Spring hasn’t quite yet sprung, but warmer, sunnier, and (maybe?) better days are ahead, especially when it comes to game releases. It’s not like there’s much else to look forward to right now.
Triple-A publishers have pretty much vacated March, with It Takes Two, Evil Genius 2, and Yakuza 6 representing the biggest games due out this month. However, there are a ton of awesome indie games set to release in March that more than make up for the myriad delays we’re seeing across the industry. Just this month we’ve seen a fresh crop of delays for the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time remake, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, and even a Cyberpunk 2077 patch. Oh, and we did have the excellent-looking Minute of Islands on this list when it was initially published, but that’s also been delayed.
Fortunately, February’s Steam Game Festival let us try out hundreds of games across every conceivable genre, and now many of those games are nearing release. From chill strategy games like Dorfromantik to roguelikes like Loop Hero, there’s something to suit every type of PC gamer. So join us as we run through some March’s best prospects that might not be on your radar.
Loop Hero – March 4
A couple of you may have played Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, an ingenious card game where instead of playing cards for your opponent to battle, you play cards for your hero to slay. Loop Hero is that concept distilled into a more logical format, a deck-based roguelike.
Our Ian Boudreau loved the demo, calling Loop Hero peak “comfort food gaming.” And if that isn’t what we all need right now then we don’t know what is. Check it out here.
Stronghold: Warlords – March 9
The Stronghold series has been an RTS staple for years, but developer Firefly Studios has decided to shake things up a little for its next entry by leaving behind the sodden castles and battlefields of medieval Europe for the, er, sodden castles and battlefields of medieval East Asia.
There are heaps of new mechanics that come with the change in scenery, but our favourite has to be the fire ox. This unfortunate bovine unit has several barrels of gunpowder strapped to it and is sent – enraged by having its tail set on fire – hurtling at a besieged castle where it explodes, breaking defences and creating a horrendous mess. Check it out here.
Mundaun – March 16
Mundaun is a hand-pencilled horror game set in the alps, and it looks unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The fact that everything’s drawn in pencil lends Mundaun a greyscale look that evokes early horror classics like Noseferatu.
The story kicks off with you returning home to Mundaun mountain for the first time since you were a child, searching for the cause of your grandfather’s mysterious death. It’s not long until you discover the mountain and its inhabitants are being haunted by a sinister presence, so it’s up to you to explore the mountain, interview its residents, and collect clues. If you’re after something atmospheric and unsettling then this should be on your radar. See it on Steam here.
Dogworld – March 18
Somehow, Dogworld looks like it’s the closest we’ll ever get to a videogame adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s The Penultimate Truth. The premise is pretty similar: humanity is forced underground and told the surface is uninhabitable, but when someone finally emerges topside they find the surface is safe – so why were they told otherwise? The key difference here is that the surface is habitable but filled with talking dogs.
Unlike The Penultimate Truth, you crack this mystery by arming yourself to the teeth and battling through 2D levels filled with canine foes. Combat is blisteringly quick, there’s a moody chiptune score, and traversal is slick. You can check out the Steam page here.
Dorfromantik – March 25
This tile-based city builder has the tactility and confounding simplicity of a board game classic like Carcassonne, but is among the most relaxing games we’ve ever played. You start with a single tile of grass and a stack of 50 extra tiles that contain a mixture of housing, railway, water, agricultural land, or forest. The goal? Create the biggest game board you can.
As you burn through tiles you unlock challenges, like growing a forest to 108 trees or building a town with 62 houses, and by completing these challenges you unlock more tiles. Before you know it, you’re staring at a gorgeous pastoral idyll. The upcoming launch is Early Access, but we had a blast with the demo, found it plenty replayable, and had no technical issues. Take a look here.
Narita Boy – March 30
Last but by no means least, we have Narita Boy, a side-scrolling action-adventure game that’s dripping with references to the golden age of arcade games. The setup is tongue-in-cheek, lovable nonsense, but it serves as a fitting introduction to the game’s digital world, the titular hero, Nartia Boy, and the synth-driven score.
In terms of presentation, it’s downright flawless. Plus, Narita Boy’s techno-sword can turn into a blunderbuss that’s capable of ripping through a whole row of enemies – it’s pretty darn spectacular. You can view the Narita Boy Steam page here.