We’re back! And we’re past the grimmest month of the year. That’s right, it’s time for lovely, sunny, er, February! Thankfully, there’s an absolute bucketload of interesting games to see you through it.
For the unfamiliar, What To Play This Month is our recurring series where we gather up the best games of the month gone by, and the ones we’re most interested in from the month ahead. We missed January, instead pulling together a whopping great 65 games we’re excited for in all of 2024 — and I am going to say that was a completely intentional decision, and absolutely not because I was too busy to get January’s out in time alongside it. Anyway, here’s What To Play This February!
The best games of last December and January
We’re sneaking in a few gems from December 2023 here too, since they didn’t get their time to shine last month — and also because if you’re anything like us, you might’ve struggled to find time to play them between hectic family holiday visits anyway. Do give them a look.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Availability: Out now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch.
Here’s what we said in our Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown review:
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a lot of things. It’s the latest game in a beloved series whose lineage stretches all the way back to the glory days of home computing. It’s a metroidvania so beautifully put together it almost feels like a Platonic example of the form. It’s a promising sign that Ubisoft is starting to let a series’ soul dictate the ultimate structure of a game, rather than pouring its molten life into the same open-world mould. And it’s a game that really knows the value and impact of a magic door…
…To quote my good friend the Air Daschund: what a rush. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a real delight, a game that revels in both its genre and its own heritage, delivering some wonderful combat and exploration. All that and the odd secret door. Sold.
DoDonPachi Blissful Death Re:Incarnation
Availability: Out now on PS4, Switch (requires importing or Japanese account).
Here’s what we said in our DoDonPachi Blissful Death Re:Incarnation review:
Singing the praises of an import game will always feel a shade awkward, but a digital edition on the Japanese stores makes it a whole lot easier to get at. And this really is an extraordinarily impressive, precise and ambitious version of not just one of the best shooting games ever made, but one of the most refined pieces of game design ever conceived. What ShotTriggers does to trump DoDonPachi DaiOuJou Blissful Death re:Incarnation, I can only imagine.
Availability: Out now on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S.
Here’s what we said in our Tekken 8 review:
For every one move that my opponent could block at any point in time, there were ten other moves they couldn’t. Tekken 8, I’ve realised, allows me more room for freedom and experimentation than any fighting game I’ve played before. I can’t imagine a scenario where pros would all land on a single combo, or single optimum method for playing a character, because where other games might have a short email’s worth of information in a movelist, each of Tekken’s feels like a 600-word tome. That impenetrable quality I referred to suddenly shifted from a negative to a positive.
Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth
Availability: Out now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S.
Here’s what we said in our Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth review:
Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth just feels like a lot. A lot of stories, contained and meandering. A lot of names to learn. A lot of people to punch. But ultimately, it’s a lot to smile about. Because while Infinite Wealth sometimes drops the ball when juggling so many threads, characters, and just-about-logical plot twists, it is undeniably still another endlessly endearing crime epic. RGG Studio tightens and flexes its newfound RPG muscles harder than the Chads and Brads you might find on Waikiki beach, fine-tuning the series’ turn-based fights and stuffing the map with enough interesting attractions to satiate even the most greedy among us.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
Availability: Out now on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Amazon Luna.
Here’s what we said in our Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora review:
Why does this fiction that I’m not particularly bothered about work so well here? And why does Cameron’s vision make so much sense nestled inside Ubisoft’s standard way of doing things?
I think the answer to both questions is that there is a surprising harmony at work. The more I’ve been thinking about this, the more I’ve realised that the thing that possibly marks out Cameron’s movies is a unique combination of elements. He makes films that are heartfelt but also deeply calculated. Maybe I have that back-to-front: James Cameron, blockbuster tyrant and regular Titanic visitor, makes films that are calculated but also disarmingly, gushingly heartfelt. Doesn’t that sound like a lot of Ubisoft’s stuff?
Availability: Out now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch.
Here’s what we said in our Bahnsen Knights review:
Listen. I want to end by talking about why this game, this series, moves me in such a specific way. It’s something to do with the fact that its worlds are so encompassing but also so self-contained. They draw me in, using great art and design and yet requiring my imagination too, but at the end I return to my side of the screen and I’m wonderfully, agonisingly shut out of everything again. Ultimately, by doing this, I think these games take me back to the first threshold, back to where my love of games began. And now I think about it, this love doesn’t begin where I assumed it did.
A Highland Song
Availability: Out now on PC, Switch.
Here’s what we said in our A Highland Song review:
A Highland Song is about what it feels like to be lost in the mountains. Not even lost, in fact. Just to be in the mountains, to have the privilege to exist there just for a bit, to experience them directly and extensively and know them as a process of living. In Moira’s case it’s over a week, in Shepherd’s most of a lifetime. What is Moira here, searching onwards between snippets of poetry, letters, memories, and scribbled, forever incomplete hints of lovers’ elopements or quarrels? As she shivers when the long grass leans around her, and stubs her toe on another rock, and mutters gallows humour under another sharp draw of breath? I feel like she’s my own deer, a MacGuffin or a mechanism, placed to get me moving through A Highland Song’s version of nature — to the lighthouse, sure, but not in any hurry. My lighthouse on the next run is just some dead end peak at the edge of the map, or another blocked off cave. An end goal that’s just the chance to sit and listen for a minute to wind or running water, and get to know one more corner of such an intimately written world.
Against the Storm
Availability: Out now on PC.
Here’s what we said in our Against the Storm review:
It’s a pleasure to play something where every detail takes you back to the heart of what a game excels at. Every layer of Against the Storm reveals something more compelling than the layer above it — where that layer stands as something already deeply interesting in its own right. The impression I have of it now, while equally positive, is so different to the one I had a year ago. As much as Against the Storm has changed through its time in Early Access, that’s more to do with what I’ve learned alongside it than any significant update. It is one of the most novel and well-crafted city builders I’ve ever played — one that adapts to its players as much as you adapt to it. Surely the result of both a well-laid plan, and some excellent rolls against chaos.
Availability: Out now on PC, Xbox Series X/S.
Phantom Abyss arrived in Early Access some time ago, and we loved it. We’re working away on a potential review in the background here, if we can find the time, but until then, here’s what we said in our Phantom Abyss impressions when we first played it:
Phantom Abyss is such a rampaging charm of a game. The whip! This game has incredible movement, empowering movement, movement that I know I will be wishing I had available to me when I’m out in the park or in Tesco. That whip crack that lofts you across gaps and past spikes. Marry me! Phantom Abyss is something else. Cor.
The games we’re looking forward to in February
Silent Hill: The Short Message
Availability: Out now February on PS5.
Surprise! Out of nowhere, a new Silent Hill game arrives. Said to be something of a modern-day parable, we’re very intrigued. It’s short and it’s free, and it looks rather scary. PT vibes? Or are PT vibes really Silent Hill vibes? Let’s not pull at that thread.
Jujutsu Kaisen: Cursed Clash
Availability: Out 1st February on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch.
A 2 vs. 2 fighting game, Jujutsu Kaisen looks like an intriguing twist on the formula — and it’s arriving at a time when this venerable genre’s arguably never been better. We’re curious to see where it lands amongst the heavy-hitters.
Granblue Fantasy: Relink
Availability: Out 1st February on PC, PS4, PS5.
Here’s what we said in our Granblue Fantasy: Relink review:
At a glance, Granblue Fantasy: Relink, Cygames’ action-RPG follow-up to the 2014 original, has all the key ingredients of something easily-dismissible, including all the typical genre stereotypes like impractical fashion sense and annoying voices. But what’s underneath is very much worth your time. This is a deep tale of parental abuse, and the struggles of the child to claw their way out from under the shadow of their parent and re-establish their own life — and, naturally, it has a cracking combat system to go alongside it.
Persona 3 Reload
Availability: Out 2nd February on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S.
Here’s what we said in our Persona 3 Reload review:
Persona 3 Reload makes it easier than ever to enjoy a truly special game about young people coming to terms with universal anxieties. And in the end, it’s still good because it’s Persona 3, and Persona 3 is damn good. I’m unsure if Reload will be my go-to route to Gekkoukan High in the future, and for many it’ll depend on how much tolerance you have for the original’s Tartarus grind, but for me, the sometimes-jarring changes in presentation and mood (as well as omissions from previous editions) hold Persona 3 Reload back from being the way to experience Tatsumi Port Island’s pleasures.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Availability: Out 2nd February on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S (Early Access edition out now).
We’re getting to Suicide Squad a little late, thanks to code only coming in on release day — not the most auspicious of signs, and it’s not been the most auspicious of launches for Rocksteady’s latest either, with server issues and in-game currency gift-apologies making headlines. But here’s the thing: it is made by Rocksteady, and for all the influence of Warner Bros., that studio remains immensely talented.
Availability: Out 6th February on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S.
Look, it’s hardly coming with a huge amount of buzz, but Foamstars could actually be alright? I played a bit at Summer Games Fest last year and thought it was not-terrible — it could genuinely end up quite good. And there’s room for two in the Splatoon-alike genre. The new soulslikes, maybe? No?
Availability: Out 8th February on PS5, PC.
The first Helldivers was a twin-stick shooter, and it was a blast. The sequel arrives around a decade later as a fully-fledged over-the-shoulder shooter. It’s an ambitious move — although maybe not a surprising one. The last Sony exclusive to come from a Scandinavian studio known for its twin-stick shooters was the inimitable Returnal. A high bar to set for Helldivers 2 — but you never know.
Islands of Insight
Availability: Out 13th February on PC.
A first-person environmental puzzler that looks to be in the same vein as The Talos Principle or Viewfinder, we’re curious about Islands of Insight. The trouble is, that distinctive sub-genre is full of genuine genius — can Islands of Insight match up to it?
Availability: Out 13th February on PC, PS5.
This one could be a banger. A fluorescent, gunge-dipped metroidvania with some seemingly genuine verve. Keep an eye out.
Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior
Availability: Out 13th February on PC.
Despite the extremely missable name (anything following the convention of Made Up Word: The Generic Thing tends to worry us a bit), when you see it in action Lysfanga actually looks pretty ace. Snappy movement, and sharp combat with a nice twist: allowing your character to be in multiple places at once. It’s published by Quantic Dream, but don’t let that put you off.
Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden
Availability: Out 13th February on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S.
A new game from Dontnod, albeit with that studio somewhat evolved these days. Another game with romance, mystical lore and «challenging decisions», we’re as curious as ever about something from this studio.
Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered
Availability: Out 14th February on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch.
Some genuine classics get the remaster treatment, just as PS1 nostalgia’s hitting its zenith — we’ll be all over this one, as you’d expect. A Eurogamer joint through-and-through.
Availability: Out 14th February on PC.
Those outside the realm of strategy nerds might not know this one’s actually a remake of a 2009 turn-based strategy from Cryptic Comet. If nothing else it’s wonderfully stylish, with some seemingly real potential.
Mario vs Donkey Kong
Availability: Out 16th February on Switch.
Are we reaching our limit with Mario remakes plucked from the shelf below his absolute best? Maybe. But here comes another one! It is very much That Time in the Switch’s life cycle — but listen, these games are still very good.
Skull and Bones
Availability: Out 16th February on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Luna.
No seriously! One of the most perennially-delayed games in history is due out this month. We’re deeply curious — it could still be good!
Please, Touch The Artwork 2
Availability: Out 19th February on PC.
Please, Touch The Artwork was a delight when it came out in early 2022. As Donlan put it, with appropriate artfulness: «A zen puzzler that lingers restless in the mind.» The sequel is going to be free to keep from launch, arriving as a kind of playable invitation to your nearest exhibition.
Last Epoch (Early Access)
Availability: Out 21st February on PC.
There are seemingly more MMOs out there than ever, but this one looks like it could be an actual biggun. It’s a lavish, sprawling Diablo-esque action-RPG, complete with skeletons, barbarian, skill trees, and the grimmest of grim-dark vibes.
Nightingale (Early Access)
Availability: Out 22nd February on PC.
We’re not sure about Nightingale just yet — it looks promising, like so many similar games do, but our previews so far have been hit-and-miss. We’re keen to give it a proper look at real length though, as it’s the type of game that warrants it. And there’s no shortage of hope surrounding the game, with former BioWare talent behind it.
Availability: Out 22nd February on PC, PS5.
This one could be a cracker. A dodgy car, a spooky forest, and something very much based on The Zone. Give Donlan’s lengthy Pacific Drive preview a look for more.
Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster
Availability: Out 28th February on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch.
The cult favourite of cult favourites, Dark Forces is seen by some as the proto-FPS, going some way to setting up the modern shooter. There’s a little scepticism about whether this one is the right kind of remaster — it’s sticking quite closely to the original, which is getting on a bit now — but it’s from Nightdive Studios, a team that did an excellent job with System Shock last year.
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth
Availability: Out 29th February on PS5.
Just sneaking into February on a leap year day, it’s a big one. The hugely-anticipated second part of Square Enix’s massive remake of a massive game, with massive swords. Despite it only arriving on one platform, and February being a bumper month, this is probably the biggest release of the lot. Read more in our big Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth preview.
What else do we recommend in February?
Steam Next Fest
There are a few Next Fests a year these days, but the February one — running from the 5th to 12th this month — is always a favourite: this is the best chance you’ll get to sample the whole year ahead. There are some absolute gems available this year, too — and we’re also going to be covering it in some proper breadth on the site this time as well. Look forward to much more from us soon!
Pokémon Day is every year on 27th February, and it’s typically marked by a livestream from the Pokémon Company with an avalanche of announcements. It also tends to be the time they announce the next big main series Pokémon RPG, too. Will they spring a surprise this year? Will it finally be time for remasters of Black and White — or will it be a Legends Arceus-style prequel? Pokémon isn’t going anywhere of course, but in the wake of Scarlet and Violet’s incredibly dodgy launch and Palworld’s extraordinary success, this is a big, big day for Pikachu.
It’s Valentine’s Day this month, and typically when you think of games to suggest around that theme it’s either soppy co-op games to play as a couple, or a slightly sad recommendation for something with romanceable characters in it, to play on your own. But if you’re in a couple and you both like games, you’ve probably got a hefty backlog to play through together without our help (if you must insist, just do a run through Baldur’s Gate 3 or something). If you’re not, and you want to play something on that most annoying of days, how about instead of wallowing in it you let out your frustrations on consumerist pseudo-holidays the right way: with exploding demons and heavy metal. Treat yourself to Doomguy for a day!
Other games releasing in February 2024
A massive month of releases — never mind the fact it’s February — here are a few more games on the outer edges of our radar for the near future.
- The Inquisitor — out 8th February on PC, PS5
- Fight Crab 2 (Early Access) — out 13th February on PC
- News Tower (Early Access) — out 13th Feb on PC
- Telmari — out 16th Feb on PC
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3 and 4 — both out 16th Feb on PS5
- The Thaumaturge — out 20th Feb on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
- The Lost Legends of Redwall: The Scout Anthology — out 20th Feb on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
- Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate — Demonhunters — ported to PS5 and Xbox Series X/S on 21st February
- Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake — out 28th Feb on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S