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What to Play This May 2024

Hello and welcome back to What To Play! We’ve returned from a little hiatus, which you definitely noticed and have been very sad about, of course. It’s finally edging towards spring here in the UK, but don’t let that tempt you into going outside, there’s video games to be a-playin’!

As ever, this is where we’ll round up the best games from the month gone by, and the things we’re most excited to play from the month ahead – plus, any other suggestions for what might complement it. Here’s What To Play This May 2024.

The best games from last month

Botany Manor

Availability: Out now on PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.


A picnic is set up in the grounds of Botany Manor
Image credit: Balloon Studios/Whitethorn Games/Eurogamer

Here’s what we said in our Botany Manor review:

Sure, its rust-nibbling aquatic blooms and musically inclined ferns are fictions, but they’re no more bizarre than, say, bladderworts – millimetres-high carnivorous flowers capable of generating nearly 600 times the force of gravity to suck in their prey – or the Mimosa pudica, which shyly recoils its delicate fern-like leaves when touched. Perhaps an afternoon in Botany Manor’s company will inflame your own curiosity for nature, or perhaps you’ll simply be content to explore its sun-dabbled corners, solve its few clever puzzles, and enjoy the timeless pleasures of an enchanting summer’s day stroll.

Children of the Sun

Availability: Out now on PC.


Children of the Sun screenshot showing a gas station lit up with neon lights against a pinkish sky.
Image credit: Devolver Digital

Here’s what we said in our Children of the Sun review:

…it’s a bloody good time. Scoping the map, tagging the enemies, locating hidden targets, identifying environmental traps that can do the dirty work for you; Children of the Sun is not fun to play, not least because the neon-soaked graphics and bloody explosions and tense soundscape seem to go out of their way to make you feel as uncomfortable as possible. But when you get it right? When your bullet rips through the final mark on the map and the word “Dead” – stylised and canary-yellow – flashes triumphantly across the screen? I can’t remember the last time a game made me feel this good about being this bad.

Inkbound

Availability: Out now on PC.


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Here’s an Inkbound trailer.Watch on YouTube

Here’s what we said in our Ikbound review:

Few games are as immediately engrossing as Inkbound, even taking into account the slightly unusual combat, and few games are then as consistently entertaining. Don’t be put off by how it looks – Inkbound, like Monster Train before it, is another stand-out in the roguelike genre.

Tales of Kenzera: Zau

Availability: Out now on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Switch.


Screenshot of Tales of Kenzera showing player character running sideways through desert with volcano in background
Image credit: Surgent Studios

Here’s what we said in our Tales of Kenzera: Zau review:

The games industry needs diverse stories, both to highlight difference and prove their universality. Tales of Kenzera excites with its authenticity, yet its true power lies in its emotive, earnest narrative that tells a father-son story of grief that relates to us all and our hope for the future. As Zau tells Kalunga: “one thing I know about the human spirit is that if there is a chance – even a shred of hope – of potentially making things better, we take it.” So reach out and grab it.

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Stellar Blade

Availability: Out now on Ps5.


stellar blade eve facing wasteland scrap plains villa
Image credit: Eurogamer/Shift Up

Here’s what we said in our Stellar Blade review:

I don’t know if there’s a universal winning formula for a great action game out there, but Stellar Blade sure has tried its hardest to reverse-engineer one. Like Bayonetta? Here, take an English lady zipping about in heels, annihilating monsters to a delectable soundtrack. Dark Souls fan? Rest at this camp to refill your potions, and better brush up on those parrying and dodging skills! You like God of War? How about a dozen different finishers that would make Kratos blush. Melee combat not for you? Have a gun. Turns out, cherry-picking from the last 15 years of video game action and pumping it into a single campaign of relentless hacking and slashing is fun. Really fun.

Sand Land

Availability: Out now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S.


Sand Land Review 3 - Sand Land screenshot of Beelzebub and several demons facing the camera
Image credit: ILCA/Bandai Namco

Here’s what we said in our Sand Land review:

Sand Land feels like a passion project, the rare example of an anime game that actually elevates and improves the story it was based on. Sand Land doesn’t get everything right, but it’s more than I ever hoped for or expected. Most importantly however, I think ILCA should be extremely proud of doing Akira Toriyama’s legacy justice. Sand Land is the game that his fans deserve, and a wonderful final reminder of the incredible impact that one man has had on the gaming industry.

The games we’re looking forward to in May 2024

Indika

Availability: Out 2nd May on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S.

Here’s an Indika trailer.Watch on YouTube

Visually striking, tonally arresting, dark and bizarre, Indika is a third-person narrative about a nun in early 19th century Russia who sets out on a journey of discovery while accompanied by… the devil. Absolutely one to look out for.

V Rising

Availability: Out 8th May on PC, PS5.


V Rising official screen showing a small vampire character dressed in black cape crossing a stony bridge in detailed, top-down Gothic style
Image credit: Stunlock Studios

V Rising’s been in Early Access for a while, since May 2022 in fact, but it’s finally out for real this month. It’s 70,000 Steam reviews sit at “very positive”, and we enjoyed what we played of V Rising back in 2022. It’s effectively a vampire simulator – hunt for blood, build a castle, do cool Dracula things. Sounds fangtastic.

1000xResist

Availability: Out 9th May on PC.


1000xResist screenshot showing a futuristic bartender asking "what can I load up for you?"
Image credit: Fellow Traveller

1000xResist was nominated for three awards at the IGF festival back in March – Excellence in Narrative, the Nuovo Award and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize – which should serve as a good enough recommendation. It’s a sci-fi narrative game about humanity and control, and it’s published by Fellow Traveller – who handled Citizen Sleeper, so they must have some taste.

Cryptmaster

Availability: Out 9th May on PC.


Cryptmaster screenshot showing a large, strange frog-skeleton creature in black-and-white style, looking down at your hand of four cards and several letters.
Image credit: Akapura Games

Speaking of IGF awards, Cryptmaster won the Excellence in Design award thanks to a potentially ingenious premise: a dungeon adventure where encounters are solved by whatever you type, or speak, into the game – where you can apparently say anything. It’s a fascinating idea and supremely cool game to look at. We’re excited.

Crow Country

Availability: Out 9th May on PC.


Mara arrives at Crow Country, walks from her car to a locked fence
Image credit: SFB Games

A PS One-styled retro horror game, Crow Country’s developed a cult following amongst classic Silent Hill and Resident Evil fans. Perhaps the spookiest thing about it though is that the original PlayStation, my first home console, undisputably counts as retro now. It’ll happen to you!

Animal Well

Availability: Out 9th May on PC, PS5, Nintendo Switch.

An Animal Well trailer.Watch on YouTube

We’ve had our eyes on this one for a long, long time, after whispers started to do the rounds of something truly special coming up. In a year of extraordinary Metroidvanias, this one could potentially be the very best.

Surmount

Availability: Out 9th May on PC, Switch.


Surmount screenshot showing a row of shops in a mountain town in playful blocky style
Image credit: Indiana-Jonas, Jasper Oprel, popagenda

Hello yes it really is another indie game coming out on 9th May that looks brilliant. This ones a joyous game about climbing, often in pairs, and always with wonderfully silly physics. More on this one very soon.

Homeworld 3

Availability: Out 13th May on PC.

Homeworld 3 trailer.Watch on YouTube

Delayed and delayed again, Homeworld 3’s development has seemingly been troubled, but this series is legendary in RTS circles, and Homeworld 3 looks nothing if not epic in scale. Fingers crossed developer Blackbird Interactive can stick the landing.

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver

Availability: Out 16th May on PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox Series X/S.


Read Only Memories: Neurodiver gif showing a character behind a bar in 80s themed pixel art, as another slides into view over the top like the intro to a Pokémon trainer battle
Image credit: Chorus Worldwide Games

A supremely cool-looking 80s-themed narrative adventure, Read Only Memories: Neurodiver is actually a sequel to 2064: Read Only Memories. Your job is to track down a mysterious antagonist acting as a “psychic agent”. It looks unequivocally rad.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes

Availability: Out 16th May on PC, Switch.


Lorelei and the Laser Eyes screenshot of woman staring at pink mirror in black and white art studio environment
Image credit: Simogo

The latest game from Simogo, developer of the poptastic Sayonara Wild Hearts, Lorelei and the Laser Eyes seems a bit more cerebral, being based on intricate, number-heavy puzzle-solving. As ever though it is intensely stylish, and we’re very keen to give it a proper look come launch.

Songs of Conquest

Availability: Out 20th May on PC.


Songs of Conquest screenshot showing a settlement surrounded by grass and woods, in retro PC RTS style.
Image credit: Coffee Stain Publishing

Another that’s been in Early Access since May 2022, Songs of Conquest looks to be a cult hit amongst retro RTS fans. Understandably so, as it’s utterly gorgeous, evocative of Heroes of Might and Magic, which is very much the explicit, turn-based-tactical inspiration here. We’re looking forward to it rather a lot.

Paper Trail

Availability: Out 21st May on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, Mobile.

Here’s a Paper Trail trailer.Watch on YouTube

We very much enjoyed what we played of Paper Trail during Steam Next Fest earlier this year. It’s a clever puzzler in that classic iPhone game style: lovely, tastefully restrained art, combined with a single ingenous gimmick, this time of folding maps that reveal new perspectives for you to advance.

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2

Availability: Out 21st May on PC, Xbox Series X/S.


Close up of Senua in Hellblade 2
Image credit: Ninja Theory

The first and maybe only true AAA game out this May, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 brings a welcome dollop of outrageous visual fidelity. What’ll be most interesting here is how much further developer Ninja Theory can mine the depths of mental health struggles for ideas – did the first one say all there is to be said about it? Either way, we’re very excited.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

Availability: Out 23rd May on Switch.


Best Mario Games - Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door screenshot showing Mario and friends in front of a small red door in a giant grey tree with white flowers with painterly art style.

Nintendo continues its end-of-life cycle for the Switch with another Mario remake, albeit of something of a cult favourite. As ever, the series is nothing if not inventive, and we’re looking forward to going back to an old gem.

MultiVersus

Availability: Out 28th May on PC.


Multiversus review - a match in action on a grassy level with waterfalls either side

MultiVersus’ approach of coming out in “beta”, charging players real money for in-game items, then entirely removing itself from storefronts was certainly a choice. But classic Warner Bros. financial scumbaggery aside, it was actually very fun, and as a long-suffering Smash Bros. player I’m personally keen to try out another game in the genre that isn’t filled with several thousand identical Fire Emblem characters.

Skald: Against the Black Priory

Availability: Out 30th May on PC.


A screenshot of C64 inspired RPG Skald, during a dice-roll moment to decide what happens next. We see a box in the middle of the screen with two d6 dice in it, which will determine whether our diplomacy will stop the mutiny that we see - behind the dice roll box, in a still image - happening.
Image credit: Eurogamer / High North Studio

A retro-style RPG redolent of C64 classics, Skald: Against the Black Priory has been on our list for what seems like forever. It’s extraordinarily intricate environments and seemingly very faithful approach to design have us totally hooked.

Other games coming out in May 2024

Yet another utterly packed month for indie games, but May is very thin on the ground for bigger stuff. Here are a few other notable games coming out though:

  • Endless Ocean Luminous
  • Pocket Oasis
  • Braid: Anniversary Edition
  • Baladins
  • Men of War 2
  • Hauntii
  • Zet Zillions
  • World of Goo 2
  • F1 2024
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