LOS ANGELES — Last week’s Summer Game Fest was largely a virtual affair, packed with trailers for video games that may or may not be released in the next 18 months. As the gaming industry moves closer to normalcy at the convention preview, we’ve received invitations to two events in early June featuring playable, upcoming games.
You may have already seen my biggest practical highlights from these events: street fighter 6which is fantastic, and Sonic Frontiers, which is strange but promising. This article summarizes the “best of the rest” based on hands-on testing at the Summer Game Fest Play Days in Los Angeles and a series of long-distance demos at the Tribeca Games Festival. Some of the world’s largest developers and publishers were absent from the events – probably because many of their games have been postponed to 2023. While this list leans more towards the indie side, we stand behind these game preview highlights thanks to their feel.
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course
platforms: PC, Xbox, PS4, Switch
Scheduled release: June 30th
connections: steam | Nintendo eShop | Xbox | official page
The Bullet Hell brutality of Cuphead will return later this month as a DLC pack for $7.99. If the example boss level I played is any indication, this DLC will hit a sweet spot for series fans instead of turning it Cuphead Formula turned on its head.
A new playable character, Ms. Chalice, is available as a “talisman” that a player can equip at any time, and she offers a few beginner-friendly perks, including an extra health point, a double jump, and a parry that doubles as a forward sprint and somersault , which adds a few invincible frames. Their new skills weren’t strictly necessary in the new boss fight I played – although they were terrible at it CupheadI was still struggling with the three phases of combat, which included an abrupt transition to floating, rotating platforms (think Super Mario world‘s second Reznor fight).
She’s available in a new campaign, which Executive Producer Marija Moldenhauer tells Ars is comparable to the original game’s third island – which featured seven bosses and two platforming levels. Moldenhauer says the DLC will have six bosses, which she feels are more complicated and complicated than the standard game’s choices, but she wouldn’t otherwise clarify what else the DLC will contain.
Moldenhauer also says that the DLC has almost as many hand-drawn backgrounds and animation frames as the entire Standard Cuphead Campaign. That could mean the boss fights I haven’t played yet getting even more intense, or another massive platforming challenge coming up. Either way, $7.99 seems like a must-buy DLC option if you’re already invested Cuphead‘s meticulously hand-drawn 2D action.
platforms: PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4
Scheduled release: June 28th
connections: Epic | PSN | Xbox | official page
EA and Codemasters hosted one F1 2022 Gameplay demo to show off the latest feature of the series: VR Racing. Onsite Codemasters producers confirmed that the studio’s combined brain trust was mature enough to add a VR mode F1thanks to contributions from those who worked on VR modes in DiRT Rally and Drive Club VR. (The latter was made by Evolution Studios before Codemasters acquired it in 2016).
The game maker’s kiosk paired Fanatec’s CSL DD F1 bundle with a Quest 2 VR headset. In great news, the result strikes the right balance between fidelity and performance, along with VR comfort considerations when navigating F1-worthy straights. The only comfort exception came from moments when the game’s particle-filled clouds filled my gameplay view, crashing my headset’s frame-rate. This problem usually occurred after a gnarly spinout when I was driving all cruise assists disabled. when I leaned on the game’s optional F1 for dummies all assists mode, F1 2022 felt like an amazing carnival ride.
Codemasters didn’t have much else to offer F1 2022 at SGF, but it was fun enough to drive to get me excited about playing VR mode on my PC when it launches on June 28th.
platforms: PS5, PC
Scheduled release: early 2023
connections: steam | PSN | official page
The glut of indie “seek-adventure” games (better known as “Metroidvanias”) has to kick in at some point, right? What can someone else do to top the critically acclaimed likes? Hollow Knight, axiom edgeand cave history?
I’m not immediately convinced of that animal good will surpass the other greats of the genre, I was very, very intrigued by my hour-long demo. For one, it has new, beautiful ideas for rendering pixel art, thanks to its sole designer, programmer, and artist, who built the game’s engine from the ground up – and squeezed the entire package down to a 10MB limit so far. The game’s lighting and physics models are some of the most stunning I’ve seen in a 16-bit aesthetic, perhaps even surpassing the pixelated madness of chemical reactions noita.
Additionally, this adventure comes with clever ideas on how to skip combat entirely. animal good challenges players to focus on tricky maneuvers, solving puzzles and discovering hidden paths while uncovering the mysteries that hide the lack of dialogue. Instead of wielding weapons, your 8pixel blob of a hero must make the most of items like firecrackers, which cast lighting effects on the 2D world while also terrifying potential enemies, and a handy boarding whip that can be thrown into crevices to otherwise untouchable to grab world elements.
Snappy controls and otherworldly pixel art designs made my demo experience go along with it animal good memorable so far, and I look forward to its eventual release (currently tied to a vague “early 2023” window).