2021 has properly landed, and although the world will forever be different, video games are a constant. In the news, games are being delayed left and right, but for the players, regardless of where you play games, there are still plenty of releases scheduled for the upcoming month. Of these February 2021 single player game releases, we are taking a look at Ys IX, Little Nightmares II, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, Persona 5 Strikers, and Bravely Default II.
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox
Release Date: Feb. 2, 2021
Platform: PlayStation 4 (PC and Nintendo Switch later in the year)
The long-running Ys series was at one point the best-known franchise from Nihon Falcom — a slightly Zelda-esque action adventure following the ongoing exploits of the heroic Adol Christin. Recently however, Falcom’s crunchier Trails in the Sky and Trails of Cold Steel games have challenged Ys‘ time in the spotlight with their larger scope and retro JRPG mechanics.
Trails still lacks the immediate punch and simplicity of vision of Ys though: With rather light RPG elements to begin with, the majority of Ys games have a nostalgically low-fi graphical style, fun and easy combat, and excellent music. Beyond that, these single player games tend to vary from serious to quirky, and several entries have a history of patchy localizations. (The controversy behind Ys VIII‘s localization arguably overshadowed its actual release.)
In Ys IX, Adol arrives in an advanced prison city and is forcibly dubbed the “Crimson King” and granted “Monstrum Gifts”: abilities like a hookshot and air glide to help increase the game’s adventure genre vibe. Hopefully, these additions will refresh the mechanics as opposed to just making the game more convoluted.
Little Nightmares II
Release Date: Feb. 11, 2021
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch
The first Little Nightmares went darkly, deliciously deep into the venerable cinematic platformer genre, a hallowed space for games such as Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, Flashback, and the Playdead wonders Limbo and Inside. However, with the game’s dark fairy tale vibes and environmental puzzles, Little Nightmares also provided light survival horror.
Little Nightmares II leans even more into its spooky survival horror nature, while maintaining its cinematic platformer roots. Taking place far from the cramped industrial setting of the first, Little Nightmares II presents a much larger and more daunting challenge. The first game’s protagonist, Six, is joined this time by Mono, and the two traverse a twisted city filled with a panoply of terrifying citizens from which they must escape.
Tarsier Studios has confirmed multiple different environments within the scope of the Pale City, and demos suggest that the first game’s dark fairy tale charm remains, though more elaborate and abstract to the point that some commentators positively compared it to Silent Hill. As a lover of horror and spooky games in general, I cannot wait for this one.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Release Date: Feb. 12, 2021
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Super Mario 3D World may be nearly eight years old, but the game remains one of the less-played entries in the Mario series thanks to the relative failure of the Wii U. The game is as creative and exciting as any recent Nintendo title — taking the linear, race-to-the-flag style of old 2D Mario and blowing it out in three dimensions — but what is more important about this re-release are the quality-of-life upgrades and the added Bowser’s Fury content.
The core title boasts improved co-op (even the Captain Toad levels are now co-op), as well as a faster running speed that brings this 3D Mario title more in line with its slick 2D inspiration. Bowser’s Fury, though, is a fully original Super Mario Odyssey-like sandbox level that brings in Cat Mario from the main game and even characters and mechanics from Super Mario Sunshine.
Bowser’s Fury might be the single strangest addition to any of Nintendo’s upgraded ports to Switch, essentially a decent-size chunk of another game that doesn’t exist, only very loosely tied to 3D World in any way. Combined with the aforementioned excellence of 3D World, there’s really no reason not to give this combination of expansion and re-release a look.
Persona 5 Strikers
Release Date: Feb. 23, 2021
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Though Persona 5 Strikers comes to us from Musou developer extraordinaire Omega Force within Koei Tecmo, this is not another pure musou-style Warriors adaptation. Similarly to how Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity leaned heavily into Breath of the Wild‘s presentation and mechanics to craft a prequel, Persona 5 Strikers is a full-blown sequel to Persona 5 that merges Musou and Persona mechanics.
Beware: If you have yet to finish Persona 5, this is a true follow-up that will spoil the ending of that game! On the other hand, if you are one of the millions who absolutely loved Persona 5 beginning to end, this sequel continues the story of these beloved characters in an authentic fashion.
Bravely Default II
Release Date: Feb. 26, 2021
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Bravely Default II tells a brand new story for the series and is the next JRPG from Square Enix. Whether you grew up loving Final Fantasy II and III on SNES (actually entries IV and VI) or recently came aboard with Octopath Traveler and Dragon Quest XI, this new Bravely Default offers a traditional JRPG with modern quality-of-life features that appears to be everything we love about such games.
Actually the third main game in the series, (I guess Square names will never stop their numbering chicanery.) Bravely Default II makes use of some of the visual advancements from Octopath while maintaining the 3DS entries’ lovely diorama world. The single player game also features the return of fantasy musician Revo, composer of the first game’s unforgettable soundtrack. Turn-based nostalgic adventure awaits!
Notable Dates for Single Player-Friendly Games
Feb. 2 — Control: Ultimate Edition (PS5, XSX), Destruction Allstars (PS5)
Feb. 3 — Habroxia 2 (PC, PS4, PSVita, XBO, NS)
Feb. 5 — The Nioh Collection (PS5)
Feb. 10 — The Last Shot (PC)
Feb. 12 — Gal*Gun Returns (PC, NS)
Feb. 18 — Silence Channel (PC)
Feb. 23 — Curse of the Dead Gods (PC, PS4, XBO, NS)
Feb. 25 — Wing of Darkness (PC, PS4, NS), Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection (NS)
As a result of release date shifts and the general state of the world, there are other games set to release soon that lack firm release dates. Enjoy playing single player games this February!