With no less than four big-name titles vying for both your spare time and money, this week’s new release line-up closer resembles a busy week in October or November.

Publishers definitely aren’t hoping Valentine’s Day will drum up extra sales, as all four major releases launch on Friday. This is also why reviews are slow to surface – critics had their say on Metro Exodus earlier today, but being a few days away we’re still waiting on Far Cry New Dawn and Crackdown 3 reviews.

We imagine Far Cry New Dawn will be a safe purchase. In fact, it has already recieved 9/9/9/9 from Famitsu. Crackdown 3, however, has always looked a little rough in pre-release footage. Signs of a troubled development might be visible.

The fourth major release? That’ll be the anime crossover brawler Jump Force. It launched on Tuesday in the US, yet the only review currently online is a mediocre 5/10 from SquareXO. “Jump force [sic] misses the mark by miles and these characters just don’t work in this style,” they said, referring the game’s chunky aesthetic.

Echoing this, user reviews on Metacritic are mostly average too. It seems Bandai-Namco are trying to keep this one away from critics.

As for smaller releases, there’s Nippon Ichi’s 2D adventure The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince on PS4 and Switch – a tale of two lonely hearts brought together through a mutual misunderstanding.

That’s joined by hardcore platformer The King’s Bird – also out on PS4 and Switch – and Conarium on PS4 and Xbox One, a first-person Lovecraftian game that tells the story of four scientists.

We wonder if launching a Lovecraftian game near Valentine’s Day was intentional.

New release showcase:

Metro Exodus

Reviews:
9/10 – The Metro: “The best post-apocalyptic survival game of the generation, that innovates in terms of both its varied gameplay mechanics and its incisive storytelling”

4/5 – The Telegraph: “The characters you share it with can be overly loquacious and too broadly drawn, but its sense of camaraderie in the face of hardship can’t help but endear to the bittersweet end”

8/10 – GameSpot: “The open sandboxes may not be strongest addition, but the game still embraces the sense of vulnerability and post-apocalyptic terror alongside impactful weapons used in refined combat and stealth scenarios. You may miss the mystery and intrigue of the previous games, but Exodus puts together a charismatic crew of friends and family that you’ll want to follow to the ends of the earth”

7/10 – Destructoid: “Metro Exodus is a tour-de-force in apocalyptic exploration. It offers a rich, evolving world, brought to life with stunning visuals, immersive sound and ghastly creatures. These thrills and chills are irritatingly tempered with menial tasks, poor voice acting, dull stealth and a soulless hero, all of which prevent Metro Exodus from achieving its true potential”

6/10 – Push Square: “While Metro: Exodus delivers on its promise of deep and meaningful combat situations that let you approach encounters from any angle you can think of, its technical shortcomings are simply unforgivable. Combine that with a plot that doesn’t answer its most intriguing questions and you’ve got an experience that will please at times, but will also disappoint those looking for something meaningful outside of the distribution of bullets”

Conarium

Reviews:
7.2 – Xbox Tavern: “Conarium is certainly one for the fans of H.P. Lovecraft, despite the fact that it’s less of a traditional horror, and more of a puzzler with elements of suspense present. That said, the game does a wonderful job at presenting a dark and eerie story that follows in the footsteps of its source material, complete with a great setting and several nods to its inspirations. Unfortunately, however, its slow pace and its short length holds it back quite a bit”

7/10 – GameSpew: “It’s certainly not the ideal game for those expecting sweat-inducing horror or adrenaline-pumping action, but for those who like to explore eerie environments and unravel a good story, there’s a good evening’s worth of entertainment”

3.5/5 – The Xbox Hub: “If Conarium ran at just a slightly faster pace I would have loved this game, but unfortunately it didn’t grip me nearly as much as I’d hoped it would”

The King’s Bird

Reviews:
8/10 – PlayStation Country: “It’s tough, so if you shy away from this type of game normally then be warned, but it’s also slightly more forgiving than its contemporaries. When you succeed at flying it feels fantastic and missing the target only to adjust your flight path and save it is superb. The visual and audio presentation is the cherry on top of a flight certainly worth taking”

4/5 – Video Chums: “Hardcore platformer fans will love the challenges that The King’s Bird presents while less skilled gamers can still appreciate the gorgeous game world via the incredibly helpful Assist Mode. Talk about going above and beyond!”

7/10 – Nintendo Life: “For fans of hard-mode platformers, this may arrive as a welcome treat and worth sinking a handful of hours into for that sweet payoff, but those with other tastes may want to keep looking elsewhere”

The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince

Reviews:
8/10 – Nintendo World Report: “The brief length can make it feel a little less ambitious, but I can’t say I was let down by this whimsical short story of a video game. Lovely art, a cute story, and solid puzzle platforming help make The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince a pleasant ride”

7.5 – EGM: “The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince continues Nippon Ichi Software’s tradition of visually compelling games that sadly feel a little lacking in the gameplay department. This adventure of a wolf in human form leading a delicate prince through a dangerous forest could have benefitted from a deep level of puzzles and polish—and yet, in the end, it may still win you over due to its style and sentiment”

6.5 – Destructoid: “The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince only ever comes close to meeting its potential in the final stage of the game, and that’s not an exaggeration. Every time it flirts with some creative concepts, it quickly retreats to its quotidian comfort zone. I personally love this game because I enjoy a good fairytale, but unlike the titular prince, I’m not so blind I can’t see everything that’s wrong with it”

New digital multi-format releases:

NASCAR Heat 3
NBA LIVE 19 All-Star Edition
Hyper Jam
Minesweeper Genius
Degrees of Separation

New on PSN:

Eden-Tomorrow
Mixups by POWGI
Ages of Mages: the Last Keeper
XING: The Land Beyond
Hacky Zack
Intruders: Hide and Seek
VERTI-GO HOME!
Rym 9000
Dead Land VR
Crisis VRigade
Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles

New on Xbox One store:

DreamWorks Dragons Dawn of New Riders
Lost Artifacts: Soulstone

Next week: Anthem, DiRT Rally 2.0, NieR: Automata – Game of the YoRHa Edition, UnExplored – Unlocked Edition, Nightmare Boy, Steins;Gate Elite, Fate/EXTELLA LINK, Death end reQuest, and Aragami: Shadow Edition.