The Iron Oath official artwork and logo

[Update]: My review for The Iron Oath is now out, and in short it's a promising turn-based strategy, though still quite rough around the edges.

The Iron Oath is a freshly released turn-based strategy that's all about running a mercenary company. As you might expect from description that alone, in The Iron Oath you'll need to gear up and mentor a wide assortment of mercenaries, pick and choose contracts that will give you the greatest benefits without angering any of the big factions around you, and naturally, do whatever you can to not end up without the gold to pay your crew!

Things take a bit of a Darkest Dungeon twist once you get to the actual moment-to-moment gameplay. As you explore sprawling dungeons in search of precious loot you'll have to contend with rapidly dwindling resources, demoralized party members, and injuries that just keep piling on and on. So as tempting as the various contracts might be, you'll have to carefully weigh your options and see whether they're actually worth the very real risk to your mercenaries.

Cook Serve Forever screenshot of the character dialogue

When it comes to cooking and restaurant management games, the Cook, Serve, Delicious series is certainly an outlier. While the food is colorful and the music upbeat, the actual world these games take place in is a near-apocalyptic nightmare where your can even get shot at by rival cooking gangs!

So in an effort to explore that kind of bizarre universe, the Vertigo Gaming team has just announced a brand new spin-off - Cook Serve Forever. Even though cooking will still play a major part in Cook Serve Forever, the focus this time around seems to be on telling a dramatic, fully voiced story with plenty of sidequests to help you explore the solarpunk city of Helianthus.

Bugsnax: The Isle of Bigsnax artwork and logo

[Update]: The Isle of Bigsnax expansion has now arrived, and while it's not exactly lengthy, it's still a pretty fun ride.

If you're itching for some more Bugsnax weirdness to delve into, mark April 28th on your calendar as that's when the completely free The Isle of Bigsnax expansion will be launching. You can expect to see a newly risen island filled with massive species of Bugsnax, an assortment of new quests and challenges, hundreds of decorations for your house, and most importantly of all, cute little hats you can give your Bugsnax friends to wear!

In order to access the new content you'll first need to complete all of Snorpy Fizzlebean's quests, after which he'll contact you with a matter of grave importance. If you've already completed the game, however, simply loading up your save file will put you before the point of no return and you'll be able to go through all of the new stuff without having to replay any of the old.

Vampire Survivors official artwork and logo

After being teased for a couple of weeks, Vampire Survivors has now finally added Arcanas and with them a whole new level of power creep. To put it simply, Arcanas are gameplay-altering power-ups that can make certain stats cycle between very low and insanely high values, unlock new mechanics like critical hits on specific weapons, or even just make your projectiles explode!

You can pick one Arcana at the very start of the run, and then you'll get to choose from additional ones randomly through treasure chests. There are only six Arcanas to browse through right now, though more will be added in future updates.

Serious Sam: Tormental official artwork and logo

Ever since its last major update in July 2020, the top-down action rogue-lite Serious Sam: Tormental has been completely silent despite being under development in Early Access. By all accounts it looked like an abandoned project, so you can imagine my surprise when it suddenly received a major update and released in full!

The freshly launched version 1.0 brings with it new enemies and variants, an assortment of new perks and powers to play around with, as well as a brand new character by the name of Ugh Zan Jr. You can also expect to see 450 new level layouts, a variety of new quests, new music tracks, and as is tradition, a whole bunch of quality-of-life improvements and bug fixes to help spice everything up.

Source of Madness official artwork and logo

[Update]: Source of Madness has now been unleashed, and it's a fun though flawed experience.

While randomized locations and enemy placements are a common sight in roguelite games, Source of Madness has decided to push things to the absolute extreme. Not only are the locations procedurally generated and rendered in a bizarre AI-assisted art style, but the monsters themselves are also randomly created and animated using a neural network!

The end result is a complete and utter nightmare of a world, which as you might imagine, works really well with Source of Madness' Lovecraftian themes. Since words alone can't really do the concept justice, allow me to share with you the recently posted trailer. Have a peek, it's quite the sight to behold:

Forgive Me Father game screenshot of a giant boss fight

If you're a fan of 'boomer' shooters and the idea of smashing through hordes upon hordes of mutated fishmen and other Lovecraftian monstrosities sounds like a jolly good time, you might want to check out the freshly released Forgive Me Father. Expect to see a variety of high-powered weapons, moody levels with plenty of secrets to uncover, as well as a madness system that changes up both the visuals and the gameplay.

Rather than yammer on, allow me to share with you the launch trailer. It should give you a pretty good idea of just what Forgive Me Father is all about. Have a peek:

Rogue Legacy 2 artwork and logo

[Update]: Rogue Legacy 2 has now been unleashed, and so far it's looking quite good!

It has taken nearly two years and a whole bunch of updates to get here, but the roguelite action-adventure Rogue Legacy 2 is now almost ready to be unleashed! You can expect to see it arrive on April 28th, 2022 alongside a chunky update.

While the exact details are still shrouded in mystery, version 1.0 will bring with it an action-packed ending sequence that culminates with a big ol' boss fight, as well as a bunch of new and reworked stories to explore. You can also expect to see improved localization, a few bits and pieces of additional content outside of the end-game, and naturally, quite a few quality-of-life changes and optimizations.

Vampire Survivors official artwork and logo

[Update]: Vampire Survivors new update has weaponized cats and finally added the gameplay-altering Arcanas.

While Hyper mode helps keeps things nice and interesting throughout the entire run, it sadly doesn't speed up the actual game in any way. So if you don't have 30 minutes to spare for a full run, you're pretty much out of luck.

Thankfully, the freshly released Update 0.4.2 has finally added an alternative - the Hurry mode! It essentially makes the in-game clock tick twice as fast, which means that not only will enemies cycle more frequently, but the whole run will only last 15 minutes in total. It's both convenient and decently challenging, so I have a feeling it's going to be my default mode moving forward.

Rivals of Aether 2 gameplay screenshot of a character getting slammed

If you're a fan of the indie platform-fighter Rivals of Aether, I come bearing some good and bad news. The good news is that Aether Studios have just revealed Rivals of Aether 2 which aims to not only expand and greatly improve upon the original's formula, but also take it into a 3D direction!

As for the bad news, well... that would be the release date. Rivals of Aether 2 is currently pinned for a 2024 launch, though even that doesn't appear to be set in stone. But no matter what happens, it looks like we'll still have to wait for quite a while before getting a chance to dive in.