After a somewhat light (but still fantastic) summer for video games, more notable releases started to come out in August 2022. Unfortunately, none of them were heavy hitters as games like Saints Row, Madden NFL 23, and Soul Hackers 2 were critical disappointments. Despite that, there were still some great games that came out this month if you knew where to look.
From odd indies that mashed up Animal Crossing with a death cult to a groundbreaking full-motion video game, indies shined this month. If you’re wondering what you should play ahead of the rush of notable titles coming this fall and don’t want to check out August’s lackluster AAA games, try giving these six games a shot.
Cult of the Lamb
Few games feel more Devolver Digital than Cult of the Lamb. On the surface, this might seem like a basic social simulation game, like Animal Crossing, starring cute animals. In reality, it’s also a bloody roguelike about forming and running a cult that worships an evil deity. During the roguelike segments, players try to take down other gods, gathering resources along the way. Then they return to their cult and build it up, constructing new facilities and keeping their followers happy and worshipping.
“Cult of the Lamb explores that balancing act through a darkly comedic premise pulled straight from the golden age of the company Newgrounds,” Giovanni Colantonio’s three-and-a-half star review of the game explains. “It’s a hellishly addictive management game that revels in its religious farce like cultists prancing around a bonfire.”
Cult of the Lamb’s cute-to-horrifying aesthetic screams “memorable indie game,” and it lives up to that idea. Whether you like management games, roguelikes, or just cult stories, this one is worth checking out. Currently, Cult of the Lamb is available for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch.
Look out Elden Ring, there’s another game of the year contender on the scene. Just barely making it into this month’s list on August 30, Immortality is an FMV title about trying to discover the fate of actress Marissa Marcel who starred in three unreleased films. Players look through on-set dallies and behind-the-scenes footage to discover what happened to Marcel, using a clever match-cut mechanic to jump between scenes. Cinematically, Immorality is on a whole other level.
“Immortality is an astonishing work of interactive media, one that fully realizes the potential of [creator Sam] Barlow’s signature full-motion video (FMV) style,” Colantonio wrote in his four-and-a-half star review of Immorality. “It explores our complex, and perhaps unhealthy, fascination with art, all while delivering a level of craft that’s light-years beyond what any other game has even attempted to achieve.”
FMV games often have the stigma of feeling low-budget and amateur, but with Her Story, Telling Lies, and now Immortality, Barlow has consistently pushed this style of game forward. If you enjoy movies or games that push storytelling boundaries, Immorality is a must-play.
Immorality is available for PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X via Xbox Game Pass. It’s coming to iOS and Android via Netflix Games.
Roll7 is the master of making games that just feel great to play. It already made our best games of February 2022 list with the spectacular OlliOlli World, but Roll7 had another game up its sleeve this year. The title in question is Rollerdrome, a game that mixes rollerblading and shooting to create an experience that doesn’t feel like much else out there. Couple that with its intriguing dystopian bloodsport premise and colorful art style, and Rollerdrome is a distinct game you won’t forget anytime soon.
“Rollerdrome simultaneously captures that frenetic energy of a shootout in Max Payne and the satisfying vibes of a skill-based skating game like Skate 3 or Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, and that’s a unique combination that you won’t find anywhere else,” Tomas Franzese wrote in a preview for the game. “With Rollerdrome, Roll7 continues to prove that it makes some of the best-feeling games on the market.”
For those who believe gameplay trumps all else in video games, Rollerdrome provides some of the purest fun you can have this month. Currently, Rollerdrome is available on PC, PS4, and PS5. If you have a PlayStation Plus Premium subscription, you can give the game a shot with a 35-minute trial before deciding whether you want to buy the full game.
I Was a Teenage Exocolonist
Fans of narrative games with intriguing political messages will want to check out I Was a Teenage Exocolonist. As the title plainly suggests, the game puts players in the shoes of a kid growing up on an alien planet from ages 10 to 20. Over time, players will be able to shape their character’s personality, traits, and even political views as they learn more about what happened to Earth and what these excolonists are doing on a new planet. Throw in some light exploration and deck-building mechanics, and you have a distinct narrative RPG experience.
“I Was a Teenage Exocolonist doesn’t set out to reinforce the player’s own beliefs with an obvious anti-capitalist critique,” Colantonio wrote about the game. “Instead, it’s focused on exploring how a political landscape shapes a child in their most malleable years. That’s all accomplished through thoughtful RPG and deck-building systems that reflect how kids absorb every little detail around them, even when we think they’re not paying attention.”
If it’s not clear already, clever indie games dominated August, and I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is one that’s worth checking out for fans of RPGs, narrative games, and deck-builders. I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch.
Two Point Campus
For fans of business-building and simulation games, few currently are doing it better than Two Point Studios and Sega. A few years ago, the duo impressed with Two Point Hospital, and this month they followed up with a college-themed simulation game called Two Point Campus. As its name suggests, players can build out and customize college campuses, set the curriculum, and hire the staff to run them.
Although that might sound a bit dry, it thankfully isn’t because of its unmistakable British humor. The radio station playing in the background on campuses is constantly spewing hilarious jokes. These colleges also don’t host your typical boring algebra and business 101 college classes. Instead, students will partake in courses like Knight School and Spy School, giving Two Point Campus some funny visual flair.
Whether you’re here for the quirky British humor or the impressively detailed but easy-to-learn building and simulation mechanics, Two Point Campus is worth your time. A game like Two Point Campus is best played on PC, but the game is also available for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. It’s even on Xbox Game Pass, so give it a shot via that subscription service if you’re curious.
Jetpack Joyride 2
While its been a light year for Apple Arcade when it comes to subscriptio- selling hits, Jetpack Joyride 2 is one of the best games to hit Apple’s service since its launch. The exclusive is a sequel to a beloved mobile infinite runner where players dodge around obstacles while zipping forward with a jetpack. Jetpack Joyride 2 retains some of the same fundamentals, but within a much different framework.
Rather than letting players set high scores in infinite runs, the sequel is level-based. Players need to make it to the end of different 2D levels as they weave around obstacles and shoot robots in their path. It’s a bit more of a classic shoot-’em-up than the previous game. On top of that, the sequel has several progression hooks, letting players upgrade weapons, mine for resources, and complete challenges. It’s a more digestible version of the game that does away with microtransactions and replaces them with a smart in-game economy.
Jetpack Joyride 2 is one of this year’s best mobile games, so if you have Apple Arcade, give it a download. While you can get through the initial content in a few hours, a new update is planned for September. — Giovanni Colantonio