Out This Month is a roundup of some new games that are coming out this month.
Road Not Taken
Mac, PC, PlayStation 4—August 5
Yes, Road Not Taken is inspired by the Robert Frost poem of the same name. In Spry Fox’s take, you’re a magical ranger living out the last 15 years of your life by searching for kids lost in a snowy, not-very-yellow wood. You either die prematurely at the hands of the harsh but cute wilderness or, presumably, of natural causes at the end of the game’s 15 annual rescue missions. Regardless of how you meet your demise, you’ll be starting your next life from the beginning with newly generated puzzles and encounters. According to the developers, it’s impossible to see everything in one lifetime, so it’s what you decide to do with those 15 years that makes all the difference.
PS Vita—August 5
Metrico sounds like a graphic designer’s surreal nightmare. Its world is literally made of infographics, with zig-zagging line-graph pathways and bar-graph staircases. To traverse this landscape you’ll need to manipulate these living charts, whose states are tied to some unknown piece of data you’re providing. For example, one of the puzzles the developers have shown off has a pie chart appearing in the sky and filling up a little more every time you jump. If you enough times to fill it all the way, a new path will materialize in front of you. It’s both a clever idea for a game and a depressing reminder that we’re all just slaves to big data wrapped up in one!
PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PS Vita—August 12
Hohokum has a lot in common with Noby Noby Boy. Both games are divided into environments with vague goals, if they could even be called that. They emphasize exploration and experimentation without the threat of failure. And they both star colorful serpentine creatures. That’s where the biggest difference comes in, though. Hohokum’s flying Technicolor dream-snake (referred to by the developers as “the long mover”) is an unassailable benevolent force. It takes the world’s unsuspecting little characters for a fantastic ride through the clouds, dropping them off on Ferris wheels. The Noby Noby Boy, on the other hand, is a gluttonous menace to society. Serving only its cosmic master, it devours innocent bystanders, fruit, and soccer balls alike, releasing them from its hellish bowels as either perfectly spherical turds or freakish chimeras.
Linux, Mac, PC—August 21
It’s a story we’ve heard time and time again. You’re the new kid, a sophomore at a prestigious boarding school. You don’t quite fit in, but you’re determined to make it in this weird, intimidating place. You need to maneuver your way through the social pecking order, not just to survive but also to find friends and maybe even love. You know the drill. Oh, that’s right. There’s one little detail I forgot. You’re the first human to be accepted into St. PigeoNation’s Institute, a high school for talented pigeons. I hope you packed a lot of bread.
Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Nintendo 3DS—August 29
Layton is a gentlemanly archaeologist who travels the world solving puzzles with a little boy. Wright is a goofball defense lawyer who sometimes forgets to use his indoor voice. On a certain level, this crossover makes perfect sense. They both use their investigative prowess to defend the innocent in a long-running series of mystery games where the puzzles suit their respective professions. But are we really supposed to believe that Phoenix Wright, he of anime-inspired visage and realistic proportions, exists in the same world as Professor Layton, who looks something like a Muppet that’s been granted life to every part but its eyes? Maybe this is a Canadians-in-South Park situation where characters from different parts of the world just look different. It would stand to reason, then, that in the universe these two call home, people look like the animation style of their home regions—Wright, of Japanese descent, looks like an anime character and Layton, a Londoner, has a more European cartoon look. Yes. That must be it.