New Video Games for the Week of 4/10: All Fezzed Up Edition

It’s not so much “what games are coming out this week” as “what else besides FEZ” is coming out this week as the anticipated—let’s say “coveted”—release from Polytron makes its debut on XBLA on Friday. But that’s not doing justice to this week’s other releases which include indie fighting game Skullgirls and the spiritual successor to Fatal Frame, Spirit Camera.

Title: FEZ
Platform(s): XBLA

FEZ has a hard time staying out the spotlight, particularly because journalists like to spend so much time trying to explain what it is. And allow me to make another attempt: it’s the perspective-flipping 2D platformer that just happens to be in three dimensions. Got it? Now go play FEZ. Okay, maybe that’s doing it a disservice, but that challenge of articulating exactly what the game is and how it works is part of what’s been drawing gamers, fellow designers, and of course, us folks in the games press in since creator Phil Fish started showing it off back in ’08.

What’s surprising is that the forever-to-get-released game never really reached the critical mass of derision that other long-gestating titles tend to get and that might owe to Fish and co. at Polytron just plugging away at it over the years without too much noise. Well, it’s out this Friday on XBLA, and you can finally (at long last!) see what all of the fuss is about.

Title: Skullgirls
Platform(s): XBLA, PSN

Of all the genres that get the indie treatment, you really don’t hear as much about small-scale fighting game development. And why would you? It would be insane to spend the hours necessary to create a roster of fighters, tweak, balance, and tweak their moves (and repeat) and generally go in deep down the hole of hit boxes and figuring out how best to keep your audience from frame counting their way to victory.

But that’s precisely what the team at Revenge Labs for the 2D fighting game Skullgirls have set out to do and this week we get to see their labors bear fruit. It’s hitting today on PSN and tomorrow on XBLA.

Title: Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir
Platform(s): 3DS

It’s more Fatal Frame-style action with AR elements in this first-person camera shooter set in a haunted house from Tecmo Koei. From a hardware standpoint, the 3DS seems like the perfect choice for Spirit Camera, allowing you to effectively mimic the action of aiming and shooting your in-game camera at the malicious ghosts. However, the one trick for the game will be delivering scares on the platform that most gamers play on the go (how spooked out will you be in heavy, early morning subway traffic)?

That’s not to say Spirit Camera won’t get your pulse pumping, it’s just that it might have something for a challenge.

Title: Tribes: Ascend
Platform(s): PC

Old-school arena-style shooter action with jetpacks, no less. The Hi-Rez Studios release will be free to play, so there’s no excuse for not at least giving it a look. Did I mention that it’s also class-based, with upgrades and in-game purchases for boosters and new character skins? Yep, that’s happening too, if that’s something you’re into when this PC release hits later this week. You can find out more on the Hi-rez site.

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