”Don’t even bother: there are no games out this month. Maybe check in again in May. Honestly, you’d be much better off having a look at any one of the other wonderful articles available here at your favourite PC gaming website, Rock Paper Shotgun.”
... is what someone who failed to see the potential in April would say.
Alright, I can’t sit here and claim that we’re about to get 30 days of stone cold classics, but there are a decent number of games out this month that could turn out to be better than anticipated. 10 whole, actual, real video games that might be worth your time. Hooray for some sense of optimism.
If you like moving images set to words and music, you can have a watch of the video above. But, if you prefer text, then read on.
Outriders (April 1st)
Maybe April will have a Valheim level surprise up its sleeve. Who knows at this point? But, at time of writing, Outriders looks like the biggie release this month. Listen, I love a bit of shooting from a third-person perspective, and killing baddies with time-bending and fire-based powers does sound like a delightful time, but it's fair to say that this looter-shooter’s recent Steam demo didn’t blow anyone away. People Can Fly’s upcoming effort seems like it’ll be the game equivalent of a large and greasy American Hot from your local pizza place: quite tasty, and plenty of it, but ultimately lacking the quality you get from the posher place down the road. But, if you have a hankering from some comfort food, then grab two pals and jump into Outriders on April Fools Day. You’ll probably have an alright time.
Oddworld: Soulstorm (April 6th)
After the success of their Abe's Oddysee reimagining, Oddworld Inhabitants were always going to have a go at shining up Abe’s Exodus. Oddworld: Soulstorm is the result of that shining. To be fair, this is more than just a nicer-looking version of the side-scrolling platformer from ‘98: the story has been described as a “retake,” inspired by the narrative of Exodus; you can now craft useful items with loot that you find scattered about the world; and given the fact that Abe is an affable kinda guy, it only makes sense that you can complete Soulstorm without killing a single slig. I have a soft spot for Abe anyway, but these additions only make me more interested in jumping back into this world.
Total War: Rome Remastered (April 29th)
Did you like Rome: Total War? Of course you did. Well, Total War: Rome Remastered is – you’ll be surprised to hear – that game you played for hundreds of hours in 2004, but all modern and 2021! This remaster boasts some remodeled objects and environmental effects, it’s been optimised for 4K, and it has ultra widescreen support. Fancy. Look, I could rattle off all these new features that are listed on the Steam page I’m staring at right now, like a new agent type or the new tactical map, but Humankind has been pushed to August, so Rome Remastered is likely your best bet if you’re pining for a new(ish) strategy game.
Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139... (April 23rd)
Jesus, there really are a lot of new old games coming out in April, aren’t there? Although, Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139… does have one thing the others don’t: a needlessly stupid name. And that demands respect. Fair play, Square Enix. This new old game is a remake of the original Nier, but specifically the Japanese version, which had a different protagonist to the one in the Nier released over here. But, aside from a few details in the playable character’s story, the two games were largely the same. So, it’s not like this is going to be wildly different to our Nier from a decade ago. However, developer ToyLogic have made changes. As well as enlarging a few areas, and voicing every line of dialogue, they’ve tinkered with the combat. The hacking and slashing of this one is said to be more like the hacking and slashing of Nier Automato. It makes sense: that’s the Nier people played and liked. Time will tell whether this remake will garner as much fanfare as Platinum’s action RPG.
We Are The Caretakers (April 22nd)
Here’s something you don’t see every day: a video game about conservation. In sci-fi squad management RPG We Are The Caretakers, your aim is to protect endangered animals and save the planet. You do that through expanding your headquarters on a world map, and by building a team of bad ass Caretakers to stop bastard poachers via some XCOM-like combat. There are consequences to your actions, too: how you deal with certain situations will impact whether others in the world will fear you or join you on your quest. It’s worth mentioning that it’s launching as an Early Access game on Steam, so set your expectations appropriately. Still, if developer Heart Shaped Games can nail the execution of this, it could turn out to be an absolute dinger of a game.
Godstrike (April 15th)
The boss rush, bullet hell Godstrike sounds like such a stressful time. But I’d also quite like to play it. So, at the beginning of each boss battle, a timer starts counting down to zero. That timer is also your health bar, so if you take damage, you’ll also lose a few valuable seconds. You can equip special abilities before showdowns, but they will eat into your starting time. So, on top of trying to find the tactical sweet spot during boss battles, you’ll have to figure out how much time you can sacrifice beforehand for more powerful attacks. This balancing act could end up being more aggravating than exhilarating, but its premise is interesting enough that I think I’ll be taking a look when it comes out in the middle of this month.
Don't Forget Me (April 20th)
In Don’t Forget Me, you play as an amnesic named Fran who has begun working under the world’s foremost expert in memory manipulation. As wonderful as gainful employment is, I can’t shake the feeling that this all ends with a negative review on Glass Door. Inspired by games such as The Red Strings Club and Her Story, Don’t Forget Me is said to be a mixture of classic adventure games and more modern puzzle systems. Everyone that visits your clinic will be up for the chats, so pay attention before you go diving into their minds. You’ll need to use your knowledge of them when searching their brain Google. Might be one to stick on the wishlist if you enjoy uncovering dark conspiracies. I know it’s how I spend most weekends.
Cozy Grove (April 8th)
Cozy Grove is a bit Animal Crossing, a bit Spiritfarer, and a lot wholesome. You find yourself on an island full of animal ghosts that aren't shy about asking you to go scavenging for them. When you complete quests, the island will get bigger and more new pals will populate the world. One of this game’s biggest selling points, perhaps, is how relaxed it is. Like Nintendo’s previously mentioned juggernaut, and 24, the events of Cozy Grove occur in real time. The dead will only give you a certain number of quests per day, so if you finish every job available to you today, you’ll have to jump in again tomorrow to see more. With life being what life has turned out to be, in 2021, this could be the pleasant video game a lot are craving at the minute.
R-Type Final 2 (April 30th)
If you laugh in the face of life-sim niceness, and prefer the chaos of scrolling shooters, then you’re in luck: close to 13 years after the last one, R-Type is back. Many thought the original R-Type Final would be the last big hurrah for the series, but a successful Kickstarter campaign has shown there’s life in the old shoot ‘em up dog yet. Developer Granzella is trying to pull in some new players with a dynamic difficulty system that’s more forgiving to those who aren’t as well-versed with shooting enemies in a ship moving from left-to-right. But, really, this is one for those people that shrieked with glee when you first it was being made.
Say No! More (April 9th)
I don’t know if this one will be a world-beater, but I’d imagine it’ll be cathartic for many. In narrative-driven Say No! More, you play as an office intern that’s recently gained the ability to say “no.” And then you get the opportunity to say it loads to your coworkers and your boss. That’s it, pretty much. You can also irritate your colleagues by laughing at them before hitting them with the big N.O. Even if the game just revolves around telling your boss to piss off, I feel like that’s the energy a lot need right now.
Whatever you end up playing over April, I hope you have a lovely time with it. But, do tell: what new games, if any, are you looking forward to getting your hands on, this month? Gonna see if People Can Fly’s third-person shooter exceeds expectations? Want to tell people to follow you in the latest Oddworld? Or do you want the comfort of revisiting a strategy game you’ve put countless hours into over the last 15 or so years? Let us know in the comments.