As spring approaches, you may be tempted to go outside and smell the blooming flowers. By all means, get some fresh air, but keep in mind that March is also when game publishers start rolling out their big guns. There’s a wide assortment of heavy hitting games coming out this month that will surely lure you back to your couch before too long.
‘Scribblenauts: Showdown’ (March 6)
If you’re looking for some wholesome family fun, look no further than Scribblenauts: Showdown. The latest entry in the wordplay puzzler franchise adds something new to the mix — the eponymous Showdown mode. Showdown is a card-based board game that pits two to four players against one another in a series of Mario Party-style minigames such as racing, catching fish, and eating contests. Some of the games incorporate Scribblenauts’ object-creation premise, while others task you with accomplishing a basic task climbing a rope as quickly as possible.
Fans of previous games need not worry, though. Showdown still has a sandbox mode with eight different maps. There you can let your imagination run wild, creating objects and completing objectives solo or with a friend.
‘Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition’ (March 6)
The 2016 role-playing game finally makes its way to PC. Along with the already robust main story, those buying the PC version will gain access to all existing season pass content. That includes the three character episodes that have released thus far, as well as the multiplayer Comrades expansion that turns FFXV into an MMO-style experience.
‘Surviving Mars’ (March 15)
Published by Paradox Interactive, the studio behind the wonderful Cities: Skylines, Surviving Mars is a city-building and management sim for anyone who doesn’t want to wait for Elon Musk to colonize the Red Planet. Developed by Haemimont Games, the studio responsible for the Tropico series, Surviving Mars tasks new settlers to do just that — survive. And it won’t be easy. Players must build a thriving space colony amidst harsh conditions. Each colonist has their own job, as well as individual quirks that you’ll have to manage. Colonists can develop debilitating habits such as alcoholism if you keep them working around the clock.
Along with creating labs and sleeping facilities, Mars holds any secrets that players can uncover by working through a research tree. Each playthrough of Surviving Mars features random generation, so no two simulations feature the same threats and secrets.
Surviving Mars launches on PS4, Xbox One, and PC March 15.
‘Kirby Star Allies’ (March 16)
Everyone’s favorite pink puff ball makes his Nintendo Switch debut this month in Kirby Star Allies. Like many previous entries in the lovable franchise, Kirby’s latest adventure features 2D side-scrolling gameplay in the bright and vibrant world of Dreamland.
The twist is that Kirby can actually turn enemies into allies by tossing hearts at them. Once turned, Kirby and his new teammates can complete “team up” attacks and maneuvers, which vary based on Kirby’s abilities. You can play the adventure solo, but we expect it will be best enjoyed with friends, Joy-Cons in hand, gathered around your Switch.
Kirby Star Allies launches exclusively on Nintendo Switch March 16. You can get a taste of the game today in a prerelease demo on the eShop.
‘Sea of Thieves’ (March 20)
One of the most anticipated Microsoft games of 2018, Sea of Thieves looks to turn you and your friends into swashbuckling cartoonish pirates. Developed by Rare, the storied studio behind Donkey Kong Country and Banjo-Kazooie, Sea of Thieves, as we learned when previewing the game in February, is more about the whimsical and charming interactions you have with friends than any sort of end goal.
You create a randomized pirate, link up with up to three friends, and set off on the open sea in search of treasure. Completing designed quests contributes towards ranking up and purchasing new items, but bought goods provide only cosmetic benefits. You won’t lag behind your friends if you take a couple nights off from pirating. Instead, Sea of Thieves simply asks you to enjoy the ride. You’ll get in skirmishes with other pirate crews, explore uncharted islands, and stumble upon a range of environmental oddities that help bring Rare’s epic cooperative adventure to life (you can play solo, too, but it’s a bit more complicated).
Sea of Thieves launches on Xbox One and PC March 20.
‘Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom’ (March 23)
After two delays, the sequel to the endlessly charming PlayStation 3 RPG Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is finally almost here. Set more than a century after the events of its predecessor, Revenant Kingdom boasts a whole new cast of characters. After boy king Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum is booted out of power by the rival mouse tribe, Evan must build his own kingdom to prove that he was a worthy leader of Ding Dong Dell.
Evan is joined by an outsider from another world, Roland, and Tani, the daughter of the air pirate boss. Although the game retains the Studio Ghibli art style as well as numerous themes, Revenant Kingdom drops the menu-scrolling in combat for a more action-oriented experience. The team is assisted by Higgledies, tiny followers that help Evan in combat and when exploring. Revenant Kingdom also drops familiars (essentially Pokémon) in favor of kingdom building and skirmishes — cross-kingdom battles that use real-time strategy mechanics.
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom arrives on PS4 and PC March 23.
‘A Way Out’ (March 23)
From the developer of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, A Way Out is one of the most intriguing games in recent memory. It’s a narrative-focused game that you cannot play solo. A Way Out follows Leo and Vincent, a pair of locked up convicts. As the title suggests, the story arc centers around their escape from prison and the ensuing evasion of authorities.
Each user plays as one of the men, and their stories unfold simultaneously. To make progress, you must help one another, such as distracting guards. Other times, like when in the gas station scene we previewed at E3, players must decide who will carry the gun to rob when robbing the clerk. Both men have families on the outside, and from what we’ve seen, the game will harp on the lives that were affected by their prison sentences. A Way Out can be played either split-screen or online, and only one person needs to own the game.
A Way Out breaks into the world on PS4, Xbox One, and PC March 23.
‘Detective Pikachu’ (March 23)
A rare Nintendo 3DS game to have on your radar, Detective Pikachu seems like the most bizarre game revolving around the world of Pokémon to date. In this mystery adventure game, the most iconic Pokémon also happens to be a great detective. Well, he claims to be, at least.
Players control Tim Goodman, who becomes Pikachu’s partner, to investigate the weird events that are unfolding across Ryme City. The duo gathers clues by examining the environment and talking to people and Pokémon alike. For a 3DS game, Detective Pikachu will reportedly have a sizable number of cinematics: Nintendo says the adventure contains more than 150 animated cutscenes.
Strangest of all, Pikachu speaks in this game — in a rather grizzled, smoked a few too many cigarettes, kind of way, no less. No matter what happens in Ryme City, we want to solve the mystery of how cute and cuddly Pikachu turned into a coffee-obsessed middle-age man.
Detective Pikachu launches on Nintendo 3DS March 23.
‘Far Cry 5’ (March 27)
Ubisoft’s over-the-top first-person-shooter franchise substitutes exotic lands for the rural America in Far Cry 5. A radical preacher named Joseph Seed has manipulated his congregation into believing that doomsday is upon them. He turned his congregation into a militaristic cult called Eden’s Gate, and their mission is simple: Convert everyone in the county by any means necessary, including violence. You play as a sheriff’s deputy working to arrest the man who now goes by the creepy title “the Father.”
Structurally, Far Cry 5 is similar to recent entries. It uses open world gameplay, outposts, and plenty of high-octane explosions. You can also recruit locals and even animals to fight alongside you. A free map editor called Far Cry 5 Arcade lets players build maps for single player, co-op, and competitive multiplayer.
Far Cry 5 launches on PS4, Xbox One, and PC March 27.
‘MLB The Show 18’ (March 27)
The excellent yearly sim arrives just in time for baseball season. MLB The Show 18 will include series staples such as “Road to the Show,” “Diamond Dynasty,” “Battle Royale,” “Conquest,” and traditional franchise mode.
As always, Sony has worked to refine the already sound baseball play for added realism. This year’s addition includes a reworked hitting engine and physics improvements, more than 1,000 new gameplay animations, fresh home run celebrations, dynamic crowds, and even weather delays.
MLB The Show 18 launches on PS4 March 27.