Even though February is always the shortest month of the year, this one brought us more amazing new games than we could possibly handle. With Valentine’s Day sitting smack-dab in the middle of it all, we have a lot of love to share for some of the best games to capture our attention in all of their shiny new glory. And could that possibly be another early Game of the Year contender I see sitting at the top of the list?
I know it must seem like I say this every time, but I really feel like February had some of the best new game releases that we’ve seen in quite a while. From a hopelessly addicting and charming number-based puzzler, to the most hilarious game you’ll play in ages, to a breathtaking pop-up book world that you can play in real life, our top picks for the month are not only all innovative in their own unique ways, but they’re all just a breath of fresh air for video games everywhere today (and the ongoing sea of Flappy Bird clones).
So did you happen to fall in love with any of the same games that we did this Valentine’s Day? I know I’ll personally be giving flowers and chocolate to all of our favorites. But be sure to hit the replies and let us know if you agree with our top gaming picks for the month of February, or if there were any other great games that managed to steal your heart away!
Threes! is one of those games that’s so deceptively simple at first glance, but then becomes insanely engrossing and in-depth once you really start to get the hang of it. True story: I almost burned down my entire apartment while cooking dinner and trying to play Threes! when I had to wait for certain things to heat up, because the “One more game” mantra simply just doesn’t cut it for a game this addicting. It’s stupid, I know, but I honestly just couldn’t put the game down, it’s that good. So don’t play Threes! while you’re trying to cook something, but DO play Threes! every other chance you get throughout the day!
At its core, the game is vaguely reminiscent of a Triple Town matching experience, only with adorable numbers that must be grouped together to form larger multiples of three. Each game starts out easily enough, with an open board full of various 1 and 2 numbered tiles (each of which has a wonderfully cute personality that really shines through as you play). But once you start matching those tiles to form 3s and other higher numbers, things start to get complex and rewardingly challenging pretty fast. Sleek and elegant in design, and straight-up fun to the point of taking over all of your free time, Threes! is everything you could ever want in a mobile game experience.
It’s always a great thing when game developers are able to show a strong sense of humor in their creations, don’t you think? But while a lot of games today utilize some form of humor, especially the dialogue in point-and-click adventures, Jazzpunk from Adult Swim Games takes things to mass levels of hysterical jokes and funnies that we’ve never even imagined before. Not only is the entire quirky first-person adventure one big homage to some of gaming’s biggest inside jokes and references, but the greatest fun is in actually discovering the dozens of jokes on your own as you play. And everything that’s not even a direct joke is just downright funny as well, from the way the characters converse on their handy-dandy banana phones, to the graphical style that makes everyone look like flat 2D figures on a restroom sign (and their awkward self-realization of these kinds of facts).
We’re all pretty big suckers for a gorgeous and beautiful game around these parts, and when it comes to shimmering presentations, nothing quite compares to the stunning Tengami from Nyamyam. There are many reasons why this atmospheric point-and-click adventure took out breath away, but the biggest one is that the entire game looks and feels like a living pop-up book, and it even plays like one too. What’s more, apparently everything you see in the game could literally be recreated using paper, scissors, and glue, and the amount of precision that must be required to make such a game positively makes my own head pop up like you just pulled a tab in the pop-up book of my life. Innovative to be sure, but Tengami isn’t all just bells and whistles: there’s a surprisingly deep and rewarding sense of gameplay underneath those shining pop-up book visuals.
The original release of Eliss was one of the very first mobile games to hit our little corner of the industry. And even more important than that, it was also one of the very first mobile games to be heralded as a great and amazing achievement. So it should almost come as no surprise that its 2014 remake, Eliss Infinity, is just as good, if not better, than the original touch-based game that debuted all those years ago. While the core gameplay is relatively the same (you’ll need to use multi-touch controls to maneuver a series of different colored planets around an ever-changing game board), the biggest selling point of Eliss Infinity is the game’s new score-based endless mode. Now players will quite literally be able to enjoy the simple yet stylish action-puzzle gameplay all the way into infinity (or at least until the battery on their iPhone finally dies out).
As someone who loves looking at all the ways that video games have begun to intersect with the publishing industry in recent years, engrossing gamebooks like Out There are right up my alley. The storyline of this gamebook is simple: you play as a lone astronaut who has somehow drifted off course and now finds himself floating amongst a foreign area of space, filled with all of the strange planets and hostile inhabitants that you would only expect to dwell way “out there.” So your main goal in the game is to simply get back home, but of course, managing to survive until you actually do so is the real challenge here in Out There. But whether you actually make it back to good old Earth or not, at least you’ll have spent your final moments engrossed in this truly deep and “out of this world” gamebook, whose story is only heightened by the wonderful comic book-styled visuals.