Four in February is an annual event where gamers are challenged to pick four games from their backlog and complete them by the end of the month. It’s a great way to divert your attention back to the games you’ve already spent money on, and it’s something I’ve enjoyed participating in for the last few years.
I usually pick a few of my shorter games, throwing in something a little meatier as extra credit. As you know, plans often change, but as long as I finish 4 games in February I consider it a success.
So what’s on the menu this month?
#1: Dead Nation (Vita)
What is it?: Dead Nation is a twin-stick shoot-em-up that arrived on the PS3 way back in 2010. An updated version, the Apocalypse Edition, released on the PS4 and Vita in 2014, which I just picked up during last week’s flash sale on PSN.
I’d describe it as a fusion of Left 4 Dead and Diablo, where you mow down hordes of zombies, collect new armor pieces, and use the in-game currency to buy and upgrade a variety of weapons.
It’s my current go-to game, since it’s easy to pick up and blast through a few levels before bed (or in the bathroom–TMI, I know). I loved Resogun on PS4 and Dead Nation is definitely hyping me up for Housemarque’s upcoming shooter, Alienation.
#2: Grim Fandango Remastered (Vita or PS4)
What is it?: A classic LucasArts point-and-click adventure game from 1998, remastered by Double Fine Productions for Playstation consoles in 2015. Often touted as one of the greatest adventure games of all time, it was ironically a commercial failure when it released and contributed to LucasArts’ decision to abandon the genre altogether.
It has a neat film noir aesthetic and traditional Tim Schafer jocular narrative that plays on Aztec folklore, which sounds awesome. I didn’t play many PC games growing up, and as an adventure game fan I’m glad I have a chance to give it a go on my Vita. Hopefully I enjoy it, since I’m looking forward to Double Fine’s Day of the Tentacle remaster later this year.
#3: Sound Shapes (Vita)
What is it?: A 2D platformer with a central focus on creating music, featuring tracks from Beck, Deadmau5, Jim Guthrie, and more.
At first glance, Sound Shapes is a standard platformer–you control a circular blob that clings to walls, and use this mechanic to avoid a variety of hazards in your quest to reach the level’s end. Each level is built around a song though, which you build layer by layer as you grab collectibles along the way. What begins as bare bones background noise eventually culminates in a complex composition by some highly talented musical artists.
It’s an extraordinary game that I really enjoyed, but never got around to finishing.
#4: Doki Doki Universe (Vita)
What is it?: An odd adventure game/personality test hybrid by the folks at HumaNature Studios (the developers of ToeJam & Earl for Sega Genesis).
In Doki Doki Universe, you play as a robot left behind by your human family. You’re discovered 40 years later by a Sims-speaking alien named Jeff, who informs you that your model is being discontinued for lacking humanity. You need to prove that you can evolve and adapt by flying a pig to different planets, fulfilling quests, and taking personality quizzes. It’s… weird. But adorable.
Extra Credit: Fallout 4 (PS4)
What is it?: An incredible blend of Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Pit-Fighter. It’s fucking Fallout 4. It’s also way too big to try and squeeze in with three other games.
For extra credit, my girlfriend and I are currently battling our way through the Commonwealth in Fallout 4. We’re both full time college students, so I’m not sure we’ll have the time to finish it up by the 29th (leap year!). If we do, great, but if not, oh well. Neither of us are in a hurry to beat it.
Our first go at the game didn’t really grab us, so we started over with a melee-focused build and a better understanding of the game as a whole. We’re exploring a lot more, modding weapons and armor, and being smarter with our perk chart, which has proved helpful on numerous occasions. We also encountered the ghoul of a conspiracy theorist building a mini-nuke in his cellar, stumbled upon a hippy commune occupied by a stoned robot, and got mauled by a few bears, so that’s a plus.
The last time we played, neither of us were thrilled with the lackluster gunplay, the cumbersome UI of the Pip Boy, or the frequent technical issues we experienced on PS4. Subtitles were constantly locked on the screen after conversations, our dog was always stuck in walls or floors, and we had to restart the game 5 different times after it bugged out when we escaped the opening cryo chamber.
It sucked. We were close to selling it, actually, but it’s more fun now that we’re treating it like Skyrim… just with land mines and radiation poisoning.
I’ve been spending a lot of time on my Vita lately, be it playing games, watching YouTube videos, or binging a Netflix show (currently The Flash.) However, my backlog over there largely consists of JRPGs, which are known to be pretty lengthy, and a handful of digital titles that I’d like to move on with and free up some memory card space. That makes these ideal candidates.
If you’re suffocating under a daunting backlog, or just want to knock a few games out to sell for newer stuff, I definitely encourage you to give Four in February a go. It’s an excuse to tackle some of your older games, and sometimes that’s all you need. An excuse.
A good place to start is HowLongToBeat.com, which shows you the average completion time of each game, based on their community’s submissions. There’s even a Four in February Facebook page to check out if you’re looking for likeminded gamers to keep you motivated (or maybe give you some ideas).
Interested? What are your picks?
*Header image source: Four in February’s Facebook page.