The first half of 2017 was a phenomenal time for video games. Huge releases competed for everyone's time and Nintendo's newest system tore out of the starting gate with worthwhile software.
So you might have thought that you could use the summer -- traditionally a slow release time for the industry -- to catch up. Ha! Joke's on you. Here are just five worthwhile games you might have missed that came out in the last month or so.
Pyre ($19.99 -- PC, PS4)
Look past the gorgeous art, great music, wonderful writing and almost Oregon Trail-like presentation and you might be surprised to find that Pyre is kind of a sports game.
It's the latest masterpiece from the small team at Supergiant Games (Bastion, Transistor), and it's got their fingerprints all over it. While the battles/matches almost play more like NBA Jam than they do Final Fantasy, Pyre is a game packed with skill trees and other RPG-like options for character development. There is a local multiplayer mode if you're feeling competitive, but the main draw here is an engaging, deep story.
Kingsway ($9.99, PC)
Kingsway is not a forgotten Windows 3.1 dungeon crawler, although it might look that way. In fact, the game is far more clever than a simple RPG with a nostalgic aesthetic.
In Kingsway, the faux '90s operating system is actually part of the game, not just its window dressing. Enemy encounters are fought in pop-up windows that move around as you try to attack and dodge (adding an active element to combat that would otherwise be pretty basic). Your quests show up as spam-like emails. Inventory management works the same way you would drag files between folders on your work PC.
Need some help? Don't worry, you can unlock hot keys (the ability to press "C" on your keyboard to open your character window, for example) to make life a little less hectic.
Sure, parts of Kingsway are gimmicky, but it's a gimmick that is honestly a lot of fun.
Miitopia (3DS, $39.99)
As a roleplaying game, Miitopia is a bit wacky. It leans heavily on the charm of the Mii characters that have been ever-present on Nintendo systems since the launch of the Wii (and made most popular in Wii Sports), but it gives them a starring role in an epic (and often funny, both intentionally and unintentionally) fantasy quest.
Because every character in the story is a Mii, and because those Miis are usually randomly selected, you end up with some pretty amazing scenarios. The hero in my Miitopia game resembles me, but the Dark Lord that serves as the game's antagonist? None other than Steve Urkel, of Family Matters fame. This sort of charm helps make Miitopia something far more interesting than a simple turn-based RPG, but those RPG barebones are still pretty fun.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age ($49.99 -- PS4)
The Zodiac Age is a remake of the underrated (in my opinion) 2006 PlayStation 2 game Final Fantasy XII. At the time of its release, FFXII, rubbed some fans the wrong way for its active battle system, which was a major departure for the long-running series and felt, to some, more like a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG (like World of Warcraft) than a traditional single-player adventure.
But the game has withstood the test of time better than many of its contemporaries, and a fresh coat of graphical paint in this PS4 version makes the game easier on the eyes than ever.
Splatoon 2 (Switch, $59.99)
Nintendo not only created one of the most fun, original and addictive multiplayer games ever with the original Splatoon, they also created one of the most family-friendly shooters to grace a game console.
Your weapons in Splatoon don't shoot bullets, they spread ink. The purpose of every match isn't to kill your opponents, but rather to cover the surface of the playing field in your team's color. Your team of four tries to accomplish this with a wide variety of weapons that shoot (or roll) ink in different ways. One weapon works like a machine gun, for instance, while another is essentially a giant paint roller.
Splatoon 2 builds on everything that made the original such a cult success. New maps, weapons, modes and a more interesting single-player adventure make it worthwhile for Switch owners, and Nintendo promises more free content is on the way.
The downside: If you want to team up with friends (and voice chat with them), it's a laborious process that requires using Nintendo's new smart phone app. It's far from ideal. Thankfully, the game is good enough to recommend regardless.