When we kickstarted this new series last month, we anticipated that some months might be drier than others. What we didn't anticipate is that some months would have nothing that really stood above the rest of the pack.
That's not to say nothing came out this month. At the top of February, Reviews Editor Mike Williams reviewed Kunai. He highlights how it stands out in the metroidvania genre thanks to its Game Boy Color-leaning aesthetic and fluid combat, but writes, "Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out where you're supposed to go at times, backtracking in Kunai is a bit of a pain, and the level design doesn't offer as many branching paths as its competition."
Staff Writer Hirun Cryer wrote about two games this month: Media Molecule's long-awaited game creation tool Dreams, and the charming Hotline Miami-like indie Bloodroots. Dreams, while stunning in the depth of its tools, is held back by how limited in scope the projects players are currently making with it. However, we imagine in the months to come as players get a better handle on Dreams, the projects that emerge from it will get far more impressive. Hirun also enjoyed his time with Bloodroots quite a bit. We unfortunately haven't played enough of it to weigh in with a full review or final word, but he writes that at the very least, its "boss fights [...] are the undisputed high point of the game."
It was also a solid month for remasters. Yakuza 5, our favorite remaster of the month, rounded out the slow-release schedule of the Yakuza Remastered Collection, which began back in August 2019 with the digital release of Yakuza 3. Yakuza 5's release is the most fascinating of the newly refreshed trilogy, considering it was a big deal when it came to PlayStation 3 a few years late, and with this new release now has a fully redone localization, in addition to other remastered fixes. I personally recommend it if you, like me, are fond of Kazuma Kiryu and his surrogate daughter Haruka's relationship. The best plot in it is all about that and the sacrifices parents and children make for each other in the name of love.
Staff Writer and resident Mega Man historian Nadia Oxford also reviewed Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection, the latest beefy Mega Man collection. It's the first home console release for the subseries, as it was previously resigned to the portable platforms of Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS.
All that said, nothing really wowed us this month, unlike last month's Kentucky Route Zero. We're hesitant to award a remaster like Yakuza 5 or Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection with "Game of the Month," even if we enjoyed both a great deal. As a result, we're not honoring anything with a game of the month.
At the very least, March is looking like it'll be very competitive. Nintendo's releasing Animal Crossing: New Horizons. On the same day, id Software's Doom Eternal will be ripping and tearing demons. Valve has its dance with VR and return to an iconic series, Half-Life: Alyx. Sony San Diego's MLB The Show 20, the series' first outing beyond just PlayStation, will be the first big sports simulation of the year. (And judging from last year's stellar entry, it's bound to be among the best.) Arc System Works' Granblue Fantasy Versus has the fighting game community particularly buzzing.
There are other exciting games too: the Hatoful Boyfriend team's new game, Murder By Numbers, which blends Picross with Phoenix Wright-like mystery solving; Team Ninja's Nioh 2, Ninja Theory's Bleeding Edge, PC gamer favorite Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord, and the JRPG refresh we've all been salivating for: Persona 5 Royal. Next month will be a, dare we say it, hellish challenge, but we're prepared for the immense task. See y'all in March!