Recent Noteworthy Releases in March 2017


There was much talk among big AAA games in the past few months (for good reasons), but we should not forget that there has been a bunch of other games that have recently made it to Linux. I won’t go through the list of all the lesser known ones, but you should probably pay attention to the following.

First, let’s start with one that I find amusing. The ancient Operation Flashpoint has somehow received a Linux client, under the name ARMA: Cold War Assault. We assume this is VP’s work, since they are working to bring ARMA III on the platform right now. This is a little weird to see such an old, and outdated game coming up on Linux, but maybe this will be interesting for folks who have very weak hardware and still want to get a taste for it, before ARMA III gets a real Linux release.

While we are at it with old games made new again, here’s Serious Sam Fusion: basically all older Serious Sam titles using a renewed engine, and available on Linux for the first time (following the source code release of Serious Sam I and II in 2016). The new engine apparently gets rid of DirectX9, and instead uses OpenGL and Vulkan. CroTeam is definitely very much ahead of the curve when it comes to Vulkan support, and it is great to seem them experimenting more and more with their technology. Note that SS Fusion is still in beta for now.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, A Criminal Past - is a new DLC for the second episode of the Deus Ex reboot that was published on Linux late last year. This reminds me I still need to spend more time on Mankind Divided, while this episodes apparently takes place before the events of that game. This DLC was ported by Feral Interactive, as expected.

Now on to newer titles. First Kona, a game made by our francophone friends from Quebec, takes place in Canada in the 1970s, and deals with the mysteries of a town that has become too quiet, way too quiet. I have just started playing it and it reminds me a little of Gone Home, but it’s way too early to compare. Anyway, it has received a lot of praise so you may want to check it out. Yay for Linux Day 1 release, too.

Night in the Woods was first funded by a Kickstarter campaign and it’s probably one of the rare KS games that does not suck (when they are being delivered at all!). In this 2D adventure game you control a cat returning home and trying to reconnect with his former buddies.  But things have changed, and as the title implies, there is something in the woods. Good reviews all over again, so you may want to check it out.

In case you were pissed off about the lack of Hearthstone client on Linux (while it works perfectly on WINE), **Faeria **is a welcome addition as a new cards game, especially since it has left Early Access earlier this month. It’s free to play, but as you know there’s always the same trade-off at play here for such games. You either need to grind for long hours to get what you need, or you will have to pay up. CCGs are very hard to get right, as it’s all about having the right balance between players, and based on players who have spent quite some time on it, it seems like Faeria has some flaws there. How well, it’s free to play, so you can go ahead and check it out for yourself.

If a character called Morte means something to you, then you have probably played Planescape Torment in the past 20 years. Torment Tides of Numerana is a follow-up title made by some members of the original team. It seems like it’s far from being as good as the original Planescape, based on the various reviews EVEN on Steam! (Steam reviews tend to be over-positive most of the time, but when you see “Mixed” on Steam, that should be a stark warning). Combats are apparently boring, the story is not all that great either and characters fail to generate interest, if I have to believe what folks tend to say. All in all, while there are some positive reviews as well, it’s clearly a shame it did not live up to its expectations.

Ghost Blade HD is a touhou-like shoot’em up (in other words bullet hell). We still don’t have too many real shoot’em ups on Linux so this probably a good (and cheap) pick if you are in need.

Finally, not a release per se, but The Long War 2 mod is now compatible with XCOM 2 on Linux. It brings a much longer campaign (100 missions+), more soldier classes, infiltration mechanics, new weapon tiers, and a better AI that tries to counter your moves. In other words, it’s almost like a new game vs the XCOM2 vanilla experience.

Last but not least, it’s not officially released on Linux yet, but Hollow Knight is in testing. So it should not be too long before that one is available either. And most reviews have been very, very positive so far.

Good times, and a fantastic Q1 so far for Linux gamers. Lots of great games to play and replay. We’ll see what Q2 brings, while Q1 will be seriously hard to beat. Let’s not get spoiled.