Typically, April isn’t that exciting of a month for video games. Most publishers try to get their biggest games out before the end of the fiscal year in March, so April usually only has one or two notable releases alongside a ton of indies. April 2023 was different, though. Although it wasn’t packed to the brim with notable new game releases, a lot of very notable franchises like Star Wars, Minecraft, League of Legends, and Tron had significant new game launches during April 2023.
Meanwhile, series such as Advance Wars and Mega Man saw past games updated for new platforms, while experimental indies like OTXO and Shadows of Doubt also managed to leave an impression. There were quite a few awesome new games to play this month, and you’ll definitely want to get some playtime in with all of them before The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom comes out in May. If you’re looking for something new to play, consider checking out one of the following eight games the released in April 2023.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Like in April 2022, this month’s biggest release is an ambitious Star Wars game. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a sequel to 2019’s excellent Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and expands on it in almost every way. The story feels more ambitious and personal at the same time, as all of the worlds players can explore as Cal are more densely packed with content than before, and combat has been refined to be even more fun thanks to new stances and perks players can use.
“Cal’s journey follows the thematic trends established by The Empire Strikes Back and The Last Jedi, but is willing to get even more personal with them in a way only a game can,” Digital Trends’ Tomas Franzese wrote in a four-star review of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. “This, coupled with its deeper combat and more densely packed worlds, truly put me in the mindset of a Jedi during this dire era.”
It’s an entirely single-player Star Wars adventure, and a meaty one at that. This game can easily keep you entertained for 20 hours or more and tells the most engaging Star Wars narrative since Andor. This is one of the best Star Wars games ever made, so fans of the franchise shouldn’t miss out on it. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is available now for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S.
Advance Wars: 1+2 Re-Boot Camp
Originally slated for release in December 2021, Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is finally here after an indefinite delay caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Whether you’re a fan of this long-dormant Game Boy Advance series or just experiencing its turn-based strategy gameplay for the first time, the wait was worth it.
“Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp doesn’t drastically change the core gameplay from the original, but it didn’t need to,” George Yang wrote in a four-star review of this game. “Back in 2001, Advance Wars played beautifully. A simple concept paired with deep systems allowed the series to withstand the test of time — something that’s even clearer with a modern Switch version. Playing Re-Boot Camp feels like revisiting an old friend and finding out their best qualities remained intact over the years.”
The game’s cute aesthetic and comprehensive tutorials make it approachable, but the wide variety of units players fight with and the different terrain they can fight on add a ton of strategic depth for those who really want to engage with the game. Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is available now for Nintendo Switch.
Following in the footsteps of Minecraft Dungeons, Minecraft Legends adapts Mojang’s monumental crafting survival game into yet another genre. This time, it’s real-time strategy. While RTS games are notoriously tough to get into, Minecraft Legends does a very good job of making its mechanics easy to understand for all ages. Any Minecraft fans should get a real kick out of commanding a horde of Minecraft mobs taking out a Piglin base.
“Minecraft Legends is a rock-solid RTS game that melds the minion-commanding of Pikmin, the exploration and base-pillaging of Age of Empires, and the building of tower defense games,” Franzese said of Minecraft Legends in a three-and-a-half star review. Franzese also declared that the game “gets too repetitive for its own good in campaigns, and a few minor gameplay changes are needed to make swapping out structures easier, but this is an approachable RTS that can serve as a gateway to a tricky genre.”
Minecraft Legends also features a really enjoyable multiplayer mode that condenses the base building and pillaging fun of a campaign into a 30-minute match. It’s on Xbox Game Pass, so this game is at least worth a shot if you’ve never played an RTS game, but want to see what the genre is all about. Minecraft Legends is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.
The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story
League of Legends itself can be quite daunting to get into, but Riot Games is doing a great job at making its hallmark franchise accessible in other ways. The latest great way to get into it is The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story, which is an isometric action game like Hades where the main gimmick is being able to steal magical powers from your enemies. On top of that, it tells an entertaining story exploring what sparks rebellion, with an awesome antihero at its center.
“While it’s slow to start, The Mageseeker is an excellent action game I’d highly recommend to those who enjoyed titles like Hades,” Franzese’s four-star review of The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story states. “What’s more exciting, though, is how it allows newcomers to learn about Runeterra without committing to learning a competitive MOBA.”
This game cements the Riot Forge program, where Riot Games partners with indie studios to make spinoff games, as the most exciting thing happening with the League of Legends IP. The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.
A video game adaptation of Tron seems like a no-brainer, but no one’s been able to quite crack the formula yet. While it’s probably not what you’d expect, Bithell Games’ Tron Identity is an awesome visual novel that really understands the franchise and thoughtfully explores it. It’s not something to play if you’re looking for engaging gameplay, but it should entertain you in the same way a great book does.
“Tron: Identity is the most thoughtful, and perhaps respectful, use of the Tron franchise we’ve ever gotten from a video game,” DT’s Giovanni Colantonio wrote in his four-star review of the game. “It’s a short, cerebral detective story that’s genuinely curious about how the digital inhabitants of the series’ world perceive the Grid. It’s a successful experiment in restraint, resisting the urge to reduce Tron to another hollow video game playground in order to unearth the humanity hidden under layers of neon.”
After years of disengaging from the video game industry, Disney is finally starting to experiment again with games like Tron Identity. If this and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor are the bar of quality that Disney wants its new games to meet, then we may be on the cusp of a new golden age for Disney games. Tron Identity is available now for PC and Nintendo Switch.
Mega Man Battle Network Collection
Capcom finally released a collection for the Mega Man Battle Network series, an ambitious series of RPGs with unique tile-based battles that don’t function like many other RPGs out there. Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection recreates all of these great titles in their former glory, and refines the package further with things like an art gallery, music player, high-resolution filter, and Buster MAX mode that makes your shots more powerful.
“What makes Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection particularly useful, though, is its role as a historical document,” Colantonio wrote about this collection of games. “By putting those busy few years of Game Boy Advance glory back-to-back, it’s easy to see both why fans still love it and where Capcom went wrong in aggressively trying to capitalize on it. It’s as much a postmortem for Mega Man Battle Network as it is a celebration of it.”
On top of its single-player adventures, these games even feature multiplayer support that’s spawned a surprisingly passionate community. Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection has already sold over 1 million units, so you’ll definitely find people to play with if you want to try multiplayer out for yourself. Mega Man Battle Network Collection is available now for PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.
Last month, John Wick: Chapter 4 really felt like an action video game come to life, so you’re probably looking for something to scratch that itch. While there are plenty of already released games that could fulfill that desire, one new entrant came onto the gaming scene this month: OTXO. This indie game takes the formula established in games like Hotline Miami and The Hong Kong Massacre and adapts it into an enthralling black-and-white roguelike experience.
“Developed by Lateralis Heavy Industries, the top-down shooter contains just about everything you’d expect upon hearing Hotline Miami’s name invoked,” Colantonio wrote about OTXO. “It’s a fast-paced action game that requires precise shooting, lets players squash enemies by kicking down doors, and is set to a high-octane electronic soundtrack. At a passing glance, it might look a little derivative, save for its distinct black-and-white (and blood red) art style. It is, but OTXO sets itself apart enough with a slow-motion twist that makes it a perfect chaser coming off of John Wick: Chapter 4.”
While Tron Identity is for those who care the most about the story in their video games, OTXO is something for players who only care about gameplay. If its premise sounds appealing, it’s very likely that you’ll lose several hours to this enjoyable game. OTXO is available now for PC.
Shadows of Doubt
The idea of a game that takes place in a city where everyone is distinct and can be interacted with is a pipe dream for gamers, and Shadows of Doubt is the closest we’ve gotten to that idea since Watch Dogs: Legion. It’s a first-person immersive sim where players take on the role of a detective and must solve cases by thoroughly exploring their own procedurally generated city and questioning the many people within it. For an early access game, it’s an excellent proof of concept.
It’s certainly rough around the edges right now though, with choppy dialogue and tutorials that don’t do the best job of explaining its plethora of intertwined systems. Still, the pure ambition and impressively dynamic procedural generation on display here make Shadows of Doubt a title to keep an eye on as it gets refined throughout early access. Shadows of Doubt is available now on PC via Steam.