn’t know there’d have even been that many in existence. Would you like some more big numbers? The multiplayer battles are 10 vs 10, unusually large for a game of this genre.
If historic warfare is your thing, preordering Steel Division 2 will score you access to its beta, running from now until the game’s launch. Steel Division 2 invades Steam on the 20th of June.
That’s all for this month – stay tuned for reviews of the above plus other indies throughout June. And if you want to look back and see the best of the best from what’s already out, we’ve got our list of the Top 100 Indie Games of All Time for you to delve into.
James, our deputy editor, loves a deep action-adventure game, RPG or metroidvania. In addition to making sure everything on the site is as good as it can be – scouring for typos, tweaking headlines, finding the fanciest images – he’s also in charge of the reviews section.