Next week, fellow gamers. Next week the New Year's drought ends and we'll find ourselves with new, anticipated titles to purchase at retail. It will also mark the end of January. However, in this, the release list for the last full week in the first month of the year, we bring you a few expansions, some downloadable goodies, and a platformer that Tim Burton would be proud to call his own.
First up, we have 2D side-scroller/shooter Mutant Mudds. Enjoyably alliterative name aside, Mutant Mudds brings layered levels to the table. Each map in the game consists of multiple platforming layers, which players can switch between at designated spots with a tap of a button. It's a mechanic uniquely suited to the 3DS' eponymous gimmick, and one that echoes the successful implementation of 3D in fellow 2D platformer Mighty Switch Force. That's another eShop title you should check out, by the way. Mutant Mudds brings its geeky lead and puzzle/platforming mix to the eShop on Thursday, January 26.
Ever play Gish? Ever wonder what would happen if you mashed Gish up with some Super Monkey Ball? You might end up with something like Puddle, which is fluid-based physics puzzle-solving in levels that you control. As in, yes, you tilt them. Challenges center around turning the levels so that they open up new opportunities for the fluids (which generally obey gravity) and availing oneself of these opportunities with further, cautious tilting of the gamespace. It's coming to the PlayStation Network next week, and the Vita at some point in the future (where one would imagine the console's gyroscopic controls will pay off for it in spades), but is coming to the XBLA this Wednesday, January 25.
Its developers describe it as a mix of "Boggle" and "Risk," which is somewhat accurate, but it's really more akin to Scrabble than Boggle. Players take turns sending their adorable armies out to conquer their adjacent foes, but combat is far from random. Instead of dice, eight-letter tiles are your weapon—each including a perfect anagram—but you may only make a word with as many tiles as you have units. The higher point value word wins the battle. It's charming, quirky, strategic, and ever-so-slightly intellectual. It'll also be available on the XBLA this Wednesday, January 25.
(PC, PSN, XBLA)
As its name would imply, this map pack brings additional multiplayer maps to Assassin's Creed: Revelations' unique multiplayer. Included within is a virtual tour of cities bordering the Mediterranean sea, including places that haven't been seen since the original Assassin's Creed. Some of Brotherhood's maps sneak their way in as well. For those looking to extend their multiplayer experience in Assassin's Creed: Revelations and inject it with some welcome variety, this pack is a can't-miss affair. It lands on Tuesday, January 24.
An oddball among real-time strategy games, Oil Rush focuses on naval warfare, but does so in a somewhat abstracted way. Rather than amassing units, grouping them arbitrarily and sending them out en masse to tear down the enemy's own pitched forces, Oil Rush consists of improving towers, constructing units that then move fluidly between them. These are controlled by issuing orders to the tower they're at relative to the target tower (whether for offense or defense). There's also a technology tree, which can unlock special abilities during play to add another layer of strategy to the game's floating frenzies. Oil Rush is hitting the PC this Wednesday, January 25.
Another Sims 3 "stuff" expansion, this one adds high-end luxury items and "nightwear" options to the game. For those who can't get enough of micromanaging their virtual peons' lives (or mismanaging, as the case may be), this add-on provides more toys to clutter the sandbox—the sandbox of the one percent, in this case. Ardent fans will want to snatch it up when it launches on Tuesday, January 24.
How do you like your U.S. history? Victoria II developers Paradox Interactive wager that those with an affinity for American history will enjoy glimpsing the country during its Civil War period—from 1861 to 1865—through the lens of their socio-economic, political, and military simulator, Victoria II. The expansion, A House Divided, offers, in addition to the new civil war campaign, a set of new reform paths, a deeper political system (which includes new national focus options), and a new system of popular movements. The last of those can be appropriately aided or stymied as you see fit. Victoria II: A House Divided hits digital retail on Tuesday, January 24.
Hidden Gem of the Week:
We missed this one last week (our apologies), when it launched on the XBLA. Now hitting the PSN, though, is Scarygirl, published by Square-Enix. Based on a graphic novel, Scarygirl has a distinctive aesthetic that echoes the classic proto-goth design of such animations as Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The world is slightly off-kilter (literally, angles are rarely perfectly right) and, though there is a dark element to the design of the protagonist and many of her enemies, the graphics are colorful and bright. It's a side-scrolling platformer, though it does play with perspective at times, and allows for co-op, which is fairly neat.
If you're looking for a narrative experience to tide you over until next week, this looks to be your primary option. If you're at all into the scene for which this game's aesthetic was practically designed, it's worth your attention and most likely your money. It hits the PSN this Tuesday, January 24.
Date: January 23, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*