We’re in an unusual timeline when the headline of the month is a LEGO game. But that’s the one we’re in, as LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga wipes the floor with pretty much every game that’s coming out in April 2022. We can already hear the clattering of plastic studs.
Aside from nine movies’ worth of Star Wars, crammed together into a single game, there isn’t all that much to get excited about in April. If you like baseball there’s MLB The Show 22, while JRPG enthusiasts will be checking off the days till Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition.
Other than that, we’re still feeling the aftershocks of Elden Ring, as the remainder of the quality games are of the indie variety. But if TUNIC offers anything to learn, it’s within the indie games that a new challenger could arise.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
If you’re of a certain age, you can draw a LEGO Star Wars minikit from memory, and can close your eyes and hear the sound of a True Jedi. LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game I, II, the Complete Trilogy and – arguably – The Clone Wars were the golden era of LEGO gaming, and you can’t tell us otherwise.
Which is why the release of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is so exciting. TT Games now have three trilogies to pick from and, effectively, so do we. We’re going to get the choice of which trilogy to begin with, as you can work through the Skywalker story in chronological order, series order, or quality order. We’re going to go with quality order: we want to see if the LEGO cutscenes throw some shade JJ Abrams’ way.
This is a no-nonsense compendium of all the Star Wars hits in LEGO form, and we are reliably told that the Mandalorian does feature. Buy it, we will.
MLB The Show 22
We’re not going to pretend we know anything about baseball, other than what we’ve picked up from watching Field of Dreams. But there’s a healthy audience eager to get their mitts on MLB The Show 22, and we’re not going to gatekeep them from the simple joys of whacking leather with wood.
What’s this edition bringing to the table other than likes of MLB The Show 21? Diamond Dynasty is back, so get your card binders out. This feature allows you to bring your card collection to life, creating fantasy teams on the diamond. This is coupled with a Mini Seasons mode, which creates bitesize competitions for you to compete in. Full cross-play is baked in from the off, and co-op play is coming in a future update.
There’s increased customisation on offer, as creating characters is not just locked to the Road to the Show mode. You can have a full stable of ballplayers, all customised with your face, which is a terrifying thing to imagine. And a new host of legends from baseball’s history have been added to the roster.
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition
Chrono Cross comes from a time where staggered releases and certain territories being excluded were just the done thing. As a result, the Chrono series has barely made land on European soil. This changes in April 2022 when Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition brings a remastered version of the cult PlayStation classic to all markets.
Serge, a teenage boy who discovered in an alternate reality that he died as a child, sets off on an adventure to understand these parallel worlds. He will encounter over forty playable characters on this journey, so good luck picking your favourite party members.
Being a remaster it also brings the standard graphical updates and quality-of-life features including the ability to turn encounters off, auto-battle and other useful updates. Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition also brings with it the Radical Dreamers text adventure game, which has never been released outside of Japan.
Thanks to our Richard Dobson for the Chrono Cross words.
Slightly more high-octane is MotoGP 22, the latest in the long-running series for racing enthusiasts. Most of you will know whether this is your bag, but let’s lay out the features anyway.
All the riders from the 2022 season are present and correct, while seventy legends of the track are bolstering the roster, taking it to 120 total. They can race over twenty courses, carefully brought to life from their real-world counterparts. Moto3, Moto2 and, of course, the MotoGP Championship are all present and correct, and there’s a new MotoGP Academy so that you can take baby-steps through all of them.
As with MLB The Show 22, this is the year of cross-play, so MotoGP 22 can be played with friends on other systems, but our highlight is a new split-screen mode. Now, you can put your opponent in a headlock to stop them from winning. It all looks rather spiffing too, as maximum effort has been put into making the racing as realistic as possible.
Now here’s a curious one. Developed by DigixArt, the studio behind well-meaning narrative game 11:11 Memories Retold, Road 96 is a road-trip from the perspective of a refugee. You hitchhike in an attempt to cross the border and flee an authoritarian regime, only to find your path littered with procedurally generated roadblocks: militia, angry lorry-drivers and weirdos of every measure.
This has gained a certain poignancy thanks to the actions of Mr. Putin, but in other respects it is detached from current affairs: this is set in the fictional country of Petria, and there is a decidedly equatorial feeling to proceedings.
Road 96 has been out for some time on PC and reviews have been encouraging, so we’re excited to stick a thumb out and play this one.
Chinatown Detective Agency
If your childhood was in any way informed by Carmen Sandiego, then you might want to sit up and pay attention: Chinatown Detective Agency is a spiritual successor to that classic series, and it’s coming from the Humble Games stable, so quality is virtually guaranteed. Metacritic named them the third highest-scoring studio of 2021, and for good reason.
It’s easy to make Chinatown Detective Agency sound a bit stuffy and boring, but it’s anything but. You play Amira Darma, a private investigator, newly started in Singapore. Business starts slowly, but as you work cases, more lucrative clients walk in. These cases take the unusual approach of requiring you to solve them out of game, scanning Google and searching for solutions before typing them into an in-game checker. It’s a game of research, and you will be flying to the correct parts of the world (hopefully, if you’ve done your research right) to apprehend criminals.
And don’t worry: if it all feels a bit bookish, you still get to shoot perps in the head when you confront them. You didn’t get to do that in Carmen Sandiego.
The Serpent Rogue
Team17 may have had a rocky couple of months, with accusations of a toxic workplace and some ill-fated adventures into NFTs, but they’re still a seal of quality. The Serpent Rogue is the latest from them, and it’s on the darker side of their usual output. There won’t be any banana bombs and cluster mines.
It is, effectively, an action-alchemy game. You play a plague doctor of some renown named The Warden, travelling an evil-infested realm with your trusty alchemy kit, constructing potions, bombs and more to take down eldritch horrors. There’s some creature summoning, taming and even shapeshifting too, in case the potion-crafting sounds a little tiresome.
It’s also the first game from Sengi Games, located in Ukraine, so we wish them the absolute best with this one.
Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles
Argh, our eyes! Even watching a trailer of Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles is likely to burn shapes onto your retinas, as it’s perhaps the brightest game to release on the Xbox. It’s like someone turned up the saturation levels on Ori, or Tron released a Ministry of Sound level.
In Lumote, you play an adorable and squishy underwater blob, bouncing around a puzzle-adventure world. The Great Depths where Lumote lives has turned red, and Lumote wants to change it a shade of blue, which is an eternal problem that we can all relate to.
What makes Lumote: The Mastermote stand out to us, getting it a slot in this Up Next, is that it’s an entire puzzle-adventure world. There are no discrete levels here: instead, Lumote borrows notes from Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry, and instead has you exploring an open world and securing towers that light up and give you visibility over the surrounding area. An underwater, puzzly Far Cry? That we can get behind.
Godfall: Ultimate Edition
A late addition to the old Up Next, Godfall: Ultimate Edition was a pleasant surprise. It was, after all, a PlayStation 5 exclusive, and we had no inkling that it was a timed exclusive. That means we get the complete, super-sized package of Godfall plus all of its relevant DLC, including the Ascended Edition and all pre-order rewards.
If you missed its launch on PlayStation 5, that was because it was a rather tepid one. Reviews were mediocre, but the benefit of hindsight and a year or two of polishing might give it a second appraisal.
What you’re getting is a melee-focused looter, with a heavy emphasis on crafting and optimisation. If you love tinkering with your loadout, just as much as walloping a dragon in the face with a warhammer, then Godfall might be your bit of business. Expect a review from us soon.
So, not so much an April Shower as an April Drizzle. But, if the past few months have told us anything, the real headliners can come from the strangest places. Perhaps one of the games above will surprise us and win Game of the Year.
May doesn’t have a killer app, but there’s plenty of interest. Scanning the schedule now, you can expect Evil Dead: The Game, Two-Point Campus (the sequel to Two-Point Hospital) and Sniper Elite 5. Expect them all to get a glowing introduction in next month’s Up Next.