Summer has never been the hottest season for video games. AAA releases are often few and far between when the weather gets hotter, as marketing plans are put in place for big end-of-year launches. However – whether COVID-related or something else entirely – this summer seems even more sparse than usual.
Although, a lack of bigger games does put a greater spotlight on indie games, of course, and there are more than a few out in June that look like they could surprise. So, fingers crossed these games will deliver on their promise.
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.
Scarlet Nexus (June 25th)
If Bamco’s upcoming anime action game Scarlet Nexus isn’t on your radar, it should be. The combat mixes the hacking and slashing of a Bayonetta-type, but with the added hook of psycho-kinetic powers. So, when you’re not dicing an enemy in two, you can get your telekinesis on and horse a barrel or a Ford Focus in their face. What’s not to love about that? You’re not on this adventure alone, though, and your party members are more than willing to share their pyro- and electrokinises with you, but to name only two of the other super mind powers you can play with. But, if you want your friends to give 100% in the fight you’ll have to chat to them in between missions back at your hideout. When you bond with them, you’ll open up more of their abilities, which in turn gives you new and fun ways to murder some monsters. From pre-release footage, this looks like oodles of fun, and given that Scarlet Nexus has two separate campaigns, this could be just the game to keep you indoors for a little while longer.
Chivalry II (June 8th)
After letting Mordhau borrow its medieval melee crown for a few years, Chivalry is back to chop off some heads and take its place atop the multiplayer sword fighting throne once again. 64-player matches, classes with special abilities, and new combat moves are just a few additions that should please those who’ve been playing the original for the last decade. Although, the beauty of this series is that anyone can jump in and start swinging. So, if you’re new to Chiv, just grab a sword and get out there. You’ll learn the complexities the more you play. I mean, you’ll have to, really; you’ll end up on the deck more times than you’d like if you don’t.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance (June 22nd)
In truth, my D&D knowledge could be summed up in one statement: it’s quite popular, isn’t it? The Stranger Things boys, and some burly action heroes, have really thrust the tabletop game into the mainstream in the past few years. So, obviously there are some Dungeons & Dragons video games on the horizon. Following Baldur’s Gate 3, which is currently in Steam Early Access, Dark Alliance is a third-person ARPG that will have you smashing in the faces of goblins and gnolls as four different characters, switching between them on-the-fly when playing solo. But, if you want to share your loot with real-life pals, you can do so in co-op. Obviously, your heroes all have their strengths and weaknesses, so if you’re hoping to succeed in the world of Icewind Dale, everyone better be playing their role perfectly. Alright… I think I got through that without saying anything too silly, so best to move on as quickly as possible.
Hokko Life (June 2nd)
If you get jealous every time Switch owners mention turnips and the guitar-playing dog, Hokko Life could be the game for you. This cosy life-sim is launching as a Steam Early Access game this month, and it looks like the closest thing you’ll get to Animal Crossing on PC. You can decorate the interiors and exteriors of every building in town, using resources you find out and about; you can go fishing and bugging (?) when you’re tired of playing Nick Knowles; and the townsfolk are talking animals, like Moss the giraffe. He’s already my favourite. While it won’t have multiplayer from the get-go, the ability to hand-design furniture and place your creations in whatever angle you please might be enough to grab the attention of those looking for an AC alternative.
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 (June 4th)
If you’re not familiar with Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts, but you’ve found catharsis in hitting men as Ian Hitman, in 2021, you should give this one a look. Like the bald-headed assassin, you’ll be briefed on where to find your targets at the beginning of each mission, and then it’s up to you to figure out how to blow their brains in. Sneakily. Of course, things won’t always go to plan and you’ll sometimes have to use other means to get the job done, but that’s where your crossbow, throwing knives, and C4 comes into play. You’ve even got a fancy drone for marking marks. Still, offing your target from afar is the most optimal way to get the job done. Plus, you get rewarded with ridiculous kill cams when you go that route. Hooray?
Stonefly (June 1st)
If Stonefly plays as well as it looks, it could be one of those surprises I mentioned earlier. This gorgeous isometric action-adventure sees you piloting an upgradeable, insect-looking mech, through a forest that has big Honey I Shrunk The Kids vibes. As Annika Stonefly – a young inventor that’s searching for an old family heirloom – you’ll be shooing bothersome flies and bugs off the tops of trees using a variety of abilities that you can string together in combos. I have a real soft spot for developer Flight School’s previous game, Creature In The Well, so Stonefly is definitely nearer the top of my wishlist for June.
Guilty Gear Strive (June 11th)
Long-running fighting game series Guilty Gear returns this month with Guilty Gear Strive. It's said to retain a lot of what diehards already enjoy about GG – the beautiful art, the ridiculously metal soundtrack, the delicious combos – but additions like wall breaks and Roman Cancels will hopefully allow players to introduce new and exciting strategies. I’m just hoping Strive can give me the same sense of badassery that Dragon Ball FighterZzzzz did. My Goku did incredible things at the touch of a button. It’s okay if Strive doesn’t go down that route, obviously. Who needs all that flashiness when you've got the power of button-mashing. What could go wrong?
Operation: Tango (June 1st)
Looking for more opportunities to shout at your partner during a co-op session? Spy game Operation Tango sounds like it'll do the trick. So, you play as either a hacker or an agent, with your buddy assuming the role of the one you’re not. The hacker will lead the agent through an area by cracking door codes and watching surveillance cameras, and it’s the agent’s job to get their hands dirty out on the field. Puzzle-solving your way through each mission requires constant communication, as you’ll be relaying new information to the other as and when it presents itself. The shouting will probably come into play when they’re not doing what you want them to. But, all in the name of fun, of course.
Mighty Goose (June 5th)
It’s been proven that geese equal green; of course more developers are going to push the waterfowl to the forefront of their games. Mighty Goose is a tad more aggressive than the one without a name, though. In this run and gun shooter, you’ll be blasting enemies away with your arm cannon, which can be tinkered with to give you different types of ammo, depending on your chosen flavour of destruction. You can also pilot a tank for a bit, because there are few things in this world that go together better than tank and goose. I don’t know how much juice is in this bird, but if you yearn for the days of Contra and Metal Slug, it might be worth a punt.
Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection (June 10th)
Do you enjoy famously challenging 3D action games from the mid-2000s? You do!?! Well, you should probably pick up Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection, then. Now, before you click the buy button through happy tears of nostalgia, you should know that Koei Tecmo have decided to include the Sigma versions of the first two games in the trilogy, and the Razor’s Edge edition of Ninja Gaiden 3. So, if you’re looking for the pure Ryu experience, you won’t get it here. You will get all the DLC that was released for the original games, though. That’s something. But, that’s also the only something, really. There’s no ultrawide support, you can’t play with mouse and keyboard, and it’s capped at 4K60. Just don’t go into this expecting to play a 2021 video game. Now, if you’re looking for some 10-15 year old games that will scratch your lingering Hayabusa-sized itch, then get ready to slash. And die. And then slash some more.
Bonus good game for June: Backbone, a point and click detective adventure where you play a gumshoe raccoon, recently anounced a release date of June 8. It's one of our most anticipated games for this year, and it would have been on this list if they didn't announce the release about 12 hours ago.
Whatever you end up playing over June, 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? Want to fling objects at enemies in anime action game Scarlet Nexus? Eager to chop off the heads of strangers in Chivalry 2? Or do you have your sights set on magicking frost giants to death in Dark Alliance? Let us know in the comments.