New Game Monday, February 2024 Edition: First Impressions of Four Games That Are Being Actively Hyped to Me

Hello, Readers! It’s the year of our Lord 2024, and I’ve cranked out quite a few reviews, each seemingly longer than the last. I enjoy writing, but I’m currently in a bit of a pickle as to what to put my grubby meathooks on next. A lot of stuff has been launched recently by the usual murderer’s row of development teams, but to be honest, none of it really interests me. So, I’m going to start a series called New Game Monday that I may or may not update monthly; it just depends on what’s new and interesting.

I am, first and foremost, a gamer, not a reviewer. This means that typically, I’ll only play through and write about things that, on some lizard-brain level, provide me enjoyment. Simply put, I’m not about to slog through a game that sucks and waste my valuable time just to tell you it sucks. Not a lot out there right now instills me with the confidence that I’ll like it enough to splatter the Internet with my thoughts.

However, that doesn’t mean my inbox isn’t peppered with emails relating to the newest titles companies are planning to unveil, so I thought, “What the hell? Maybe people might be interested in knowing more about what’s coming down the pipe that isn’t the next copy-and-paste clone of Madden.”

So, without further ado, here are four of the games being actively hyped to me that I will be providing first impressions on as I know very little else about them.


Build Yourself a Hamlet That Can’t Be Destroyed By Griefing Players … Yet.

Promo image for Enshrouded in New Game Monday

Capitalizing on the interest in Open-World survival Role Playing Games that have cropped up over the past few years, Enshrouded has burst onto the scene with a reported player count that reached up to 1.5 million concurrent players!

Having launched on January 24th of this year, the development team has been focusing on pumping out updates based on player/community feedback while also emphasizing upgrading system stability.

In essence, you are a Flameborn dropped into a co-op world that encourages the obvious, like resource-gathering and combat, but also has a large explorational component. At first glance, it looks like a mix of Breath of the Wild, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Rust.

There is also a quest system built into the game that unlocks new items/functions for your little explorer. There are no player vs. player mechanics at this time, but perhaps that’s a boon, as most people are trash.

The most striking feature that captivates my mind when looking at a survival game is base-building, as this seems to be the true distinguishing factor between being at the mercy of your environment and conquering it.

Promo image for Enshrouded in New Game Monday

By all accounts, Enshrouded seems to have some pretty flexible building mechanics that allow you to create some charmingly medieval structures as you attempt not to become monster food.

Let’s keep an eye on this one.

Indie studios always lean into the niche of “we aspire to be champions of our community, and your feedback is so important, yadda yadda,” but the talk is cheap. That sort of stuff is easy to say, not even a month out from launch.

Still, it’s a great start!


Counter-Strike Mixed With Dead By Daylight Mixed With a Christmas Tree.

I’m just going to show you the early access trailer. Take a moment to watch it before reading on; it just takes a minute.

Ok, now that you’ve watched it, what do you think Lightphobe is about? If you answered “no f*cking idea,” yeah, that’s just about all you really need to know about it.

This game is a player vs. player arena where you either play as your typical jack-booted stormtrooper or a group of skeletons wielding broadswords who are the titular Lightphobes. The key mechanic here is that you’re essentially playing King of the Hill between these two factions.

The skeletons are invincible and possibly invisible in the dark as well (I wasn’t entirely clear on that), while the humans have guns and light sources to smoke them out. This sounds like a recipe for absolute chaos, but thankfully, we thrive in chaos.

Light-based mechanics crop up in a lot of game worlds, but most don’t have a lot of rizz to them. Often they are simply that you can’t see shit well when the light is off, ho-hum.

Most recently, I recall Control doing it right where an entire section of the game is focused around a monster that can appear and teleport around in the darkness, meaning you’re chronically pleading with your power company to keep the area illuminated.

Promo image for Lightphobe in New Game Monday

Anyway, my point is the entire Lightphobe game based around these light mechanics sounds kooky but may be fun.

Up to 16 players can play at the same time, and I’m assuming the gaps will be filled with AI bots in the meantime. The craziest thing about this is that the game itself was designed by a single dude sitting in Canada! For the relatively small price of about 6 bucks USD, why not give it a shot?


I am a LITTLE Concerned.

As someone with a vague pinky toe on the pulse of the gaming industry, I’ve noticed an alarming trend that itches my craw every now and again when I see it.

Let me paint you a story: a chipper development team strikes gold on a game that no one saw coming. It takes the community by surprise; creativity is applauded, blowjobs all around, you get the idea.

But then, out of the nearest sewer grate, some suited executive with hair like a bicycle helmet crawls out of the little fart cloud they’ve been propagating and goes, “That’s great and all, but how about a battle royale?”

Promo image for Wakerunners in New Game Monday

This pockmarked MBA degenerate has seen what the likes of League Of Legends and DOTA have become and through their “enlightened leadership”, that’s OBVIOUSLY what their future holds. Sold out stadiums, an in-game virtual shop that practically prints real life money, TV shows on Netflix, merchandise royalties, bags full of coke, etc.

And this moment, dear readers, is where so much money, talent, and dreams have died; as they are no longer trying to develop a good game, they’re trying to develop a franchise. Developing backward like that rarely works, and there is a veritable graveyard of Massive Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs) that are dead or dying. Heroes of the Storm, Paladins: Champions of the Realm; hell, even OverWatch 2, now that I think of it.

It’s a very competitive space, and a lot has to be done right, but that golden pot at the end of the rainbow is what people gamble for, and many studios/teams have paid for it. When I see Wakerunners, this is my fear.

MINTROCKET Studios is behind this game, and if you don’t recall, they are the geniuses behind Dave the Diver. I had the pleasure of reviewing their game in Early Access, and I gave it a pretty good score overall. Since it came out of Early Access, I have 100%ed it, and if I did my review again, I’d bump it up to a 4/5.

It was a spectacular experience well worth the price tag and filled a niche that hasn’t really been explored fully by mainstream gaming.

Promo image for Wakerunners in New Game Monday

So when I got word that the studio was focusing on a team-based PVP action game (and watched the trailer), I felt a little pang of dread.

No matter how beautiful your art is or how well you think you’ve designed a unique twist on the MOBA genre, it really can be a dice roll as to whether this garners any success. And if/when it doesn’t, more resources from a limited pool get poured into a game with minimal prospects of a viable future just in the hopes of making it big, leaving other projects to die on the vine.

This could all be doom and gloom, I could very well be wrong; but the last thing I’ll say about this is that we’ve seen this before.

Wakerunners’ game art and design do look pretty, though, and despite this couple-paragraph diatribe, I am rooting for MINTROCKET.

To The Star

Alice in Wonderland-based Open World Game.

Man, what is with everyone trying to rework children’s stories into video games? To The Star has a formula very similar to Enshrouded in that you’re dropped in a world and tasked with surviving and ultimately getting “To the Star” (honestly, I have no idea what this means).

However, they do seem to be leaning into a few key mechanics to differentiate the experience not limited to an environment the development team self-describe as “whimsical”.

Promo image for To The Star in New Game Monday

I can only assume that is the star.

Based on my limited understanding of To The Star, base-building and a lot of crafting happen in a pocket dimension that can be accessed via the doctor’s bag attached to your character’s arse (see image above). Crafting is also being marketed as a process that encourages creativity by allowing the player to invent their own recipes.

While this may sound fun, I would expect a lot of these to generate similar effects as there is only so much you can program, so don’t get too blown away by the idea of “limitless imagination” To The Star‘s game team is trying to push.

They also made a specific point that — and I shit you not —fullness and burping are important aspects to manage as what you have your character eat can give you powerful benefits, but if you’re full, you can’t add any more buffs to yourself. This may be the most unique thing about this game, to be honest, and I am here for it.

They also indicate the game will have mod support, which would allow players to develop their own content. The propensity of average gamers to import softcore pornography into everything they can aside, I’m always a fan of developers putting in the effort to provide creative tools for their players.

As a general first impression, I can see they’re going for something wacky, and this is what they really need to lean into to make their mark. My gut says the studio knows this, and we should stay vigilant for this one.

They also say they are against incorporating microtransactions, so that’s another win.

Stay tuned for the next New Game Monday, which will probably happen in March. Totally not making up this schedule as I go; I have a plan.

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About the Author

Flint Pickleback
Just some guy who plays video games to disconnect from the world. Wine is often involved, which thoroughly enhances the experience. I'm playing these games on an custom build, with 32GB RAM, 13th Gen Intel Core i7-13700KF, and a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12GB Graphics Card. Please send pitches to "[email protected]" with "[email protected]" cced.

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