New Game Monday, March 2024: Frostpunk 2, Creatures of Ava, The Thaumaturge, and More!

We’re back, and we’re cracked; let’s get to it. My inbox is flooded with press releases, so why don’t we pick a few and go over the updates? Here is last month’s edition of New Game Monday; if you haven’t had a chance to read it, we will be following a similar style. These are a few of the games that are coming up and are actively being hyped to me.

Frostpunk 2

It’s the sequel to a game that I can’t get past the first mission of.

While games that have “punk” in their names normally give me the ick, Frostpunk 2 is probably one of the more popular titles out there with the dreaded word in it.

Set in a post-apocalyptic snowy version of Earth, the player is tasked with gathering resources to complete objectives and, more importantly, prevent your settler community from collectively freezing their balls off.

Day and night cycles are incredibly important to be aware of because the temperature drops well below healthy ranges at night, and you had better have enough fuel to keep the heat going.

Scene from Frostpunk 2

I have Frostpunk 1 in my Steam library, but I shit you not; I have yet to get past the very first mission in the game. I just don’t understand how to keep my settlement alive amidst the ice, and I guess that doesn’t bode well for me in the face of climate change.

However, it does seem like something fun that I should give another try, and based on wide fan appeal, I’m sure this sequel will be just as well received.

In the Frostpunk world, you, as the city leader/developer/executioner, are responsible for prioritizing tasks and projects to ensure your citizens see tomorrow. It has an austere art style and game architecture that, dare I say, strikes me as almost Soviet, and some of the decisions you are forced to make echo this draconian vibe.

Sending children to the coal mines and applying rusty prosthetics has never been so fun.

Frostpunk 2 is slated to launch on Windows PC on July 25th for $44.99, with a Digital Deluxe edition available for $74.99 (ouch). Pre-orders are live now.

Scene from Frostpunk 2

I wonder which fashion designer contributed to this aesthetic?

The DD comes with three post-release DLCs, access to a seven-day beta period for a Sandbox mode releasing in April of this year, digital artbook, and more shit like that. I constantly preach to refrain from purchasing anything ahead of time, but perhaps I’ll request a key if I make any progress whatsoever in the first game.

The Thaumaturge

Whatever the f*ck that word means.

These folks have been very…persistent in providing updates about this one. At first glance, it’s a freshly interesting concept that combines otherworldly beings, historical accuracy, and a decent amount of player freedom; what’s not to like?

The Thaumaturge is a role-playing game (RPG), so the player is, by and large, left to use their own devices to navigate the world and storyline. Set in early 20th-century Warsaw, your character goes around the city completing quests and talking to people about how much their lives suck being cogs in a capitalist engine.

You might think the twist is that you’re Polish, but no, there are demonic forces at work here.

As a Thaumaturge, your character can perceive and utilize the abilities of these charming creatures to influence the poor souls you encounter and turn someone inside out during combat. Basically, it’s high-stakes Pokemon, but you host seances on the side.

Scene from The Thaumaturge

It’s a rap battle with the world’s ugliest hype man.

I can only imagine that the different demons you have in your arsenal cause the resolutions to quest lines to be slightly different, lending to the mystical sense of wonderment that exploring the world in a good RPG should impart.

The Thaumaturge is a bizarre concept, but even if it’s not the best thing around, we need an infusion of creativity into modern gaming. The media community seems excited about it, as the developer was kind enough to publish a video on YouTube about their accolades.

The Thaumaturge is now available on PC, with console versions coming later this year.
Scene from The Thaumaturge

The deadliest fart in history.

Creatures of Ava

Heal creatures to gain their trust, with minimum bludgeoning involved.

On the subject of Pokemon, here we have a vegan version of the creature collector formula. The Creatures of Ava plot revolves around healing delightfully colored alien animals from a life-threatening disease, and the development team was very adamant about including the words “the only shooting we’re doing here is with a camera” in their press materials.

I just heard a few of you slam your laptops shut at the thought of being unable to barbecue some of these critters, but you can’t please everyone.

Anyway, in Creatures of Ava, some infection has caused these cuties to become aggressive, and it is your job to make things right. Upon healing them, you can bond with them and use their abilities to solve environmental challenges as you explore the world.

Scene from Creatures of Ava

But why did they have to make these things look so delicious?

What I’m honestly curious about is how they are planning to encourage long-term player engagement throughout the Creatures of Ava storyline. There are about 20 creature species in total, so you will blow through that quickly.

Environmental puzzles are cool and all, but they have to give you some reward besides “oh, I did it, dopamine hit.” Otherwise, they get annoying. Maybe there are some rewards associated with them, but as of yet, they are unclear to me.

Let’s take a masterpiece like Spiritfarer, for example. The structure is as simple as it gets: a 2D side-scrolling experience with no combat that centers around environmental interaction and dialogue as you fulfill your role, ferrying spirits to the afterlife.

The writing and design of that game were so good that some gamers had actual cathartic moments dealing with the reality of death in their real-world lives through playing the story. So far, there doesn’t seem to be that level of emotional depth here.

Unless they’re targeting a very young demographic with Creatures of Ava, I can see this being a challenge to reach high levels of success.

Scene from Creatures of Ava

Creatures of Ava is coming to the Xbox X/S and PC in 2024.

Horizon: Forbidden West and Ghosts of Tsushima are coming to PC!!!!!

I’m very excited about this. Developed by PlayStation Studios, Horizon: Forbidden West and Ghosts of Tsushima are open-world games that are currently available on PlayStation but have yet to be available on PC.

The gaming community has demonstrably appreciated these games as they exist now, with the caveat that the staggering of the PlayStation to PC launches has been met with consternation.

This studio has adopted a strategy of making good games but only releasing them on their own console platform at first and then adapting them for PC players a few years later. They’ve done this with Spiderman and Horizon: Zero Dawn previously and more recently released The Last of Us on PC as well.

Their track record is scattered, as The Last of Us was released with bugs that still impact the gaming experience to this day.

Nonetheless, fans like me have been salivating for these ports to come to fruition, and after years of sacrificing goats to the blood god, it seems like my wishes have come true. Praise B’lal the Dark One.

The only game of significant note/anticipation left for them to port is Bloodborne, and I’ll be sure to bring out the primo livestock for slaughter to appease the universe and make this happen for us.

Horizon: Forbidden West will be available on Steam on March 21st, and Ghosts of Tsushima will be available on May 16th. While you can pre-order now, I’d wait and see if they’ve managed to port it over competently before dropping 60 bucks apiece.

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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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