Word has it PSVR shooter Blood & Truth was once associated with The Getaway. London Studio eventually made the decision to turn it into a new IP, simply because they didn’t want to disappoint anybody expecting a vehicular open-world affair. It’s a commendable move – The Getaway brand wouldn’t have harmed sales. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Fortunately for Sony, all signs point to Blood & Truth being a runaway hit. Many critics claim that it’s another PSVR system seller, showcasing the best the peripheral has to offer – it’s one of the first realistic VR shooters to tick all the right boxes.
If it does help shift PSVR systems, then Squanch Games has picked the perfect time to launch Trover Saves the Universe – a comical adventure from the co-creator of Rick and Morty. Despite the promotional material focusing heavily on the VR aspect, it’s playable in standard-o-vision. Reviewers have likened it to a combination of Super Lucky’s Tale and Astro Bot, so if you’re into colourful platformers, you’re in good hands here.
It’s actually a surprisingly busy week for new releases, especially for the Switch which sees nine new physical releases alone. Lapis x Labyrinth is one of the more noteworthy (sorry Cricket 19), being a colourful 2D hack and slash RPG. Review scores are mostly clocking in at 7/10, so if you’re up for something bright and breezy you may want to investigate further. It’s also out on PS4, incidentally.
Layers of Fear 2 is another big release. Sadly, despite an all-new setting it doesn’t appear to be going down quite as well as the mansion-set original, running out of steam quickly and falling back on jump scares.
On a related note, mini-game collection Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted makes its debut on PlayStation 4 today (Tuesday) for £24.99.
Hopefully 2D action platformer Unruly Heroes isn’t pushed to the wayside. This retelling of ‘Legend of the Monkey King’ is gaining comparisons with Rayman Legends due to its lavish visuals and four-player frolics.
Over on Xbox One there’s Humble Bundle’s Void Bastards, a colourful cel-shaded first-person shooter. Why Microsoft isn’t making a bigger deal out of this is a mystery – review scores are glowing, with TrueAchievements claiming it’s one of the most impressively designed games they’ve ever seen. It certainly looks the part.
Hellmut: The Badass from Hell makes it to Xbox One this Friday too, being a randomised top-down pixel art shooter. This too has a comical theme, boasting some amusing dialogue as well as a Space Invaders-style arcade game to play between stages. You’ll be grateful for the downtime – this is one tough cookie. We’ll have more on it soon.
New release showcase:
Blood & Truth
8.5 – PlayStation Lifestyle: If you want to step into the shoes of an action hero a la James Bond or Jason Bourne, Blood & Truth lets players live those experiences. From high-octane explosive thrills to intimate emotional moments of character connection, it exemplifies everything that an interactive VR action movie should be.
4/5 – GamesRadar: Technical issues aside, Blood and Truth is cracking fun and feels like a real system-seller for PSVR. It’s such a shining example of the tech at it’s best you almost wish it could have been a launch title. Sure, games like Rush of Blood, Doom VFR and Superhot have proved guns and VR are fun, but this is the first time a realistic shooter has felt satisfying and right in VR.
7.5 – Destructoid: I didn’t expect a whole lot from Blood & Truth and came away smiling. No it’s not the best showcase for how far the VR industry has come as a whole (especially when the lead tech is a controller released in 2010), but it’s the type of popcorn project I’d like to see more of from a major publisher in the space.
7/10 – The Metro: Despite the complaints, if you own PlayStation VR then this is an absolute must buy, purely for the spectacle. At around five or six hours long there’s not much replayability, outside of a challenge mode, but this is one of the most impressive VR action games we’ve ever played.
6/10 – VideoGamer: Blood & Truth is an exciting shooter with some deft VR touches; its forgettable plot and characters are made up for by the intricate details of its world.
Layers of Fear 2
4.5/5 – TheXboxHub: To conclude, and if you are a big fan of horror games and enjoyed the first Layers of Fear then you are in for a bit of a bonus with Layers of Fear 2. The developers have enhanced their storytelling skill, their puzzles and their fright-night tone in the making of this new game, and I’ve loved the writing, the visuals, and the amazing sound design.
6.0 – God is a Geek: It tries to be three different games in one, a horror title, an explorative story-driven title and then an almost fast-paced action title, and unfortunately, the resulting triangulation point falls short of the mark. The horror starts well, as tension builds, but then the horror takes a back seat. And when the action rears its ugly head, all sense of atmosphere is lost in favour of a mild adrenaline rush.
5/10 – GameSpot: The story is too hazy to latch onto until the latter stages, and then nothing about it is particularly engaging, with its central mystery building towards something we’ve seen numerous times before. It occasionally hints at interesting themes but fails to go anywhere with them, falling back on telegraphed jump scares rather than delving deeper into the psychological horror it can only tease at.
4/10 – VideoGamer: Credit must go to Bloober Team for setting a different course for its sequel; it’s just a shame that it didn’t bring the chills and scares that littered the last outing.
9/10 – GameSpew: Unruly Heroes is a gorgeous action platformer that oozes charm. The single-player story mode is an absolute gem that I will undoubtedly revisit. The simplistic gameplay combined with a cast of four well-designed and unique characters makes for a fantastic experience that stands out from other platform games
8.5 – PSU: A great 2D Acton Platformer with some impressive art design and animation. With plenty of collectibles to find and some strong level design, Magic Design Studios has a winner on their hands.
8/10 – The Digital Fix: Unruly heroes will likely get on your nerves but its difficulty is matched with wit and humour that deserves to be seen by a bigger audience. As the platform genre goes, this exuberant adventure piece is a worthy successor to Rayman Legends.
5/5 – TrueAchievements: It’s one of the most tightly designed games I’ve ever played in my life and that comes through in every possible way, from UI and art direction to combat and level design. It’s without any excess parts, and so its design feels constantly well-reasoned and well-executed and expects you to play it just the same. Across the board, Void Bastards is unforgettable.
8.5 – God is a Geek: Void Bastards offers a different spin on the concept of strategy, allowing you to pave your own journey through the galaxy with a range of characters you weirdly grow to love, even if their deaths are permanent. Combat is a little repetitive after spending a good seven or eight hours travelling through the Sargasso Nebula, but there’s plenty of variety in weapons and enemy types that make each vessel a brand new challenge
7/10 – The Metro: The action may be simple but it’s rewarding, and the freedom you’re given to engineer your own escape is highly compelling. All of which ensures Void Bastards is more than just a great name.
Lapis x Labyrinth
7.5 – PlayStation Lifestyle: This is a game where I could plug a few minutes in, try to make some kind of progress, and gain experience either way. There may not be a ton of complexity to be had, but what it offers is plenty of variety, fast-paced action, and a desire to push forward. While the labyrinth is full of dangers, the rewards can be great.
7.5 – DualShockers: Though it is likely a better fit for Nintendo Switch, if you typically are turned off by more repetitive games but appreciate an enjoyable RPG, you will have a good time with Lapis x Labyrinth.
7.0 – VideoChums: If you want a simple 2D hack and slash action RPG then Lapis x Labyrinth is definitely a good game to wind down with after a long day. Just don’t expect it to be particularly engaging, especially once the repetition starts to sink in.
Trover Saves the Universe
8.7 – IGN: Trover Saves the Universe is a short and sweet VR platformer wrapped in one of the most ridiculous and funny video game stories you’ll ever see.
8.5 – PSU: Trover Saves the Universe is slick, unexpected, and vulgar beyond belief. You likely already know if the sort of humor in Trover is for you, and if its not, you should give Trover a wide berth. But if you are the sort of sicko that likes this sort of stuff, there is a surprisingly solid game lurking beneath the rapid-fire jokes and bizarre imagery.
7.75 – GameInformer: Combat, puzzles, and exploration feel familiar and unspectacular, but the bizarre story and hilarious dialogue set it apart
3.5/5 – Screen Rant: Featuring more than 100 different room-sized levels for players to explore, Warlock’s Tower offers around 6 hours of (mostly) fun complex puzzle-solving. These elements alone would be enough to result in a slightly above average throwback title, but Warlock’s Tower brings in a fun life-based system that truly makes the title stand out.
6/10 – The Xbox Tavern: Warlock’s Tower isn’t half bad for a retro-fueled puzzler. The game paces itself rather well through the steady introduction of new mechanics, and although it somewhat struggles to remain interesting in the long-run, one has to commend its solid difficulty curve. You’re unlikely to be blown away by what’s on offer here, but you’ll certainly be getting your money’s worth, especially if you’re a fan of the genre.
New digital multi-format releases:
Among the Sleep: Enhanced Edition
New on PSN:
Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted
Lapis x Labyrinth
Blood & Truth
Trover Saves The Universe
The House in Fata Morgana
Summer Sports Games
Super Cane Magic ZERO
Home Sweet Home
Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa
New on Xbox One store:
Hellmut: The Badass From Hell
New Nintendo retail releases
Lapis x Labyrinth
Little Friends: Dogs & Cats
Cricket 19 – The Official Game of the Ashes
Among The Sleep: Enhanced Edition
Animated Jigsaws Collection
Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa
Next week: The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr, Warhammer: Chaosbane, Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, Sairento VR, MotoGP 19, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II, Asdivine Dios, Party Golf, and Toki.