How's your March been going? Busy, eh? Been doing all that spring cleaning, all that planting—ha ha. Right. You've been playing video games, same as the rest of us. Don't deny it.
March of 2017 has been incredibly busy, uncharacteristically so. This time of year is usually a dry one for video games, but most of us who work in the industry are running on very tight schedules; even meals have been hurried affairs. Most days, we've barely even had time to break open a wall and gulp down a chicken leg.
The launch of the Nintendo Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a big reason for the hullabaloo, but Horizon Zero Dawn and Mass Effect: Andromeda quickly shouldered their way into the hype party, too.
In other words, your game budget probably looks a bit flaccid right now. You might even feel totally gamed-out after that spring binge. Here's the thing, though: A lot of great games were released at the end of February and into March, and they've been scuttling around the feet of the behemoths in hopes of getting the love they deserve.
I thought I'd highlight a few you need to try once your wallet fattens back up. Don't fear: Things are pretty quiet through the rest of the season. You have time to sit back and enjoy yourself.
(Except for a brief spell in early April when Persona 5 will inevitably steal you away from your friends, your family, and your pets.)
Nier: Automata (PC, PlayStation 4)
This beautifully bizarre open-world RPG counts as overlooked (Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn stole some of its open-world thunder), but it still shines like polished chrome. Sales-wise, it's doing quite well. No doubt its fantastic critical reception and strong numbers buoyed the spirits of Platinum Games, which has had a rough time lately. When you're over your open-world fatigue, make sure to go back and give Automata the attention it deserves.
Everything (PlayStation 4)
Everything, a project by artist David OReilly, is—well, it's certainly something. This curious "experience" for the PlayStation 4 is a kind of a digital grown-up busy box. That's not a bad thing, especially if you're compelled by the idea of poking around in a video game world without being expected to adhere to rulesets, achievements, and timers. If you played OReilly's 2014 mobile game Mountain, you already have a good idea of what to expect out of Everything.
Night in the Woods (PC, OSX, Linux, PlayStation 4)
Night in the Woods is already gunning for top spot in my 2017 ranking for Best Indie Games. The game's protagonist, Mae, busies herself by trying to discover what the hell's going on with her little town of Possum Springs—while also trying to figure out what's going on in her own head. Night in the Woods offers a layered story and a stellar soundtrack. If you're into narrative-heavy games, don't let it slip by you like an astral cat.
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns (Nintendo 3DS)
If Stardew Valley whet your appetite for working on the good land, you may want to consider buying a real farm. Or, if the idea of waking up at 3 a.m. to kneel on a filthy barn floor and pull calves out of cows doesn't appeal to you, you may want to stick to video game farming. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is packed with everything you need for a rich life in the digital countryside: Farming, exploring, relationship-building, and weird fashion. Why farm in jeans when you can farm in a ballroom mask?
Torment: Tides of Numenera (PC, OSX, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4)
inXile Entertainment Kickstarter-funded RPG, Torment: Tides of Numenera, is a no-brainer purchase if you loved Planescape: Torment. Tides of Numenera is admittedly on the short side compared to its predecessor, but its 20-ish hours of gameplay still contains good fights, a great story, and poor dialogue choices (by design, of course). Honestly, Breath of the Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Persona 5 are all capable of sucking away a combined 300 hours of your life (that's nearly two full weeks, kids!), so maybe a comparatively brisk RPG is exactly what the doctor ordered (Not Doctor Mario, though. He's not a real doctor).
Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together! (Nintendo Switch)
Snipperclips is an action / puzzle game that perfectly encapsulates Nintendo's vision for the Switch. It's a goofy low-resource party game that challenges you to complete purposefully-awkward tasks with the aid of two paper characters whose body parts can be snipped and clipped to make pokers, scoops, and springboards—whatever's necessary to get the job done. You'll either laugh the hours away with a good pal as you shout directions at each other, or eat one another's heads in frustration.
Boxboy's third game for the Nintendo 3DS is also his swan song. This boxy little trooper, an adorable creation by HAL Labs, stars in tons of unique puzzles that combine visual problem-solving with action-based gameplay. Collect them all: They're budget-priced, and well worth the money. Fare thee well, BoxBoy, and may all your dreams be in three dimensions.