‘Pokémon Sleep’ among this summer’s newly released games

The fall semester is upon us! As classes start and homework is assigned, the ample time students have to play video games fades away. What better time than now to reflect on the games that got us through the summer?

Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Right as the spring semester ended, gamers were treated to the marvelous lore, design and game physics within “Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.” Following the events of “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” this game takes a darker turn as Ganondorf is resurrected during Link and Zelda’s underground investigation of Hyrule Castle. From there, fans are thrown into a quest of trying to preserve history, identity, and the world. 

On top of epic graphics and a detailed story, long-term fans of the series were overjoyed by the many easter eggs that are included. A couple of those include the sound playing before Link is launched into the sky by a tower referencing when “Wind Waker” Link was catapulted, the notes played during Tulin’s wind trick coming partially from the song “Twilight Princess” Link plays on grass whistles and names like Rauru’s which was pulled from “Ocarina of Time.” With how long it took for this game to finally be released, it is obvious just how much effort was put into the project.

Lord of the Rings: Gollum

However, not all of these earlier summer releases were as well-received. One of those include “Lord of the Rings: Gollum,” a game that failed to deliver on both graphics and gameplay promises made during pre-release.

Street Fighter 6

June brought a new addition to a beloved Capcom franchise, “Street Fighter 6,” a game with a lot riding on its shoulders after the not-so-loving reception its predecessor received. With the excess of bugs and almost unplayable online mode “Street Fighter 5” touted, it was up to this new installment to restore faith in the franchise, a test it passed with flying colors. Introducing a new ‘World Tour’ style of tutorial, this game has arguably one of the best learning curves of any Street Fighter game to date, kicking the constant need to pause and search up combos to the curb. 

Oxenfree II: Lost Signals

July was quite a memorable month for PC, console and mobile gamers alike. It started off strong with the release of “Oxenfree II: Lost Signals,” the highly anticipated sequel to the side-scroller Indie hit “Oxenfree.” Like its predecessor, “Lost Signals” takes the players to the small coastal town of Camena, where a young Riley manipulates radio signals to communicate with the supernatural and even through time to save her hometown from a paranormal threat. This narrative game where your choices matter has truly cemented itself as a favorite of the summer. 

Pikmin 4

If you own a Switch, there is no doubt you bore witness to the release of “Pikmin 4” this summer, a continuation of one of Nintendo’s staple franchises. In “Pikmin 4,” the player customizes their own explorer and searches for the rest of the Rescue Corp with the help of the plant-like creatures called Pikmin. 

Pokémon Sleep

Pokémon fans rejoiced for the much-awaited release of the “Pokémon Sleep” app. Themed around Pokémon’s sleeping giant, Snorlax, it aimed to inspire gamers to develop healthy sleeping habits with the help of a partner Pokémon they can befriend in game. It even allowed players to catch elusive shiny Pokémon. Thank Snorlax for fixing many sleep schedules this summer!

Baldur’s Gate 3

Finally, Aug. 3 marked the official launch of “Baldur’s Gate 3,” a computer role-playing game set in the universe of the beloved table-top game “Dungeons & Dragons.” The game had been in early access since Oct. 6 of 2020, making its full release a much-anticipated event as feedback and shining reviews poured in from those playing early. 

Not only did “Baldur’s Gate 3” live up to expectations, it blew them out of the water. Featuring gorgeous graphics depicting all corners of Faerûn, a robust character creator allowing you to play as any of the classic classes and 34 subraces, and a beautiful story that can play out in 17,000+ different ways, this game rolled a ‘Nat 20’ on charming every one of its players.

All in all, these games cemented their place both in this summer’s history and our memories.


cgranhol@ramapo.edu & pbortner@ramapo.edu

Featured photo courtesy of @PokémonSleep, X