‘Strafe,’ ‘World to the West,’ ‘Rime’ announce May dates

The 'World to the West' art style references European adventure comics, says the studio. — Picture courtesy of Rain Games via AFP-Relaxnews
The 'World to the West' art style references European adventure comics, says the studio. — Picture courtesy of Rain Games via AFP-Relaxnews

SAN FRANCISCO, March 15 — After a bumper February and March, several exciting video game projects are targeting May releases — shooter “Strafe,” role-playing adventures “World to the West” and “Rime” — while “Minecraft: Story Mode” is arriving on Switch in June.

All three releases represent novel approaches to established concepts; all three have been well anticipated since announcement.

And after the blockbuster first few months of 2017 — “Horizon Zero Dawn,” “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” “NieR: Automata,” “Nioh,” “Yakuza 0,” and “Resident Evil 7” among the biggest major label releases — all come from smaller, independent studios.

Chunky, pixelated shooter “Strafe” recalls the frantic, corridor-funnelling beast-slaying action games of the 1990s — Id Software’s groundbreaking “Doom,” “Quake” — and unapologetically mashes it with new century design trends: procedurally generated level layouts, unpredictable enemy placement.

A successful 2015 crowdfunding campaign alerted fans to its existence, and it’s been announced for PlayStation 4 as well as Windows PC, Mac OS X and Linux computers.

A May 9 release for the screen-juddering monster-popper replaces its previous March 28 date.

“Rime” has been around in the public eye for nearly two years longer, first shown off as a surprise reveal at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2013.

A limited preview won immediate comparison to cult PlayStation titles “Ico” and “Journey” as well as Nintendo’s “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.”

At that point it was supposed to be a PlayStation exclusive, though things have changed since then and it’s coming to the Xbox One and Windows PC in addition on May 26, with a Nintendo Switch debut anticipated a little later in the year.

Also channelling distinctive “Zelda” vibes but launching at the start rather than the end of the month will be “World to the West.”

Its predecessor, “Telsagrad,” was received as a rather remarkable debut from studio Rain Games, iterating on forms present in the iconic “Castlevania” and “Super Metroid” franchises, built around themes of magnetism and electricity and set within a wonderfully realized steampunk-European city.

Intriguingly, “World to the West” breaks with “Telsagrad” convention and swaps genres while keeping its Nintendo-related influences intact: early “Zelda” games appear to have inspired aspects of “World to the West.”

Four atypical adventurers — crafty mindbender Miss Teri, strongman aristocrat Lord Clonington, orphan survivor Knaus, and Lumina the electricity-wielding Telsamancer — journey to the west as they deal with unspecified troubles. — AFP-Relaxnews

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