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Are you ready for the power of the Peach? The pixel princess takes centre stage this month – plus updates to classic games Outcast and Alone In The Dark, and much more

By Jon Billinge, Senior Staff Writer

She’s come a long way since she was just a bundle of blonde pixels waiting to be rescued by a plumber. She’s had Anya Taylor-Joy’s voice in a movie, starred in her own games like Super Princess Peach, and now – it’s showtime! Princess Peach: Showtime!, that is, a new game in which Peaches dons the breeches and gets to buckle some swashes. Plus there’s more action from the world of Super Mario as the moustache and gorilla go tête-à-tête in Mario Vs. Donkey Kong.

 

Alone In the Dark and Outcast both broke new ground when they were originally released and, praise be to the gaming gods, they’ve both got new updates for 2024. Prepare to have your spine chilled and your mind boggled by the cutting-edge graphics and gameplay. 

 

Will Chocobo racing feature? Can you still go on a date with Barret? How do you really pronounce “Cait Sith”? Whether these questions flew over your head or had you nodding appreciatively, you’ll want to check out Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth – part 2 of one of the best remakes of one of the best games ever.

 

There’s plenty more this month, including a new rival to The Sims in Life By You, and tactical RPG Unicorn Overlord. Don’t forget, if you want to download any of these games, with a Virgin Media Broadband package for gamers, you’ll be set up to dominate the competition with a fast, stable connection. Find out more here.

 

Here’s all you need to know about this month’s crop of new releases...

 

Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered

Available on PC, PS4/5, XBO, XBX/S and Nintendo Switch from Wednesday 14 February

Take a trip back in time to relive Lara Croft’s classic adventures, brought up to scratch with this next-gen update. The first three games in the Tomb Raider franchise are still among the series’ best, and with modernised gameplay and stunning graphics along for the ride, it’s the perfect way to see where it all began.

 

Mario Vs. Donkey Kong

Available on Nintendo Switch from Friday 16 February

Long before they went head to head in the latest Mario movie, the plucky plumber and grunting gorilla were clashing in arcades around the world in the original Donkey Kong. And it seems they’ve still got beef to settle if this colourful new puzzler is anything to go on. Playing as Mario, you’ll draw on all his platforming skills to get within striking distance of Donkey Kong and put the feud to rest – for a spell anyway!

 

Garden Life

Available on PC, PS4/5, XBO and XBX/S from Thursday 22 February

You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all shooty-bang-bang in gaming this month. But no! In a quiet corner away from the noise is this soothing gem where the only sharp, pointy things are the pruning tools used to improve your virtual garden.

 

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

Available on PS5 from Thursday 29 February

Sharpen up that Buster Sword and re-enter the fray of battle as part 2 of the Final Fantasy 7 remake lands. Part 1 had fans in a frenzy for taking everything that made the original great and dialling it up to 11. The static, real-time fights of old were out in favour of hugely dynamic assaults that required dexterity both in terms of movement and strategy. Added to this was an absolutely gorgeous reimagining of Midgar to get lost in – a far cry from the blocky polygons that came before. Part 2 continues the story fans know and love, with added embellishments that might just surprise you.

 

Life By You

Available on PC from Tuesday 5 March

It’s The Sims, Jim, but not as we know it. Except, it kind of is, especially given it’s headed up by The Sims’ head developer Rod Humble and is a warmly familiar life-simulating experience. But Life By You sets itself apart magnificently by building on what came before in every way. Sure, you can build a dream house from the ground up (complete with swimming pool you’ll no doubt maniacally remove the entry/exit ladder from) and strike up relationships, but you can also drive or bike out to the countryside, engage in real-language conversations and complete countless quests.

 

The Outlast Trials

Available on PS4/5, XBO and XSX/S from Tuesday 5 March

Scaring YouTubers since way back when, the Outlast series set a new standard in claustrophobic FPS horror with the 2013 original. And this, the fourth entry in the franchise, ratchets up the tension beyond what we thought possible. It’s set in the 1950s during the Cold War, and you play as a human guinea pig running a maze designed to test your wits, cunning and sanity. Lucky you! 



Crown Wars: The Black Prince

Available on PC, PS5, XSX/S and Nintendo Switch from Thursday 7 March

Knights, kings and brigands, oh my! Get your historical strategy fix with this Middle Ages-set tactical battler. Recruit, equip and train soldiers at your castle before sending them out on ultraviolent recces. There’s no resting on your royal laurels while they’re away, though – you’ve got a kingdom to manage! Resources must be acquired and used wisely to ensure your warriors have a home to return to, while an overarching plotline involving the mysterious and malevolent Order will constantly keep you on your toes.

 

Unicorn Overlord

Available on PS4/5, XSX/S and Nintendo Switch from Friday 8 March

Of all the overlords to be subjected to, we’re not sure whether a tyrannical unicorn as head of state would be the best or worst scenario. Thankfully you needn’t mull over it, because there’s nothing of the sort in this gorgeous tactical RPG inspired by the classic games of the ’90s. Follow the enchanting story of exiled prince Alain as he works to rebuild his army and reclaim the throne from a rogue army general. 

 

Outcast 2: A New Beginning

Available on PC, PS5 and XSX/S from Friday 15 March

The original Outcast, originally released way back in 1999 on PC, is widely touted as a trailblazer in the open world genre. And it was even given a lick of redo paint in a spectacular 2017 remaster. And  Cutter Slade – leading contender for gaming’s most clichéd name – is now back for another third-person adventure that massively dials up the atmosphere, graphics and gameplay. Plus, JETPACKS! 

 

Alone In The Dark

Available on PC, PS5 and XSX/S from Wednesday 20 March

One of the very first survival horror games, Alone In The Dark was a truly terrifying experience unlike anything that had come before. Playing it today, what were once vicious, highly detailed monstrosities hunting you down look more like shambling, angry triangles. Great news then, that this remake takes several giant leaps forward to bring it up to speed with the times. And it even has David Harbour (Stranger Things) in it as detective Edward Carnby. Result!

 

Dragon’s Dogma II

Available on PC, PS5 and XSX/S from Friday 22 March

In a world littered with fantasy RPGs, how to create something truly unique? Why, add a monster-climbing mechanic of course. Yes indeed, Dragon’s Dogma is back! Ogre’s head just out of reach? Climb it! Three-headed lion giving you grief? Leap on its head! You get the picture. 

 

Princess Peach: Showtime!

Available on Nintendo Switch from Friday 22 March

“Peaches, Peaches, Peaches Peaches Peaches, Peaches, Peaches, Peaches Peaches Peaches, I LOVE YOU!” Ahem. Recently immortalised in song, the plucky princess from Nintendo’s Mario universe has a storied history. She’s gone from damsel-in-distress beginnings to ruling entire kingdoms – and still found time to forge a successful go-karting career. But it’s in brand new platformer Showtime! that everyone’s favourite royal really shines. In a platformer of many hats, you’ll swashbuckle, investigate and explore your way to victory.

 

Rise Of The Ronin

Available on PS5 from Friday 22 March

From the team that brought you the masterful Nioh comes this hugely immersive action RPG set in late 19th-century Japan. Explore beautiful recreations of historic cities like Yokohama, Kyoto and Edo, then paint the town red! Decide whether NPCs are for siding with, or slicing up, and employ a vast arsenal of tools and weaponry including horses, grappling hooks and gliders to gain an edge in battle.

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