2019 is now halfway over, and we return again to take a look at some of the best games released so far this year. We’ve wrapped up our thoughts on the games that released in the first quarter of 2019, and now we’re on to the next. With the likes of E3 dominating all news and the gaming world for several weeks, this time of the year is always a bit on the lighter side. However, we were still treated to some pretty great games these past few months.
Here’s 5 more games we ant to add to the list of Best Games of 2019, this time released in April – June.
By Sam Guglielmo
I had been waiting for Katana Zero ever since I saw the first trailer drop. Something about its slick aesthetics and captivating soundtrack just completely appealed to me. However, I was worried it couldn’t live up to the hype I was building up in my mind. Thankfully, I was totally wrong about that.
Katana Zero is absurd amounts of fun. Each level is a unique challenge, requiring me to figure out new and exciting ways to cut people in half, smash vases on their faces, and get to the end of the level. There’s exciting fast-paced boss fights that really made the gameplay stand out, and some neat ideas thrown into the mix to change up the levels. In addition, the story is thrilling and well told, with some fleshed out characters that really got me to care about it. Honestly, the worst part about Katana Zero is how quick it’s all over. A few more hours could have done wonders for this game, and I can’t wait for any sequel.
4 – A Plague Tale: Innocence (Our Review)
By William Worrall
A Plague Tale: Innocence was a smash hit when it came out back in May, and despite being an extremely grim and depressing tale, it ended up being thoroughly enjoyable. On top of that, it proved to be a popular entry in a brand-new IP, which can be pretty damn hard to pull off. It’s even more impressive that the IP in question happens to be a narrative-driven game focusing on the relationship between a brother and sister.
In reality, one of the most impressive things about A Plague Tale: Innocence is that its success was completely built off of the stellar narrative and character-driven plot. It didn’t need a tacked-on multiplayer or to have been made by a huge company to hit high on sales charts.
A Plague Tale: Innocence took stealth gameplay, a simple style of combat, and an interesting upgrade system and used it as a framework to deliver a gameplay experience just as intense and oppressive as the narrative is. It almost seems like A Plague Tale is here to prove that there is life left in the mid-range of video game publishing, which has seemed almost dead for a long time.
The bottom line is that A Plague Tale is a stunningly well-crafted narrative with well tied-in gameplay, and all of this from a company that pretty much came out of nowhere with a brand-new IP.
3 – SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech (Our Review)
By Jack Waibel
With SteamWorld Quest, developer Image & Form proves that they can pull off whatever genre they set their sights on. They manage to sidestep some of the common trappings of deck-building RPGs by dividing your deck among different characters with their own subsets of cards, making deck-building less of a monumental and tedious task while still retaining the elaborate strategies and fun combos that make these games great.
Each character feels distinct, but with multiple potential builds to suit your style. Galleo, for example, can be built like a shielding and healing bot, a debuff dispenser, or just a straight up tank; and despite multiple characters being able to fill these different roles, no two characters fill them in exactly the same way.
It’s a design philosophy that actually reminds me a lot of Magic: the Gathering’s color pie—red cards and blue cards can both get creatures off the battlefield, but they would do it in different ways. SteamWorld Quest’s characters are similarly distinguished, and that makes each deck feel unique to the player and makes subsequent playthroughs feel totally different.
Huge praise goes to the game’s writing as well. SteamWorld Quest has a charming cast of characters and a fun take on the standard RPG party tropes. There are some genuine laugh-out-loud moments, and the impressive amount of robot puns mean it will forever be in my heart.
2 – Super Mario Maker 2 (Our Review)
By Andrew Stretch
Adding more to the original’s success, coupled with the wider user base of the Nintendo Switch, it’s no wonder that Super Mario Maker 2 is in our list of best games of Q2. Mario Maker 2 gives players the ability to create almost any kind of Mario level that they want. While there are some aspects that creators are coming to grips with, there’s also a large number of completely new features that players have already been able to find creative uses for.
Thankfully Mario Maker 2 has also made finding tracks even easier with an in-game tool as opposed to the browser-based option from the Wii U, as well as highly requested features like Online and Multiplayer. For those who aren’t as proficient at playing or making, the added Story Mode takes players through new and returning mechanics easing them into the online experience. If you want to know more about Mario Maker 2 be sure to also check out our review.
1 – Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Our Review)
By Joseph Allen
With the gaming landscape so saturated by Metroidvania games, Koji Igarashi still having a place in the genre was not a foregone conclusion. Excellent titles like Hollow Knight and SteamWorld Dig 2 may not have stripped Igarashi of his crown, but they’re certainly eyeing up the throne.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night allayed my fears. This is Metroidvania done right, and while it may not have any of the bells and whistles boasted by its contemporaries, it’s got Iga’s unique stamp all over it. This game is Symphony of the Night with the serial numbers filed off, full of the same quirks and design masterstrokes Iga pioneered back in 1997.
That means Bloodstained can feel a little staid at times. Iga’s starting to repeat himself a bit—how many times are we going to run through grand cathedrals with intricate stained-glass window patterns?—but when the gameplay is this fluid, it’s hard to care. Combat, exploration, and backtracking all feel superb in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
Every aspect of the experience is hand-crafted to appeal to those who loved Alucard’s adventures and just want more of that. There’s nothing new about Bloodstained; there’s nothing here you haven’t seen before. What is here is an absolutely massive map teeming with secrets, enemies, and memorable boss fights. Bravo, Iga.
What were the best games you played that released these last three months? Let us know in the comments below!