One category that’s often overlooked when it comes to new releases is ports of games that were previously released on other platforms. Here are three of them, with Super Meat Boy Forever, ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos and War Theatre 2: Blood of Winter, which comes to the PS5 in a “Max Edition”.
Super Meat Boy Forever
Team Meat’s long-awaited follow-up to their iconic breakout hit Super Meat Boy had been a long time in the making when it finally launched just before the holidays last year. The PS4 and Xbox One versions needed a bit more development time though, so only Switch and PC players had a chance to play it then. Now that’s changed, with a simultaneous release for both consoles.
Wanting to be surprised, I hadn’t checked any footage of the game or read any reviews when it launched, though of course I did hear it was going to feel different from the first game with its procedurally generated levels. I didn’t realize the gameplay itself was going to feel so drastically different though….
The notion of procedurally generated levels does away with the finely crafted challenges of the original game to a degree, but the bigger change is that Super Meat Boy Forever is an auto-runner rather than a straight up platformer. You still have a very familiar move-set when it comes to jumping, attacking and ducking, but you have far less control over Meat Boy – which never feels natural when you’ve poured hours upon hours into the first game.
From the perspective of auto-runners, however, Super Meat Boy Forever feels like a solid step forward. Its levels are randomly generated from tons of building blocks, Meat Boy feels a lot more fun to control than most runners (which often feel like mobile games) and there is a TON of content. It’s also a sequel to Super Meat Boy though, which makes it hard to solely judge the game on its merits as an auto-runner.
There’s plenty of Meat Boy charm in the presentation, characters, unlockables and high score chasing here, and fans will want to pick it up – but ultimately Super Meat Boy Forever doesn’t convince as “the next Super Meat Boy”. It’s a nice evolution of the runner genre, but a disappointing next step for the indie darling we fondly remember.
ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos on PlayStation VR
The VR visual novel is certainly a niche genre, but when we reviewed ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos for the Oculus Quest a while ago we enjoyed it immense – turning a traditionally quite passive reading experience into something truly immersive and interactive even though it lacked what most people associate with videogames in terms of controls and mechanics.
Now, the game has launched for PlayStation VR, so we dusted off the PSVR headset to see if the magic held up. Luckily, ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos is one of those games that gets better as you unravel more of the plot on subsequent replays, so it certainly was fun diving back in after a few months.
Technically, this is a rather solid port – which wasn’t too surprising for two reasons. It’s making the jump from the less powerful Quest platform, and it was never too demanding in the audiovisual sense to begin with either. The transition to PSVR is seamless, and the dated Move controllers do a decent enough job for a game like this as well – not relying on thumbstick controls or quick action. In other words, this is one you’ll want to pick up – read our original review to find out why.
War Theatre 2: Blood of Winter – Max Edition (PlayStation 5)
As we gear up towards Returnal’s release next week, we were excited to see another PS5 title pop in the shape of War Theatre 2: Blood of Winter, which is a port from an earlier Steam release and is part of Luc Bernard’s universe of games that’s being released by Arcade Distillery.
If you’ve played any of the developer’s earlier games, like Plague Road or Mecho Tales, you’ll recognize the art style in War Threatre 2. It was a game originally released on Steam as a free-to-play title, but the current PS5 release features all of the paid add-on content for the game as well, which include more units and single player campaign content for this accessible turn-based strategy game.
There are just over a dozen characters to choose from, and they all have unique abilities to help you conquer territories on the game map through bite-sized battles. They’re grid-based, and every battle puts you in control of a small range of different units. The way battles unfold is reminiscent of mobile strategy titles with their rock-paper-scissors mechanics, but there’s a bit of a meta-layer at work as well – one where you gather resources each turn by controlling more buildings.
If you don’t go into it expecting deep XCOM/Phoenix Point-like gameplay but something that’s more of a quick diversion, you’ll be fine. It has a budget price point and dozens of hours worth of content, including a range of trophies that can be earned.