The Best Upcoming Games in May
May looks set to be yet another wonderful month for indie games; we get to kill Nazis in Mad Devils, explore a post-apocalyptic universe as a cat in Biomutant, and experience a metal concept album in the form of a game called Of Bird and Cage. Take a closer look at some of these:
Unable to stop the Nazis–the most accursed villains in most fictional universes–in the final days of World War 2, a squad of Allied special forces soldiers were cast into the abyss of hell, undead but not quite defeated. Mad Devils look devilishly fun, with players controlling the Allied team sent to stop the Nazis from damning the world once more in this co-op twin stick shooter. Expect loads of firefights and violently intense explosions There’s also a story-rich campaign, which will hopefully elevate the game to more than just a glitzy arcade shooter.
Mad Devils will be released on May 10.
Essays on Empathy
Essays on Empathy immediately caught my eye due to its fascinating premise: a curated showcase of 10 short, unique tales by Deconstructeam, the developer of The Red Strings Club, that seeks to push the boundaries of narrative experiences in games. From a hitman who moonlights as a florist, to a schoolgirl spooked by the idea that the skeleton in her body doesn’t quite belong to her, Essays on Empathy will be tackling these quirky stories through a variety of possibly unconventional gameplay, from point-and-click to a deck-building system. While the bulk of the stories are older titles created by the studio, a new experience exclusive to this collection is “De Tres al Cuarto”, which is about a couple of comedians looking to make it big in the cut-throat world of comedy.
Essays on Empathy will be launched on May 19.
I’ve previously written about the unsettling horror game Strangeland, but its surreal tale about waking up to a woman leaping to her death, over and over again, at a nightmarish carnival has since continued to sunk its gnarly claws deep into my brains. Wandering around in this strange carnivals, which seems to be set in a deformed, otherworldly forest, you’ll get to explore its haunting rides and attractions, chat with strange characters and potential allies, and wield tools to solve the puzzles the game throws at you. The usual cast of eccentric carnival personalities will also make their appearance: a sideshow freak, an animatronic fortune-teller, and a telepathic starfish–and they’re all likely to keep you in a perpetual sense of discomfort. Strangeland is a grim, morbid universe I can’t wait to learn more about.
Strangeland will be out on Steam on May 25.
Biomutant looks set to be May’s biggest hit, and that’s because it has all the right moves that would make fans of most blockbuster games stand up: badass animal protagonists, a martial arts-inspired combat system combined with melee and mutation powers, in-depth weapons crafting, and a strikingly vibrant post-apocalyptic landscape. You play as a cat-like creature in this action RPG, where you’ll be looking for ways to restore life to an infected Tree of Life–which is probably causing all the mutations around its world. A karma meter will also determine how other characters will react when they see or speak to you–something that’s a staple of AAA RPGs these days.
We’ll get to find out more, obviously, when Biomutant is released on May 26.
Of Bird and Cage
Of Bird and Cage is a symphonic metal concept album presented as a story-driven game, and featuring some of the biggest names in metal. If you’re a fan of metal and games, that very line itself should leave you palpitating with excitement. With a tale lightly based on Beauty and the Beast, you’ll be playing as Gitta Barbot, a drug addict who’s trying to escape her captor. Presumably you’ll be running down halls and corridors to the heart-thumping music of bands like Within Temptation and Epica. It’s still unclear how well the music and the game-like, storytelling aspect of the game will meld together, but I’m quite sure the result will be anything but a snoozefest.
Of Bird and Cage will be released on May 20.