Out this week: Steins;Gate, Massive Chalice, Wander, June’s PS Plus freebies and more

Rumours of the PS Vita’s death are somewhat exaggerated – it’s the format due the most retail releases this week. Admittedly there’s just two, but that’s still a statement that’ll withstand in any courtroom.

Those games are Steins;Gate (also out on PS3) and Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy. The latter – a sci-fi dungeon crawler – currently has only received two reviews. “Operation Abyss is a thematically unique dungeon crawler, with some great systems underpinning it, and some of the best level design in the genre to date” said Digitally Downloaded before handing out 4.5/5.

ZTGD wasn’t quite as taken however, giving it 6.5/10. “Having beaten many dungeon crawlers to this date, I feel Operation Abyss had some of the most confusing and uninteresting level designs of the bunch and it’s really a shame considering that the majority of the experience takes place in the dungeons” said their reviewer. “When it’s all said and done, Operation Abyss isn’t a bad game but it certainly doesn’t live up to the high standards set by Demon Gaze” they continued.

Operation Abyss New Tokyo Legacy

Visual novel Steins;Gate – which stars an eccentric college student with a mad scientist alter ego – looks like being the safer option. The Official PlayStation Magazine gave it 9/10 while GamesMaster mag dished out 86% and called it one of the greatest examples of its kind.

Current Xbox One ‘Games with Gold’ freebie Massive Chalice is another requiring gamers to put their smartest thinking cap on. It’s a turn-based strategy game from Double Fine, with stylised visuals and a talking chalice full of sparkling wit. Costume Quest this isn’t – you’ll need both time and patience here. As our upcoming review explains in greater detail, it’s hardcore to the point of feeling punishing.

SparkleUnleashed

Ball bursting puzzler Sparkle Unleashed meanwhile heads to Xbox One, PS4, PS3 and PS Vita. We’re a little miffed by the existence of this one – it’s a clone of PopCap’s Zuma. Jeff Minter recieved a telling off from Atari as TxK allegedy took inspiration too heavily from Tempest 2000, yet stuff like Sparkle Unleashed and next week’s Wii U Minecraft clone Cube Life get off scot free. It doesn’t seem fair at all.

Anyway, we digress. Also out now on Xbox One and PS4 – The Jackbox Party Pack. It’s a collection of five celebrated party games – You Don’t Know Jack 2015, Fibbage XL, Drawful, Word Spud and Lie Swatter. Ingeniously, tablets and mobiles can be used as additional controllers. Don’t overlook this one – friends (and possibly alcohol) permitting, you’ll be in for a hoot.

Because it’s the beginning of the month new PS Plus additions have arrived too. These include the hand-drawn, and very well-received, 2D strategy game Skulls of the Shogun on PS4 and the alien-battling adventure Super Exploding Zoo! on both PS4 and PS Vita. For those who missed the announcement, the other freebies are MGS: Ground Zeroes (PS4), Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (PS3), Cloudberry Kingdom (PS3) and Futuridium EP Deluxe (PS4/PS Vita).

GuiltyGear

After knocking around on import for a while, the gorgeous – and curiously titled – Guilty Gear Xrd ~Sign~ finally launches on PS4 and PS3 in Europe. It’s £39.99 on PS4 and £32.99 on PS3 via PSN. Eurogamer was left feeling impressed – “It’s among the PS4’s best presented games to date, and a real highlight of the series”, they said.

Another premium priced download hitting PS4 is Wander (£19.99), a MMO that focuses on narrative and exploration rather than combat. Hence the title, then. It stars a humanoid with both gills and wings, allowing both the murky depths of the oceans and the soaring skies to be discovered in full. We’re surprised there hasn’t been much chatter about this as it looks pretty ambitious.

Just two more titles left to go – fresh from Xbox One last week, Beach Buggy Racing (£5.79) makes a pitstop on PS4 while Tetris Ultimate (£11.99) makes a belated PS Vita appearance. Hopefully Ubisoft has rectified the issues the current-gen versions were plagued with. Apparently even the menu screens suffered from lag.

Next week: The Elder Scrolls Online (PS4, Xbox One – out Tuesday), LEGO Jurassic World (Everything except Wii U – that version is delayed a week), Payday 2 Crimewave Edition (PS4, Xbox One) and yet another bunch of seemingly random downloads.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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