January, as a month, isn’t know for a whole lot, especially when it comes to video-game releases. Having just sent the heavy hitters out for release in the busy holiday shopping season, publishers don’t always have a lot scheduled in the start of the new year. Poor January can sometimes be a wasteland new-release wise.
But, this year, there’s actually a number of new releases to look forward to this month, everything from new entries in favorite series, indie adventures, HD re-releases, and deeply serious experiences. Hold on to your wallets because January is kicking off one of the biggest years in gaming.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers
If super heroes and LEGO are your things, then look no further than LEGO Marvel Avengers, the latest entry in the LEGO series of games. And this time you actually get to assemble the Avengers. Because they are made out of LEGO. Get it? I digress…
Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America are all here, with a story that spans not just the Avengers movie, but also Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Solider, Thor: The Dark World, and Iron Man 3. That’s a lot of stuff there. Phew.
The game also boasts over 100 different unlockable characters. And of course, you can expect that unique brand of humor you know and love that the LEGO games are known for.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers releases on January 26. And it’s available on pretty much every system under the sun. Better get building.
Mario & Luigi Paper Jam
Mario has done a lot over the years. Golfing. Plumbing. Tennis. Kart racing. And for role-playing-games, he’s also searched for seven stars and found himself turned into paper. But for the newest Mario RPG title, Nintendo is having Mario meet himself in a meta mash-up, and bringing together two of hero’s series.
Enter Mario & Luigi Paper Jam, which combines the lovely little plumber’s two turn-based, role-playing franchises into one game. The characters from the Paper Mario universe meet up with the Mario & Luigi crew, and apparently Mario doesn’t mind meeting up with himself in the form of a giant piece of paper.
The game has been out in other territories for a bit, and has been getting pretty solid reviews, so fans of both of the original series, and turn-based RPGs, should keep a paper-eye on this one. Already booking time to play it? Mario & Luigi Paper Jam releases on January 22 for the Nintendo 3DS.
Resident Evil Origins Collection
Time to go back to the beginning in HD! Mansions, T-Virus, Umbrella, it’s all here. Oh, and well yeah, zombies that want to eat your brains out. The usual.
Resident Evil Origins Collection brings together Resident Evil HD and Resident Evil 0, along with a brand new Wesker Mode for Resident Evil 0. Get ready to hunt some zombies, and rediscover the start of this classical survival horror franchise. Or, if you’ve never played the games before, discover the beginning of the Resident Evil franchise, but spruced up with some new, shiny graphics.
Resident Evil Origins Collection releases on January 19 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Final Fantasy Explorers
Some fantasies just aren’t final. In Final Fantasy Explorers, you are tasked with exploring an island rich with crystals — the power source in the game — and ultimately trying to take over the Grand Crystal.
Of course, there’s mages and monks and everything in between in this action-RPG adventure. For fans of the larger Final Fantasy universe as a whole, you can even use the Trance feature to transform into some characters you might be familiar with that all have airy sounding names you might recognize…Cloud, Squall, and Lightning…ring a bell?
The game has a solo mode, as well as local and online (!!!) co-op with two to four players, so you’ll be able to grab some friends and bring them along, even if they are across the country, and explore, vanquish foes, and prove to the world that every team really does need a White Mage.
Ready to explore some of your final-est fantasies? Final Fantasy Explorers releases on January 26 for the Nintendo 3DS.
Explore. That’s what The Witness wants you to do. A self-penned “exploration-puzzle game,” The Witness puts you on an island. Alone. No animals. Almost no music. You have to explore. You have to figure everything out. So get to it.
The team working on it has also been involved with everything from Braid, Dead Space, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Myst, so there’s quite the caliber of talent behind The Witness.
Take a look for yourself to see some of the land you’ll be exploring:
The Witness releases on January 26, for PlayStation 4 and PC, with iOS and other platforms coming in the future.
That Dragon, Cancer
OK. Let’s step back for a minute. This one’s serious.
That Dragon, Cancer is a memorization for Joel Green, who was diagnosed with Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (AT/RT) when he was one year old. You can read more about Joel and his story here, which is probably better read yourself than for me to try to even begin to capture or retell it.
The Kickstarter-funded game is being developer by Ryan Green, Joel’s father, and is a two hour experience as you become part of the family and care for Joel through his journey of treatments, therapy, and recurrence. Kickstarter backers also contributed their own personal stories for the game as well, creating a communal story that reflects on the horrors of cancer and its impact on family.
That Dragon, Cancer releases on January 12 for Steam and Ouya.
A Steam Early Access title, Darkest Dungeon isn’t just about having enough health or lives to complete the game, but about the toll that the adventure can have on the heroes going through it. Being a video-game hero is tough stuff, you know.
The gothic side-scrolling RPG tasks you with guiding a band of heroes, and helping them to survive things like paranoia, greed, anger, or hopelessness. The art is all hand-drawn, and yup, it’s a turn-based battle system, which is sure to hit all those nostalgia buttons in just the right (and dark) places. It’s a very human take on a traditional genre.
Darkest Dungeon releases on January 19 for PC/Mac, with PlayStation 4 and Vita versions to follow.
And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.
There’s no talking dog or Mystery Machine here, though. Oxenfree is a high-school adventure, where you accidentally, oh, you know, no big deal…open up a ghostly rift on a decommissioned military island. Whoops. Sorry about that. That’s probably the last time you are allowed to take your stepbrother anywhere.
The studio, Night School Studio, was founded in 2014 with people from Telltale and Disney, so expect a focus on story and characters in this supernatural romp.
Oh, and the name. The team says they know it from hide and seek. So…ready…set…hide!
Oxenfree launches January 15 for Xbox One, Windows 10, and Steam.
What January video-game releases are you most excited about? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
Photo Credits: Lego.com, Nintendo, Capcom-Unity.com, Square Enix, The-Witness.Net, Thatdragoncancer.com, RedHook Games, and Nightschoolstudio.com.