Well, it’s August already and summer is on its way out. Thanks to that awful virus, many highly anticipated triple-A titles are still nowhere to be seen, leaving August as a fairly dry month in terms of big-budget releases.
Not to worry though. There are still plenty of smaller titles for you to dive into and, as we all know, the best things in life come in small packages – that’s why Community episodes are so short (yes, that is how I’ve spent the majority of lockdown). This list should help you pick out the best of the indie/mid-tier games on offer this month.
On the menu this month, sir or madam, we have a Monkey Island-esque point-and-click adventure set in a fantasy pirate town, a brutal side-scrolling medieval sword-’em-up, and a retro 2D shooter in which you eat the remains of your fallen enemies to level up – hence, this silly restaurant joke. These unique morsels and many more are sure to fill any hungry stomach in search of some tasty interactive entertainment.
Without any more nonsense, here’s our list of games that should be on everyone’s radar this month, if they aren’t already.
August 4 – Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
With lockdown still not fully lifted, we find ourselves constantly looking for fun new games to play with friends while we’re all stuck inside. Well, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout may be the hero we didn’t know we needed. Like a mix between Gang Beasts and Total Wipeout (albeit with far less Richard Hammond), Fall Guys pits players against each other in mad-dash races across chaotic assault courses. The game also offers team-based football matches in a similar fashion to Rocket League, only with somehow even less finesse and dignity. With its customisable characters, 60-player limit, and lovable charm, Fall Guys is sure to offer frantic physics-based fun for anyone who wants a break from more serious multiplayer experiences. Run on over to the Steam page.
August 4 – Skully
Skully, as the devs put it, is “a skull reanimated by the power of magical clay” – and that sentence pretty much sums up the tone of the game. Who doesn’t want to check this out after reading that sentence? This streak of cuteness flows through the entirety of this charming puzzle-platformer, with its adorable character designs, soft narration, and gentle sense of humor. What better time to enjoy a nice little game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and will no doubt give you a chuckle or two? Roll your way down to the Steam page to find out more.
August 11 – Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town
No, we haven’t made that title up. It refers to a real game, we swear – and it looks like quite an enjoyable one. Willy – as I will refer to it from now, because I have the sense of humour of a six-year-old – is a point-and-click adventure through a fantasy pirate town. Taking inspiration from the likes of Monkey Island, Willy sets you off on a journey to discover what happened to your father, Henry Morgan, by talking to the locals and gathering clues around the town. For those who enjoy a good mystery and a quirky sense of humour, Willy is definitely worth putting on your radar. If you want to try Willy out for yourself (hehe), there is a demo available to download now on the game’s Steam page.
August 13 – Bite The Bullet
Continuing the recent trend of games that take us on a nostalgic journey, Bite The Bullet is a retro side-scrolling shooter with an aesthetic similar to the much-loved Metal Gear Solid series. However, the devs have thrown some more modern ingredients into the mix, like roguelite and RPG elements, to keep the recipe fresh. The game also boasts that it is “the world’s first Run and Gun and Eat” as every enemy is edible – after battles, you get to munch down on them, which allows you to craft new weapons, learn new skills, and probably increase your jean size by an inch or two. For dessert, can we interest you in a nice sweet Steam page?
August 14 – Eastern Exorcist
On the other side of the 2D side-scroller coin, we have Eastern Exorcist, a visually striking game with beautiful characters and environments reminiscent of an old ink painting you might find hanging in an art gallery. (Let’s all pretend for a moment that we are sophisticated enough to frequent art galleries.) The game also features Soulslike combat that will be familiar to anyone who played Hollow Knight or Salt & Sanctuary. All of this, combined with a dark fantasy story told through some elegant and well-produced cutscenes, create a game that action-adventure fans should keep a keen eye on. For more info, hack ‘n’ slash your way over to the Steam page.
August 18 – Rogue Legacy 2
Rogue Legacy 2’s Steam page contains quite possibly my favourite-ever description of a game: “Rogue Legacy 2 is what you’d get if you mashed Rogue Legacy and a sequel together”, and you know what, they’re not wrong. The original Rogue Legacy was a compelling roguelite in which each death resulted in you taking control of one of your character’s children, each with their own unique abilities.
The sequel takes the addictive foundations of the original and adds new varied environments, a range of unique weapons, and improves on the Metroidvania elements seen in the first game. It’s coming to Early Access this month – check it out if you enjoyed Spelunky or Dead Cells – and be prepared to put in way more hours than you expect. Fight your way to the Steam page for more info.
August 20 – Griefhelm
Remember Nidhogg? The 8-bit sword fighting game that was surprisingly fun (or frustrating, depending on who won)? Well that came out six years ago… six years. But we’re not here to throw out depressing statistics to make you feel old and ponder your mortality, we’re here to talk about Griefhelm! A tactical medieval combat game that seems to take inspiration from Nidhogg but introduces nice shiny graphics and even a full campaign.
Related: Check out the best indie games on PC
The combat also offers a Mordhau-esque level of brutality, with soldiers often ending up in a similar position to the Black Knight of Monty Python’s Holy Grail fame. The game features both local and online multiplayer, meaning you and up to three friends can all indulge in your secret childhood fantasies of becoming medieval warriors (we’re not judging you, we’re in the same boat). Don your armour and lay siege to the Steam page now.
August 20 – Train Sim World 2
The oddly punk – yes, really – Train Simulator games have always held a special therapeutic quality. Driving a high-speed DB BR 1442 through the German countryside evokes the kind of tranquility that only a well-made serious sim can really deliver. Train Sim World 2 is the next evolution of the series, offering more authentic locomotives, more customisation, and of course, more beautiful German landscapes. It also features a new and improved physics engine, meaning trains will handle more realistically and will definitely fly off the tracks if you just go full throttle and hope for the best. Slam on that emergency brake and stop by the Steam page for more info.
August 25 – No Straight Roads
Now this is a strange one. No Straight Roads appears to be a kind of rhythm-based hack ‘n’ slash game in which you must harness the power of Rock ‘n’ Roll to defeat the evil scourge of EDM. Like if Brutal Legend was released today and not 11 years ago – 11 years – and had a particular hate for those dastardly millennials and their stupid music *angrily shakes fist*. Questions of taste aside, No Straight Roads does look like a good time for fans of the genre. It even offers couch co-op, letting you band up and play through the whole campaign with a friend.
August 27 – Surgeon Simulator 2
The original Surgeon Simulator put you in the shoes of someone who spent the last five years training to operate on human beings and yet still finds it hilarious to throw vital organs across the room while yelling “Kobe!” at the top of their voice – or at least, that’s what they did when I was controlling them. The sequel looks to keep that same level of silliness while offering even more opportunity for medical mischief, now allowing you the freedom to move your character around the room and even offering four-player co-op. It also boasts a Creation Mode, allowing you to build your own operating theatres in which you can conduct your shocking surgery.
August 28 – Windbound
A new survival game might not sound all that appealing to some of you, given the sheer number of survival experiences on offer these days, but Windbound does show some promise. For starters, it’s set at sea, and its boat building mechanics set it apart from most games in the genre, letting you craft your vessel however you desire and sail it across sun-soaked tropical oceans. The game encourages you to explore the untamed islands, all filled with vital crafting materials and diverse wildlife. Like a combination of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, Windbound could very well become one of the best survival games of recent years. Cruise on over to the Steam page to find out more.